Liam Eichenberg was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. His combination of pedigree coming out of high school and starting experience for a major program has him climbing up NFL draft boards as we approach the NFL combine.
While many see a natural left tackle, plenty of mock drafts have Liam Eichenberg falling to pick 20 with the Chicago Bears or beyond. What is causing a productive starter to drop, and if he does end up at pick 20, should the Chicago Bears take a swing?
NFL traits that Liam Eichenberg can use as strengths
Eichenberg is a wall that has not allowed a sack in the past two seasons. When he plants his feet and sets his base, defenders move backward before they move him. The biggest strength of Liam Eichenberg is his hands.
He has violent and powerful hands. He plants his feet and drives hard with a punch that will often leave defenders in their tracks. As a run blocker, he understands angles well, and it shows as a down blocker and someone who can work straight downhill. With this in mind, he is better off in a man scheme.
A combination of strengths, smarts, and fundamentals brings a very high floor and one of the safer prospects in the NFL draft.
What are the weaknesses of Liam Eichenberg’s jump to the NFL?
To start, with that experience comes age. For what it is worth, a prospect we just highlighted, Jalen Mayfield will be 20 at the start of next season. Eichenberg will be 23. That has to be noted.
Beyond that, it can be argued that Eichenberg lives and dies on his hand usage. When he does punch, he often stops his feet, and if he does not connect, he takes himself out of the play. It has not caught up to him at Notre Dame but is an issue entering the NFL.
His feet are proficient but overly explosive, and most teams will not look at him as a zone blocking asset. Eichenberg also played his entire career under 300 pounds. With a higher floor comes the question of if he has much of a ceiling, or if what you see is what you get from a prospect who is maxed out technically.
NFL Comparison for Liam Eichenberg
The first name that came to mind was Jonah Williams. Both have had long college careers where their game is picked apart, but overall, they just do not make mistakes. Williams slid out of the top ten due to the questions of his upside, but injuries have held back his career to date.
Another name that comes to mind is Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo fell to pick 22 and was criticized coming out of Boston College for being a tall and lean blocker, who did not have the foot speed of elite tackles. However, like Williams and Eichenberg, Castonzo was a multi-year starter who just produced in college.
Sometimes you do not have to overthink it. Castonzo never turned into an All-Pro, but just retired from a long, and respected career with the Indianapolis Colts. A reliable blocker that you can count on year in and year out, even if he will not be a top 5 tackle every year is what you should expect from Eichenberg. We have seen that play out for Castonzo.
Liam Eichenberg Fit with Chicago Bears
When looking at the tier of the offensive lineman who could fall to Chicago, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Christian Darrisaw, Teven Jenkins, and Jalen Mayfield, all bring more out in space, which is typically the type of lineman that would fit into Matt Nagy’s running scheme.
Still, as noted, sometimes you just have to take the safe, sound pick with someone like Eichenberg. His game is being picked apart, and everyone will attack his upside. However, there is little to the downside when it comes to taking Eichenberg. He has not played right tackle, but analysts such as Daniel Jeremiah has already noted that he thinks the Notre Dame star can make the switch.
In our recent mock draft, he fell to the second round. Without an NFL combine, where his athletic upside may be exposed, it is worth questioning if he will be able to fall that far, and if Chicago should just “reach” on a safe player in the first round.