WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT AUSTIN BLYTHE?
Blythe was a four-year starter at Iowa who started the last 45 games of his career. In all, he started 49 of the 50 games he played in over the course of his four years at Iowa. He was good when he got here -- and then he just got better and better, becoming a fixture on the interior of Iowa's line. He earned postseason honors every year he was at Iowa, too. He was a freshman All-American after his 2012 debut season, honorable mention all-Big Ten as a sophomore in 2013, second-team All-Big Ten as a junior in 2014, and third-team All-American and second-team All-Big Ten as a senior in 2015. He was also a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the best center in college football.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT'S SO GREAT?
Blythe was a consummate leader for Iowa's line. He was named a permanent team captain for the 2015 season and he was a key part in helping Iowa go 12-0 in the regular season last year. Blythe has been a mainstay on the Iowa offensive line for the last four years and his leadership and guidance has been important for Iowa. Blythe was also an on-field leader for Iowa, helping direct the line. He's also versatile, having gotten considerable experience at both center and guard during his time at Iowa. Blythe is very technically sound and moves well, especially in space. He works very well in a zone scheme.
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES?
Well, that's the rub. There's no question that Blythe is undersized physically -- he's listed at 6-2, 291 and he has short arms (31 1/4"). He's also not the strongest prospect around. Those are certainly potential red flags for an NFL team.
PRO DAY RESULTS:
WHAT ABOUT THE BAD?
We kind of covered this in the physical attributes section up above -- he's small and his strength is decent, but not great. That could be a real problem against some of the behemoth defensive linemen in the NFL. While he was versatile enough to play center and guard in college, he may be too small to effectively play guard in the NFL, limiting him to just center.
WAS THIS A GOOD PICK?
As a late-round developmental lineman, yes. There's no question that his size raises some concerns, but he was enormously effective for four years at Iowa and he faced some large fellas in the Big Ten and was able to hold his own. He's very technically sound, very intelligent, and a very hard worker. If given an opportunity, he'll bust his ass to make it in the NFL -- and I wouldn't bet against him. Blythe won't be an immediate difference-maker in the NFL, but if given time to develop, he could be an effective rotational player for the Colts.