About a month ago, I posted my prospect rankings for the skill positions on offense. I received a lot of positive feedback so here I am again with my own personal evaluations for the top offensive linemen in the 2010 draft. I have 30 players in all, with 16 being offensive tackles, 10 guards and 4 centers.
OFFENSIVE TACKLES (16)
1. Charles Brown- USC
Notes: (November) Built more like a linebacker than a tackle. A bit undersized for most people’s taste (295) but I love his athleticism. Entered college as a tight end. Reminds me of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Should be noted though that no tackle weighing under 300 has been drafted in the first round this decade, but he has the frame to add bulk to his already strong upper body. (February) I guarantee that nobody else ranks him higher than a late 1st round pick, but I like what I see in him. I like his footwork in pass protection almost as much as I did Eugene Monroe’s last year. He is my surprise climber in the draft. Most other people have him as a late 1st/early 2nd prospect. I really don’t expect him to be drafted in the top 20, but I think he will be the best left tackle from this class when you look back at this class in 10 years. In 2008, the consensus #1 tackle was Jake Long while I liked Ryan Clady (although they have both turned out to be great already). In 2009, the consensus #1 was Jason Smith while I liked Eugene Monroe. So this year in 2010, the consensus #1 is Russell Okung while I prefer Charles Brown.
2. Russell Okung- Oklahoma State
Top 10 pick
Notes: (November) Is the top rated tackle in the 2010 class by default. I think he’s a mid-late first round talent but likely goes early based on several teams need for a tackle. He will likely go in the top eight, but he’s no Jake Long or Joe Thomas. In fact, I don’t even think he’s better than Michael Oher, who fell to 23rd last year. I guess he’s just lucky to be a senior this year. I think his best fit is in a zone blocking scheme in the NFL. (February) He has the athleticism to play left tackle but he often drops too deep in pass protection and doesn’t use his hands well. If he doesn’t improve on that, he’ll get torched by spin moves (Dwight Freeney). Those things can be coached up though. (March) Impressed many with his long arms and 38 reps at the combine, but my stance on him hasn’t changed.
3. Trent Williams- Oklahoma
Notes: (December) Has more experience at RT than LT and also has very slow footwork. However, I also said the same thing about Phil Loadholt and he turned out to have a great rookie year for the Vikings. He is a dominant run blocker who played center in Oklahoma’s bowl game this year. He seems to be very slow off the ball, but once he regains his footing, he can maul over anyone. He claims to run a 4.8 but I’ll believe that when I see it. I have never successfully predicted the future of an Oklahoma Sooner offensive linemen, so make what you want out my analysis. (March) Well guess who ran a 4.8 at the combine. I stand corrected. Many scouts say he’ll be best at RT but he insists he’s a LT.
4. Bryan Bulaga- Iowa
Notes: (November) After whiffing on my Robert Gallery notes, I’m hesitant to trust another Hawkeye lineman. (January) However, I was very impressed with his run blocking in the Orange Bowl, but I haven’t seen enough of his footwork in pass blocking to make a full evaluation yet. At the least, he should be able to start immediately at right tackle. He has a minor injury history so it’s something to keep note of. (March) He’s climbing up draft boards and I’m not sure why. He hasn’t done anything to make me think less of him, but I still don’t see anything to call him more than a mid-first rounder. He might be the most NFL ready for 2010 but until I can decide whether he best fit’s a man or zone blocking scheme, I cant project his upside.
5. Anthony Davis- Rutgers
Notes: (January) A big man at 330 lbs with experience at guard. As of late, he has been on everyone’s “sleeper alert”. After the combine, he could easily become the top left tackle prospect in this year’s weak class. He is absolute mauler as a run blocker, but his pass blocking is hit or miss. If his pass protection and footwork appears to improve and become consistent, he could rise into the top 10. If not, then he’s a mid first rounder. (March) No change in opinion.
6. Bruce Campbell- Maryland
Notes: (January) He’s 6-7 300+ and runs a sub-5.0 in the 40. Injury history is a concern. He just seems like too much of a project for me though. He wasn’t even voted to the 1st team in his conference. I love his athleticism but his pass protection still needs a lot of work. As for run blocking, he’s more of a mauler than a zone blocker. (March) Well he put up great numbers at the combine, but that still doesn’t mean he can block yet. He maybe has the most upside of any linemen due to his phenomenal athleticism, but any team looking for immediate help at LT might pass on him.
7. Ciron Black- LSU
Notes: (October) One of my favorite players in the country. He reminds me Bears OT Chris Williams. I feel he could play immediately at right tackle or inside at guard, but left tackle would have to wait a year or two. Plenty of playing experience as he has started at LSU since day one. A big body but an even bigger heart:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/andy_staples/07/21/ciron-black/index.html (January) I recently read great reviews of him being the best performing tackle at the Senior Bowl practices.
8. Zane Beadles- Utah
Notes: (January) Here’s another “sleeper alert”. Utah fans compare him to Jordan Gross, which is being a bit generous, but he’s still a good talent. Spent beginning of his college career at guard before moving outside to left tackle.
9. Sam Young- Notre Dame
Notes: (December) Better in my mind than former Irish tackle Ryan Harris, who was an early 3rd round pick and current starting right tackle for Denver (when healthy). His only major negative is that he is strictly a right tackle, which will keep him in round two at best but round three seems more likely to me. (March) I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him start as a rookie. Stands at 6’8’’ and I can imagine him having an early impact like Phil Loadholt did last year for the Vikings.
10. Selvish Capers- West Virginia
Notes: (December) He’s fast. He’ll probably end up an Oakland Raider. (January) He has struggled during practices at the Senior Bowl. Basically, speed is his best attribute, which unfortunately for him, isn’t a top priority for an offensive linemen. He’ll probably be picked before Beadles and Young but I don’t think he’s necessarily any better.
11. Jason Fox- Miami
Notes: (January) Has started at the U. since day one. I’m not as high on him as most others are. (March) I’ve seen his name linked to the 2nd round in several mocks, but I haven’t liked enough of what I’ve seen from him to put him above the other 10 guys.
12. Kyle Calloway- Iowa
Notes: (January) Did a great job of shutting down Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan in the Orange Bowl.
13. Adam Ulatoski- Texas
Notes: I once had him as a possible 2nd-3rd round guy early in the 2009 season, but he now falls out of my top 10 at the tackle position and into round 4. In the Big-XII Championship game, he somehow made Barry Turner look fast again.
14. John Jerry- Ole Miss
Notes: (February) Many list him as a guard, but he played tackle in the Senior Bowl. He wont be starting for anyone anytime soon but he could find the field in a few years. (March) He impressed many with his workouts at the combine. His performance in pass protection drills drew a lot of praise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the 11th tackle taken.
15. Ed Wang- Virginia Tech
Notes: He’s a former tight end and it shows despite being 6’5’’ and 315. His blocking would be Jason Dunn-like if he were still a TE, but unfortunately he’s an OT.
16. Jared Veldheer- Hillside
Notes: His performance at the combine was reason enough to get drafted. For a man that is 6’8’’ and 310, he ran fast (5.09 was 4th fastest), showed strength (32 reps to place 9th), placed 3rd among OL in vertical (33.5”), and was a top performer in every other drill. His biggest knock is coming from such a small school
1. Mike Iupati- Idaho
Notes: (November) Can you name the only two current NFL players from Idaho to be drafted? Current Rams backup linebacker David Vobora and current Titans/former Colts guard Jake Scott. Better get familiar with the name Mike Iupati because he may be the only guard drafted in the early rounds this year. Iupati is the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. (January) There has been a lot of buzz lately about his possibly being the best left tackle prospect in the draft. Well the Senior Bowl practices confirmed that he isn’t. Guard is his best fit. (March) He reportedly scored terribly low on the Wonderlich Test at the combine. Lucky for him it takes muscles not brains to light up the man across from you.
2. Vladimir Ducasse- Umass
Notes: (January) I don’t know whether to list him at tackle or guard for the time being, but that should be known more by the end of the combine. Has a lot of playing time at left tackle and is said to be an incredibly hard worker. He probably wouldn’t crack my top 10 at tackle so I let him slide over to guard. (January) He played left tackle in the Senior Bowl and struggled to contain Michigan DE Brandon Graham. I think his NFL future is either at right tackle or inside at guard. (March) Well it’s after the combine and I still don’t know if he’s a better tackle or guard. His 29 reps at the combine was impressive though.
3. Mitch Petrus- Arkansas
Notes: (December) Missed the 2008 season for being academically ineligible. Other than that though, he has talent and could start immediately for most NFL teams. (March) Well he just put up an astounding 45 reps at the combine.
4. Mike Johnson- Alabama
Notes: (January) Has starting experience at both tackle and both guard spots. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him against good schools in the SEC. (March) I think he could be a surprise immediate starter from this draft.
5. Jon Asamoah- Illinois
Notes: (January) The run on interior linemen is very difficult to predict. The 2009 draft saw an influx of guards drafted early, yet most years they seem to all go in the 4th round. Asamoah was a 4 year starter at Illinois.
6. Brandon Carter- Texas Tech
Notes: (January) He’s 6’6’’, 345 lbs, and scary as hell. He looks like Halloween every Sunday.
7. Sergio Render- Virginia Tech
Notes: (December) Strong run blocker. He reminds me of 2009 3rd round pick Louis Vasquez of the Chargers, who became an immediate starter at RG. (March) He’s another guy who I cant tell if he’s a better man or zone blocker.
8. Marshall Newhouse- Texas Christian
Notes: (March) Had a strong showing at the combine. Went from an unknown guy to someone who attracted a lot of attention. Played left tackle for TCU but is expected to slide inside to guard at the next level. Ran a 5.00 40 (3rd fastest) while weighing 319 lbs.
9. Erik Cook- New Mexico
Notes: (March) Has experience at tackle, guard and center but I see him as a guard at the next level since I think he's too tall for center and not athletic enough to handle the tackle position.
10. Jeff Byers- USC
Notes: (March) Played a bit of center at USC before moving to guard. Finished 6th in bench press reps at the combine (32) but he has a lot of work to do on technique and footwork. Seems like a project but I’ve read a lot of claims that he is a great kid and very coachable. Seems worth a late round pick. His experience at two positions should help.
1. Maurkice Pouncey- Florida
Notes: (January) Pouncey should give a portion of his check to USC center Kris O’Dowd for staying in school. Because of that, Pouncey becomes the first center picked in this year’s draft. He also has the versatility to play guard. With his stance, knee bend, push and mean streak, he reminds me of Kansas City Chiefs guard Brian Waters. (March) I can’t imagine him slipping to the 3rd round, but if he does, he’s an absolute steal. I also think he could play guard in the NFL.
2. Matt Tennant- Boston College
Notes: (Dec. 09) He is listed as a 2nd-3rd round guy, but I cant see that happening with his weight being only 285. Standing 6’4’’ he will surely get pushed around by the big, physical nose tackles of the NFL. (Jan. 10) Well I stand corrected. Every report I’ve read from the Senior Bowl comments on how strong he is and how he has no problem handling nose tackles in practice. I’m still slightly concerned though because Senior Bowl nose tackles don’t quite compare to Pro-Bowl nose tackles in the NFL.
3. Eric Olsen- Notre Dame
Notes: Big, strong and smart. If he can anchor ND’s offense, then I’d trust him with mine. I think he’s a steal if he makes into round four. (March) Tied for the third most bench press reps at the combine with 35. That’s an unusually high number for centers.
4. J.D. Walton- Baylor
Notes: (January) He’s the second best center in this year’s class, but I cant imagine him being taken in the 2nd this year like Max Unger was last April. Maybe late 2nd round at best for a team that is desperate for center help. Also, much like Pouncey, he should thank Penn State center Stefen Wisniewski for staying in school. (March) The more I watch of him, the more I move him down my list. I cant come up with a great reason for it, but I just like the other guys more. His comment at the combine about how he “shut down Ndamukong Suh” pissed me off because he was helping the RG double team Suh in that game, all while Nebraska’s other DT (Jared Crick) embarrassed Baylor’s LG as he recorded 13 total tackles, 10 solo tackles and 5 sacks in that game to become the NCAA Defensive Player of the Week. And for the record, Suh still had five tackles and a sack in that game. I don’t know if it’s on youtube or not, but Suh literally almost killed Baylor’s QB on his sack. I’ve never seen a head bounce off of turf like that.