Liam Eichenberg 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Liam Eichenberg of Notre Dame is an offensive tackle prospect who appears to be one of the most solid all-around prospects in the class. We take a look at his scouting report today and assess where he is likely to be taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Liam Eichenberg NFL Draft Profile
Liam Eichenberg - OT, Notre Dame
Height – 6’6”
Weight – 302lbs
Class – Redshirt Senior
Hometown – Cleveland, Ohio
Eichenberg was a highly recruited 4-star recruit from St. Ignatius High School in Ohio. Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Miami were amongst the many that made an offer to the seventh ranked offensive tackle in the nation in the 2016 class.
It was the Fighting Irish that won the race as Notre Dame was quickly becoming renowned for its offensive line play under Line Coach Harry Hiestand. Eichenberg was redshirted in his freshman year and it was not until the 2018 season when he became a starter, cementing himself as the team's left tackle, a position he would remain in for the next three years.
It was not until the 2020 season that Eichenberg received individual recognition that his consistent play merited. Named as a starter in the All-ACC First Team and receiving the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an award for the conference’s best blocker, he was named to the Consensus All-American First Team.
In pass protection, Eichenberg mostly shows a well drilled and consistent pass set. He gets good depth on his kick-slide, combine this with the good leverage he maintains using knee and hip bend then he can maintain his poise and not over-extend.
When he does remain balanced, he has a strong punch and with improvements in his strike accuracy he can control defenders and take them out of the rep. When combining the leverage and balance with his functional strength, he can anchor against bull rushes with relative ease.
A smart player who seamlessly picks up stunts, twists and remains aware of blitzers. An ideal example is against Pitt in 2020 where he recognises the twist and picks up the DT only to see the cornerback blitz. Using his outside hand, he thwarted the blitzer whilst still maintaining control of the defensive tackle with his inside hand and dropped his anchor to preserve the pocket as best he could. The best analogy I can think of is King Cnut being successful in holding back the tide!!!!
In the run game is where Eichenberg excels. He is quick out of his stance to create maximum force when engaging with defenders. He is able to put his 302lbs frame to good use and with excellent leverage can create push against defensive tackles.
He has a good feel for the game and seems to know exactly when to leave a double team to peel off into the second level and engage linebackers. Using a wide base and excellent grip strength he has no issue locating targets and sustaining blocks to allow maximum time for plays to develop.
He is quick to recognise when his initial push has stalled and when he has to redirect and seal the running lane. I was also impressed with his ability to adjust his blocks at the second level depending on how the situation was playing out. If he felt he could not engage and sustain a block he would not hesitate to throw a cut block in rather than watch defenders rush past him.
Eichenberg’s ceiling may be capped by his relative lack of athleticism and it may affect the number of schemes he is suitable for.
In pass protection his pass set is consistent and smooth but the depth from his kickslide is far from elite. Eichenberg also has trouble with lateral agility, inside counters cause issues as Eichenberg struggles to shift his momentum to cover the B Gap.
As much as it is a benefit that he does not overextend, the downside is that he occasionally has his centre of gravity too far over his outside shoulder to redirect quickly. If I were an opposing Defensive Coordinator, I would have my defensive end practicing the hump move in training in the week leading up to face Eichenberg and use his momentum against him. This occasional imbalance of weight can also reduce the power of his punch, think of a boxer throwing a punch off his back foot. Elite opponents, like Will Anderson in the College Playoff Semi-Final, can walk through it relatively unscathed to gain control of his chest.
While Eichenberg has a lot of success in the run game, and he is capable of reach blocks, the limited athleticism and lateral agility make these much more laboured than you would like to see. Attempted reach blocks are often changed mid-play to become a drive block. This is testament to Eichenberg’s intelligence and ability to diagnose what the right action is in any given situation though.
Liam Eichenberg Overview
Eichenberg could be the antithesis of the current trend of raw, athletic lineman prospects being pushed up the board as teams chase upside. Although there are legitimate concerns over Eichenberg’s athleticism, especially his lateral agility, he more than makes up for it with his technique.
He minimises concerns by being quick out of his stance with no false steps in either his run blocking or pass set. His mental processing and capacity to adjust his technique to the situation will also help alleviate some concerns over athleticism.
Although I have mentioned his balance and the effect on countering inside moves being a potential issue to be exploited at the NFL level, the number of occasions in college were relatively minimal in comparison to the excellent reps.
His knack of being able to wring out every ounce of his ability on every play will endear him to coaches, teammates, and fans alike. If Eichenberg is able to improve his ability to counter inside moves in pass pro, he could be a reliable solid starter on Sundays for a team that runs a Power/Gap scheme.
Round 2 Pick
Notre Dame vs Alabama - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFamoBu8ugA&t=3823s
Notre Dame vs Clemson - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQff-434kyM&t=2255s
Notre Dame vs Pitt - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LerifwZ0ugY&t=5832s
Notre Dame vs FSU - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwEVTayWNr4&t=4210s
Notre Dame vs Duke - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUNlHxNhKBg&t=3710s
Notre Dame vs USC - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4jF4ds-3DI
Notre Dame vs New Mexico - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Y0JwDups0