Phenomenal initial quickness to get to blocks off snap
Plus athletic ability
Solid run blocker
Gets to blocks on the second level
Flexible to play any blocking scheme
Ready to play quickly in the NFL
Could use more power
Needs to improve his body, drop some fat and add muscle
May need to improve his conditioning
Didn't snap with QB under center very much
Didn't pull in run blocking often
Summary: Blake is the latest in a line of Canadian-based Baylor offensive linemen who enter the NFL older than typical prospects. That was the case last year for Danny Watkins, and it is again with Blake. As a rookie, the Toronto product will turn 27. He played two seasons of college football in Canada. After one season at junior college in the United States, Blake started for three seasons at Baylor. He was the starter at right tackle for 12 games in 2009. A year later, he moved to center and started the next 26 games in the middle of the Bears line over 2010 and 2011. Blake has a lot of experience having played six years of college football, but his age (27 in November) is a drawback for NFL teams.
Blake was the best offensive linemen in front of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in 2011. He was the most reliable and consistent player to provide Griffin with quality protection. Baylor also had a lot of success with running back Terrence Ganaway running straight up the gut behind Blake. Entering the NFL, Blake is an especially strong pass blocker.
Blake is a good athlete for his size, and that makes him a tough assignment for pass-rushers. He is very adept at sliding with speed rushers and keeping them from getting pressure on the quarterback. Blake does a good job of combining with guards to seal off the interior pocket and allow his quarterback room to step up in order to avoid edge rushers. He combines quick feet with a burst off the snap to get his blocks quickly. Blake does not have the power of a road-grader, but is able to move tackles and open up holes.
Blake had a nice week of practice at the Senior Bowl, showing the ability to play guard. He then displayed his athleticism at the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.25 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.76. While those numbers weren't astounding, he performed very well in the field drills. His lateral quickness was very impressive. His strong postseason has solidified his stock as a second-day pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Blake should be able to go to a center-needy team and be able to step into the lineup quickly.
Player Comparison: Jonathan Goodwin. Blake figures to be drafted earlier than Goodwin was. The Jets selected Goodwin in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Michigan. Blake is built in a similar manner to Goodwin (6-3, 315). They both move well laterally and are well-rounded players who are especially adept at providing room in the pocket for the quarterback to step up in order to avoid the edge rush. Goodwin had some good years with the Saints (2006-2010) before signing with the 49ers and playing well in 2011.
NFL Matches: Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Baltimore
There are a lot of teams that could consider Blake on the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Bears could pick Blake to be their long-term replacement at center for Olin Kreutz. That would allow them to move Roberto Garza back to guard. Atlanta needs a replacement for Todd McClure, and Blake has the mobility to fit a zone-blocking scheme. The Lions have to think about finding a new center, as Dominic Raiola is nearing the end of the line in an underrated career.
Blake could be an option for the Texans if they don't re-sign Chris Myers. The Saints need a long-term center as well. The 49ers have an aging center in the aforementioned Goodwin. They could play Blake at guard while Goodwin remains in the lineup. The Ravens may re-sign veteran starter Matt Birk, but he is close to the end of his career, and Blake could play guard for a season before replacing Birk.
Out of sheer boredom and the upcoming NBA draft has gotten me itching to make a new mock draft. Of course the NFL draft is a whole lot less predictable than the NBA draft, but also provides more success stories than the NBA draft. Again, I used schedules to determine each team's records and if you get upset with me just remember it's June and a whole lot can change by next April.