You might think it’s a misprint if you read that Cleary was born in Japan -– but it’s the truth. His father’s job kept the family on the move early in Emmett’s childhood, spending time in Germany as well as Japan before they settled to the Chicago suburbs when Cleary was five years old. And even at the time of his birth on the other side of the planet, it was clear he would be a very large young man –- and his play the last couple of seasons cemented his spot as a potential contributor on an NFL offensive line.
Cleary was an honorable-mention all-state pick out of Illinois before coming to BC. He redshirted in 2008 before finding the field in every game as a reserve the following season. Cleary began his sophomore year as a back-up, but needed to step in at right tackle for the injured Rich Lapham for the final five contests, thereby starting across the line from then-roommate Anthony Castonzo (2011 1st round pick of the Indianapolis Colts). When given the chance to stay out with “the ones” in 2011, he played nearly every snap at right tackle (tying with All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly for the second-most snaps on the team). Cleary moved to left tackle for 2012, and started all 12 games there. He was named second-team All-ACC.
Possesses NFL size and length on the edge. Solid agility, can cut off edge rushers with fair bend and those feet and long arms, but still cut off the inside lane. Has a strong punch that can stop opponents’ momentum. Jumps out of his stance quickly to cut off backside pursuers in the run game. Flashes aggressive blocking, finishing run blocks with multiple punches even if the play is well away, or taking off-balance linemen to the ground with his upper-body strength.
Must gain additional strength in his lower body in an NFL weight program, usually widens to anchor but can get put on his heels by better power rushes if losing the hand battles. Not the quickest of feet. Height gives him some stiffness running in the open field, also makes him vulnerable to slipping off blocks or overextending after initial contact.
Cleary will answer a lot of questions about being born in Japan (his father’s job kept the family moving early in his childhood), but NFL scouts will mostly need to know if he has the strength to hold up against stronger NFL linemen. He won’t be picked as early as former roommate and 2011 first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, Anthony Castonzo, but Cleary’s talent should make him a mid- to late-round selection as a valued swing reserve.
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.