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Supplemental Draft

What To Do With Isaiah Battle

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Hat tip to Dan Hatman for the terms evaluation vs. valuation

No selections have been made in the Supplemental Draft since 2012 (Josh Gordon in 2012, Terrelle Pryor in 2011). Currently four players are eligible for this year’s event on July 9 - West Georgia DT Dalvon Stuckey and DE Darrius Caldwell, North Carolina Central WR Adrian Wilkins and Clemson T Isaiah Battle, with the last name being the most coveted.

Should Battle be coveted? And at what price?

Evaluation

As Lance Zierlein explained on my podcast back in February (which will be back), functional strength is a critical piece of a good foundation. Strength and an ability to anchor compensates for other deficiencies - like poor technique, a lack of balance on that play, a length disadvantage, etc.

What does the left tackle, Isaiah Battle, show you?

Zero anchor here from Battle. Walked back then allows DE to shed once at QB depth. https://t.co/x4G53Smp3p

— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) June 25, 2015

Too often evaluations can be clouded by singular plays, both on the absolute positive and negative end of the spectrum. Offensive linemen will lose on multiple snaps per game. It is inevitable, and luck plays a part in how detrimental those snaps are. But if the losing is sustained? That is the issue.

Again, look at the left tackle.

Doctor, I believe we have a severe case of waist bending. LT is supplemental draft hopeful Isaiah Battle. https://t.co/SNOmv1aTdq

— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) June 25, 2015

Battle started 11 games for Clemson last season and has a number of other starts to his name. But it wasn’t just this game against Georgia that gave me pause:

LT. This is a screen, so technically Battle's assignment was completed. But look at the waist bend. #Suppl... https://t.co/j4DjYJkwt2

— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) June 25, 2015

“Upside” and “potential” are thrown around frequently, but how often do weaknesses turn into strengths? When improvements do happen, it is strengths becoming stronger. I am not a coach. I don’t tend to narrowly focus on technical aspects of someone’s play and betting on those defects changing or evaluating a prospect against a checklist. Instead, the outcome is paramount.

One example of my last tweet. Battle loses on inside spin. https://t.co/vG82ylQVkW

— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) June 25, 2015

As of now Battle does not have a pro day scheduled prior to July 9, but that will likely change. It looks like Battle has a large wingspan and some even call him athletic, but I don’t see it frequently utilized. So where does Battle win? His size alone (6’7/295 lbs) plus arm length is difficult to work around when Battle is in proper position. He also flashes a temperament in the running game and seems able to reach linemen that aren’t lined up directly over him.

Valuation

Any pick a team uses in the supplemental draft will be lost in the following draft, and we know how much teams (over)value future picks. With that said, many respectable writers have projected a third-round selection for Battle, or at least have passed along scout quotes stating an anonymous team’s interest.

Let’s look at recent third- and fourth-round offensive linemen who have contributed early or could soon: Jeremiah Poutasi, A.J. Cann, John Miller, Jamon Brown, T.J. Clemmings, Daryl Williams, Tre’ Jackson, Mark Glowinski, Brandon Thomas, Billy Turner, Gabe Jackson, Trai Turner, Chris Watt, Brandon Lindner, David Bakhtiari, Larry Warford and Terron Armstead.

Does Battle fit in that group? Not to me.

Some might say “move Battle to guard.” This logic is used too frequently and is a bit of a fallacy. I could absolutely be underestimating Battle’s skills, both functional and physical. Maybe a coach fixes the deficiencies, but I do not see more than a substitute player, at most.

Of note to those who factor this in: Battle’s time at Clemson reportedly ended due to the three strike rule.

 

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .