One of the more eagerly anticipated workouts of the Scouting Combine each year occurs when the offensive (and defensive) linemen perform in the bench press drill. This is not a test measured to test a player's maximum bench press but rather their strength and conditioning. Athletes are asked to lift 225 pounds as many times as possible without stopping.
While scouts would love to see every offensive lineman lift the bar 30 times or more at the Combine, the reality is there is a significant difference in the strength required for different offensive line positions. Those athletes with enough size, foot quickness and balance to play left tackle in the NFL, for example, don't necessarily need as much upper body strength as the other offensive linemen - especially interior linemen.
Due to this fact, the relatively low number posted by Ohio State tackle Mike Adams (19) isn't necessarily a critical blow to his draft stock if a team feels that he has the athleticism to handle remaining at left tackle in the NFL. If he was to make the move to right tackle (where I believe he fits best), the number is a bit troubling. Traditionally, left defensive ends (who line up opposite right tackles) are the stronger, stouter versions of their more explosive pass rushing specialist right defensive ends -- at least for the 4-3 defense. Also, because of Adams' long arms (33 3/4") his football strength isn't necessarily indicated by weight room numbers. Remember, three offensive tackles drafted in the first round last year -- Nate Solder (21), James Carpenter (23) and Derek Sherrod (23) -- posted similar totals at the 2011 Combine. Adams, by the way, is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 rated offensive tackle.
Frankly, I'm more concerned with Wisconsin center Peter Konz's 18 repetitions of 225 pounds, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated center prospect for the 2012 draft. Now, to be fair to Konz, he too has long arms (33") but considering that he'll be playing in the trenches, the relative lack of strength is a potentially significant concern. Konz's size and athleticism is intriguing enough that some teams view him as a better fit at guard in the NFL. Regardless of playing center or guard, the strength of interior linemen is very important when projecting their success at the next level. No interior lineman drafted in the first two rounds since 2005 posted less than 22 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine. By comparison, the past two centers to get drafted in the first round -- Maurkice Pouncey (2010) and Mike Pouncey (2011) lifted the bar 25 and 24 times, respectively, during their Pro Days.