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2019 NFL Draft Profile: Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois

NIU’s offensive tackle is one of the best MAC prospects in the draft, a potential day 2 prospect.

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-UAB vs Northern Illinois Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a single game Max Scharping missed during his time spent at Northern Illinois. Scharping finished his reliable four years in DeKalb starting 53 of 53 games, with his second-to-last start serving as a Huskies conference title victory.

Out of all 2018 All-MAC selections, Scharping was the only player in the conference to receive the honor three times — and all three of those were First Team appearances. His collegiate career developed rapidly, and he was named to the FWAA Freshman All-American team as a freshman for his work as a right tackle and right guard. In 2016, Scharping moved to right tackle before moving to left for his final two seasons.

On top of his gridiron accolades, Scharping’s name was a frequent find on All-Academic lists and he was named as one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award often pegged as the “Academic Heisman.” Given Scharping’s frequent position changes in college and his academic achievements, his intellect is a positive that could boost him in the draft.

Scharping’s draft stock also picked up steam when he was selected to the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl and earned valuable practice reps at the event in Mobile, AL. At 6’6” and 327 pounds, Scharping is an ideal build for an NFL offensive tackle, and luckily for NFL teams, he has experiencing blocking in both positions. The NIU grad has excellent strength for a blocker and is adept at shielding off pass rushers. He posted 27 reps of 225 on the bench press at the NFL Combine in March.

In 2016, the Scharping-led offensive line allowed the fewest number of sacks in the FBS in eight and even strung together a 4-game no sack streak. In 2017, Scharping was credited with zero sacks allowed in the Huskies’ offense. He’s excellent against the pass rush and allowed plenty of time for NIU’s scrambling-oriented quarterbacks to operate in the backfield.

As a pass blocker, he does a great job at staying in front of his man, using his massive frame as a shield between the pass rusher and the quarterback. As a run blocker, he is skilled at driving extended blocks through defenders with sheer power to take them out of plays.

Although his blocking strength is often heralded as one of his greatest assets, Scharping could use improvements in a few departments. One of these areas is his footwork, where he sometimes can lose the battle in the trenches to quick edge rushers. In the mobility department, Scharping didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine but completed the 3-cone drill in 7.7 seconds and the shuttle in 4.69.

And he also does this.

Scharping is one of the best offensive tackle prospects in this draft class and will likely be drafted on the second day of the three-day event in Nashville. Most mock drafts have him falling anywhere from late second round to the third round, where he’ll be a good pickup and probably be a lock on a depth chart as a second-string offensive lineman. A strong fit for Scharping would be the New England Patriots, who currently do not hold much depth at either tackle position and could use a versatile backup. Patriots have three picks in the third round, and there is a strong chance they’ll select a tackle to fix their lingering depth issues.