Photo of Sam Brenner
Grade
58.2 ?

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'4" Height
  • 305LBS. Weight

Overview

Every mother, father, coach, teammate and fan dreads seeing a player lying still on the field at the conclusion of a play. Brenner spent nearly 15 minutes on the ground, motionless with a neck injury, during the third quarter of the 2011 season-ending home game against Colorado; to the relief of all of those watching, he showed enough movement while being loaded into an ambulance to take paralysis out of the equation. Thankfully, there was no major damage, and his already well-known toughness allowed him to suit up for the team's Sun Bowl win over Georgia Tech five weeks later.

Brenner was a second-team all-state lineman in Oceanside, California, but decided to take his game to Salt Lake City. He played in all 13 games on special teams, seeing action on the line in three games, as a true freshman in 2009. Brenner suited up for 12 of 13 games (missing the Air Force game with a shoulder injury) as a sophomore, earning his first start at left tackle against Boise State in the team's Las Vegas Bowl loss. He moved from tackle to guard for most of 2011, starting every game on the right side, and only lining up outside against Washington for injured starter Tony Bergstrom.

Analysis

Strengths

Tough-nosed player who blends good athleticism with an overall strong build to be an effective interior lineman. Effective on zone plays because of his foot quickness and strength, stays engaged down the line on reach blocks. Mirrors against quicker players in pass protection, also has a strong anchor to widen and stop rushers cold. Solid mobility to pull in front of run plays or reach second-level targets whether uncovered or coming off a down-block. Versatile enough to slide to tackle without a drop-off in play. Has fair lateral movement when at tackle, punches and stays with edge rushers around the pocket and can push them around off the ball in the run game. Smart player who communicates with linemates on blitz pick-ups.

Weaknesses

Lacks the length most scouts like to see at the position, gets pushed back on occasion, both on the move and in pass protection, when failing to get his hands inside and playing with a higher pad level. Inconsistent agility and ability to sustain against linebackers in space, will overextend and whiff, gets out-quicked and slips off blocks. Lacks great recovery speed to cut off inside rushes when at tackle.

NFL Comparison

T.J. Lang

Bottom Line

Utah’s steady and sturdy interior lineman survived a scary neck injury in 2011, but has usually been the one putting defenders on the ground over the past couple of seasons. Brenner is not elite in his size or athleticism, but he has enough of both to be a mid-round pick for zone-blocking teams to project him as a probable starter inside who can swing out to tackle on occasion.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st 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).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd 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.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th 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.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA 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.

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