Former Pitt offensive tackle Brian O’Neill is set to take part in the 2018 Senior Bowl on Saturday as a member of the North team coached by Vance Joseph and the Denver Broncos staff.
O’Neill has been practicing at right tackle and blocking for top quarterback prospects Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, so at the least, he’s had a platform to make a name for himself.
However, that’s been something of a blessing and a curse this week, as he’s alternated between dominating and underwhelming at the highly publicized practices for the all-star game, leading to mixed reviews thus far. Specifically, he’s been praised for his athleticism but panned for his technique and occasionally his strength.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock weighed in on O’Neill’s performance during the broadcast of Wednesday’s practice, and he hit on most of the talking points:
He’s an athletic kid. He’s an easy mover for an offensive lineman. He needs to get a little stronger. I went to the hotel, watched the tapes of yesterday’s practice. He lost once on an inside move, and then he dropped his head on another move.
Now, watching his tape against NC State was pretty good. [Bradley] Chubb got him early, but he recovered. … He’s got all the talent in the world. He needs to get a little more anchor strength, but from snap to snap, be more consistent.
All this scrutiny has come on the heels of a glowing assessment of O’Neill from ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, who recently predicted the Pitt lineman will go to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the draft. On top of that, Kiper described him as an “immediate upgrade” over current Ravens right tackle Austin Howard, who started all 16 games for Baltimore in 2017.
While three days of all-star game practices don’t outweigh a three-year college career, it’s possible the “immediate” aspect of Kiper’s prediction may need to be walked back, given this week’s events. But there’s still the matter of the game that’s yet to be played, and with that, O’Neill has an opportunity to win over draft analysts once again.
The Senior Bowl will get underway from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and can be viewed on NFL Network.