We all know how impressive Dallas Cowboys' 2014 first-round draft pick, Zack Martin, has been the past two years in the league. The 2x Pro Bowl and All-Pro offensive guard, and former Notre Dame left tackle, transitioned nicely in taking his dominant skill-set from college to the next level, helping the Cowboys become the number one ranked offensive line unit in back-to-back seasons (2014 & 2015) per Pro Football Focus (PFF). Once Martin left for the NFL, Ronnie Stanley moved from right tackle to left tackle, and the Fighting Irish did not miss a beat at the position.
A Las Vegas, Nevada native, Ronnie Stanley was ranked the 11th-best offensive tackle prospect nationally by Scout.com, and was also a standout basketball player (averaging 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game) who helped lead his high school basketball team to the Nevada class 4A state title. The athletically gifted and tremendously talented Stanley bypassed many Pac-12 scholarship opportunities and decided to venture into the heartland of South Bend, Indiana, where he became a three-year starter for Notre Dame.
Stanley started all 13 games during his 2013 redshirt freshman campaign, and was part of an offensive line unit allowing just eight sacks collectively. In 2014, Stanley replaced the outstanding left tackle Zack Martin and ended up having a similar season to the former first-rounder, starting all 13 games recording 16 knockdown blocks, yielding just one sack, and kept his mistakes to a minimum with only three penalties during his entire 2014 redshirt sophomore campaign. The Zack Martin-like talent in 2014 led to Stanley receiving Notre Dame's Offensive Lineman of the Year award.
Stanley's redshirt junior season (2015) was not as efficient as the year prior, giving up three sacks, four quarterback hits, eight hurries, and an eye-popping 11 penalties with a pass blocking efficiency rating of 97% (stats courtesy of PFF). Nevertheless, Stanley elevated his game in 2015 in terms of technique, by keeping his hands inside his frame, as well as, showing improvement in change of direction movement and his ability to quick set and mirror pass rushers with multiple moves. Moreover, he showed the capacity for improvement each and every game throughout the year, ultimately aptly describing him in two words, Fluid-Technician!
School: Notre Dame
Jersey No.: 78
Arm: 35 5/8"
Hand: 10 5/8"
40 Yard Dash: 5.20
10 Yard Split: 1.79
Vertical Jump: 28.5"
Broad Jump: Did not attempt
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.90 (*4.69)
3-Cone Drill: 8.03
Bench Press: 24*
*Pro Day results
How the measurables translate for offensive tackles:
When looking at the measurables for offensive tackles, keep in mind of some minimum measurable targets offensive tackles should be expected to target as a minimum result. For the most part, prospects exceeding these minimal targets tend to find success in the NFL. Measurables courtesy of Draft Breakdown, and top 10% numbers (number in parenthesis) courtesy of Ourlads' NFL Scouting Services.
40 Yard Dash - Minimum Target: 5.30 (*4.99)
10 Yard Split - Minimum Target: 1.80 (*1.72)
Vertical Jump - Minimum Target: 30" (*32")
Broad Jump - Minimum Target: 8'6" (*112")
20 Yard Shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.65 (*4.52)
3-Cone Drill - Minimum Target: 7.85 (*7.42)
Bench Press - Minimum Target: 24 (*32)
*top 10% numbers in parenthesis
Do Your Homework
Watch highlights of Stanley against Texas, UMass, Clemson, USC, Temple, Ohio State, Boston College, Florida State (2014), Stanford (2014), LSU (2014), Syracuse (2014), Stanford (2013 - Stanley at RT), USC (2013 - Stanley at RT), Rutgers (2013 - Stanley at RT), Michigan State (2013 - Stanley at RT), and Arizona State (2013 - Stanley at RT). Moreover, watch this First Draft featured below:
- Showcases a tremendous combination of size, athleticism, length (large wingspan), quickness, speed, and strength.
- Utilizes his long arms, huge hands, a quick first-step, lateral quickness, balance, solid technique, and an impressive ability to quick set easily mirroring defenders with suddenness and fluidity adjusting to movement and redirect.
- Shows a great ability to anchor in pass protection dropping his weight and hips anchoring to engage power rushers.
- Plays with a natural knee bend, functional athleticism, and a fluidity that is truly impressive for a man his size.
- Showcased more physicality to his game rolling his hips after engagement driving defenders off the ball walling them off and/or towards the ground finishing blocks.
- Displays excellent ability to reach second level with a quick fluid movement and sound awareness quickly engaging and swallowing second level defenders in a heartbeat cutting off blocks, as well as, displaying excellent mobility and range when pulling working on leverage on outside runs.
- Improved technique in keeping hands high and inside providing a solid jolt/punch at the point of attack, and maximized his strong hands and arm length locking out his vines to sustain blocks away from his frame for long periods of time.
- Versatility playing both tackle positions.
- Shows durability.
- Needs to show more consistency on overall technique (has a tendency to drop his hands and lapses in keeping them inside every now and then).
- Occasionally, he will miss on some blocking angles in the run game, and there are bouts when his pad-level is too high giving up leverage, although his quickness and long arms do help him recover.
- He will need to increase his functional strength to take on the rigors of the NFL (has a frame with enough room to add bulk).
- Missed opportunity to be voted team captain due to excessive unpaid parking tickets; nevertheless, there are no character, leadership, or off-field concerns. I'm pretty sure his teammates attended his birthday party.
NFL Comparison: Lane Johnson - Philadelphia Eagles
Round Projection: 1st
Now that it appears likely quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be drafted with the top two picks, it pushes down some quality elite talent in reach of the 49ers selection at seven. There are four coveted defensive players (Jalen Ramsey, DeForest Buckner, Joey Bosa, and Myles Jack) that can truly make an impact with the 49ers; however, the likelihood of one of those defenders being available at seven is chancy. Nevertheless, another area of need on the offensive side of the ball will likely be available for the 49ers choosing. With Anthony Davis' reinstatement up in the cloud, and no solid depth at the tackle position, drafting one of the premier tackle prospects in this years' draft class could help solidify our offensive line woes (ranked 27th in 2015 according to PFF).
The 49ers have done their fair share of homework on Ronnie Stanley with four reported Notre Dame scouting visits during the college football season in Weeks 1, 5, 7, and 13 (Trent Baalke visit in Week 13), an evening meeting with the 49ers at the NFL Combine, and 49ers offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty, running o-line drills at Notre Dame's pro day.
Stanley, a dominant, intelligent force at left tackle, is arguably the best tackle in college football. With the versatility to play both tackle positions, Stanley could easily be a starter at right tackle for the 49ers, and potentially the heir apparent to Joe Staley on the left side. Stanley's impressive blend of athleticism, size, and fluidity will fit well in a Chip Kelly offense, and his skill-set is best suited in a zone scheme. So, if none of the defensive studs are available at seven, Ronnie Stanley would be an excellent addition for the 49ers, instilling a solid foundation to build upon, looking to take back the offensive line dominance the 49ers once held, and to start to close the gap in the Cowboys' rear view mirror of offensive line greatness.