John Theus played in all 53 games of his University of Georgia career, starting 48 of them. He was honorable mention All-SEC as a junior and first team All-SEC as a senior. He was voted a permanent team captain by teammates, after holding Lombardi Award-wining defensive end Carl Nassib without a single tackle in Georgia's TaxSlayer Bowl victory.
Yet while Nassib is being pegged as high as the second round in this weekend's draft, Theus is viewed as likely no higher than a fifth round pick. Why? It's not size. At 6'6, 313 pounds Theus is plenty big enough to play tackle in the league. He ran a respectable 5.22 forty yard dash at Georgia's Pro Day and his 34.3 inch arm length is a whole 0.20 inches shorter than presumptive top pick Laremy Tunsil.So what gives?
Sadly, John Theus has given NFL personnel types some things to work with. For one, he did not impress at the Senior Bowl. Some scouts appear to have found Theus a bit slow afoot. He also was still struggling with a shoulder injury which hampered him for much of 2015. While he struggled mightily in pass protection as a freshman and sophomore Theus came into his own as a pass protector by the end of his collegiate career. The problem is that Theus's run blocking remains inconsistent. He doesn't have the upper body strength to throw up 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Heavy feet and a subpar bench press are not the way to get noticed by pro scouts. There's also the question of where Theus would play along the line. He's not a left tackle in the NFL, not against the speedy edge rushers that terrorize NFL quarterbacks. But he's also not the road grading guard type either. In the end id expect some team to take a late round flyer on Theus in either the sixth or seventh round.
From there I wouldn't bet against him. Theus is smart enough to catch onto a pro system quickly. He's also acquitted himself well against elite competition in the SEC. He may not be a dominant specimen, but John Theus is a workmanlike player, a lunch pail-toting guy who gets a hat on a hat most of the time. I have no reason to believe a healthy John Theus couldn't be in the league five years from now. In a competition between scouts' eyes and a guy who's consistently gotten it done on the field at the collegiate level, I'll take the guy who's always on the field.