Name: Yodny Cajuste
SCHOOL: West Virginia
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Offensive Tackle
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 55
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 315 lbs
Pass Sets – Short sets offer good snap out of stance and a balanced, well framed posture on pass rushers. Changes stance on deeper sets to open hips and allow for a greater drive in kick slide. Needs to not get flat footed after hinging vs. speed off the edge, will lose leverage.
Length/Extension –Has all of the length in the world needed to ride out rushes past the pocket, even after losing preferred positioning with his hips and feet. Hands have a big range and has effectively established a firm grip and sustained the block when scraping or flowing with the play.
Balance –Some tightness rears its ugly head when trying to throw hands and stay upright in space. Issues also arise when the feet freeze, too many lapses of sliding the feet in protection, which compromises recovery ability with a missed strike.
Hand Technique –Carries hands high and ready to strike, visibly coiled on pass sets and ready to stun and dictate reps effectively. Grasp is strong and shows good placement skills, both when operating on the fly or when aiming at moving targets in protection.
Power at POA –Is a bull coming off of the line. Will collapse the edge with tons of power. Overwhelming blocker in head up situations when afforded the chance to drive off of the line of scrimmage and create a gap/alley for his ball carriers.
Football IQ –Transitions out of swapped assignments effectively, shows good body awareness and positioning to prevent missed exchanged. Does little things well, such as rolling through legs of defenders on cut blocks. Spatially effective and takes good angles in space.
Functional Athleticism –Gets out in front of plays very well on the boundary, either on pulling reps or in the screen game. Shows good mobility to accelerate up the field and lead a convoy down the field. Mirror skills and short area redirection skills in pass protection are only modest.
Anchor Ability –Big, strong body with plenty of power to drop the hips, bend the knees and eat up a power rush. Is very well developed physically and can take a blow to the chest without giving up too much real estate on the edge of the pocket.
Flexibility –Has some visible limitations in relation to his hips. Labors to get a lot of depth and reach in his pass sets, although stride length does cover required ground. Issues are most prevalent in lateral redirection opportunities.
Competitive Toughness –Plays “on the edge”. Has gotten in some scraps, including an ejection vs. Texas. Big, mean mauler with plenty of natural strength. Plays like a bully in the pile. Effort and hustle out in front of the play is terrific to pick up a second defender.
BEST TRAIT – Power at POA
WORST TRAIT – Flexibility
BEST FILM – Kansas State (2018)
WORST FILM – Tennessee (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Yodney Cajuste projects favorably as a starting left tackle in a gap/power heavy running offense. Cajuste has some restrictions in his pass protection, working in a scheme that offers a lot of short sets and slide protections would be ideal for his physical skill set. Cajuste has the needed length and mobility to be an effective starter elsewhere, however. Teams needing an upgrade could feasibly start Cajuste as a rookie in 2019 but NFL speed will test him initially.
Run Blocking – Has the play strength, technique and tenacity to uproot defensive lineman out of their gap and create space. Does well to fit his hands, leverage his hips and accelerate his feet to create movement. Dominant drive blocker but also has the lateral mobility to reach and cut block.
Pass Blocking – Has the length and footwork needed to be a standout blindside protector but needs to clean up inconsistencies with his set points and technique. Has a stout anchor to absorb power and keep the proper width of the pocket. Effectively uses his length to keep rushers at the end of his reach and elongate their course. Will occasionally get wide with his hands. Thrives as a short-setter and more patience is needed at times. Can get his weight too far forward and open rush angles. Technical issues need to be cleaned up but his physical traits are exciting.
Blocking in Space – Stands out as a vertical blocker, working to the second level and sealing pursuit. Has proven to be an effective option lead blocking on the boundary. Body control in space can stand to improve as there are some issues coming to balance but his hit rate is excellent.
Power – Obvious strength of his game. Anchor is exceptionally stout and easily absorbs contact. Generally plays with proper leverage to maximize his power. Outstanding pop in his punch and grip strength needed to sustain blocks. Can overwhelm opponents with power from his leg drive. Finishes.
IQ – Executes with an obvious sense of timing and understanding of his role in relationship to the play design. Very deliberate about working his hips and head around to seal. Tons of experience with slide protections and knows where to secure. Always aware and alert. Finds work through and sometimes beyond the whistle.
Feet – Has nimble feet and has no issues sliding and redirecting his weight. More consistency with his kick slide on deeper sets is needed. Keeps his base consistently wide. Is guilty of some flat-footed reps in pass pro. Does well to accelerate his feet through contact in the run game.
Hands – Punch is heavy, violent and generally well-timed. Has excellent grip strength and sustains blocks well. Illustrates good patience with his punch and its capable of stunning pass rushers. Is guilty of getting wide with his strikes and a more compact punch would be beneficial.
Balance – Generally sound but he can get a bit top heavy and his weight get out in front of his toes. Has good lateral mobility to slide and redirect his weight. Absorbs power extremely well. Is capable of dropping a late anchor and leveraging his hips when needed.
Versatility – Has the skill set of an NFL left tackle that projects favorably to a gap/power rushing attack but can still function on zone runs. Experienced at left tackle and hasn’t played the right side in college. No need to consider him on the interior.
BEST TRAIT – Power/Length
WORST TRAIT – Set Point Consistency
RED FLAGS – 2016 ACL Tear
While there are some technical improvements needed, Cajuste has the makings of a standout blindside offensive tackle in the NFL. His power, mobility and length are all plus traits that serve as a strong foundation for him to develop. While his skill set is optimized in a gap/power run scheme, he isn’t limited to that role exclusively. By year three, Cajuste should be a reliable starter gearing up for a lucrative second contract.
PROS: Incredibly consistent and solid pass sets. Proper technique, fast processor who picks up stunts and consistently keeps his butt towards the QB. Is a brick wall who withstands all different styles of rushers with strength and an anchor. Gives minimal ground. Great down blocks with ability to drive. Has play strength and mobility necessary to dominate double teams and combo blocks. Can work up to the next level with ease. Positions his frame perfectly in the run and pass game. Rock solid as pass rushers work through their initial moves and counters. Can swallow up smaller linebackers. Sound, strong base.
CONS: Not the most powerful blocker, does not have overarching play strength that allows him to finish. Athletic but may be moved inside at the next level due to sleek frame. Ideal technique on pass sets, but can be one-tenth of a second slow at times and allow a small opportunity for a weak edge, but this is a rarity.