Name: Forrest Lamp
Position: Offensive Guard (played Tackle in college, projected as Guard in the NFL)
School: Western Kentucky
Class: Redshirt Senior
Games Watched: 2015 – vs South Florida; 2016 – vs Memphis; vs Alabama.
Overview: Native of Venice, Florida. Redshirted in 2012, went onto to start a whopping 51 games in his college career. Began at right guard in 2013 but by Week 4 had already moved across to left tackle. Stayed the remainder of his college career. Won Conference-USA with WKU in 2015 and 2016. Won the Bahamas Bowl in 2014, Miami Beach Bowl in 2015, and Boca Raton Bowl 2016.
It’s always tricky when you’re evaluating a tackle who may be drafted as a guard. You end up looking for the traits needed at both positions and end up unduly harsh on a player. I will say this for Forrest Lamp: run-blocking that viciously and effectively is welcome at all positions. In the South Florida game, Lamp whacked a defender so hard in run blocking, I think he’s still staggering around. That’s strength and determination, and that’ll serve him well everywhere.
Lamp’s strength is amplified by his good hand usage – he engages defenders and just does not let go. He extends his arms well, but it’s the hands that really stand out. What you’ve got with a Forrest Lamp block is a position that a player’s going to have to be very good to escape from. That could be with speed, guile, or technique, but it all points to him having a reasonably high NFL floor.
For someone being projected as a guard, he’s impressively serviceable against speed rushers. He’s sufficiently fleet-of-foot to redirect speed rushers past the quarterback, and to have enough of a first step that he’s not playing catch-up with the fastest. This stopped him from committing holding on a number of occasions. I noticed in the Memphis game he just had enough quickness that defenders couldn’t quite get past him.
Specifically as a guard, Lamp keeps a low enough base that being comparatively tall for the position (6’6”) might not be such a problem. He excels at driving defenders upwards, preventing them from getting purchase and strength, and winning the battle right off the bat.
Look, Lamp is not going to play left tackle in the NFL, and probably shouldn’t be on the right either. That speed and footwork is not going to beat the edge rushers right tackles go up against (Von Miller, Khalil Mack…). You can move him there in an emergency against so-so rushers, and he’ll perform as solidly as he did against Alabama and not get the QB killed, but you can aim higher.
In guard play, Lamp will need to stay more in control if blocking in the second level. Time and again he blundered through, looking for a block beyond the line to spring a runner through. Time and again he was left stood around looking perplexed, bereft of a job. On other occasions, he found a man and in his enthusiasm to lay someone out, tripped over himself and was left sprawling. Lamp is a fiery character, as evidenced by a 15-yard penalty against South Florida in the red zone that ultimately led to two sacks and a punt. But he’ll need to channel the enthusiasm and just stay in control of his head.
He also has a tendency to not quite set himself right, allowing rushers through on the inside. This is a simple coaching issue, and it’s the sort of thing that’d be minimised at guard, with men either side of him. But it makes you worry a touch.
Lamp looks like a fringes-of-Pro-Bowl guard. He has near identical measurements to Joel Bitonio, and like Bitonio, would be light for a guard. But there’s bucketloads of strength and enthusiasm there. You’re always projecting a little at a position move, but tackle to guard is as relatively risk free as these things go. Still, you’ll be hoping he can channel his viciousness, and develop that touch of patience linemen need to pass block effectively. You’re also hoping that what looks like huge strength on tape isn’t relative for a tackle. Going against defensive tackles requires more strength than against ends, and we’ve not seen how Lamp would do on that front.
Wherever he goes, he’ll be a running back’s best friend, provided he’s more often blocking at the line. I think he could be an incredible piece in an offensive line missing only a piece or two. I’m not sure he’s transcendent enough to overhaul a weak, leaky line, but what one guard is?
Grade: Early-to-mid-second round.