Photo of Jeff Otah
Grade
?
  • 6'6" Height
  • 340LBS. Weight

Overview

Otah played only two seasons at Pittsburgh, but many rank him with the elite offensive tackles produced by the school over the last two decades. He is a road grader in the mold of former All-Americans Jimbo Covert (1979-82), Mark May (1977-80), Bill Fralic (1981-84) and Ruben Brown (1991-94), all of whom enjoyed productive NFL careers. Called the "best blocker I've ever coached," by Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt, Otah served as offensive captain for one of college football's best running attacks as a senior.

Otah concentrated mostly on basketball, lettering twice at William Penn High School. As a senior, football coach Bill Cole convinced Otah to compete in football and he started in his only year on the team. Because of a lack of playing experience, he was not recruited coming out of the prep ranks and enrolled at Valley Forge Military Academy in 2004.

At Valley Forge, Otah started 17 consecutive games over two seasons, where he was rated the 26th-best junior college offensive lineman by Scout.com and 31st by Rivals.com. He was a two-time All-Seaboard Conference choice and was selected the league's Most Valuable Player in 2003. He led the team to a pair of conference co-championships and also lettered twice in basketball. He averaged nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds per game during his hoops career at Valley Forge.

Otah enrolled at Pittsburgh and immediately took over the demanding left tackle position in 2006. He started all 12 games, delivering 91 knockdowns with 13 touchdown-resulting blocks. He allowed four sacks and one quarterback pressure while recording one solo tackle and recovering a pair of fumbles.

The winner of the team's Ed Conway Award in 2007, given to the team's most improved player, Otah garnered All-Big East Conference honors as a senior. He produced 101 knockdowns, with 13 of those blocks leading to touchdowns. He finished with an 82% grade for blocking consistency, allowing four pressures and 8 1/2 stops for losses.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a rare-sized frame with very long arms and legs, big bubble, thick thighs and calves, wide hips and large hands...Raw talent with the frame to engulf the smaller defenders, especially when he keeps his hands inside the frame...Shows adequate competitiveness on the field to finish blocks, playing with good nastiness, as added experience has allowed him to come off the snap with better aggressiveness than he showed as a junior...Works hard to improve his blocking technique and takes to hard coaching...Has developed a strong hand punch to shock and jolt the defender, coming off the snap with arms properly extended to lock on and control with strength...Uses his lower-body power and size to move defenders off the snap...Well-liked, but quiet player who gets along with teammates...Shows adequate feet in his kick slide and uses his long arms well to hold off defensive ends on the edge...Lacks the foot speed to play on an island at left tackle, but with his ability to quickly recoil and reset his hands after initially locking on to the opponent, he could earn a starting job immediately at right tackle at the next level...Lacks explosion, but uses his size effectively to hold his ground and create movement, working hard to wall off...When he keeps his hands inside, he can generate the punch needed to stymie the defender's forward charge...Has the functional foot movement to slide and reach his set point, but needs to do it more consistently...Not an explosive hip roller, but shows good body control to generate movement...Best when driving forward to knock defenders off the ball in the ground game...When he uses his hands properly to engage, he has good success in attempts to maintain inside leverage...For a player of his size, he does not put enough force behind his hand punch at times, but he is quick to reset his hands after initially catching the defender...Because he struggles to handle the speed rush, he has learned to compensate by dropping his pads and using his size to wall off. However, he will struggle to readjust to quick counter moves. Negatives: Has a rare-sized frame, but lacks overall muscle development and could stand to lose at least 15 pounds, as his soft midsection causes him to stay too high in his stance and struggle in attempts to keep his pad level low...Moves adequately for his size, but lacks the quick feet to recover if he gets beat off the snap...Struggles quite a bit in space (see 2007 Michigan State, Louisville and Rutgers games), as he lacks the balance to reach and cut off in the second level...Doesn't bend well at the knees and shows stiffness in his legs when trying to execute his kick slide...Has just adequate instincts on the field because of a lack of experience, but has improved as a senior...Shows an ability to learn, but will need some reps, as he is not quick to take plays from the chalkboard to the playing field -- he lacks high football intelligence because he hasn't played the game for very long...Needs to be monitored in the training room because of poor work habits and lacks the maturity needed to handle the mental aspect of playing on an island at left tackle. He might be a better fit on the right side...Has questionable toughness and plays with inconsistent aggression...Shows adequate foot quickness to get off the ball, but can be late at times and will get lazy playing on his feet and struggles to bounce back up when cut...Has good natural strength, but displays marginal pop in his punch and poor explosion, as he fails to consistently sink his weight (waist bender) and is prone to getting too high in his stance coming off the line...Has adequate feet to sustain blocks, but struggles with too much room, as he has poor slide and mirror agility...Adequate as a run blocker because of his size, but struggles to get out in front when pulling. He can get in front in the short area, but fails to keep his feet running long distances, especially when playing in space because of his lower-body stiffness...Does an adequate job of getting his hands on outside linebackers, but struggles in space on screens and draws when he fails to generate good power behind his punch...Has functional feet for a left tackle, but struggles when defensive ends cross his face and needs to be more active with his hands...Lacks the hip snap to readjust to counter moves and struggles vs. the speed rush, as he lacks the balance to mirror defenders coming off the edge. Compares To:MAX STARKS-Pittsburgh...Otah has the frame and bulk that the football gods love in a left tackle, but with his relative inexperience and just adequate field instincts, he might be a liability as a left tackle. He needs to be more consistent shooting his hands in attempts to battle counter moves and struggles to adjust when working on the edge. He could be a better fit at right tackle or as a guard, but will need to rededicate himself in the training room, as he has good natural strength, but poor weight-room numbers. He can play like an all-world prospect one game (see 2007 vs. Chris Long-Virginia and George Selvie-South Florida), but at other times, he can self destruct when facing speedy edge rushers with an array of counter moves (see 2007 Michigan State, Louisville and Rutgers games).
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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