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NFL Draft Preview: Minnesota Gophers OT Donnell Greene

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Will the Gophers two year starter at LT hear his name called?

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft kicked off with the first round on Thursday night live from Nashville. While no Minnesota Golden Gophers were selected in the first round, at least one Gopher and hopefully more will hear their name called over the next few days. We will take a look at the potential Gopher draftees and highlight their strengths and weaknesses. Next is offensive tackle Donnell Greene.

Donnell Greene—OT

Measurables:

Height: 6’ 5”

Weight: 335 lbs

Arms: 35 1/4”

Hands: 9 1/2”

Combine Results:

Greene did not perform in drills at the combine due to his recovery of meniscus surgery on his knee.

Mockdraftable Spider Graph:

Greene spent three seasons at Minnesota after transferring from Coffeyville Community College. He started 29 of his 36 career games for the Gophers at left tackle. In 2018 he played in 11 games after missing one due to injury, and skipping the Quick Lane Bowl to speed up his recovery from meniscus surgery. Greene was the anchor of a Minnesota offensive line that averaged 28.9 points per game which was tied for second most in a season since 2005 and helped the Gophers rush for 23 touchdowns and throw for another 20.

Greene’s NFL future is most likely at guard rather than tackle, but it will depend on what team selects him or signs him. His size projects well to the NFL, but he does have limited agility. He doesn’t really have the athletic ability or technique to handle being left anone on an island as an NFL starting tackle. Greene projects better with a team who runs a power running offense where he can transition to guard and maximize his strength in confined quarters.

Positives:

  • Potential tackle/guard value
  • Ready-made frame for a move inside
  • Controls defenders at the point of attack and anchors and turns them from the line.
  • Grinds defender out of the gap on doubles and down blocks
  • Mauling mindset works for him at point of attack
  • Good feel to scoop defensive end up the field on outside zone
  • Takes good angles to second level
  • Edgy as run finisher

Weaknesses:

  • Will struggle in pass protection if he remains at tackle
  • Uneven weight distribution in pass sets
  • Catch and absorb technique with wide hands
  • Gives too much ground to bull-rushers
  • Feet too often unsettled into first contact
  • Needs to work to maintain his pad level
  • Leverage as run blocker gets away from him
  • Could struggle to reach and seal as move blocker

What others are saying about him:

“Wide-body tackle prospect who could get looks as a backup swing tackle but would likely benefit from a full-time move inside to guard. Greene’s holes in pass protection can be improved, but not fixed as he lacks the athletic traits and technique to handle life on an island. He shows an ability to clear the running lanes of debris when he fires off into double teams and down blocks. A move inside to guard would minimize his weakness and maximize his strength as a backup guard with upside in a power-based run scheme..” Lance Zierline NFL.com

“Donnell is a size prospect with outstanding strength for the next level but limited agility and athleticism. Best in confined quarters, he may have to move to guard but is worth keeping on the practice squad at the very least.”—Draft Analyst.com

“Donnell Greene is a highly promising tackle prospect who can fit into either gap or zone systems with some more attentive technique. Greene is naturally fluid and redirects well in space, plus he has tremendous upper body power and will overwhelm smaller defenders at the point of attack. Greene has devastating hand strength when he’s able to sink in a grip, it’s a matter of getting those hands fit with consistency that lies as the true barrier to a high ceiling. .” —Thedraftnetwork.com

Highlights:

Mock Draft Predictions?

Greene is mostly at the lower edges of the draft. While at least one spot sees him drafted as early as the fifth round, the general consensus is that Greene will be a 7th round pick if he is drafted at all. Here are a few predictions:

Jordan Dajani /247 Washington—Round 5 Pick 173 to Washington Redskins

Matt Miller/Bleacher Report-Round 7 Pick 238 to Chicago Bears

Our Prediction?

The Minnesota Gophers offensive line draft drought continues at least one more year as Greene signs a UDFA deal with the Minnesota Vikings.