A quick look around the Internet opens the floor to some questions about the Oakland Raiders decision to select offensive lineman Joseph Barksdale in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. A quick scan of reports heading into 2010 really liked his prospects, but he scuffled a bit this season and his draft stock sank accordingly.
At 6’4, 325 pounds, Barksdale definitely brings the kind of size that can work in a power game alongside the likes of second round pick Stefen Wisniewski. However, Mocking the Draft views him as no more than an upside guard:
Barksdale’s future is either at guard or right tackle. He doesn’t possess the foot speed and balance necessary to protect a quarterback’s blindside. Combined his limited quickness with his inability to go from stance to set quickly and you have a recipe for disaster. A move to guard will help mask his struggles protecting in space. It will also allow him to utilize his good base and strength to create running lanes. Overall, Barksdale looks like a late round prospect with some upside due to his size and strength.
Of course, just to show you how different two reports can be, another writer from Mocking The Draft thinks he is a sleeper at the tackle position:
In the fight for the top offensive tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft, it is astonishing that Joseph Barksdale’s name does not come up more often. Barksdale is a better athlete than he is given credit for at the left tackle position. In addition his technique is the best I have seen out of any tackle in this draft class. He gets terrific knee bend and keeps his pads low when blocking. Barskdale also has long arms and uses them to his advantage with ideal arm extension in his blocks. His ability to get to the next level, and be isolated one on one are both top notch. Joseph Barksdale has the size and strength of an ideal left tackle prospect.
It basically comes across as a boom/bust pick at this point, with the Raiders hoping that Barksdale steps up his game at the next level. If he reaches his immense potential, they might have a steal in the third round. If not, he’ll join the laundry list of mid-round offensive line busts in history.