Position Outlook

Offensive Tackle

Position Rank among other positions:

  • Top-End Talent – 4th (of 11)
  • Depth – 9th
  • 1st Round Caliber Players – 5 (2nd)
  • Overall – 5th

Interior O-Line

Position Rank among other positions:

  • Top-End Talent – 7th (of 11)
  • Depth – 7th
  • 1st Round Caliber Players – 3 (8th)
  • Overall – 9th

O-Line Summary

Fitting with the trend in this year’s draft, the top of this class doesn’t stack up with the top-end talent from this position in previous years. While there are plenty of 1st-round-locks, a few more of 1st-round caliber, and more who could sneak their way in, as a whole, there are way too many questions.
Still, there is plenty of talent to be found all along the line in the early rounds, with a few late-round gems. The hit rate beyond the early rounds isn’t high for O-Linemen, and that seems even more likely with this class, but that shouldn’t stop teams from shooting their shot on quality players at a premium position.

The 3 Tackles receiving the most buzz over the offseason are Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Trevor Penning. How justified is their hype?

Top 7 Offensive Tackles

  1. Ikem Ekwonu NCST – Full Scouting Report
  2. Charles Cross MSST – Full Scouting Report
  3. Evan Neal ALA – Full Scouting Report
  4. Bernhard Raimann CMU – Full Scouting Report
  5. Tyler Smith TLSA – Full Scouting Report
  6. Trevor Penning UNI – Full Scouting Report
  7. Abraham Lucas WSU – Full Scouting Report

Top 7 Interior O-Linemen

  1. Zion Johnson BC – Full Scouting Report
  2. Kenyon Green TA&M – Full Scouting Report
  3. Tyler Linderbaum IOWA – Full Scouting Report
  4. Cole Strange UC – Full Scouting Report
  5. Chris Paul TLSA – Full Scouting Report
  6. Jamaree Salyer UGA – Full Scouting Report
  7. Dylan Parham MEM – Full Scouting Report

Top 10 Position Ranking

  1. Ikem Ekwonu NCST
  2. Zion Johnson BC
  3. Charles Cross MSST
  4. Kenyon Green TA&M
  5. Tyler Linderbaum IOWA
  6. Evan Neal ALA
  7. Bernhard Raimann CMU
  8. Tyler Smith TLSA
  9. Cole Strange UC
  10. Trevor Penning UNI

Ranking Notes

Overrated

  • Evan Neal ALA – Not nearly as mobile as everyone says, with terrible tape, consistently getting beat. The athletic potential is great, but after 3 years under Nick Saban, if the legendary talent developer can’t make it work, I’m not excited for his chances.
  • Trevor Penning UNI – The “nastiness” masks a lot of inefficiencies and rep losses. His advanced stats paint a horrendous picture, and he is way too sloppy. While he is the best athlete in this class, he has much to learn about the game of football.
  • Darian Kinnard UK – Overrated tape, a poor Senior Bowl, and a dreadful Combine showing. Kinnard did himself no favors and is nowhere near my Top 10.

Underrated

  • Cole Strange UC – Plays with a length that didn’t show up in the Combine measurables. He showed great traits and had a ton of success, albeit against terrible competition. If he would have had a better lineup of opponents he could’ve been a 1st-round-lock.
  • Bernhard Raimann CMU – If it weren’t for a terrible Senior Bowl, he would’ve been my OT2 (behind Ekwonu), and not by much. He showed every trait you ask for, but when it came to performing against better talent, he looked outmatched. Still, it’s all there, and there is just too much to get excited about to let him slide.
  • Zion Johnson BC – Despite being a consensus Top 32 player, I still think he is underrated. Johnson is nearly a perfect prospect, and there was nothing he didn’t show, on tape, at the Senior Bowl, and even at the Combine.

Sleepers

  • Cam Jurgens NEB – Freakish athlete, but extremely sloppy. His physical tools are off-the-charts, he just needs to clean up his game.
  • Sean Rhyan UCLA – Another elite athlete, who plays tough and physical. He didn’t do anything special to boost his way up the rankings, but you will be hard-pressed to find gaping holes in his game.
  • Zach Tom WAKE – A versatile machine who can play all over the line, plus, he is a sneaky good athlete.

Biggest Risers

  • Zion Johnson BC – What an offseason it’s been for Zion. Between the dominant Senior Bowl and the amazing Combine, he vaulted his way up every draft board. To be fair, however, he should’ve been there to begin with.
  • Trevor Penning UNI – Teams have fallen in love with the nastiness he showed at the Senior Bowl and his athletic traits he displayed at the Combine. However, I don’t think it’s warranted, as his nastiness and athleticism were never in question when watching his tape, it was everything else. All those questions remain unanswered. Still, few received the hype Penning has, and there are rumors he could go as high as the Top 10.

Biggest Fallers

  • Kenyon Green TA&M – My IOL1 before the Combine, Green tanked his stock hard. He showed such poor athleticism at the Combine, that he could now drop out of the 1st, and likely won’t be selected before pick 20, at best.
  • Darian Kinnard UK – Truly poor athleticism to match with an overrated Senior Bowl performance, he dropped himself fairly out of the 1st round. In my book, even out of the Day 2.
  • Max Mitchell UL – It’s easy to see a trend here, but Mitchell also had a terrible Combine. What’s worse, his play style and BMI demand that he be an athlete to succeed.
Kenyon Green was once one of the star O-Linemen in this

Superlative Ranks

Best Athlete

  1. Trevor Penning UNI
  2. Cole Strange UC
  3. Bernhard Raimann CMU
  4. Matt Waletzko UND
  5. Cam Jurgens NEB
  6. Kellen Diesch ASU
  7. Zion Johnson BC

Best Pass Protector

  1. Tyler Linderbaum IOWA
  2. Charles Cross MSST
  3. Jamaree Salyer UGA
  4. Zion Johnson BC
  5. Cole Strange UC

Best Run Protector

  1. Ikem Ekwonu NCST
  2. Tyler Smith TLSA
  3. Zion Johnson BC
  4. Kenyon Green TA&M
  5. Chris Paul TLSA

Most Functional Strength

  1. Ikem Ekwonu NCST
  2. Tyler Smith TLSA
  3. Zion Johnson BC
  4. Trevor Penning UNI
  5. Kenyon Green TA&M

Most Polished

  1. Tyler Linderbaum IOWA
  2. Jamaree Salyer UGA
  3. Zion Johnson BC
  4. Dylan Parham MEM
  5. Kenyon Green TA&M

Most Agile & Nimble

  1. Bernhard Raimann CMU
  2. Charles Cross MSST
  3. Dylan Parham MEM
  4. Cole Strange UC
  5. Kenyon Green TA&M

Most Versatile

  1. Kenyon Green TA&M
  2. Evan Neal ALA
  3. Jamaree Salyer UGA
  4. Zach Tom WAKE
  5. Zion Johnson BC

Final Position Projection

As always, regardless of the actual talent of this class, positional value wins, and multiple O-Linemen are locked to go in the 1st round. Ekwonu will be picked 4th overall at worst, while both Neal and Cross won’t fall past 7th.
After that, there might be a little bit of a drop-off. Despite my love for this IOL class, the league doesn’t seem to be as high on them. It’s possible that after the “Big 3”, no O-Line is selected until the late ‘teens or the early twenties. However, once we get to that range, there will undoubtedly be a run on blockers, as all teams picking in the 20s are close to Superbowl contention, and need O-Line help.
By the end of the 1st round, there should be at least 8 O-Linemen selected, if not more.
Day 2 will likely be much lighter in that department, as the depth at this position isn’t too intriguing. Despite that, I’m sure there will be a player from this position drafted on Day 2 that will make an immediate impact at the next level.

See the Offensive Linemen’s overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.


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Uriel "Yuke" Klein

Die-hard Ravens + Lakers fan, wild sports fan to the core LeBron > MJ I will debate any topic with anyone, come at me

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