fbpx

Preseason Scouting Notes: Conner Olson, OC, Minnesota

Redshirt Senior | 6’5” | 305 lbs | Monticello, MN | 5/18/1998

 

A dependable, experienced center with NFL size, football intelligence and versatility

 

Overview:

A three-year starter on Minnesota’s offensive line, Conner Olson has starting experience at both center and guard. Of his 38 career starts, he has started 15 at center, 16 at left guard and six at right guard. He earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention for his play in both the 2019 and 2018 seasons. In 2019, injuries on the Gopher’s offensive line caused Olson to switch positions throughout the season. Despite the positional changes, Olson was a big part of one of the most productive offenses in school history, helping his team achieve an 11-2 overall record.

Strengths:

– Reactive athleticism and movement skills
– Flashes the base and strength to anchor the width of the pocket
– Shows good recognition on twists and blitz pick up
– Looks for work when he is left uncovered
– Sufficient initial quickness with flashes of solid hand placement into his block fits
– Has good range and can efficiently reach the second level
– Shows the ability to take proper angles in order to reach his targets on move blocks
– Not asked to pull often, but has the ability to be effective
– Can run to space on screens with success and awareness

Areas to improve:

– Needs to do a better job moving his feet when mirroring in pass protection
– Hand punch and timing needs more polish
– Average flexibility in his lower body causes him to lunge and waist bend
– Heavy leaner as a run blocker, which causes him to play off balance
– Can sufficiently anchor the LOS, but doesn’t generate much movement up front due to lack of leg drive on contact
– Allows his base to get a little narrow at times
– Lacks the core strength to control the POA
– Doesn’t have the latch strength in his hands to tie up defenders and sustain blocks consistently
– Not a consistent mauler that finishes blocks to the ground

Injury concerns:

N/A

Projection:

Olson projects as a center in a zone-blocking scheme, but he has the versatility to line up at guard if needed. He profiles as more of a backup than a starter in the NFL, but his size, versatility and football intelligence will appeal to teams looking for offensive line depth. He has room to get stronger in order to handle NFL power more consistently, but his constant waist bending and lack of flexibility in his lower half may get him in trouble against more athletic interior defenders. Olson has the requisite traits to be a Day 3 selection, but he will need to work on some of his inconsistencies in order to be considered.

What to watch in 2020:

After a successful 2019 season, Minnesota is poised for a run at the Big Ten title as the team has notable offensive starters returning in quarterback Tanner Morgan, wide receiver Rashod Bateman, running back Mohamed Ibrahim and right tackle Daniel Faalele. Olson brings veteran experience to a unit that saw its fair share of inconsistency and injuries throughout last season. His versatility and leadership has made him a key component for the offense and finding more consistency in his play could make a difference for his team’s chances at a title in 2020.