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New York Jets: Scouting Jets UDFA OL Willie Tyler III

The 2024 NFL Draft is behind us and we have now taken a look at the individual Jets free agents who were not selected in the draft. Today we continue with former offensive lineman Willie Tyler from Louisville.

Tyler is 6’6″ and 315 lbs. He was an honorable mention All-ACC selection last year. He attended two different junior colleges and four colleges during his career, starting a total of 34 games for three different teams over the last three years.

background

Willie Tyler was a defensive player in high school, where he made a name for himself at a young age, playing against eighth-graders as a fifth-grader. However, failing to garner Division I interest, he opted for a junior college and enrolled at Garden City Community College.

After a coaching change, Tyler left Garden City without playing and instead enrolled at another junior college: Iowa Western Community College. He played in two games in 2018 when he switched from defensive line to offensive line.

Before the 2019 season, Tyler was rated as a three-star JUCO recruit. He landed in Texas, where he was not allowed to play the 2019 season and then opted out of the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tyler ultimately decided to enter the transfer portal despite never having played for the Longhorns. He initially chose Syracuse before withdrawing his commitment and going to Louisiana-Monroe instead. He played nine times for the Warhawks and re-entered the transfer portal after the 2021 season.

This time, Tyler transferred to Rutgers, where he played in 11 games for the Scarlet Knights in 2022, starting nine of them. He eventually transferred again and started all 14 games for Louisville in 2023, earning honorable mention in the ACC.

Because Tyler was undrafted, his contract with the Jets only included a guaranteed amount of $5,000.

Now let’s look at what Tyler has to offer, divided into categories.

Measurable Values/Athletics

Although Tyler has a good height and a large frame, both his arm length and hand size are below average.

His athletic stats are also below average in all areas. At his pro day, he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds, but his speed stats were below average, his agility stats were poor, and he only managed 18 reps on the bench press.

use

As mentioned, Tyler was primarily a defensive lineman in high school after originally being a fullback. He only ever played left tackle during his college career, but it was reported that he had trained to be able to play either tackle spot or inside if needed during his time at Rutgers.

He played a few snaps as an additional tight end and became known for his contribution as a slot receiver in this game.


Pass blocking

Tyler’s pressure rates have been very good throughout his career, but he has allowed 13 sacks in his three seasons as a starter, including seven last season. Four of those seven came in the ACC title game against FSU, however, where he struggled to handle Jared Verse.


He actually seems to have trouble withstanding the bull rush, as he is often displaced from his spot and has to try and re-anchor himself. He tends to rely too much on his upper body strength, but he can lead attackers forward and sometimes use their momentum against them.


He generally moves his feet well and stays ahead of his opponent. He often performs at his best when he is the attacker, but there are also times when players with a good start can get ahead of him and overtake him.


Running blocking

Tyler can be successful in the running game, although he is often stopped at the point of attack and occasionally misses blocks in open space or at the point of attack.


Once Tyler gets his hands on his opponent, he usually does a good job of maintaining the block and keeping his opponent under control.


While he struggles to get out of his stance quickly enough to execute reach blocks at the line, Tyler can be effective at pulling.


Short mileage

Tyler has a big body and can shoot from the line in short distance situations to get a lead.


He can also successfully turn his opponent to the outside to create a running lane at the point of attack.

Screen blocking

Tyler didn’t get many chances to rush ahead of screen passes, as he was often tasked with delaying the rush long enough for the quarterback to make the throw, but he blocked this screen pass effectively.


Footwork/Technique

Tyler is a fighter who doesn’t always look confident in the trenches, but fights for dominance in one-on-one fights and moves his feet well without losing his balance.


However, there were signs that NFL-level talent could give him the edge with their good technique.


Like many young linemen, he can suffer from his padding being too high and his base not being wide enough. He often seems to overcompensate by leaning into blocks, but then he can be late with his hands, meaning his opponent can still get under his padding or gain a leverage advantage.

Punish

Tyler’s discipline on the field has been good throughout his career. In his three years as a starter, he has only received five penalties, one for clipping and the others for holding. He has a good sense of when to give up a block to avoid being penalized.

Several of Tyler’s holding penalties prevented big plays or third-down conversions, including one that negated a 57-yard touchdown pass.

Special teams

Tyler’s only special teams experience in college was as a blocker on the placekicking unit, but he blocked three kicks his senior year of high school.

Instincts/Intelligence

There are some good examples of Tyler handling stunts well, passing his opponent inside and then stepping out to pick off the defensive tackle.

However, he reacted too late on this play, which led to a decisive sack at the end of a close game.


He never received a pre-snap penalty in any of his three seasons as a starter at the college level.

Tyler was named to the Big XII Commissioners’ Honor Roll in 2020.

Attitude

Tyler is a player whose coaches have praised his work ethic in the past, and he clearly showed a determination to advance his career by constantly moving to new programs.

Injuries

Tyler has not been affected by injuries in his career so far, although he has decided to sit out the 2020 season.

As a high school junior, he struggled with a foot problem that limited him to just three appearances that year and likely contributed to him being off many radar screens as a potential recruit the following season.

Schema adaptation

The Jets will be Tyler’s seventh team in eight seasons, and while he hasn’t shown versatility on the field, he should be adaptable when it comes to the process of getting used to the vagaries of a new system.

He played in Louisville for head coach Jeff Brohm, whose brother Brian played for the Packers in 2008 and 2009 as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.

Conclusions

Tyler’s metrics and footage aren’t great and all of his success over the past few years can be attributed to the fact that he’s 4-5 years older than some of his opponents.

Still, he’s a hard-working player who is eager to learn, so the Jets hope he can bring it all to the table when given the chance to work with NFL coaches and compete against NFL-level talent in practice.

His chances of making the active roster are extremely slim, but if he shows enough promise in the preseason, he could stay on the practice squad and play later in the year and compete for a role next season.