2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Liam Eichenbergby Alex Barbour March 10, 2021 1 comment
Add another name to the offensive tackle class for the 2021 NFL Draft. Liam Eichenberg has been a rock for the Fighting Irish for many years. Notorious for their blocking skills, Notre Dame offensive players never seem to have any risk when selecting them. Even Alex Bars has shown promise as a late-round pick for the Chicago Bears. Eichenberg is no different. He has all the tools to come in and start day one. Age is a factor to consider as he will be 23 when he takes his first snap. Will his talent make up for the jump in age?
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Name: Liam Eichenberg
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Notre Dame
Class: RS Senior
Weight: 302 lbs
Run Blocking (8.5/10)
Eichenberg is close to being an elite run blocker. When his hands are locked in, there is little a defender can do to shake him off. There are multiple plays every game where Eichenberg buries defenders into the ground. He has power, both in his upper and lower body. Eichenberg’s run IQ is also usually phenomenal (which will be talked about later). There are a couple of reps across his tape where the defender shed his blocks. The issue lies in him being too much on his toes with his arms extended. This is easy to fix with the right coaching. Overall, Eichenberg projects very well to the next level here.
Pass Blocking (7.75/10)
Eichenberg is the opposite of Carson Wentz in his pass protection. Wentz has one amazing play each game with a few head-scratching ones. Eichenberg has one terrible play a game with several amazing NFL quality reps. The great thing is that the failures appear to be coachable with his use of his length. 95% of the time Eichenberg keeps people at range and eliminates any chance of them reaching Ian Book. The 5% lies during plays that usually take over 3.5 seconds where Eichenberg leaves his arms extended for too long or is too heavy on the balls of his feet. The NFL rarely sees plays last that long, so this really should not be a repetitive issue. Eichenberg also has amazing positioning and poise when he is beat to the outside, which allows him to recover and still be effective on most lost reps. Lastly, he usually has great patience to strike with his hands, allowing the defender to make the first move when Eichenberg has the upper hand.
Eichenberg does not have length issues at all; however, his length is not that much of an asset, either. This is apparent in his play posture when plays take too long to develop. He leans forward to create more length, leaving him open to defensive counters. Again, this should be a super rare occurrence in the NFL. Apart from leaning forward and possibly leaving his arms out too long on lengthy plays, Eichenberg uses his length to keep his foes at range. Again, there is only a rep or two per game where this is an issue. The other 40 or so snaps look amazing.
Eichenberg once again is amazing in this category until the play takes too long to develop. His drop back is smooth, in control, and has small slides to keep him in position. Eichenberg’s only problem is that he sometimes drops too deep. This may be due to Ian Book’s play style. Yet again, he does tend to lean forward during lengthy plays, which will not be common in the NFL. This issue is also easily fixable in one offseason. Overall, there is little to complain about when watching Eichenberg play. He is NFL-ready here.
Eichenberg usually has some solid placement with his hands. He has a good punch and overall solid control. Eichenberg does tend to hold on some plays as well as leave his arms extended in a vulnerable spot. Again, there is little to complain about here, and with further coaching, he may develop into a top 15 tackle easily.
Eichenberg is a genius. His football IQ is very solid. He understands blitz packages before they happen, and he responds to them at a very high level. Even when he knows a rusher is coming free, Eichenberg chooses to block the target with the shortest distance to the quarterback. This is something prospects like Jackson Carman seem to lack.
Eichenberg is slightly above average with his athleticism. He has solid strength both in his upper and lower body. He has adequate burst to keep him reliably in position. His downfall is that Eichenberg is not fast. He is not a Teven Jenkins level of slow, but it is noteworthy that Eichenberg should not be pulled too often. There was a reason that Notre Dame let their other linemen go downfield on screens and let Eichenberg stay and protect.
Power at the Point of Attack (7.0/10)
Eichenberg has some punch, but he is no Jenkins nor Quenton Nelson. He can overtake a defender with his power, as was seen with his pancake blocks; however, the power was not consistent enough to scare defenders away. In short, Eichenberg has enough juice to be a quality player in the NFL, but he lacks the fear factor that Nelson or Jenkins instill in their opponents.
Positional Versatility (3.0/10)
Thanks to the lack of speed, Eichenberg should remain as a left tackle. His form is excellent, and his size dictates that he should be a tackle. In short, there is no need (nor should there be a desire) to kick him to anywhere else besides blindside tackle.
Competitive Toughness (4.5/5)
Eichenberg usually finds a player to block or terrorize every play. He plays to the end of the whistle, if not further. There is not much past that.
There appear to be a few phantom games missing each year, but they appear to be one game max. Health does not appear to be a major issue for Eichenberg.
Eichenberg did come out and surprise big time. He looked like an NFL starter in college. As Mel Kiper Jr. says: “the job of a scout is to project.” From what scouts see now with Eichenberg, his projection seems to be stellar. He is older, so the room to improve is not as much as an Austin Jackson. This said Eichenberg is at a high enough level to where he can come in and start day one and develop further into a perennial Pro Bowl level talent. For people to say his few bad reps push him into the mid to late second round shows that they have only looked at the highlight tapes. Almost every snap is grabbing the popcorn worthy. With the right coaching, Eichenberg may turn out to be the second or third-best tackle in this class.
Final Grade (71.5/100): Top 25
Player Comp: Taylor Moton (at Left Tackle)