Data Scout Notes: 2017: 12-15-17- Announced Early Entry into 2018 NFL Draft…2017: 1stC...2016: 2ndC...2015: NAM...2014: RS
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Brian O'Neill Pittsburgh Panthers Offensive Tackle 6-5, 305, 5.04, #70 Wilmington, Del. Salesianum School 9/15/1995
A three-year starter at Pitt, O’Neill was a sparsely-recruited 230-pound wideout/tight end out of high school before bulking up and moving to offensive tackle in 2015 at Pitt. He developed into an All-Conference player and showed off his ballcarrier experience with three rushes for 39 yards and two touchdowns the last two seasons.
O’Neill doesn’t have overwhelming power to dominate his opponent, but he quickly finds his landmarks and uses his aggressive hands and natural coordination to keep rushers busy. Although he shows a general understanding of hand usage and body position, his technical development will be an important part of his growth at the next level.
BACKGROUND A three-star tight end recruit out of high school, O’Neill was a two-way player at Salesianum School, earning all-state honors at tight end as a sophomore and junior before moving to wide receiver as a senior. He also earned numerous awards at defensive end and helped lead the Cavaliers to an 11-1 record and state championship in 2013. He also led the Salesianum basketball team to a state championship in 2014 and was named the Delaware Player of the Year (13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds).
O’Neill was considered a top-five recruit in the state of Delaware, but Pitt was his only FBS-level offer, committing in the summer of 2013 as a tight end. After redshirting in 2014, the new coaching staff asked him to switch to offensive tackle the summer of 2015 because of depth issues, starting the second game of his redshirt freshman season at left tackle before moving to right tackle (11 starts) for the rest of the year. O’Neill started all 13 games at right tackle as a sophomore in 2016, earning All-ACC Second Team honors. He moved to left tackle as a junior in 2017 and started all 12 games, earning First Team All-ACC honors.
STRENGTHS NFL-level athleticism. Balanced pass-sets with flexible hips. Controlled, agile feet to stay between rusher and quarterback in space. Will make mistakes, but body control and short-area movements allow him to quickly recover. Easy puller and seals outside run lanes. Quick to punch-and-climb, taking out second-level defenders. Runs edge rushers wide of the pocket. Uses his body to leverage run lanes. Eager, stubborn hands, latching and undressing defenders. Drives his legs to uproot defenders as a run blocker. Graduated with a degree in finance (Dec. 2017). Added 75+ pounds since high school and dedicated himself to packing on the pounds. Athletic bloodlines – father (Brendan) was a running back at Dartmouth and his mother (Elizabeth) was a swimmer collegiately. Durable and started 37 straight games to finish his career with experience at both left and right tackle. – Dane Brugler 1/10/2018
WEAKNESSES Only three years of experience as an offensive lineman. Play strength needs continued development. Only average length and frame appears maxed out. Technique is a work-in-progress, displaying several bad habits like ducking his head and lunging. Pads and hips tend to rise off the snap. Wide hands, allowing rushers to get inside his frame and bully him backwards. Needs to do a better job locking out and sitting in his stance to maintain spacing. Inconsistent body angles in pass pro. Doesn’t always match the power or nasty of defensive linemen. – Dane Brugler 1/10/2018
COMPARES TO: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles – O’Neill doesn’t quite have the same athleticism or frame that made Johnson a top-five pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he isn’t far off and has taken a similar path, making the switch to offensive tackle after high school.
IN OUR VIEW: O’Neill needs to continue and improve his mechanics and play strength to reach his potential, but his balanced athleticism and body rhythm are a great place to start, allowing him to neutralize different types of rushers off the edge. With only three years of experience at tackle, he still has plenty of room to improve, projecting as a future NFL starter. …
Started all 12 games at left tackle…seamlessly moved to the left side after playing right tackle in 2016...extended his streak of consecutive starts to 37 contests…selected All-ACC by the league’s coaches (first team), Associated Press (first team) and Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) (third team)…against NC State, took a throwback lateral 10 yards to the cusp of the goal line…one play later, tailback Darrin Hall plunged in from a yard out to make it 14-14…the athletic O’Neill finished his Pitt career with three career rushes for 39 yards (13.0 avg.) and two touchdowns.
Started all 13 games at right tackle...extended his streak of consecutive starts to 25 contests...while he was highly integral for Pitt's pass protection and nationally ranked running game, O'Neill actually carried the ball twice himself--scoring touchdowns each time...his initial carry came on a throwback lateral that went for a 24-yard TD in the Panthers' 37-34 win over Georgia Tech...reached the end zone again on an end-around play against Virginia Tech that resulted in a five-yard score...had two carries for 29 yards on the year (14.5 avg.) and even threw two passes (against Syracuse and Northwestern, both incomplete)...O'Neill's unconventional contributions earned him SB Nation's 2016 "Piesman Trophy," which honors offensive and defensive linemen who run, pass or catch the ball...SB Nation first team All-American...was an All-ACC selection by the coaches (second team) and media (third team).
Switched from tight end to offensive tackle in July to fortify depth at the position following the offseason injury to Jaryd Jones-Smith…went on to play in all 13 games, starting the final 12 contests…in his first career start (at Akron, Sept. 12), played left tackle in place of the injured Adam Bisnowaty…started the balance of the season at right tackle.
Redshirted as a true freshman.
Two-way standout at tight end and defensive end for Delaware state champion Salesianum School...first team Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association (DIFCA) All-State...also selected all-state as a junior and sophomore (third team both seasons)...1290 "The Ticket" Defensive Player of the Year...three-time first team All-Catholic...as a senior, averaged 18.6 yards per catch with 33 receptions for 614 yards and eight touchdowns...totaled 45 tackles, five sacks, 13 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on defense...rated a consensus Top 5 overall prospect in Delaware by the major scouting services...led team to an 11-1 record and the Delaware Division I state championship...in his final three seasons, led team to a combined 31-7 mark (.816)...played under Coach Bill DiNardo...led Salesianum to a 22-2 record in basketball and the school's first DIAA championship in that sport...O'Neill was named the Delaware Boys Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds...also lettered in lacrosse.
Brian Cormac O'Neill, born 9/15/95, is the son of Brendan and Elizabeth O'Neill...has two sisters and one brother...comes from a family of athletes...father played running back at Dartmouth and mother was a swimmer at Northeastern...brother Eamon was a soccer player at Northwestern...finance major.
Draft Scout Player News
01/24/18 - Senior Bowl Wednesday: The offensive tackle play on the North squad was very up-and-down, but Pitt offensive tackle Brian O'Neill had more ups than downs, showing off his lateral athleticism to handle edge speed. He is battling Oregon's Tyrell Crosby for the distinction as top offensive tackle at the Senior Bowl, and through two practices, O'Neill gets the edge. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
12/15/17 - LT Brian O'Neill of the Pittsburgh Panthers announced Friday he would skip his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft. O'Neill earned first-team All-ACC honors this season after being selected second-team all-conference in 2016. NFLDraftScout.com lists O'Neill as the sixth-best junior offensive tackle in the country. O'Neill, a fourth-year junior, started 37 consecutive games for the Panthers, although this season was his first as the full-time left tackle. He gained fame in 2016 for scoring two touchdowns, including on a 24-yard run after catching a backward pass.
12/02/17 - 2017 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM (COACHES/MEDIA): OT Brian O'Neill, Jr., Pittsburgh, 109 Votes,...O'Neill (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum School) was named All-ACC for the second consecutive season. He was a second-team pick last year by the coaches. For the 2017 season, O'Neill shifted from right to left tackle, where he started all 12 contests. He owns an active streak of 37 consecutive starts on the Panthers' offensive line. - Pittsburgh Football
08/14/17 - OT Brian O'Neill made headlines a season ago for doing some very unlineman-like things. The 300-pounder scored two touchdowns, one on a screen pass and the other on a reverse handoff. But this season, the converted tight end will shift from right tackle to left tackle and while there's still a chance for some chicanery, the serious task of protecting Max Browne's blind side will be his primary duty.
12/26/16 - 2016 ALL-ACC FOOTBALL SECOND TEAM (COACHES): T Brian O’Neill, So.-R, Pitt (15),...The lineman trio of Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon Area), Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) and Brian O’Neill (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) has helped Pitt’s offense produce at an historic rate this season. The Panthers have compiled the highest season point total in school history (508). With a bowl game to go, the Panthers are averaging 42.3 points per game, which would eclipse the all-time Pitt record of 40.7 set way back in 1904. Additionally, Pitt’s offensive front has paved the way to 447.5 yards per game, which would be the second highest average in school history. - Pittsburgh Football