Chad Rinehart (OT)
Professional scouts flocked to Northern Iowa to see what many feel is the NCAA Subdivision's premier draft prospect in 2007. One of the most dominant left tackles in the game, Rinehart anchored the Panthers' offensive line since moving into the lineup as a freshman.
The decorated blocker is equally proficient in opening holes for the ground game or sliding back to protect the quarterback's blind side in passing situations. With Rinehart at left tackle, Northern Iowa has averaged over 400 yards per game in total offense (410.84 yards per game) over the last three seasons. The team ranked 10th in rushing (219.36 yards per game) and fourth in total offense (408.27 ypg) during his junior year.
At Boone High School, Rinehart was a standout offensive lineman. He earned All-State second-team honors as both a junior and senior. He was also a first-team All-District and All-Conference choice during his final two seasons. Rinehart also starred for the track team, qualifying for the state finals in the discus.
Pursued by the Naval Academy, Rinehart decided to enroll at Northern Iowa. He spent the 2003 season competing as an offensive tackle on the scout team. In 2004, he took over at left tackle, starting the team's first five games before undergoing a laparoscopic appendectomy on October 21. He missed three games while recovering before returning to the field as a reserve for the team's final three contests. He finished his first season with the team with an 87.57% grade for blocking consistency, delivering four touchdown-resulting blocks in the process.
Rinehart began to establish his dominance in the trenches as a sophomore in 2005. He earned All-Gateway Conference first-team honors and was a second-team All-Northwest Region choice by Football Gazette. He completely manhandled his opponents, coming up with 134 knockdowns, including 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and an impressive 17 blocks downfield. He registered an 87.13% grade for blocking consistency, helping the team average 236.8 yards per game passing and 400.53 yards in total offense.
Rinehart garnered Associated Press and Sports Network All-American second-team honors in 2006. He was an All-Gateway Conference and All-Northwest Region first-team choice and earned his third Gateway Offensive Lineman of the Week honors during his junior campaign.
He helped a unit that ranked fourth nationally in total offense with an average of 408.27 yards per game and ranked 10th in the Division 1-AA ranks with an average of 219.36 yards per game on the ground. He delivered 105 knockdowns in 11 games, producing 17 touchdown-resulting blocks and 15 more blocks downfield. He held his opponents to just three stops behind the line of scrimmage and a total of 14 tackles (10 solo), as he led the 1-AA linemen with an 89.64% grade for blocking consistency.
As a senior, Rinehart was a consensus All-American first-team and unanimous All-Gateway Conference first-team selection. He continued his dominance, as he graded 88.64% for blocking consistency, the highest mark of any offensive lineman in the FCS ranks. He collected 103 knockdowns with 17 touchdown-resulting blocks and 12 blocks downfield. The offense responded to his blocking by averaging 457.3 yards per game, an improvement of close to 50 yards per game from the previous season.
Attended Boone (Ia.) High School, playing football for head coach Jon Walcyk...Earned All-State second-team honors as both a junior and senior...First-team All-District and All-Conference choice during his final two campaigns...In addition to excelling on the gridiron, he also starred for the track team, qualifying for the state finals in the discus.
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Positives: Has a tall frame with good overall body thickness, especially in his legs...Has room to add additional bulk, but it could affect his overall quickness...Has good arm length and very good straight-line quickness and explosion for his size...Durable athlete with the ability to play through pain...Has very good balance on the move and takes good angles in pursuit of second-level defenders, evident by his high amount of downfield blocks every year...Shows good body control and adequate change-of-direction agility...Could shift inside to guard at the next level because of his trap-blocking skills and his ability to pick up stunts and blitzes when working in-line...All-out battler with a solid work ethic, showing a good mental grasp of the game, quickly taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field...Hard worker in the weight room and does a nice job of using that power to deliver a jarring hand punch...Shows the explosion off the snap to easily seal the corner and has a "take no prisoners" approach taking on defenders, as he plays until the whistle and will not hesitate to punish him man...Respected team leader who will not hesitate to get vocal when a teammate fails to perform to standards...Must improve his knee bend, but backpedals quickly in pass protection, taking full advantage of his big chest, powerful arms, wide hips and thick thighs to easily wall off the defender...Has adequate quickness off the snap, showing the balance to keep his feet in attempts to gain position blocking in-line...Classic mauler who has the hand pop to shock and surprise a defender, doing a nice job of getting under the opponents' jerseys to sustain...When he keeps his pads down, he generates the explosion needed to create and maintain the rush lanes and has the ability to execute good angles to stalk and neutralize second-level defenders (eight downfield blocks in five 2007 games and 15 more in 11 game in '06)...With his strength, hand punch, body control and ability to square up, he is very effective at getting out in front on pulls and traps...Does a nice job of getting position to wall off the blitzers and displays very good balance and anchor taking on the bull rush...Very active going after other defenders after the initial block...Will deliver the crunching hand punch to keep defenders on their heels and is a very focused drive blocker who simply knocks over defenders with true aggression...Generates movement, firing low to take the defender off his feet...Knows how to extend his arms and take proper blocking angles to prevent the bull rush.
Negatives: Has good explosion coming off the snap, but might be a better fit to play inside at guard, as he is a bit of a waist-bender and struggles at times to move laterally, but does compensate with a strong hand punch and ability to maintain his anchor...Has a very powerful hand punch, but must do a better job extending to make reach blocks and keeping placement longer in attempts to sustain...Has the explosion to get back and take on edge rushers, but lacks the speed to recover when beaten off the snap...Might not have the flexibility to play tackle at the next level, but he shows the strength to leverage and create movement, along with holding the crease for the running game when redirecting inside (traits needed for an offensive guard).
Compares To...LOGAN MANKINS-New England...Like Mankins, Rinehart is a collegiate tackle who might have a quicker route to a starting job at the professional level with a potential shift to offensive guard. He is a punishing trap blocker with good explosion getting out in front when pulling. He uses his strength well to sustain and widen rush lanes, but must work on bending more at the knees than at the waist. He has a hand punch that will shock and jolt an opponent, showing improvement placing those hands as a senior than he did in the past. In isolated coverage, he will dominate a smaller opponent. With his body control and ability to square up and wall off second level defenders, he could bring immediate value with a possible shift in-line.
2004: Sat out the Youngstown State (10/16), Western Illinois (10/23) and Southwest Missouri State (10/30) games after undergoing a laparoscopic appendectomy (10/21).
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