According to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts are projected to trade down with the Buffalo Bills in the first round and then select Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg in his recent 2021 NFL Mock Draft:
2021 first-round pick (No. 21 overall
2021 first-round pick (No. 30 overall)
2021 third-round pick (No. 93 overall)
2021 fifth-round pick
Buffalo Bills (via IND) — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Since Brandon Beane was hired as general manager in 2017 the Bills have been one of the most aggressive teams in the first two rounds of the draft, targeting certain players and trading up to get them. Buffalo could upgrade the No. 2 cornerback spot on the depth chart, and Horn is a great fit for what the Bills covet at the position.
30. Indianapolis Colts (from BUF) — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Several of the Colts’ options at left tackle were scooped up before their pick at No. 21, but in this scenario they able to move back, pick up extra draft picks and land a solid tackle option. Eichenberg has only average athletic traits, but his veteran awareness and strong hands help him win the point-of-attack.
The 6’6”, 302 pound offensive tackle had 38 career starts for the Fighting Irish, and in 2020, he earned Consensus All-American, First-Team All-ACC, and the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (given to the ACC’s top blocker in the conference).
The redshirt senior was also named one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which honors the nation’s top interior lineman, and he was the first Notre Dame player to be named a finalist since the Colts’ very own Quenton Nelson in 2017.
Here’s NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah’s scouting report on Eichenberg—who is his 49th best rated prospect overall in the 2021 NFL Draft:
“Eichenberg, the former starting left tackle for the Fighting Irish, has ideal height and awareness. He lacks quickness and ideal knee bend in pass protection, but does a good job of staying square and shooting his hands. He usually stays connected when he lands his punch. However, there are times he gets a little aggressive with his punch, which impacts his balance. He flashes the ability to latch and drive defenders over his nose in the run game. He takes good angles when working up to the second level. Overall, Eichenberg needs to clean up some balance issues, but I view him as a capable starter at right tackle.”
Eichenberg has been regarded as a ‘plug-and-play’ starter at left tackle at the next level—as he’s already very polished for the position. While not an elite athlete, Eichenberg still has respectable athleticism and balance, and he utilizes a solid base/anchor, where he deploys powerful hands and punching to neutralize the opposition.
However, Eichenberg needs to continue to work on his lateral quickness and bend—especially when dealing with speed rushers in pass protection at the pro ranks.
He’s been regarded as more of an asset in run blocking than as a pass blocker, but he’s still been rock solid blocking at both.
Eichenberg should excel in a power/gap zone-blocking system like the Colts—with his ability to consistently get to the second level of opposing defenses, and he could immediately start at left tackle for Indianapolis during his rookie campaign:
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 8, 2020
Loved this whole rep from ND LT Liam Eichenberg pic.twitter.com/E0GgfzdFWJ
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) December 22, 2020
Don’t worry – LT Liam Eichenberg can pick up the twist and slot blitz at same time… All good folks pic.twitter.com/1y7oH3e64S
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 24, 2020
LT Liam Eichenberg – watch how fast he replaces that right hand on chest of 42 when he spins. Opens up hip and shuts door on spin move…
Eichenberg is often a two handed puncher – can get himself in trouble at times
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 4, 2020
When you shoot two hands – one hand swipe from the rusher can knock ‘em both!
Eichenberg dominates most rushers in college, but when you get advanced players (like a Rashad Weaver from Pitt) you can see where issues come up pic.twitter.com/SKAz5Zjb7R
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 28, 2020
Let’s talk about this @seniorbowl offensive tackle class.
Sleeper – Spencer Brown, N. Iowa
Stud – Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
Star – Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 17, 2021
Most pass-block snaps without a sack allowed this season (OTs):
Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame – 455 pic.twitter.com/PHn3sn8Zec
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 9, 2021
Highest-graded OTs on true pass sets this season:
1. Alijah Vera-Tucker – 89.2
2. Brady Christensen – 88.9
3. Thayer Munford – 87.1
4. Liam Eichenberg – 84.3 pic.twitter.com/N3JuDacrdy
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 6, 2021
#Patriots draft target: Notre Dame OT Liam Eichenberg. People-moving run blocker, excellent technique/size, brick wall in pass protection, three-year starter (2020 at LT).
Run blocking clips at left tackle. Climb to the 2nd level, on the double-team, strong base blocking. pic.twitter.com/51qAt1FzHR
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 8, 2021
Of course, the Colts have a huge hole at starting left tackle to fill as longtime veteran bookend Anthony Castonzo recently retired earlier this offseason.
While not flashy or sexy, Eichenberg is an overall fundamentally sound left tackle prospect, who can contribute right away and start alongside fellow Notre Dame alum Quenton Nelson—helping to hold down the left side of the Colts’ starting offensive line for the foreseeable future.