40: 5.20 (estimated)
Shows power and potential as a drive blocker, able to get position as a run blocker. Can drive defenders off the ball, especially when he can build up some momentum. Can engulf smaller defenders, particularly at the second level when going up against a linebacker. Shows some ability to get downfield and pull. Has decent footwork.
He has trouble matching up with speed on the edge and doesn't always set up well. Doesn't consistently stay square, opening up his stance too early. Doesn't do a good job delivering a punch on the edge, and sometimes speed rushers can go right by him because of it. Is too much of a waist bender in pass protection. Doesn't play with consistent pop as a run blocker and will take a false step off the snap. Doesn't adjust well in space and is lumbering when you get him in those situations. Not fluid and can be slow out of the gates when asked to pull. Needs to do a better job keeping his feet under him when he's blocking downfield. Needs to take better angles on the kick out block and will whiff at times. Misses too many assignments when blocking on the second level.
Hairston flashes potential to be a dominant run blocker, but his technique and footwork need a lot of polish. He was a three-year starter at left tackle. He won't be able to play that position at the next level, but could get by at right tackle if he can improve. He also has potential to play inside at guard.
I think Hairston is going to have some trouble adjusting to the pros. While he has the size and potential to be a very good run blocker, he's not as consistent there as he should be, mainly because he doesn't play with good pop. And he'll have trouble matching up with speed on the outside. And while that won't be as big a problem playing right tackle, he'll still have his issues there because his punch isn't very good. Playing inside at guard can mask some of his issues in pass protection, but because of his lacking pop and his poor hand use, he isn't a guy that is going to really shine in a short area despite his strength. But these are all kinks that can be worked out with coaching. But I have the feeling a team is going to fall in love with his run blocking potential, and think he is a good candidate to compete early as a starter when he's more like a guy that is probably three years away from being there. He took over for Barry Richardson at Clemson, who was a player with similar size and skillset, but I think was a much more consistently good run blocker. Richardson started this past year for the Chiefs, but was mediocre at best. His long term potential is probably better inside because there he can be a power player, and his weaknesses in pass protection will be better masked. If he takes to coaching, improves his technique, then he has a chance to be a above average to good starter down the road. If not, then he'll be a career backup that teams will use as a swing guard/tackle. In the long run, he probably offers more value to his second team than the one that initially drafts him.
Hairston will definitely bring size to the Falcons lineup and could be a nice long-term developmental guy to play guard. He could be an OK backup to Clabo, but I don't think he's going to offer much of an upgrade over guys like Svitek, Valdez, or Reynolds. His run blocking potential is much higher, but he'll be less effective in pass protection. HIs best bet is impressing the team with his size and eventually replacing Reynolds as the teams backup guard/tackle behind Dahl with the hope that three years down the line he could compete for a starting spot at either guard spot. But more than likely, he's a guy that will only be a practice squad guy as a rookie and a career backup in Atlanta.
Because of his upside as a run blocker, Hairston is worth a seventh round pick, although it would not surprise me to see him drafted higher. He has some long-term potential worth developing that makes him worth a draft pick, but he's not likely to pay dividends until at least three years down the line.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 2.0
Run Blocking: 3.5
Mean Streak: 2.5
Scouting reports of the centers, guards, and tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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