CONOR BOFFELI IS A MINNESOTA VIKING. He wasn't drafted but will sign as a free agent following the draft. Boffeli joins 14 other college players signing with the Vikes. Former Big Ten mates Kain Colter and Tyler Scott are also on the list.
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT CONOR BOFFELI? He's a typical Iowa offensive line recruit -- and that's not a bad thing. He was an in-state kid that had size in high school (6'5" 250) and was athletic enough to play a skill position (tight end). He was a three-star Rivals prospect and held an offer from both Iowa and Iowa State. He picked Iowa and the building process began.
It took a couple of years on campus for Boffeli to put on the weight necessary to play offensive line. After a redshirt season he worked his way into the offensive line two-deeps at center. He played in mop-up time during his RS freshman season and got his first start at guard with three games left in the 2012 year.
During this final season at Iowa, Boffeli ended up starting all 13 games at guard. He earned Academic all-Big Ten honors and was named honorable mention all-Big Ten by the media and coaches.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT WAS SO GREAT? Boffeli developed into a very dependable starter by his fourth year on campus. He spent the early portion of his career as a back up center to James Ferentz. He learned the line calls and became a second vocal leader at guard.
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES? He was never a dominant blocker and occasionally had his hands full with 300+ pound defensive tackles. While he lacks some strength, he was able to make up for it with intelligence and quickness. He's a typical zone blocking guard.
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WHAT ABOUT THE BAD? He struggled at Minnesota versus Ra'Shede Hageman -- but so did many others. He's a little light and lacks strength (21 bench reps) and explosiveness. Of the guards Iowa's placed in the NFL over recent years (that participated at the Combine), Boffeli had the slowest 40-yard dash time.
WAS THIS A GOOD FREE AGENT PICK UP? If your team needs a dependable player in a zone blocking run game, he's a good fit. It was surprising to some that Boffeli got an invite to the NFL Combine, but I think he's just as much a center prospect as guard.
He's been gradually adding weight in preparation for the League. Iowa listed him at 295 last season and he weighed in at 298 at the Combine and then 305 at Iowa's Pro Day. He also completed 28 bench reps at Iowa's Pro Day, a dramatic improvement from the Combine.
He learned under Kirk Ferentz, so he's prepared and well-schooled in zone blocking. He's worked hard to develop at Iowa on the field and in the classroom. He's likely a practice squad player, but he's a good one to have on the shelf if your team needs a quick call up to replace a center or guard with injury.