Each week, we’ve been ranking the top 10 NFL draft prospects at different positions. Well, since offensive tackle is such an important position of need for any team, let’s give you the top 15:
1. Penei Sewell, Oregon, 6-6, 330
A native of American Samoa, Sewell was the first Polynesian and first Oregon player to win the Outland Trophy, doing so in just his sophomore year. He is the top-graded offensive lineman in PFF history and has only allowed one sack over 1,376 snaps in his two seasons of college football before opting out in 2020. Sewell has freaky athleticism for an offensive lineman, with the technical savvy and hand usage to be an immediate starter at LT for an NFL team with perennial Pro Bowl potential. His mobility lends itself best to an outside zone scheme, where he can run with defenders of all types and consistently get square even against third-level defenders. As a pass protector, he shows textbook technique, sitting back and rarely lunging, with the change-of-direction ability to mirror all types of pass rushers and the hand placement, timing and strength to extend and keep them at bay. He can occasionally lunge as a first-level run blocker, but his elite athleticism will allow him to routinely recover in the rare instances he is beaten. Sewell can easily plug and play in any NFL scheme.
2. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern, 6-3, 305
Slater was a preseason All-American before opting out in 2020. In his last season playing, he only allowed 6 QB pressures in 11 games played. He was a guard coming out of high school and spent his first two seasons at right tackle before moving to left in 2019. Slater projects as an immediate starter at RT for an NFL team. His lack of length may slightly limit his ceiling, but his blend of high-end strength and mobility give him the potential to be a long-time NFL starter. As a run blocker, he has the proactive athleticism to execute a wide range of blocks with the iron grip strength to sustain and the lower body power to drive through and finish. When pass blocking, he has the foot speed to quickly get back in his vertical set and can consistently land his strong punch to shock defenders back and push them over the arc. He can tend to have high pads on the run, which can slightly limit his explosiveness in space and does not have the reactive athleticism to consistently get square at the second level. His lack of elite change of direction ability can hurt him as a pass blocker as well, though he generally has the awareness and competitiveness to recover. He fits best in a gap scheme where he can drive defenders off the line or be effective as a puller.
3. Jalen Mayfield, Michigan, 6-5, 319
Mayfield started the first two games of the 2020 season before opting out and was honored as co-offensive lineman of the week for his performance against Minnesota. He was the number one overall player from the state of Michigan in high school. Mayfield projects as a starting left or right tackle in an outsize zone scheme at the next level due to his mobility and change of direction ability. In run blocking, he can get square with first or second level defenders consistently and can use his lower body strength to drive them back effectively to finish. Pass blocking, he shows quick feet to get back to his set point and can adjust his set to mirror defenders and guard against inside counters. He still needs to work on pad level and a tendency to lunge, both of which can affect his anchor as well. If he can overcome these deficiencies, he can develop into a reliable starting option and an impact run blocker.
4. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 315
Starting nine games in 2020 before missing the rest of the season with a lower body injury, Darrisaw earned All-ACC honors. He also missed the final game of the 2018 season and required offseason surgery, so could be a bit of an injury risk. Darrisaw projects as a starting LT for an NFL team. He is a cerebral player who wins with his instincts, length and grip strength, while he can struggle with aggressiveness and change of direction. As a run blocker, he maintains low pad level at the point of attack, and can use his hands to set up his feet and get his back to the play. He has the mobility to get out in space and the grip strength to keep defenders within his frame. He is patient as a pass protector, though he can be late with his punch and let defenders into his chest. He can anchor well but can stop his feet when punching and be beaten over the top. Not a very aggressive player; If he can be motivated to execute more than just his assignment, he has a high ceiling as a player in a zone or gap scheme.
5. Samuel Cosmi, Texas, 6-7, 309
A four-year offensive lineman with 34 starts in 35 games, including 8 in 2020 before opting out, Cosmi is a two-time all-Big 12 selection. He projects as a starting LT who wins with his athleticism, length and instincts, while his inconsistent hand usage and anchor ability may cause him to struggle against top-level competition. Run blocking, he has a quick first step to get square and the upper body strength to drive back to finish. His hand placement can be inconsistent, which can limit his explosiveness, but is very explosive when properly engaged. Pass blocking, he flows well to mirror and help block, though his lack of punch timing can allow defenders into his chest. He fits best in an outside zone scheme but could function in a power scheme where heavily used as a puller or backside drive blocker. As a pass blocker, he will be able to operate well in space or as a help blocker.
6. Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State, 6-5, 320
A two-time all-Big 12 honorable mention, Jenkins started 8 games in 2020 before opting out with a lower back injury. Jenkins is a big-bodied lineman who projects as a starting RT. He wins with hand quickness, play strength and awareness, while lack of elite change of direction ability and bend can limit his ceiling. As a run blocker, he can land his hands well and extend to create leverage, though he does not often utilize hip roll and can drive using his lower body power or pull the defender to the side and finish. As a pass blocker, he sits back on his heels well and can time his punch so as not to lunge often. His quick hands allow him to hand fight well with consistent hand accuracy, though he can struggle to disengage when the defender gets into his chest and can be knocked back. He fits best in a power scheme or utilized as a combo blocker and executing vertical sets in the passing game.
7. Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame, 6-6, 302
A first-team All-American selection and four-year player, Eichenberg has started every game since his sophomore year with no injury concerns. Eichenberg is a tackle who wins with his length, awareness and patience, whose lack of consistent hand placement and tendency to lunge hold him back from being a top-tier tackle prospect. He projects as a low-end starting LT at the next level who could develop into a solid starter. As a run blocker, he can tend to lunge with poor hand placement, as a wide punch does not allow him to routinely get his hands on the breastplate of the defender. He can reset his hands after initial contact, and when properly engaged can roll his hips to create leverage and drive his feet through the block. Pass blocking, he shows patience to allow the defender to come to him and can use his long arms to keep edge rushers at bay. He does not have the smoothest footwork which can cause him to have to lunge against faster pass rushers. He projects best in an outside zone scheme.
8. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama, 6-6, 310
A senior Outland Trophy winner and unanimous first-team All-American, he started every game of the 2020 season. Leatherwood is a big, long OT who wins with his strength and length, while his punch timing, tendency to lunge, and lack of agility hold him back from being a top tackle prospect. He projects as a low-end starting RT whose lack of agility may lead coaches at the next level to move him inside. As a run blocker, he tends to lunge, which does not allow him to constantly engage and can allow him to be pulled past. When drive blocking, he can roll his hips to create leverage and churn his lower body through the block to move the defender when properly engaging his hands. As a pass blocker, he can lunge and stop his feet which can allow him to be beaten vertically, though he has the length to generally push the defender over the arc. He can sink his hips well and use his strong lower body to anchor, though he can over-widen his stance. Leatherwood fits best in a gap-based scheme.
9. Brady Christensen, BYU, 6-5, 300
Christensen has started every game since he stepped on campus at BYU with no injury concerns. A bit undersized, he projects as a backup LT who could develop into a starter if he can add weight to his lower half and maintain his movement ability. Wins with consistent effort, patience and hand usage, while his ability to consistently sustain in the run game is holding him back. As a run blocker, he can run well with defenders on outside zone plays and generally keep them within his frame, though his lack of play strength can limit his ability to sustain. As a pass blocker, he has good quick footwork to get back in his set and uses his strong inside hand on the chest of the defender to extend and keeps his feet moving well while extending. He can have his hands knocked off, but has the fight and hand quickness to re-fit. Christensen fits best in an outside zone scheme due to his mobility but would likely be best on the backside.
10. Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State, 6-6, 299
A consensus first-team FCS All-American, Radunz has started every game he has played since 2017, when he tore his AC L in the first game of the season. Facing FCS competition, he did not often need proper technique to win, so he still has room to improve from a technical standpoint. Radunz projects as a backup LT who can develop into a starter by his second season once he gets used to the speed of the game and further develops his technique as a run and pass blocker. Zone blocking, he can show high pads on the run and tends to lunge, which can allow him to be pulled past and compromise his ability to create leverage. Combo blocking, he can roll his hips well and coordinate his punch to create push and seal well before getting to the second level. Pass blocking, he shows the patience to allow blockers to come to him and rarely lunges. He wins mostly with his upper body strength and athleticism and fits best in an inside zone scheme.
11. Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa, 6-8, 314
Brown missed all but five games of the 2017 season with a torn MCL, but has had limited injury concerns since. He is a towering offensive tackle who wins with size, mobility and upper body strength while his technique as a run blocker, footwork, and body control may limit his ceiling. He projects as a reserve RT who could potentially become a low-end starting option and fits best in an inside zone scheme. As a run blocker, he can stay low out of his stance, though lack of hand placement and late punch timing can allow defenders into his chest and he can allow his pads to rise on contact. Pass blocking, he can keep his pads low well and has the foot speed to get back in his set, though he can allow his base to narrow on the move, which can limit his ability to change direction and anchor. He can use his inside hand well to prevent inside counters when not challenged vertically and his length can allow him to keep pass rushers at bay, as he can hand fight well.
12. James Hudson, Cincinnati, 6-4, 302
A Michigan transfer, he has only started 11 career games, but has no injury concerns. Hudson is a powerful, aggressive tackle who wins with upper body strength and agility but is still raw in his technique as both a run and pass blocker. He projects as a backup left tackle who could develop into a low-end starter and fits best in an outside zone scheme. Run blocking, he can engage with low pad level and roll his hips to create leverage, using his very strong upper body to extend. Zone blocking, he can tend to bend at the waist when engaging on the run and lunge due to a lack of length. When pass blocking faster rushers, he can tend to overset to the outside, which allows opportunities to counter inside. He can fail to maintain a strong inside foot when leveraged as well, also opening the inside. Late punch timing and a tendency to bend at the waist in pass protection can allow him to be leveraged by speed to power moves.
13. D’Ante Smith, East Carolina, 6-5, 294
Smith missed all but the season opener of 2020 and all of 2016 with undisclosed injuries, making him a bit of an injury risk. He is a long tackle with room to add weight to his upper body who wins with jittery footwork, mobility and effort, while he can struggle to sustain blocks due to his lack of initial hand placement, pad level and high level change of direction. He projects as a reserve LT who may function as a swing tackle if he can add the desired weight and fits best in an inside zone or power scheme. As a run blocker, when he is able to properly land his hands he can roll his hips and drive through the block with his strong lower body. In pass protection, he consistently keeps his feet moving even when engaged, which allows him to mirror effectively. He can bite on jab steps and tend to lunge, which can allow him to be swam by. His tendency to catch pass rushers rather than punch to keep them at bay can allow them into his chest where he can be pushed back to dirty the pocket.
14. Jackson Carman, Clemson, 6-5, 335
A second-team All-American, Carman has started every game for Clemson the past two seasons and has no injury concerns. Carman is a top-heavy mobile lineman who wins with upper body strength and speed but lacks change of direction ability and technical savvy. He projects as a reserve RT who may be moved inside to guard due to his lack of agility which ultimately limits his upside. As a zone blocker, he can have high pads on the move and tends to lunge, which limits his explosiveness and ability to properly sustain. He lacks the change of direction ability to get square with slanting first-level defenders and often holds when beaten. Pass blocking, he can lunge on jump sets and have his hands knocked down, lacking the athleticism to recover. He does not maintain a strong inside foot and his lack of change of direction can leave him open to counter moves, where he tends to hold when beaten. Carman fits best in a gap scheme
15. Tommy Doyle, Miami (OH), 6-7, 318
Doyle missed most of his freshman season with a foot injury, though he has had little injury history since. He is a mauling OT with prototypical size and strength who is technically raw but has the physical upside to be an eventual starter at the next level. Projects best as an initial backup RT with starter development potential in a run-heavy gap scheme. When able to engage his hands, can scoop block well, using his hands to set up his feet and fights to regain leverage when allowing hands to his chest. Strong combo blocker, powerfully sealing before timing his release well to get to the second level. Has both the foot speed to get to his set point in pass pro and the patience to not over-pursue, using his long arms well to extend. When beaten off the edge, shows the motor and punch strength to push faster EDGE rushers over the arc, the ankle flexion to anchor, and has the awareness to consistently pick-up stunts and blitzes.