At this point, we know the big-name interior offensive linemen in this year’s draft class. There’s Billy Price, Isaiah Wynn, Frank Ragnow and James Daniels, many of whom the Bengals have met with. But there’s a possibility the Bengals don’t draft any of those big-name players and wait for a different option in the NFL Draft. If none of those names are called out by Rodger Goodell as Bengals draft picks, Will Clapp from LSU could be a nice consolation.
Clapp was a three-year starter at LSU where he started at guard before moving into the middle at center. He doesn’t quite measure up to the type players who will go well before him (those listed above) but Clapp could still end up being a solid addition to a team who misses out on those players.
Let’s get to know the former LSU lineman.
Weight: 309 pounds
Class: Junior (redshirt)
Projected Round: 3-4
NFL Comparison: NFL.com compares him to Titans center Ben Jones
40 yard dash: 5.39 seconds
Bench press: 25 reps
Vertical jump: 29.0”
Broad jump: 97.0”
3 cone drill: 8.04 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 4.92 seconds
Clapp has a great build to be a solid starter at some point in the NFL but he isn’t viewed as a guy who could come in and be plugged into an offensive line right away. The flexibility of playing guard or center is very real, but it really a situation of being a jack of all trades but master of none.
He will get by in the NFL based on his intelligence. He is usually in great position to shield running backs through the hole, but he doesn’t create push at the point of attack. You will see him move to the second level pretty efficiently though, which is always useful at the center position. If he is surrounded by two pretty good guards he could really end up looking pretty good.
The major issue he has is losing leverage too often to defenders. This probably contributes a lot to why he doesn’t manage to create a lot of push. He can get to the second level well, but when he was asked to set up screens, the player he was responsible for often beat him to the receiver.
How he would fit with the Bengals
Frank Pollack would probably do wonders for Clapp, and the longer he has to teach him the better he could be. But, the Bengals could really use a Day 1 starter at center after losing Russell Bodine to the Bills (thank you, Bills!) and Clapp shouldn’t be pushed into that role.
Clapp’s versatility would appeal to the Bengals, especially during the middle to late rounds. If there is a run on interior linemen before the Bengals second round pick — and the team doesn’t draft a center in the first — then Clapp could end up being their best option later in the draft.
Clapp will likely never be competing for Pro Bowls, but he could add real depth to this offensive line early. He would probably end up competing for a starting job in a year or two after Pollack has had more time to work out his issues.