John Urschel does not slack. But perhaps the most impressive thing of all is that it seems natural. Urschel is naturally smart. It is his gift.
Urschel graduated college without even a hitch. He enters the NFL as one of it's smartest players already. Having written a paper entitled "Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem", it makes a zone-blocking scheme seem routine. Urschel even taught a math class—Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry—to Penn State undergraduate students three days a week on top of his own academic work and plus his football duties.
In an interview with Grantland, he speaks on the importance of intelligence when playing on the offensive line.
"Yeah, I’d say it’s crucial to offensive line play, being able to see what the defense is doing, see what they’re showing you, see pre-snap reads, to be able to adjust what your assignments are on the fly, depending on what the defense shows you. So yeah, you have to be very intelligent. You have to be very quick. Quick of mind especially."
It is safe to say that Urschel will understand the mental part of the game. Looking at the depth chart, Urschel will most likely only be a backup this season. The speed with which he grasps the offense will be instrumental to determine his spot on the depth chart.
His versatility is also helpful. He is able to play every interior position on the line. After Gino Gradkowski's previous season, I don't think even his back up center spot is guaranteed.
Urschel will bring hard work and smarts to the team, and if Gradkowski does not improve he could nab a spot as backup center. As for now, he will be one of the team's backup guards, but could use that big brain of his to get a starting job somewhere on a revamped offensive line.