2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Stanford OL David Yankey
Since many NFL teams only have the roster space to dress seven offensive linemen on Sundays, versatility is greatly appreciated in the two backups as they must split the second-string duties among five different spots. If nothing else, Stanford‘s David Yankey will be a very well-prepared swing backup at the professional level.
Yankey, however, has the potential to be a starter at some point if he continues to improve his technique and settles into a position.
Yankey has continually flipped between guard and tackle while at Stanford. He became a starter as a sophomore, being inserted into the lineup at left guard. He performed well and as a result, they decided to kick him out to left tackle last season. However, he still moved back to guard on some plays to give highly-touted tackle Andrus Peat some exposure.
For 2013, Yankey has been shifted back to guard full-time so that Peat can start at left tackle.
In terms of Yankey’s pro outlook, it would seem that he would be most likely to succeed as a guard in a pass-heavy offense. He’s by no means a road grader, and he shines the most as a pass blocker. His only issue is that edge rushers tend to give him trouble, so putting a tackle outside of him all the time would help solve that problem.
Yankey’s draft value really is contingent on how he performs as a guard this season. Some evaluators see him as having first-round talent, but his rather inconsistent performance and inability to settle on a position will likely drop his stock. Yankey seems destined for the middle rounds at this point, but if he experiences success this year, he could definitely change that.
- Very solid pass blocker
- Provides the ability to play both guard and tackle, though he doesn’t seem to be definitively better at one position
- In the midst of his third full season as a starter; was the first true freshman at Stanford to see action on the offensive line in 10 years
- Not overly physical, plays with kind of a finesse style and seems passive at times
- Footwork leaves something to be desired
- Struggles with executing pulls as a guard
- As a tackle, tends to struggle with rushers off the edge
- Seems to play a step too slow at certain times
- Reputation took a hit last season when he was beaten by USC safety T.J. McDonald on multiple occasions
Yankey is part of a Stanford team that is widely favored to win the Pac-12 Championship. He and his fellow offensive linesmen’s blocking will be key in allowing the inexperienced Stanford offense to put up points and compete with other big Pac-12 forces. Yankey’s toughest matchup will come in Stanford’s season finale against Notre Dame, when he will have to face Louis Nix, the most highly-touted nose tackle in next year’s draft.
2014 Draft Projection: 5th round