The 2017 NFL Draft is fast approaching, folks. With the news that the Falcons are hosting a private workout for Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp, it seemed like the right time to dig into his game. Lamp is arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the draft, with elite athleticism and surprisingly advanced technique.
If he’s available when the Falcons pick at 31, Atlanta would jump at the opportunity to draft him. Let’s take a closer look at Lamp’s game and his potential fit for the Falcons.
G Forrest Lamp
Lamp's elite athletic traits immediately jump off the tape, like when he caught a TD on a designed play. Smooth, controlled kick-slide with excellent lateral movement ability. Lamp is fluid in space and is effective on screens, pulls, reach blocks, and at hitting the second level. Demonstrated ability to keep up with speed and power on the outside, and rarely beaten on inside moves. Impressive hand usage and placement for a small school player. Constantly fighting with defensive linemen and it's difficult to shake him off once he latches on.
His football IQ and character are outstanding. Advanced understanding of his responsibilities in the scheme. Routinely picked up stunts, twists, and blitzes with little issue. Lamp also plays with desired nastiness and physicality—he's a tough, hard-nosed blocker in the run game. Durable player that started every game over the past two seasons. Demonstrated versatility at WKU by playing G and T at a high level, and could probably play C effectively too.
Lamp's lack of ideal arm length probably forces him into a role on the interior in the NFL. His best pro fit is likely at G (or perhaps C, though it would take some time to acclimate him). His frame appears close to maxed out and he's likely never going to be a huge player, making him a better fit for zone-based offenses. Active hand-fighting style didn't get flagged often in the college game, but NFL referees might be more alert.
As with any small school prospect, level of competition raises some concerns. Lamp, however, looked great on the rare occasions that he played high-level competition (Alabama, LSU). Still, there is likely to be some adjustment period as Lamp acclimates to the NFL game.
—NO INJURY OR OFF-FIELD CONCERNS—
Grade: 1 (first-round)
Lamp is an ideal fit for the Falcons zone-blocking scheme, with elite athletic traits and advanced technical ability. He comes in with the ability to do anything Atlanta could ask of him: pulls, reach blocks, screens. You name it, Lamp has the athleticism to handle it. He’s an improvement over Chris Chester in pass protection and should provide an upgrade in the running game as well.
On the interior, his lack of ideal size becomes essentially a non-issue. He’s plenty strong to anchor against more powerful defensive linemen and has proven that he can handle athletic defenders as well. Slotted between Pro Bowl C Alex Mack and RT Ryan Schraeder, Atlanta would have a very capable right side. Eliminating the liability that Chris Chester was at times and replacing him with a potential Pro Bowl player in Forrest Lamp could elevate the Falcons’ offensive line to one of the best in the league.
What would you think of Lamp being the Falcons’ first round selection? How do you like his fit in the Falcons’ offense? Who are some other offensive linemen you are interested in to fill the void left by Chris Chester’s retirement?