2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brady Christensenby Alex Barbour April 1, 2021 0 comments
Add yet another amazing junior to this insane offensive line class? Brady Christensen has been consistently one of the best tackles in college football, and he has improved every single year. After starting for three years for BYU, Christensen a load of experience. The two factors that have surely pushed this amazing talent down draft boards are the level of competition that he has played against and his age (23). The question remains: could he have played any better? Was he only an amazing tackle because BYU outmatched every opponent talent-wise? Let’s find out.
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Name: Brady Christensen
Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 302 lbs
Run Blocking (5/10)
This is a rough start for the PFF darling. Christensen’s weight will become a common theme with this entire report, and it starts here. The BYU product just does not have the juice to make an impact in the run game. He sure is athletic in terms of speed, but that is about it. The power is nonexistent, and Christensen only drives players when he is most likely in a double team.
One more major issue: the former Cougar falls over a lot, especially in the run game. A lineman is useless when he is on the ground. Another poor factor in the run game is that there were multiple instances where Christensen became very stiff and stagnant downfield. To paint it clearly, it appeared as if he were pass blocking sideways at the second level. It was definitely a head-scratching move for sure. Defenders easily evaded the Cougar and rendered him essentially as just a roadblock.
Lastly, Christensen looks lost when blocking downfield. Anyone watching can notice how out-of-place he looks when attempting to block defenders past the line of scrimmage. Although the PFF grades (95.5 for 2020) all point toward Christensen being an elite blocker in the run game, the eye test says the exact opposite.
Pass Blocking (5.75/10)
This score has to at least give him credit for never letting up pressures. The sad truth is that Christensen is not built to be a tackle. His arms (which will be talked about next) are too short, he fires his hands very late or way too early, and his anchor is very questionable. Christensen’s anchor was doomed as soon as he weighed in and had short arms: he is at the will of every pass rusher with length or power.
One problem with the BYU product’s technique was that some snaps showed him getting his arms hacked down due to them being over-extended. This is exploited in almost every play at the next level. Although it may not seem like a big deal, this is a huge red flag. Another huge red flag is Christensen’s vulnerability to inside moves. His footwork is clunky and heavy. Defenders easily can make inside moves turn into pressures, and many pass rushers did. If Christensen wanted to shorten his strides to counter this, he would be open to being beaten around the edge.
Lastly, the BYU product looked helpless against pass rushers who converted speed to power well: that is the prototype that the NFL looks for in its pash rushers. On a positive note, Christensen did flash qualities of being able to stand alone on an island as well as show that he can keep his shoulders square to the defender. Overall, the PFF grade (95.2 in 2020) once again does not describe what is happening on the field, and it is worrisome.
Christensen has 32 1/4 inch arms (fourth percentile for tackle, under 15th percentile for guard). That statistic alone would rule out most tackles from daring to transition to the NFL. The tape highlighted how much length he was lacking, too. Every snap showed the defender making the first contact. The NFL will be no different, and the defenders at the next level will be exponentially better than the competition the former Cougar faced every game. This is by far the biggest concern. Even if he transitions to guard, Christensen does not have the weight nor power to be effective.
Christensen needs some work here. Like Teven Jenkins, he has heavier and choppy steps rather than a slide. That opens him up to inside moves, which happened too many times with lethal effectiveness. Normally, the BYU product has his weight on the balls of his feet, but there were too many times where his weight shifted, and he became unbalanced and fell or was out of position. Christensen is usually square to the defender, but this angle does not account for how the pocket should be shaped.
This causes easy lanes for defenders to get to the quarterback. Lastly, Christensen usually is good with keeping a wider base, but when he moves in pass protection, his stance narrows a lot. This may mean that the former Cougar is fighting off natural bad habits of having a thin stance. That can be worrisome as well.
Christensen has solid hand placement. The issue lies in the fact that he cannot get his hands to land on target first. In short, he is at the peril of the defender. Christensen’s short arms lead to him not being able to control defenders for long. In space, he also looks like he struggles with finding the right range to fire his hands and make contact. To compensate for his short arms, Christensen was seen multiple times using one arm at full length to block on the move. This will be obliterated by technicians at the next level. In short, the BYU product has solid mental capabilities but lacks sufficient physical facilities.
This was a shocker given the PFF grades. As was previously stated, Christensen seems to lack awareness of the location of the quarterback. This leads to inefficient pockets, which could be the demise of an offense at the next level. The awareness issues also stem to the second level and even at the line of scrimmage on some plays where Christensen blocks nobody. He shoots his hands either too soon or too late to compensate for length issues, but it just gets him in more trouble. Coaches need to fine-tune the timer in Christensen’s head on when to fire his hands.
In space, he cannot understand his physical limitations, which leads to random diving, stumbling, and whiffing. Lastly, there was one play versus Louisiana Tech where the former Cougar stopped playing as if the play was over, but when the defender darted towards Zach Wilson, Christensen seemed surprised that the play was still going on. This may have been only one incident, but it is worth noting.
Christensen tested very well at his pro day in every testable category (even bench press). The problems lie in his balance and play strength. Christensen fell over numerous times on tape. Even more than Penei Sewell, whose biggest negative is his balance. The playing strength is nonexistent: defenders seem to have more pop on him than he does on them. Being 300 pounds at 6’6’’ does not help with any of this, either. With a lack of fluid movement, the nice testing numbers are irrelevant in terms of his agility. In short, Christensen has the numbers, but he lacks the ability to translate them to the field.
Power at the Point of Attack (2.75/10)
This is rough. Christensen may have put up 30 reps of bench press, but he plays like he benched 13 reps. His anchor is pretty poor which causes him to get driven back consistently. It is critical to note that these pass rushers are not even close to NFL caliber. As stated before, defenders seem to have more of a noticeable effect on him than he does on them. That is scary.
Positional Versatility (2/10)
At 300 pounds (13th percentile for tackle, under 23rd percentile for guard) with short arms and no playing strength, there is not much Christensen can do in the NFL. He has avenues to play: bulk up more or play at his tested strength. The problem lies in the fact that as of now, he has no place in the NFL where he can project to start one day. When round two rumors are flying around, that is mortifying.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Christensen is one hard worker. He fights until the whistle is blown (apart from that one play). There is no motor concern whatsoever.
Christensen appears to have a clean medical record.
Everything initially pointed for Christensen to not just be a PFF darling but one of mine, too. Given the issues described above as well as his age, there is not much hope in developing this prospect into a perennial starter. That is gut-wrenching. After watching Wilson light up every defense he faced, it seemed certain that Christensen would be a sleeper. It turns out that maybe Wilson is that special of a talent, or maybe the defenses BYU faced were that inferior. All signs point towards Christensen not being able to step into the NFL as an effective lineman. Only time will tell as to whether this former Cougar will be able to change his body or his play style to live up to everyone’s expectations.
Final Grade (52.0/100): Late Fourth Round