Jets 2019 NFL Draft Profile: OG Ross Pierschbacher
By Genna Preston
In this 2019 NFL Draft profile, we look at the strengths, weaknesses, and draft day predictions of offensive guard Ross Pierschbacher out of Alabama.
Ross Pierschbacher started his college career a redshirted freshman in 2015. By 2016, he was ready for a starting left guard position and played in all 14 games. That year, Pierschbacher earned SEC All-Freshman recognition.
In 2016, he started all 15 games and helped Alabama earn nationwide recognition. That year, they ranked No. 1 in the SEC in scoring offenses. Pierschbacher’s athleticism allowed him to play both left and right guard; he played 13 games that season at right guard.
In 2017, he had an ankle injury and only started in 12 games. However, in 2018 he moved to the center position and started every game that season. Not to mention, he earned Second-Team All-SEC and was named AP Second-Team All-American.
Pierschbacher’s athleticism allows him to be extremely versatile, as his experience includes starting as a left and right guard and center. His build and frame make him an ideal candidate for either of the positions, especially when he has to size up to defensive linemen.
He has great control over his body and is very smooth with transitions when he needs to change his stance. He is also very observant and intuitive when he needs to approach a second-level block.
Pierschbacher is also very quick and has a lot of strength in his hands. He is able to swiftly fight off opponents or punch a ball while keeping his eyes on the game in order to figure out where he needs to go next.
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Pierschbacher doesn’t have the ideal leg strength or balance needed for the position. He needs to learn how to better anchor his lower half during a pass play, or he will be manhandled by a greater force on the field.
He also struggles to protect the edge, an area that several NFL teams need to focus on, which could affect his draft value. He also has too much mobility with his hips, when he is trying to approach a second-level block. Ironically, he bends too much for the second level, but not enough when he is approaching a down block.
According to NFL.com, Pierschbacher’s prospect grade was 5.4. Although this isn’t a terrible grade, he is only expected to be a backup or a potential special teams talent. This grade assumes he’s not among the elite and will be a late-round 2019 NFL Draft pick.
NEW YORK JETS PREDICTION
The New York Jets likely won’t be drafting Pierschbacher. The Jets need a center or guard that is conditioned and ready to start. The Jets would benefit from signing someone during free agency that is experienced, rather than drafting a rookie to replace Spencer Long. He isn’t expected to be drafted any sooner than the fourth round but will be a valuable player on any team that drafts him.