He’d Look Good in Silver and Black: Wisconsin’s Rob Havenstein


Sep 21, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Rob Havenstein (78) during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Purdue 41-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin’s mammoth Rob Havenstein could go a long way in improving “The Raider Image.”

If you’ve watched college football over the past few years, you’ve probably seen Melvin Gordon running behind one of the best lines in the land. If you seen that line, you’ve seen Rob Havenstein.

You can’t really miss him.

Havenstein stands 6-7 and weighs in at over 320 pounds. Yeah…he’s a freak.

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In addition to his size, he’s also one of the best offensive lineman in the land. He’s made every All-American list in the nation (I voted him first-team in the FWAA) and rightfully so. He spearheaded Wisconsin’s rushing attack on the right side of the line, acting as both a human bulldozer and shield. If Melvin Gordon took a handoff on the right side, especially on the short side of the field, he was running behind Havenstein — and he was piling up yards.

Looking at the Oakland Raider offensive line depth chart, it could use some size, strength and youth. Havenstein provides all three.

What makes Havenstein so effective — especially in the run game — is his surprising ability to get downfield quickly and lead his backs. His quick burst off the line messes with your mind if you watch him play, as we rarely see a man his size move like he does.

Havenstein’s lack of lateral quickness locks him to the right size of the line, but you have to play someone there. You might as well plug in a video-game sized steamroller. That’s really the only thing scouts don’t like about him. Everything else is what it is. The guy is huge, fires off the ball well, is tough to run around, and moves people at will.

I’m not sure what more you could ask for in a right tackle. Worst case — as some have suggested — is he moves to right guard. That would only strengthen the inside running game.

Havenstein is currently projected to go in the 4th round by most scouts and publications. I’d take him there in a heartbeat. If you can get a starter in the 4th round, you do it. Havenstein is a surefire NFL starter.

Having him anchor the right side of the line would be huge for Oakland. Regardless of who starts at running back, Bill Musgrave’s offense is going to have its fair share of zone running plays, leaving the back to look for a hole and go. It’s going to be hard for any back to avoid always looking toward the biggest guy on the field on every play, especially when he’s pushing defensive ends to the sideline on the regular.

In today’s NFL, character is a big deal. In addition to what a guy can do on the field, you want to know what he is going to do off of it as well — and make sure it won’t be detrimental to your team.

Whoever drafts Havenstein won’t have to worry about that. In addition to being a nightmare on the field, he is a model citizen off of it. He was the 2014 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner and an honor roll student in high school. He continued to excel in the classroom once he got to Madison.

You can bet Bill Musgrave’s offense will have some Chip Kelly-flare and complexity to it. Havenstein would be up to the task of digesting it.

You score in today’s NFL by passing. You secure wins by running. There quite simply isn’t a bigger security blanket in the 2015 NFL draft than Wisconsin’s Rob Havenstein. The Raiders would do well to invest in him as a cornerstone of their offensive line for years to come.

Next: Debate over Amari Cooper and Kevin White wages on

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