College: North Dakota State
Position: Offensive Tackle
College Stats: N/A.
One of the biggest reasons that North Dakota State has won five straight FCS national championships is the ability to take players that no one else wants and turn them into quality players. The Bison can add another check in that category with tackle Joe Haeg. The 6-6, 304 tackle was a former walk-on that turned into a two-time All-American in 2014 and 2015. He received the Top Collegiate Offensive Lineman award from the FCS Athletic Directors Association in 2015.
Haeg is one of the true success stories and proof that there are so many talented players all over the field on the FCS level. No matter where he is drafted, he will be a part of some NFL team this fall.
Haeg is one of the most agile offensive linemen in this year's draft. He is excellent at getting to the second level and taking out a linebacker or safety to break a long run. While 304 pounds, Haeg has been able to put his weight on naturally and kept a majority of his quickness from playing at 235 in high school. He has the ability to bulk up if a move to the inside is in his future.
Being a former walk-on, Haeg is a hard worker and never takes for granted the chance he has to play at the next level. He is a tireless worker that has seen it all at the college level. Haeg can play either tackle position with 29 starts at right tackle and 32 at left tackle. He showed no downtick in production when matched against top FBS defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl.
Haeg has to work on issues in the strength department. He is more athletic than strong and will struggle versus power defensive ends and linebackers unless he gains more core strength.
A few mechanical issues must also be addressed as he tends to play with very little knee bend in the passing game. If he can learn to anchor down in his pass blocking technique, he will be a good pro.
Where will Haeg be drafted?
It is unlikely to see Haeg go above the #150 pick because of his core strength issues. While that may be a disappointment, the biggest key is to put Haeg on a team that will be able to give him time to gain core strength as a backup for a year or two.
My prediction is the Buccaneers in the sixth round with the #183 pick.