by Ryan Myers
Photo courtesy of Illinois Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Illinois, Tackle, Julian Pearl
Name - Julian Pearl
Pos - OT
Team - Illinois
HT/WT - 6’6” 315 lbs.
Home - Danville, IL
Julian Pearl played his high school football at Danville High School where he received a 2-star rating from Rivals.com and 3-star ratings from 247Sports and ESPN over his high school years. Pearl received offers from Illinois and Northern Illinois, and chose the Fighting Illini.
Pearl did not play his freshman season and redshirted heading into 2019. He then made 3 appearances in his second year as a backup lineman. Pearl’s first season as a starter came in 2021 as he started 11 of his 12 games played that season, solidifying himself as one of the leaders on the line for the Illini.
In 2022, Pearl had an outstanding performance, earning himself an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention as part of one of the best offensive lines in Illinois history. In 2023, he was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten second team. He started 12 games at left tackle and earned another All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. The back-to-back conference honorable mention awards have drawn attention of scouts and organizations for this upcoming draft.
Pearl shows good understanding of angles, pad height, body positioning, and all of the other fundamentals necessary to be an effective pass protector and run blocker. He also has good length and plays with heavy hands, which allow him to win the point of attack while also helping him hold up in pass coverage on the edge.
The potential weaknesses shown by Pearl are his footwork and range. He is not the quickest tackle in the draft, and tends to look sluggish in his footwork. This allows the quicker edge rushers to get around him easily, especially when he gets a bad step off the snap. His lack of speed and quickness makes his range a bit smaller than other tackles, but his good mechanics and fundamentals help him to overcome this at times.
Point of Attack
Below Average Mobility
Pearl’s consistent success has drawn the attention of scouts across the league. He is a good all around prospect but is not a dominant lineman in any certain aspect. He will, at a minimum, add depth to a line but has a chance to develop and start over time. He shows great understanding of fundamentals and mechanics of blocking as he comes off the snap with good pad level, but his lack of quickness may lead to struggles against the quicker edge rushers he faces.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 5th round or 6th round