Top Five 2018 NFL Draft Prospects- Offensive Tackle
These guys will protect the edges of the offensive line and keep the quarterbacks safe. Today I rank the top five offensive tackle prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.
1. Connor Williams, Texas
Bio: Despite being just a three star recruit as a high school senior, Connor Williams started all 12 games for the Longhorns at left tackle. As a sophomore, he was named first team All-American.
Strengths: Locker room leader and relentless worker in weight room. Carries good, lean muscle mass. Outstanding technician from before his first college snap. Works for centered blocks. Good redirect and is fluid in first hit movements. Snaps hips for additional anchor when pass blocking. Generally smooth with lateral footwork and slide sets. Works his tail off to gain position and secure playside blocks. Efficient in space and capable of making adjustments to defenders on the move. Sticks to blocks with powerful hands to sustain. Quality finisher with some tenacity. Outstanding hand placement. Understands target points on defender's frame and shoots hands into them like a sniper. Pass protects with plus mirror and body control. Footwork and eyeballs are seamless on stunts. Sees and responds. Has a good feel for quarterback depth and rarely oversets the pocket. Has late hip sink and anchor when rocked by first contact.
Weaknesses: Lack of length could be a concern as NFL left tackle. Doesn't have length to catch and punch. May need to carry hands higher in pass protection to speed up punch timing. Gets too straight-legged and bounced back into pocket by initial bull rush. Core strength appears to be average. Has a habit of defaulting to punch-and-lean against rushers with power. Opens himself up to push and pull moves. His junior year tape was disappointing relative to previous seasons due to a knee injury that limited him to five games. Lower body looked tighter. Overall lateral quickness and mirror quickness looked a little off this year even before injury. Had trouble getting to cross blocks that he was making previously. Drive leverage was inconsistent in 2017. Edge rushers had more success than expected. Inside post a little soft against counter moves.
Projected Round: 1
Compares to: Jake Matthews
Possible landing spot: Cincinnati Bengals
2. Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Bio: After redshirting his first season, Orlando Brown started all 13 games in 2015. By 2017, he was a finalist for the Outland trophy and was a first team AP All-American.
Strengths: Massive frame combined with outstanding arm length make him a challenge to get past. Able to seal down blocks with his huge body alone. Nasty finisher who is looking to intimidate and overwhelm edge rushers across from him. Has the pure power to get defenders turned out of the hole when his footwork is right. Linebackers looking to take on his second level blocks can be pancaked. Hands are heavy in both pass protection and the run game. Kick-slides gain impressive ground in setting out to edge rushers. Consistent with punch timing. Can completely derail a pass rusher's game plan with early jabs into his body. Uses maximum arm extension. Impossible to be bull rushed. Good recovery blocker thanks to length and strength. Doesn't always look pretty, but can push rushers past the pocket. Keeps his feet moving and alert in pass protection. NFL pedigree. His father, Orlando Brown Sr., was an NFL tackle for 11 seasons with the Browns and Ravens.
Weaknesses: Leverage issues due to high center of gravity. Not a natural knee bender due to size. Down blocks land way too high and carry very little drive on them due to lack of bend. Overshoots targets on second level allowing them to slip by. May need to play with more vertical sets to help him keep NFL edge benders from turning the corner. Needs to shoot his punch with more quickness and less wasted motion. Will open and lunge at times when rushers start to make their turns along the pocket. Fails to clamp into defender's frame and sustain blocks through hand strength. Willingness to maul defenders could lead to raise in holding calls. Small area of effectiveness as run blocker. Slow lateral movement off the snap.
Projected Round: 1
Compares to: Alejandro Villanueva
Possible landing spot: Baltimore Ravens
3. Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Bio: A top 10 recruit out of high school, Mike McGlinchey played in every game as a redshirt freshman. In 2016 he moved from right tackle to left tackle and was named an All-American in 2017.
Strengths: Fluid athlete with background as a high school tight end. Natural movements and able to make most blocks. Uses tight, controlled settle steps to help promote balanced, center of gravity at the point of attack. Good knee bender. Strikes and rolls his hips up under him. Top tier technician. Experienced and successful in gap and zone schemes and can play either tackle spot. Works double teams and has well-timed climbs to linebackers. Quality down blocker who gets movement and push with leg churn. Works to sustain blocks. Pass sets with excellent form. Weight is generally dispersed properly throughout his kick slides. Punch placement is good. Plays with adequate mirror. Instinctive and searches for trouble brewing against twists and blitzes. Named a team captain the last two years. NFL family. First Cousin to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Weaknesses: Core strength is below average. Needs time in weight room for more mass on his frame. May not have leg drive to move larger defensive ends. Inconsistent at containing opponents as base blocker. Needs to sustain and finish more consistently. Power ends can roll through him. Allows pad level to rise while blocking on the move. Pass slide is a little restricted when it comes to gaining ground. Feet get heavy at punch allowing speed rushers access to his edge if his punch misses entirely. Will lean into some blocks as a habit to boost power. Will uncork his punch too early at times for fear of losing the position. Can be bounced back into pocket by stiff jab moves.
Projected Round: 1
Compares to: Jared Veldheer
Possible landing spot: Los Angeles Chargers
4. Kolton Miller, UCLA
Bio: As a redshirt junior, Kolton Miller was moved from right tackle to left tackle to protect quarterback Josh Rosen's blindside. He started all 13 games in 2017 and was named second team All-PAC 12.
Strengths: Well proportioned frame with good height and length. Plays with a high motor on each snap. Strong desire and hustle to win lateral positioning while blocking on the move. Understands angles for reach blocks and on the second level. Uses timing and positioning to prevent early contact. Possesses good power in his hands. Uses strong, upward thrust in his punch to compensate for lack of bend and create a leverage point into his first punch. Wide base in his pass protection. Game film shows ability to adjust punch timing and hand placement mid-game. Drops a late anchor when driven back towards the quarterback. Quick to turn his attention to changing rush threats against twists and blitzes. Has necessary foot quickness and athletic ability to mirror counter spins and inside moves. Catches and slides them out of the play.
Weaknesses: Stiff mover and lacks desired level of fluidity from a left tackle. Not a natural knee bender and plays with high pad level. Height may be a hindrance in handling blitzes around the edge. Stiff hips in kick-slides rob him of lateral quickness to mirror and punch edge racers. Allows defenders into his frame when playing with slow, wide hands. Gets bounced into the pocket by speed-to-power ends. Average body control and contact balance as run blocker. Powerful opponents can drag him off balance with pulls and sheds. Needs more consistent latch and finish with his hands. Limited to just five games as a redshirt sophomore due to a foot injury.
Projected Round: 1-2
Compares to: Matt Kalil
Possible landing spot: Carolina Panthers
5. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Bio: In his first two seasons at Ohio State, Jamarco Jones learned behind Taylor Decker while playing sparingly as the team's sixth lineman. When. Decker left for the NFL, Jones took over at left tackle and started every game over the last two seasons.
Strengths: Pass protection has decent balance, a even posture and even head. Looked much more confident in pass protection in 2017. Hands are efficient and quick and punches are well-timed. Patient pass slider who waits until target is in range to let go. Lands punches early to disrupt rusher's rhythm. Has adequate reactive athleticism against inside rushers. Mirror isn't perfect but is good enough. Has some anchor to sit down against bull rushers. Flexes upper body power to stun on redirect and down blocks. Catches base block with upward strike and latches feet to secure. Works double teams with good technique. Impressive agility to adjust to moving defenders. Has athletic ability and vision to spring big runs with second level blocks. Comes off first block with smoothness and sizes up linebackers.
Weaknesses: Lacks optimal height and length for tackle. Needs to close distance and speed up hands against longer edge rushers. Hip bend is average and pad level is high. Struggles to find best leverage at point of attack. May improve balance as drive blocker with wider base. Body control is below average. Power rushers can get him in trouble. Approach angles and post contact footwork are inconsistent. Left hand is a little weak in pass sets. Will lunge forward against edge speed at top of the rush rather than sliding feet to protect the pocket. Gets fooled by inside twists. Game tape shows potential concerns against good inside counter moves. A "mean streak" in his play demeanor would be ideal.
Projected Round: 2
Compares to: Michael Oher
Possible landing spot: Minnesota Vikings