Lucas Niang | OT | TCU
Intriguing, experienced offensive tackle with more than 25 career starts at right tackle for TCU. Niang is a mammoth of a man, coming in officially at 6-6, 315 pounds. Don’t let his size fool you though, Niang moves incredibly well for his size. Niang is nimble on his feet. He moves well laterally and is a threat to do some of his best work at the second level. This is a terrifying man when on the move. Niang’s size, athletic traits and overall movement ability make him a great fit for a zone scheme at the next level.
Niang uses his massive hands (10 1/2”) to land a devastating punch immediately off the snap. The timing and placement of his punch have consistently improved throughout his time at TCU in my opinion.
While Niang does his best work as a people mover in the run game, he’s incredibly effective in pass protection as well. He’s flashed the I.Q. to understand how defensive linemen are trying to attack him. He always knows what’s happening around him. He has vines for arms (34 1/4”) and he uses that length well to keep edge rushers in check.
Niang is a tough kid who played through a brutal hip injury in 2019. My good friend Jon Ledyard really summed up just how bad it was when he spoke to Niang back in February:
Lucas Niang told me his pass set had to change in 2019 to that backpedal motion because his hip injury was so painful he couldn’t execute any explosive movements in his pass sets.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 26, 2020
How do the medicals check out? As seen above, Niang played through a brutal hip injury all throughout 2019. You certainly admire his toughness and willingness to play through it. How does COVID-19 impact a team’s ability to get a clear medical check on Niang? This makes things tricky when trying to guess how an NFL team values him. Surely Niang and his team are doing all they can to prove that he’s gotten past that injury, but will there word be enough? As for an on-field weakness, his footwork may need a little clean-up at the next level.
Does he fit the TItans?
I’m of the opinion that Niang in Tennessee makes a lot of sense. It just depends on which round Jon Robinson would feel comfortable drafting him in. The Titans need a right tackle of the future, and Niang would be stepping into a situation where he wouldn’t be expected to play right away. He could take the year to learn from veterans like Taylor Lewan, Dennis Kelly and Ty Sambrailo while getting healthy and cleaning up some technique missteps. Niang is an excellent scheme fit for this Titans offense, and could be a draft pick that would pay dividends down the road.