PROS: Has good size and strength. Shows some pop off the snap, able to get position and seal the edge for the backside cutback. Shows good mean streak and finishes his blocks. Seems to relish going after linebackers on the second level. Has decent technique when working in pass protection. Delivers a punch in pass protection on the edge and is decent when adjusting to the stunt. Flashes potential as a cut blocker as well.
CONS: Lacks athleticism and needs to improve his footwork. Struggles to match up with speed as he's not consistently quick off the snap in pass protection. Opens up his stance too early and sometimes has trouble locking on to defender. Needs to also improve his hand placement when working as a run blocker. Will whiff on some blocks on the second level.
OVERVIEW: Tepper has the size you like and shows the mean streak to use it correctly. He started this past year at left tackle, after missing all of the '08 season with a pectoral injury. Previous year he started every game at right tackle. Before then he was a reserve, although his playing weight was much closer to 340. As a freshman he missed all of that season before he broken his ankle when he was hit by a car, as he stood up to some hooligans accosting a female friend of his. He managed to get hooked on painkillers in the rehabbing process.
NFL FORECAST: Tepper's collegiate career is not one that I'm sure many players would want to mirror, but at least from his on-field demeanor he seems better for some of the adversity he's faced and plays hard. He reminds me quite a bit of Tyson Clabo, because of their size and mean streak. CLabo played mostly left tackle in college too, but is a much more natural fit on the right side. I think Tepper is the same way. I think he's good enough that if a coach can enhance and polish up his technique, he could be a serviceable stopgap left tackle in the starting lineup. But I think his best position is probably the right side. He's a guy that I think will sit the bench for a few years, but can eventually work his way into the starting lineup, assuming he uses that time to improve his technique. Because while he's athletically limited, with his size and strength he can overcome some of those limitations if he were to play with much better technique and hand use.
ATL FORECAST: Tepper fits well in Atlanta because of the Clabo comparisons. I think he can come in and develop for a year or so behind Clabo at right tackle, and potentially project well as a swing tackle. His mean streak should endear him with a guy like Boudreau. And while I don't think he would be a good option to start, as I said earlier, I think he coudl be a good stopgap starter if he were to make significant improvements to his technique over the next few years. Eventually, he could be a starter at right tackle on a similar level as Clabo is today. I think he can also stick as a swing tackle, and I don't think would be any worse than Svitek is currently in that role. Bottom line, I think Tepper is good enough to stick in Atlanta as a reserve, with potential down the road to be a decent starter.
VALUE: Tepper merits a late round pick because I think he's good enough to stick as a rookie and has some upside to develop as a starter. Ideal target round would be the sixth.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.