Summary: In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Clemson Tigers produced a good offensive line prospect in Brandon Thomas. Tajh Boyd's blind-side protector was likely going to be a second-day pick before a torn ACL in a pre-draft workout dropped him in the draft. Thomas' replacement with the Tigers was Isaiah Battle, a player with a natural skill set, but who is also a flawed prospect for different reasons. Battle carries character concerns, and after a quality 2014 season as the Tigers left tackle Battle has entered the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft because of off-the-field issues.
Battle improved as the 2014 season progressed, and by the end of the year, he was a good left tackle for Clemson. Battle has excellent length with the quickness and athleticism to protect the edge. He is quick to handle speed rushers and does a nice job of sustaining his blocks once he gets his hands on the defender. Battle can hit kick-out blocks and get to the second level. Overall, he was a balanced blocker who improved with experience.
As a run- and pass-blocker, Battle needs more power. He should gain weight and fill out his frame. Battle needs more strength to move defenders in the ground game and anchor in the pass rush. If Battle were to be placed at right tackle, he definitely would need to get a lot stronger for the pros. In the NFL, Battle has the skill set to be a starting left tackle. The left side is a better fit for him immediately in 2015 if he is forced to play.
The off-the-field issues will definitely hurt the round value on where teams will consider him. According to sources, Battle had a couple of failed drug tests at Clemson. He also had a citation for marijuana this year when it was found on him after being pulled over speeding. League contacts say that Battle has some anger-management issues, and they don't feel he is all that coachable. Battle is said to not react well to hard coaching.
According to sources, if Battle was in a normal draft class, and didn't have off-the-field issues, he would grade out as a third-round pick from his tape. They like Battle's length, athleticism and balance as a pass-blocker. They feel that 6-foot-7, 290-pounder needs some work, but he has the ability to develop into a starting left tackle in the NFL. Early on, he probably should be developed as a backup and serve as a swing tackle on game days.
In the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft, teams generally move the grade down a round from their regular draft estimation. Then, the off-the-field issues are factored into the grade, and that will vary by team. From speaking with sources, it sounds like Battle can expect to be selected by a team probably using a fourth-or fifth-round pick.
Player Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Battle is similar to Ferguson in being quick, athletic tackles with length. Ferguson has more power, and Battle needs to add that, but Ferguson has never been a road-grading, overpowering left tackle, and that could be the case for Battle as well.
NFL Matches: Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Denver, Oakland, Kansas City, Houston
Tampa Bay needs more talent to protect Jameis Winston. If the Bucs were to land Battle, they could develop him on the bench behind Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson. In 2016, the organization could move Smith to the right side and have Battle starting at left tackle. That would give the Buccaneers' offensive line two young bookends for their franchise quarterback.
Atlanta received a disappointing debut season out of Jake Matthews in 2014. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder flashed as an undrafted free agent, but the Falcons could definitely use more offensive line talent and competition.
The Panthers need to upgrade their offensive tackles, and Battle could be a fit for the organization. Carolina did not draft offensive line help early in the 2015 NFL Draft and has the lazy Michael Oher taking over at left tackle. Oher was a massive disappointment as a right tackle the past few seasons, and the Titans cut him because they needed an upgrade over him. Thus, the Panthers could really use Battle to be a possible solution as the long-term left tackle to protect Cam Newton.
The Raiders got a good season out of Donald Penn in 2014, but he is no spring chicken, so Battle could be groomed on the bench to replace Penn in 2016.
Denver suffered a huge loss in the spring with left tackle Ryan Clady going out for the season. The Broncos also lost Orlando Franklin over the offseason, so taking Battle would make a ton of sense for Denver to improve the talent and competition on the team's offensive line. Battle could compete at left tackle with fellow rookie Ty Sambrailo, and it wouldn't be surprising if Battle beat out Sambrailo.
The Chiefs have Donald Stephenson entering the last year of his contract, while Eric Fisher has been a massive disappointment thus far. Battle could push Fisher, and if Stephenson isn't re-signed, Battle could take over at left tackle with Fisher moving to the right side.
The Texans could use offensive line depth. They could select Battle and have him serve as a swing tackle. He could eventually become the replacement at left tackle for veteran Duane Brown.