Finding NFL comparisons for Liam Eichenberg
We have already reported on the player Liam Eichenberg and what he could bring to the NFL from a tape perspective. However, now that we have the numbers from his Pro Day, we are able to see just what a team drafting him could be getting into from an athletic and physical perspective. While athleticism is not everything, in a sport with elite athletes at elite sizes, there are thresholds and limitations to players based on these traits.
Pro Football Reference has provided an NFL combine database going back to 2000. Looking at Liam Eichenberg, and how he performed during his pro day, we can stack his numbers up against every other lineman to enter the NFL since then.
We are not looking for exact matches, but rather a strong frame of reference into what this player is bringing from an explosion, agility, and athleticism perspective. Below is the range that we will look for. We will include players that did not test in particular areas, as Liam Eichenberg did not run the 40-yard dash, and we want the widest list of comparisons to dive into.
Bench Press: 28-38 reps
Broad Jump: 96″-117″
Short Shuttle: 4.37s-4.77s
From there, we have a pretty decent-sized list of some talented offensive lineman in the NFL. Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo, and Russell Okung headline this group.
However, we do see a bit of a roadblock for direct comparisons to Eichenberg. At 32 3/8″ arm, he has some of the shortest arms of the group. Some tackles get by under 34″, but not many make it with under 33″ in arms. For comparison, Smith is over 36″, and Castonzo at 34.5″. The 2-4″ difference in arm length is notable.
Of that list, only two names appear under 33″ arm length; Joe Thuney and Eric Winston.
This makes things even more interesting. For Winston, he was a stud tackle prospect from Miami who fell to the third round, with his length being a question among other things. Winston was such a talented player that he made due, and started as a rookie, producing a strong NFL career at tackle.
Winston and Eichenberg do have that consistent, and long track record in their college resume, and Winston is a case showing that Eichenberg can succeed with his length. Still, he fell to round three.
Joe Thuney is known as one of the best guards in the NFL, but in college, he played tackle. Once again, we had a high floor prospect with excellent foot movements and a long college career of success at tackle. Like Winston, Thuney fell to round three, but this time, he moved to guard.
The move worked out, as Thuney was franchise tagged, and just signed a huge extension with Kansas City. Considering the handwork, footwork, and experience, a transition to guard could be easier for Eichenberg than most.
It could see a payoff similar to Joe Thuney, who has played tackle in a pinch in the NFL thanks to his past in college.
The debate for Eichenberg in the 2021 NFL draft will be to have him play tackle or swing inside to guard. Either way, two of the best NFL comparisons for Liam Eichenberg are Eric Winston and Joe Thuney.