Chad Wheeler, OL, USC: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Will Chad Wheeler be a mid-round offensive tackles taken in the 2017 NFL Draft?

When you stand at 6’6 and weigh around 310 pounds, you tend to stick out like a sore thumb. For Chad Wheeler, sometimes it’s a good thing and other times, it’s a bad thing. After graduating from high school a semester early in the spring of 2012, he enrolled early to USC. Some were surprised that USC kept him in their book of offers because he had missed part of the 2011 season with a surgically repaired shoulder.

After a strong first season as the left tackle for the Trojans in 2013, Chad Wheeler returned to the same position for the 2014 season. After having a strong 8 games on the year, he tore his right ACL in his knee in a game vs. Utah. This forced him to have surgery and miss the rest of the season.

Sure enough though, Chad Wheeler bounced back and started the 2015 season at left tackle again. For the most part, he was healthy but did suffer a concussion against Notre Dame and that forced him to miss the following game vs. Utah. Despite all the injuries, has Chad Wheeler done enough to solidify himself as one of the top offensive tackles in the 2017 NFL Draft?

Strengths:

  • Not great but good in the run game. Tends to be more consistent.
  • Great length at 6’6 – 310 pounds.
  • When he uses proper technique in pass protection, he looks great.
  • Consistent hand placement (squared up and inside)

Weaknesses:

  • Not very good at moving laterally.
  • Gets beat with inside moves, a lot.
  • Flat footed in pass protection.
  • Not a smooth slide step in pass protection.
  • Lacks aggressiveness when attacking his key.

Overall:

Experienced offensive lineman for the USC Trojans. He has 34 career starts ranging from 2013-2016. Had a shoulder injury during his senior year of high school that required surgery. After 8 starts in 2014, he tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. Injuries are a concern for him. Not the most consistent offensive lineman you’ll watch. He doesn’t have a consistent kick-step in pass protection and often gets beat inside. Has good hand placement in the run game but at times, he plays highs.

With the inconsistencies and injuries, there is some concern with Chad Wheeler. I don’t believe he will check into the NFL as a left tackle but I believe he has some upside as a right tackle. He reminds me of Andrew Donnal, out of Iowa, from the 2015 NFL Draft. Unlike Donnal, I don’t think Wheeler will get taken as high as the 4th round in the 2017 NFL Draft. Despite the experience, there is concern with his technique. Some of that could be coaching but it could also be from just having a grocery list of injuries. There will be a place for Wheeler in this draft and I’d have to think it’s somewhere between the 5th and 6th round.

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