By: Chip Turner
Say what you will about the Miami Dolphins Front Office over the past couple years; you certainly aren’t going to be able to convince anyone that they’re not at least TRYING to build a top-flight offensive line. The fourth player selected in two years was taken in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft; the Dolphins traded up to pick Liam Eichenberg.
Unlike most of their 2020 O-Line picks, Eichenberg is close to a finished product. In other words, while his projected upside might not be as high as that of 2020 pick Austin Jackson, he’s more NFL-ready in his rookie year than Jackson was.
What’s interesting about Eichenberg is that while he’s very fundamentally sound, some scouts were unsure how well he’d do in the NFL because of his perceived lack of athleticism. At his Pro Day, he changed that perception quite drastically.
The 6’6” 305-pound Eichenberg crushed his Pro Day; the only things that kept him from elite prospect status were his vertical, broad jump and body weight. While those measurables are understandably included in the measurement of pure athleticism, I don’t think many would argue the benefits of vertical leaping and broad jump for an offensive tackle. He posted a top five 20-yard shuttle and top five 3-cone drill of all the tackles in the past five years, and had the highest number of reps, by far, with 33. (Interestingly, the player with the second most in the past 5 years was teammate and 2020 draft pick Austin Jackson, with 27.)
In short, Eichenberg is quick, fast, and very strong. At Notre Dame, he was a three-year starter, and allowed one sack, total, in his time there. Additionally, he only allowed one hit on the QB in all of 2020. Neither of those two stats are typos. On top of all of that, he’s considered a very good run blocker in a zone scheme.
As training camp nears, the player who some dubbed “Mr. Incredible” because of his resemblance to the Pixar hero will get his chance to solidify a position as a starter on the very young Dolphins offensive line. If he brings the same sort of stability, consistent play, and yes, athleticism to the team that he did at Notre Dame, it’s a moniker that just might stick.