2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Greg Little
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Under former head coach Hugh Freeze, the Ole Miss Rebels put together a lot of strong recruiting classes and produced a lot of early-round NFL talent. Among those players were Laremy Tunsil, Evan Engram, Laquon Treadwell, Robert Nkemdiche, Breeland Speaks and more. After Freeze was fired amid scandal, some of his talented recruits who interest NFL teams remained at Ole Miss. Greg Little was one of those players, and he is in the running to be the top offensive tackle prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft.
In the passing-driven NFL, teams are always looking for potential elite left tackles. It can be very difficult to find left tackles with Little's natural size and athleticism, so those things make him an intriguing prospect for the next level, even with his inconsistent play.
There are a lot of natural strengths to Little. He has ideal height, length, weight, quickness and athleticism. Little displays quick feet that allow him to get depth in his drop and neutralize speed rushers. He should be an asset to take on the fast edge rushers because he can get off the corner and prevent them from running the loop around the edge. With his quick feet and an ability to bend at the knee, Little doesn't have to reach after rushers and is not a waist bender. For the NFL, Little could be a very valuable to protect his quarterback against fast edge rushers.
As a run blocker, Little is quick to the second level and is able to swallow up linebackers or defensive backs with ease. Right now, he would be better off in a zone-blocking system to use his athleticism due to not packing a serious punch at the point of attack. Little is not a bull in the ground game to knock defenders off the ball, even though he has the potential to be that if he works at developing his skill set. He has the size for a power-man scheme, but his shortcomings make him a poor fit for that kind of scheme at this time.
Little is too much of a finesse blocker. He has to get more nasty and show something of a mean streak. Adding more strength would help him to do that. Little is poor at firing off the ball and engaging defensive ends. Too often, he is waiting to catch them rather than starting the contact and attacking defenders.
As a pass protector, Little definitely has to block with better leverage. He allows too many pressures to the inside, and that comes from his leverage issues, along with waiting on defenders rather than getting into their chests. Little had some bad beats on rushes to the inside in 2017 and 2018 that should not have happened given his athleticism. There were also plays during which Little would be bull rushed into the pocket - see versus Alabama in 2018. Little needs to improve his ability to anchor against powerful bull rushes.
In speaking to team sources, they aren't super excited about Little because he never played up to his potential consistently. They also said his combine interviews were just okay as he needs development of his football I.Q. They feel he has the capacity to learn, but he still has a lot to learn for the NFL. Everybody acknowledges his skill set, but being an underachiever leaves a sour taste for a lot of evaluators. As a result, multiple team sources have told me they had given Little a late first-round grade. A few sources are higher on him. Little has enough fans alongside a good skill set and upside that he looks likely to be a first-round pick. He probably will go in the back half of the first round, and if he slips to the second round, he should be selected quickly.
Player Comparison: Russell Okung. Okung has been a quality starting left tackle in the NFL after being the sixth-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Okung has been good, but not great, for the Seahawks, Broncos and Chargers. Okung (6-5, 310) and Little have similar skill sets. In the NFL, I could see Little having a career similar to Okung.
NFL Matches: Carolina, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Houston, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona, San Francisco, New York Jets, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cincinnati
There could be a lot of teams in the market for Little, because there are a lot of bad offensive lines in the NFL that need to add more talent at offensive tackle. Most of the teams that took quarterbacks in the first round last year could use a young left tackle to protect their quarterbacks.
In the NFC South, Carolina needs a left tackle to replace the disappointing Matt Kalil, and Little could be an upgrade for Cam Newton's edge protection.
Minnesota is another team that was disappointed by Kalil, and the Vikings still have issues on their offensive line. They could take Little and move Riley Reiff to right tackle with Brian O'Neill kicking inside to guard.
Jason Peters is nearing the end of his great career, and Philadelphia could take Little to pair with Lane Johnson. In Houston, Bill O'Brien has failed to develop a single quality offensive lineman. The Texans badly need to improve their edge protection for Deshaun Watson.
At the end of the first round, Little could be an option for Green Bay or the Los Angeles Rams. The Packers could use more talent to protect Aaron Rodgers, so Little could be in play for them at pick No. 30. One spot later, the Rams could consider Little. He could start out at guard as a replacement for Rodger Saffold, and in a year or two, he could be the left tackle once Andrew Whitworth retires.
High in the second round, Little faces a number of options. Arizona has a terrible offensive line and needs to improve the blocking for Josh Rosen. A pick later, Little has another potential landing spot in NFC West with the 49ers, who also need to improve their blocking. Little and Mike McGlinchey would give San Francisco long-term bookends.
The Jets and Bills could consider Little to be their left tackle to protect their young franchise quarterbacks if they were to trade down. Little is not worthy of a top-10 pick, but both teams sound interested in moving down in the first round, so later on he could come into play. Buffalo could also consider Little in Round 2 if he slips to Friday night.
The Jaguars could consider Little if he gets to their second-round pick, and they don't draft offensive line help in the first round. The team needs a new right tackle. The Bengals are in the same boat, needing a right tackle, and could look at Little if they don't take a different tackle in the first round. Both the Jaguars and Bengals could consider Little in the first round if they were to trade down.
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