2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nate Potter

  • Proven pass protector
  • Good technique
  • Quick feet
  • Recoverability
  • Experienced
  • Mobility to hit blocks downfield
  • Very intelligent
  • Durable

  • A little light
  • Lacks power
  • Didn’t regularly face elite competition
  • Lacks ability to drive block
  • Does not display any mean streak
  • Arm length?

    Summary: Potter was a second-team AP All-America in 2011. He had another excellent season protecting quarterback Kellen Moore. Throughout the season, Potter put a string of dominant games together keeping Moore free of pass pressure. Potter is extremely light on his feet and is able to get back in his drop quickly. He mirrors pass-rushers well and is quick shuffling his feet.

    Potter helped running back Doug Martin have a good season on the ground this year, but he definitely needs to make strides in the ground game for the NFL. He does a good job of getting to the second level of the defense and hitting blocks on the run, but he is not a drive blocker. Potter is incapable of blowing defenders off the ball. He is going to have to improve his run blocking for the NFL.

    Helping Potter’s draft stock is he is one of the few left tackle prospects who is expected to be available after the first round. He looks like a second-day pick who has the potential to play the blind side in the NFL.

    Player Comparison: Sam Baker. Baker should not have been a first-round pick in 2008. At the time of the selection, Atlanta was criticized for reaching for him. If Potter goes in the first round, it will be the same situation. Their overall skill set is similar, and Potter’s arm length is a question mark. Baker’s short arms have hurt him in the NFL. Potter is entering the league a better pass protector than Baker, while the Falcon veteran was the better run blocker.

    Potter will probably be drafted on the second day where Baker should have gone. Projecting Potter to the pros, however, I see a better version of Baker.

    NFL Matches: New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, Dallas

    Offensive tackles are always in demand, so there are more than these seven teams that could consider Potter.

    Dallas has seen left tackle Doug Free struggle down the stretch, they could take Potter in the second round and groom him under Free for a year or two before making Potter the bookend across from Tyron Smith, as one of the two could move over to the blind side.

    Atlanta is said to be ready to move on from Baker, so they could target Potter in the second round. Baltimore needs a natural left tackle to protect Joe Flacco as Bryant McKinnie is just a stop-gap player. The Steelers need more young talent on their line, and a pass protector like Potter would help keep Ben Roethlisberger from taking so many hits.

    The Lions are approaching the end of the line with veteran left tackle Jeff Backus, and they need a long-term blind side protector for Matthew Stafford. The Eagles could use Potter and possibly move him to right tackle to protect the back of Michael Vick.


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