It was no surprise when O’Neill, a four-star recruit considered among the top 10 offensive tackle prospect in the country coming out of Grand Haven, Michigan, signed with the University of Michigan for the 2008 season. But the spread system installed by then-new Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t fit with O’Neill’s skill set, leading him to transfer to WMU (where his older brother, James, was a tight end) after redshirting his first season in Ann Arbor. Bill Cubit’s system seems to fit him just fine, and some NFL team will utilize his size and length at right tackle.
The transfer caused O’Neill to sit out his redshirt freshman season in 2009, but coaches got him on the field as a starter right away the next season. He started 10 of 12 games at right tackle that year, missing two games with a right ankle injury. O’Neill started all 13 games on the right side in 2011, earning third-team All-MAC honors for his efforts.
Tall, long right tackle prospect with some thickness in his arms and thighs despite his height. Fair foot quickness and lateral agility for his size, tough for college ends to win the corner on him. Moves pretty well on zone blocks to contain the edge, can also pick up late blitzers with his feet and length when doubling inside off the snap. Solid on second-level blocks, reaches linebackers on combos or when uncovered, and can drop his hips and extend to keep them from the play. Will reset his hands or extend his arms while engaged to ensure he stays on the block. Cuts off the inside lane in pass pro with his length when in balance. Flashes nastiness on run blocks, will get his hands inside and move his man by churning his feet. Adds himself to piles and is willing to take his man to the ground.
Only adequate initial quickness out of his three-point stance, can be late with his punch, so better ends can beat him inside when he overextends. Will also bend at the waist when trying to reach a wide-nine target in the run game. NFL ends might take advantage of his big chest and occasionally upright stance more regularly. Slow to cut block, defenders can easily elude him and stay in the play. Average anchor, height and average lower-body strength allow better ends to drive him backwards, though he usually widens enough to use his size to prevent the sack. Lacks agility to get to quicker defenders in space.
One of the top high school offensive tackles in the country, O’Neill decided to attend the most-heralded program in his home state, signing with the University of Michigan. New head coach Rich Rodriguez’s version of the spread system didn’t prove to be a good fit, however, so O’Neill transferred to WMU to join his brother, James. His talent has proven valuable to the Broncos’ passing spread attack, and his size, length and agility give him a chance to compete for playing time at right tackle as a mid-to-late round NFL draft pick.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.