In 2008, left tackle Ryan Clady became the first Boise State player ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft, and Potter hopes his growing frame and athleticism allow him to follow in those footsteps.
Potter actually grayshirted in the spring of 2006, postponing his enrollment out of high school, before redshirting the 2007 season to get stronger. He got his wet feet right away in 2008, starting eight games at left tackle and even blocking a field goal in special teams work.
Though stepping as a starter after the first month of his sophomore season, he still earned first-team All-WAC honors.
He repeated that accolade in 2010, along with garnering third-team AP All-American recognition, starting every game at left tackle after coaches originally thought he would move to left guard in previous spring due to the team's depth outside.
Potter's height, svelte build and athletic upside may remind some scouts of New England's 2011 first-round pick, Nate Solder. Potter's occasional lapse in technique, allowing ends to bull rush him or get the edge, may also remind teams of things Solder needed to work on when transitioning to the NFL.
Improvement in those areas, combined with increased strength and the excellent workouts Potter is expected to have next spring, could also help him crash Thursday night draft festivities.
Pass Blocking: Tall, reliable, though relatively slight and technically raw, pass protector. Picks up twist with nice agility. Good punch and long arms knock rushers off their route. Gives multiple hits to defensive tackle to help left guard when uncovered. Knee bend is lacking and plays with a narrow base. Stops his feet after initial contact too often. Stronger ends get their hands into his chest to push him backwards when he's too slow to punch, though he typically anchors after a couple of steps and pushes back. Has some speed to recover if initially beaten. Gets down quickly to cut block, hits enough of his target to stop them from backside pursuit.
Run Blocking: Good positional run blocker, quick feet help him get the appropriate angle. Effective combo blocker, moving from tackle's shoulder to linebacker. Lays out to cut block in space. Very effective negating linebackers, and sometimes multiple targets, as strong-side tight end. Upper-body strength is average, stronger defensive lineman can power past him if he is not quite in position.
Pulling/Trapping: Should be a very effective blocker on the move, though he's not been asked to do it much in game situations. Plenty of agility and straight-line speed to get out in front of backs. Strong enough to control and plant linebackers and safeties getting into the hole. Loses his balance trying to get through traffic. Spring/pre-season 2010 work at guard gave him a bit of experience here.
Initial Quickness: Quick feet on kick-slide after the snap, but only adequate overall initial burst getting out of two and three-point stances in the run game. Must extend his arms and get his hands out more quickly to prevent getting bull-rushed or swiped aside by veteran NFL linemen.
DownField: Excellent agility for his size, capable of acting as a personal pass protector or getting out in front of wide runs to his side. Usually extends to push small defenders out of the way, or to the ground, but also lunges towards targets, allowing them to avoid him.
Intangibles: Intelligent player, 2010 Academic All-American. Team player who enjoyed temporary move to guard because it made him more versatile and physical. Missed first game of 2008, 2009 seasons due to injury."
He's a "plus" caliber athlete who exhibits superior range off the edge, looks much more natural getting into the second level and laterally holds up much better when asked to shuffle and slide in pass protection.
Potter remains patient in pass protection, looks natural working his hands through contact in order to gain leverage and sits into his base better when trying to anchor. He's an athlete capable of handling NFL caliber athletes off the edge in pass protection.
He exhibits good range, is balanced when asked to slide his feet laterally and works his hands through contact. However, he needs to get stronger through the lower half because he currently struggles with college power.
And if you can't handle power in the NFL, you'll make everyone you go against look like a good pass rusher. Therefore, getting stronger through his lower half is the key to his success in the NFL.
He exhibits the ability to get around and seal on reach blocks and looks comfortable through contact on the move as well. He lacks the type of power to really drive NFL caliber defenders off the ball, but is sticky through contact, understands angles and does a nice job staying engaged through the play.
Impression: Potter, in my book, will end up earning a grade similar to former Boston College LT Anthony Castonzo, as he has the talent to earn a starting job as a left tackle, but is going to need a year or two before he's ready physically to mature into the player he's capable of becoming."
Run Blocking: Plus athlete that works his way to the second level with ease. Good reach blocker and is excellent pulling from the backside. He isn’t a great drive blocker and may be a better fit in the ZBS because of lack of lower body strength. He is tough to shake once his hands are engaged.
Technique: His understanding of blocking schemes makes him really effective. He understands angles and stays engaged throughout the entire play. His hands are solid and is sticky through contact. Excellent footwork but needs to work on not getting overextended to the outside allowing defenders inside with powerful counters.
Athleticism/Strength: Potter is an excellent athlete at the tackle position. He possesses above-average footwork and one of the better kick-slides in the draft. His strength leaves a bit to be desired and he’ll have to get stronger in the lower half to be a starter in the league.
Bottom Line: Potter’s forte may be as a zone blocker in the NFL. He can man the left side but will need to add girth to his base in order to be a starter. I don’t see Potter as an immediate starter but someone that will be an effective tackle after a year or two of NFL offseason training.
Draft Projection: 3."
Lacks functional playing strength and pop in his hands.
Plays short-armed and catches too much.
Struggles to cut off the wide rush (exposed by Nevada’s Dontay Moch).
Needs to spend more time in the weight room and get stronger (history of shoulder injuries has affected development).
Developmental left tackle prospect who could ascend as a senior if he shows he can stay healthy."
His biggest weakness is his ability to protect the edge and reach speed rushers. He doesn't have the foot speed to beat the rusher to the edge. Potter's lack of bulk and ability to anchor makes him vulnerable against the bull rush. He just hasn't shown the ability to be a consistent pass protector against top level competition.
In the running game, Potter struggles to obtain leverage and get a good push off the line of scrimmage. His lack of strength is apparent as he struggles to velcro to the defender and control. This upcoming season, Potter needs to show better strength and hand placement.
Overall, Potter needs a lot of work and in my opinion is far from a 1st round prospect. Unless improvements are made, Potter will struggle to protect the quarterback and open adequate running lanes.
Bold Statement: Potter will not be selected before the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL draft
Games Viewed: Oregon State ('10), Nevada ('10), New Mexico State ('10), Hawaii ('10)
- Potter has the ability to quickly go from stance to set due to his good snap awareness
- He is a hard worker always playing until the whistle blows
- Potter constantly keeps his legs moving which helps him create a push
- His linear build and thin lower half impacts his ability to anchor and play a power game
- He doesn't appear to play with great strength and struggles to move defenders off the football
- Potter has below average quickness and struggles to protect the edge
- Moving his feet is a real problem for Potter as he struggles to keep up with speed rushers
- His lack of foot speed also limits his ability to get into position and anchor
- He appears to have short arms which allows defenders to get into his body
- Potter is really going to struggle to hold up in pass protection"
Has some short-area quickness, good balance and body control and can bend his knees; consistently gains leverage off the snap and plays to the whistle; understands the game and doesn’t make many mistakes; has an adequate slide step and mirrors well both drive blocking and in pass protection;
Also takes good angles and can seal off defenders; not very physical, though, and doesn’t get much push; also can be bull-rushed protecting the pocket; and while he has a reasonably quick first step, he lacks elite feet and struggles to cut off the edge against fast outside pass rushers;
Has been banged up at times in his career, but has battled through the issues; versatile player could also play inside at OG in a zone blocking scheme; bottom line is that there is a lot to like in a hard-working player that knows the game and has some athletic ability, but may be overrated because of somewhat limited upside resulting from a lack of real strength and elite feet."
Potter has above-average footwork and can slide and glide off the snap. He shows good range and can seal the edge well against top notch athletes. Potter has a good knee-bend and is a natural at keeping a good center of gravity. He's not a girthy, hefty guy so he'll need to show a better base when dealing with bull rushers.
In zone-based schemes, he'll be a natural. For teams that use a lot of drive-blocking, he will need work and some added bulk. As he continues to get stronger over the next couple years, Potter will most definitely be a starting tackle in the NFL.
The key for him will be adding good muscle, especially in his bottom half so he can better explode his hips when pushing defenders around."
The Bronco also needs to do a better job of bending at the waist and putting away defenders once engaged. Potter moved to guard in the spring to help increase the talent level of the offensive line. If he remains an interior lineman—even if he thrives there—it will likely impact his draft stock in a negative fashion."