There is no denying the fact that the most underappreciated players on a football field are the players in the trenches– as in offensive and defensive lineman. Really, out of those two groups, offensive lineman are the most underappreciated.
Offense begins and ends with how good the offensive line performs. Georgia Tech’s offensive line has been one of the best in the country over the past few years and a big reason for that is the play of 6-foot-1, 311 pound, senior offensive guard, Shaq Mason.
Mason has been named to the Outland Award Watch List and the Lombardi Award Watch List going into the 2014 football season. He was also named First-Team All-ACC by the media in 2013, and was named to the Pre-Season All-ACC First Team list for 2014.
Being as highly decorated a lineman as Mason is, you would think that he would be a slam dunk to be drafted in the top two or three rounds of the NFL draft. But believe it or not there are actually draw backs to Mason’s game.
For example, Mason’s size at 6-foot-1, 311 pounds, is not prototypical when you think about the size of the standard NFL offensive lineman. He has been able to compensate for his lack of size by using quickness and leverage on the college level, but that technique may not be enough in the pros.
NFLscout.com’s Derek Stephens feels that there could be a spot in the NFL for Mason, but is realistic about what the NFL is usually looking for in it’s lineman as compared to what Mason brings:
“When it comes to interior linemen, NFL teams love quick, athletic guards like Mason. However, with more and more 330-pound-plus road grader types who possess similar athleticism coming available, a guy like Mason could easily go overlooked until the latter rounds of the draft, or even find himself a UDFA looking for an NFL roster spot with “diamond-in-the-rough” upside come camp.”
Shaq Mason has the motor and the skills to be a player in the NFL. What is going to limit him on the next level is simply size. Mason’s heart and will to succeed in the NFL should go without question.
The question is going to be, “Will the NFL be able to look past their image of what an offensive lineman looks like to take the chance on Shaq Mason?”.