Each day leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, we will take a look at prospects that should be on the Carolina Panthers' radar. We will look at roughly eleven prospects per round to give a better idea of potential draftees beyond just the first round.
Here's our schedule for the next 80 days:
1st Round: Feb. 8th - Feb. 21st
2nd Round: Feb. 22nd - Mar. 6th
3rd Round: Mar. 7th - Mar. 18th
4th Round: Mar. 19th - Mar. 29th
5th Round: Mar. 30th - Apr. 8th
6th Round: Apr. 9th - Apr. 18th
7th Round: Apr. 19th - Apr. 28th
Prospect No. 21: OT Liam Eichenberg
College: Notre Dame
Height: 6'6" Weight: 305 lbs
Draft range: Late first, early second
Analysis: Eichenberg would be someone the Panthers can insert right into the left tackle spot from day one to replace the veteran Russell Okung who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He's got great upper-body strength and is a very good run blocker. The one area I believe Eichenberg will need some improvement in is protecting the quarterback on outside rushes. If the blitz comes right at him, he typically holds up, but once he gets stretched outside, he becomes a little inconsistent. With that said, there are really no red flags that come with Eichenberg. Just like any young tackle, he'll need a little development but with time, could be a huge building piece for an NFL franchise.
Eichenberg ended his Notre Dame career as a consensus All-American and an Outland Trophy finalist. It was Eichenberg - not Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw - that was voted on by ACC head coaches and defensive coordinators as the best blocker in the league.
Eichenberg started 38 straight games at Notre Dame, and the last time he gave up a sack was Sep. 29, 2018, in just his fifth career start. He did not allow a sack over the next 33 games.
The 6-6, 302-pound blocker got better in each of his three seasons as a starter, and his consistency in 2020 was impressive. Like Zack Martin back in 2012-13, Eichenberg’s lack of flash often overshadows the fact all he does is win rep after rep after rep. Eichenberg shows a great feel for the game, especially when it comes to playing proper angles. This has become his greatest asset in the run game in many instances, and the Notre Dame blocker consistently wins in the run game with leverage and playing with good angles.
Eichenberg has extremely powerful hands, and it has been especially evident in the passing game the last two seasons. He delivers quite a punch, and his hand power has been his best asset for much of his career. Eichenberg can shock edge rushers, and it’s especially effective against speed rushers. His length and powerful hands are arguably his best weapon in pass protection.
The Cleveland, Ohio native is a battle-tested blocker, and he’s shined in the biggest moments. He must continue improving his lower body strength and his hand technique still needs some work in pass protection, but Eichenberg got a lot more movement in the run game this past season than he did during his first two seasons in the starting lineup.
The knocks I hear about Eichenberg is a lack of athleticism compared to other top tackles, but I don’t see that same thing on film. No, he isn’t an elite athlete, but Eichenberg has the combination of foot quickness, change of direction ability, and footwork needed to thrive on the edge in the NFL.
I view Eichenberg as a plug-and-play tackle in the National Football League, and while there are other blockers who might go ahead of him due to measurables, Eichenberg is as solid of a bet as you’ll find at tackle in this draft, once you get back Penei Sewell.
Could Liam Eichenberg go in the first round? CLICK HERE to read more!
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @PanthersOnSI