Updated: Apr 28
Disclaimer - interior offensive lineman are split into 2 schemes (zone vs power/gap) & fall into 2 categories (pass blocking oriented or run blocking oriented). I put ( * ) next to players that are likely Saints targets & scheme fits. I put (+) next to players that are scheme fits, but not necessarily players I'd target.
Offensive Guards (OG)
*Ikem Ekwonu NC State
Played LT & LG at NC State, but OG most likely as a pro. He's a run blocker 1st, mean, physical presence. Great leg drive and physicality. Brute power to move bodies and enough athleticism to move fluidly for his size. Really strong arms, upper body. One of the few in the class that can get away with using his arm strength instead of entire body to ragdoll and toss 2nd level defenders. Probably the most fun 'highlight reel' in class when it comes to consistently punishing opposing players. Lots of nasty pancakes. He'll be the 1st guard taken, and will be one of the higher guards drafted relative to history of drafting interior offensive lineman. It's possible teams will try him at LT because he wasn't a liability, but when you hear 6'4 325 that normally indicates G. He's got some length though so it will be interesting to see how teams project him. If I remember correctly Andrew Thomas from UGA was shaped similarly and he went 4th overall. He also hasn't taken the league by storm as a LT. If likelihood of success is higher at guard, play him at guard. Ekwonu really plays through the whistle. There are plays 20 yards downfield where he's not just chipping to 'fill the tape.' He's legitimately competing through the entire play. High effort, high motor. Footwork dropping back into pass sets is really clean, nimble. A lot to like here. Consistent high effort, high IQ, athleticism in terms of agility & power. Locates his assignment quickly even when defenses disguise pressure. If you had to summarize his game in one word: attitude. This is a nasty dude who looks to punish. Very few o-lineman have this many nasty finishes. In 500 pass snaps, allowed 3 sacks. Pass blocking versus pro speed might concern some teams.
Scout Grade - Top 10 Pick
At first glance, he appears sloppy in his midsection. So was Penei Sewell though; some guys can get away with it especially at OG. Played LT but will likely move to OG. Moves well and doesn't get knocked off his spot. Almost every pass rush against him was stonewalled in their place. They don't really get past him on pass rush. One of the stronger pass pro anchors. As a run blocker, you really see his agility. In general, he's one of the most agile blockers in this class. He'll go pretty high in this draft regardless of position (G v T), and he shows enough versatility to play in multiple schemes. According to the analytics he'll most likely go to a zone blocking run heavy team, but I thought he was good in pass pro too. Honestly, everyone talks about him converting to guard because of his size, yet on tape alone, there's not much reason to move him away from tackle. He doesn't get beat so possible David Bahktari type situation where everyone thinks he's too small to play OT, yet if given the opportunity at LT may hold up fine. That said, he is not your prototypical LT in build/stature, so I lean conversion to guard. Advanced stats show he wasn't great as a pass blocker but he held up fine on tape. In 404 snaps, allowed only 1 sack. Zero sacks allowed last year too. Good fit might be teams like the Steelers, Cardinals, Titans.
Scout Grade - Top 20 Pick
LT for a BC team who's C and RT are also in this class. Johnson looks like the best of BC's 3 OL prospects. He has solid awareness, plays low with good leverage, and does a noticeably good job of bending in advance so he has proper leverage on pass pro. There's also some really good moments of awareness. When unexpected blitz come late from the 2nd level, he's aware enough to recognize it and quick enough to position himself to contain his primary man while still chipping the secondary rusher. Shows multiple examples of high IQ. Reliable pass blocker, good athlete with quickness, nimble feet, and enough strength to where he doesn't get blown up in any phase of the game. He's not mean spirited, which sucks because there's a lot of other things to like here. There are plays where he'll beat his man and have an opportunity to demolish the guy, flatten him, but he'll just leave them on the ground. Compare that to Ekwonu, Kinnard, or Rhyan - all of whom play nasty - and someone may get solid value with Johnson. I'm not sure you can coach a dude into being mean, however there have been quality offensive lineman in the NFL that were just more "technician" than "mauler." That's more Johnson. As far as 'tools' he has pro athleticism and as far as 'tape' he's consistently effective pass blocking. There's not many plays where he's beat. In scouting, there will be times you see a guy not get beat but you can tell that against pro level competition they likely would've been. Like maybe a guy holds up against a bullrush against a 220 pound collegiate linebacker, so it doesn't register as a sack or pressure on a PFF stat sheet, but you know that against pro competition it would have. That's the challenging nature of projecting players. What I'm getting at is Johnson doesn't even have those sort of plays. I mean there aren't many examples of plays where you think "yea, he won that down...but...as a pro he probably wouldn't have." In Johnson's case, his game is very clean. He won almost every pass blocking rep I watched with a larger margin of error than others in this class. He may be one of the better, if not the best, pass blocker I've watched in this class. Not mean, not nasty, just reliable. The only knock I have is he appears not as long as other tackles. Not sure his measurements yet, but if he lacks length it might make him a good candidate to convert to guard. There's a lot of value here especially if he falls past round 1. Johnson's advanced stats are good across the board. Good zone blocker in run, good pass blocker, some power. In 364 snaps, only allowed 1 sack. He's someone that may climb into round 1 and start early as a OG.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
*Tyler Smith Tulsa
Quite possibly my favorite player in the entire class. Played LT for Tulsa, and could be a LT at NFL level, but I think he projects better to RG as a pro. He's a thick, wide dude. 1st impression "wow, he moves better than you'd expect." His agility is surprising, nimble feet. Tulsa pulls him from LT and he gets to the 2nd level faster than almost anyone, certainly faster than anyone if you're talking size adjusted speed. I mean don't be surprised if he runs one of the faster 40 yard dashes in his position group. Smith flashes speed just a notch below the top tier OL explosion, but when you see how wide and big he is, size adjusted some might rank him as the best overall athlete at his position. Athletically, he's closer to Evan Neal than he is to most of the mid round guys. Teams that don't have the draft capital to target Neal early may look to Smith in later rounds. Frankly the gap isn't as wide as you might think between a top 10 guy and a top 4 rounds guy. It may simply be the difference in playing at Alabama vs playing at Tulsa. The best competition he faced was a top ranked Cincinnati team, and you could watch the 1st 5 plays of that game and know you're watching an NFL talent. He definitely "jumps off the screen." He has high angle IQ and sticky hands. Latches to defenders well. Upper body strength is real. Very well rounded balance of power run strength and pass pro fluidity. On power runs, he is so strong that he can become slightly reliant on upper body instead of lower. It's minor, fixable and nuanced, but that's one opportunity for improvement. I like his balance in pass pro. He keeps a wide base and generally doesn't have much wasted movement. Easy player to pull for. Even on a few downs where he doesn't win on 1st punch/1st contact, he really gives a strong 2nd effort. There's determination here and pride in his play. He should be a draft climber. I could see him going as high as 2nd round...possibly climbing into late 1st rd discussions. Beyond that someone would be getting outstanding value. This is a player with 1st round traits. His girthy build does make me think he might move from LT to OG, but even at LT he wasn't outclassed, even when it came to facing his best competition. His sheer girth and athleticism do make me think he could be a monster at guard. The weird part about this guard class is it's so deep. If Smith became the best of this class, it wouldn't surprise me. The same could be said for about 4 or 5 other prospects. Very deep position for starting potential players. In 446 snaps, only allowed 2 sacks. One of those sacks came in the tape I graded vs Houston but was in 'garbage time.' Most reps I watched, he won by a large margin. According to analytics he graded best as a zone blocker in the run game (more so than power) but I thought Smith looked good across the board. Pass blocking looked like his best strength. He's one of my favorite prospects in this draft, regardless of position. He just rarely got beat. Most outlets show him ranked around pick 100, but I'd be surprised if he didn't go top 60. I think his best fit would be with the Saints who could try him at OT or RG. In that sense, he's uniquely high floor for them. Cowboys & Cardinals probably would like him too. Maybe even Titans because he flashes that type of mauler mindset if you wanted him to clear lanes for Derrick Henry type power attack.
Scout Grade - 1st/2nd Round
*Darian Kinnard Kentucky
Starting RT for a power running SEC program in Kentucky. Looks fantastic on some power run blocks where he looks to destroy. He's strong and mean. There are some moments in pass pro where speed rushers completely blow by him. Multiple occasions too where I question whether he'll be able to stay at tackle at the NFL level. He may be a candidate to convert to guard and go to a run heavy scheme. I could see him being a good fit on a team like the Steelers who might look to bolster power in their interior o-line for Najee Harris. That type of fit would suit him best. Some of his pass blocking is sloppy. He has sets where he's standing around, like vertical, not even in a leveraged stance. I don't want my o-lineman 'taking plays off.' May be the type of guy who just likes to smash and is disinterested in anything else. Footwork is just sloppy. Methodical mover, but slow in the sense of lacking acceleration. Hard player to grade because his success could be largely dependent on the team and system he lands in. On teams like the Titans, Steelers, Patriots, or Ravens he could probably develop into a good run blocker, maybe even top tier. Put him in a scheme that requires movement or lots of pass blocking and I might start to have some concerns. Hard to pinpoint but there's something about his footwork that worries me. Almost like he moves as if his feet are in concrete. As a power run blocker, he's near top of class and may be the most powerful in class. One of the few that consistently moves bodies into the 2nd level. Makes it look effortless. Extremely powerful. Not a bad athlete by any means, but just heavier almost sloppier feet. Kind of like, he doesn't run; he waddles. Despite weaknesses and inefficiencies, the raw power is enticing. He's the type of blocker with 1st round power in run blocking, but more of a 3rd/4th round overall player. Because of that his potential range of outcomes is really wide. He's one of the only OL that could arguably go round 1 or round 4; neither would surprise you. I think late 1st/early 2nd is most likely. Kinnard graded well on PFF advanced stats in nearly every category. Even as a pass blocker, where he appears unrefined on tape, he still only allowed 1 sack in 414 snaps. 3 year starter in SEC who got better year after year, doesn't hurt his case either. Single dimensional but in the right fit has big upside.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Strange is a small school player who was off the radar for most draft outlets, however PFF advanced stats had him ranked as the 6th best graded guard in the country. At 6'6, that's going to catch people's attention. He's really only a 1 year starter, but in 18 games, he's only allowed 1 sack and he didn't allow any other QB hits. As a run blocker he graded really well (as a zone blocker) too. He lined up some at LT, but mostly played LG. Some project him to OC but in a zone blocking scheme, he's physical enough to potentially be a OG. When you turn on the tape, Strange is really impressive. Even against good caliber schools like Kentucky, he dominated the point of attack and looked like the nastiest attitude on the field. If you asked me "who's the meanest dude in this OL class?" Strange might be top 3. He's not a fast player, but his length allows for long strides and he covers ground well. The one concern you see when he pulls, is he doesn't really convert speed to power. But he's capable of being powerful in a phone booth so I'm not too concerned about that limitation. He's a nimble coordinated athlete, but not necessarily explosive or fast. Because of that, he could fall in the draft. His best bet might be an offense that limits his movement, but that's not a requirement but he's requisite athleticism to play pro. According to my eyes he looks best in power run blocking situations and looks reliable in pass pro. His anchor against bull rush is legit. He really understands leverage and how to win by getting low. This is a player who was off of my radar during most of the process, but I like what I see a lot. He looks like a potential starting NFL guard, which is unique considering he's projected to be a 5th round pick. I think his tape, his size, his strength, and his performance as a run blocker and pass blocker should warrant a higher pick than that. He could go as high as 3rd round according to just tape. He may not measure great on combine drills, so 4th round may be more likely. One of the better sleeper options in the class. Versatile enough to fit into a variety of schemes.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Sean Rhyan (+)
High motor LT with enough juice and movement skills to comfortably get to the 2nd level. Plays mean. Looks to smash and stays engaged with defenders once his mitts are on them. Moves bodies well. Power is above average for sure. Should excel as a run blocker, and looks effective enough pass blocking. He'd do well in an offense that likes to run screens and likes to get their lineman in space. He's all over the field, more than anyone else in this class. UCLA lined him up on some plays where he's on the boundary blocking like a WR. In pass pro, I'd like to see him extend his arms quicker and latch as quickly as possible. A few times it's like his hands are arriving late. He may have shorter arms, I'll check once measurables come out. If that's the case, he may be a candidate to move to guard. He plays with good balance, pretty trustworthy in both phases of the game. Motor and versatility definitely pop. According to PFF advanced stats, he graded best as a power run blocker, which aligns with the tape. Looked average to above average as a pass blocker. Moving inside might help. Still, only allowed 1 sack in over 400 snaps. Rhyan is the type of prospect who's high floor but may not have an elite ceiling. Universally, from day 1 was graded around 50th prospect in the class (by all outlets). Normally, there's a lot more variety between outlets so that's an indicator of high floor. As a OG, he seems scheme diverse. Nice blend of zone & power, run & pass. Starter upside. Not a great athlete, but not a bad one. Fluid and powerful enough to not be an overt liability in any particular phase of the game. Also may not be the type of athlete where you expect superiority in any particular phase of the game either. I could picture a bad team targeting him because they "just don't want a bust."
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
*Lecitus Smith Virginia Tech
Very athletic LG who moves more like a TE than an OL. Love how he explodes out of his stance. Agile blockers aren't always powerful, but he has really great hand strength and converts speed to power as well as anyone in this class. He "latches" onto defenders quickly and eliminates guys. On so many reps as soon as he gets his hands on the defender, they're out of the play. I can't say that about all of the prospects I've watched in this class either, even some top guys, so that "stickiness" does stick out. It's awesome. When he gets his hands on a dude, they're locked up. Pre-draft rankings show him ranked around 100 meaning 3rd round. Early impressions, I feel like I'm watching a 2nd round pick. He is ultra explosive, he gets to the 2nd level with ease, and he'll wreck his man on the 1st level as he makes his way to the 2nd. He arrives to the 2nd level faster than anyone else on his line. He's not naturally brute strong like some others so he's not an "anchor" vs. bull rush, however for that being the closest thing to a weakness, he really doesn't give up too much ground. In essence, getting slightly knocked off your spot doesn't mean you lost the down. All things considered Lecitus Smith is a player I really like. He converts speed to power and has really quick feet. You don't have to watch him long to see the athleticism. It jumps off the screen. He's not just a bundle of athletic attributes either. He's high motor and not afraid to get 30 yards downfield to throw a block. The one place he could have occasional trouble in the pros is against monster strength bull rush (Vince Wolfork & Justin Smith type interior defenders), but there are enough positive attributes and a well rounded skill set (good in both phases of the game) for a team to really get good value on a high effort, talented, & versatile zone blocker who's ready to contribute early in his career in multiple phases. Obviously, he'll need to go to a system that prioritizes their o-lineman's agility/athleticism over sheer power/force. According to PFF advanced stats, Smith graded average as a run blocker and pass blocker, with positive grade in zone blocking for run. I honestly didn't see many lapses in pass pro like their grade might indicate. 3 year starter who allowed 4 sacks. He doesn't have much length but is athletic enough to become a good pro. Looks like a potential starter. Very underrated. I think he could go as high as 2nd round and as low as 4th round. 3rd round seems most likely.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
*Ed Ingram LSU
Athletic LG who showcases a nice blend of both power and agility traits. Had off-field issues which may hurt his stock. Effective against in run and pass, but sort of a mauler in the run game (attitude-wise). As far as balance, he is one of the more balanced offensive lineman in this class. I could see him being plugged into multiple roles or offenses (from power run to vertical passing). His best fit might be zone blocking run team that values balanced pass pro. He gets really strong push when asked to move bodies, and often is 5 yards upfield with his man before others are 2 yards upfield. He prefers to maul so that's a role he'll enjoy most. According to PFF advanced stats, they claim his power run blocking was the weakest part of his game, but the tape doesn't reflect that. He could be slightly more consistent on non power run plays and when asked to block out of spread/shotgun. A few instances on bull rush where he gets sloppy with his leverage and loses ground. In pass pro there are also times where he doesn't have sticky hands like some others. He needs to maintain arm length and stay with his rusher through the whistle. Occasionally will win the 1st contact but than the defender will win the down on 2nd effort. Could improve ambition as well as IQ when it comes to blocking secondary rushers. On plays with a light front, he'll stay in stance in space instead of chipping to help the man to his left or right. Most of the negatives look like they can be cleaned up with coaching. As far as talent and ability, athleticism and game, he looks the part of an NFL starting guard. Off-field issues may push him down draft board too so there's potential value. Not quite Trey Smith (5th round out of TN) type value like last year, but potential starter in mid rounds. Typically this would be a top 50 or 60 prospect. Could fall to the 3rd or 4th round. In 484 pass snaps, allowed 2 sacks. Main criticism will be consistency. Flashes of great as well as flashes of "get your head in the game." Main question I'd want to make sure before drafting him is, "how much do you care?" Performances have flashes that border on "underachiever." Has pro traits & talent though.
Scout Grade - 3rd/4th Round
*Thayer Munford Ohio State
Played LG for a good Ohio State team. Munford flashes a little bit of everything pretty early in the film. Good balance and poise as a pass blocker. Also gets nice push in the run game. He's a powerful player. No explosion, but makes up for it with high IQ. Does a really good job recognizing pressure; can shift from primary to secondary rushers with ease as defenses try to disguise and pressure late. There's a lot to like here. He's not fast and may fall in the draft because of it (3rd/4th round-ish) but he's rarely outclassed. On so many plays he keeps the pocket clean for his QB. He's just so hard to move off of his spot that I think his powerful anchor makes up for lack of explosive traits. We're also dealing with guard here which is the only position on offense where a sub-par athlete can get away with it. Girthy, thick pass blocker that can get push in the run game. I don't see him getting beat much so he could contribute to multiple offenses, quickly. If I had to sum up his game in 1 word: smart. He is balanced and always seems to be in position. Even on a couple plays where I thought he took an incorrect angle, he'd make up for it on 2nd effort. He anticipates defenders well. Good value as long as his team builds their interior OL around power > agility. The advanced stats according to PFF tell a slightly different story than what my eyes tell me. According to PFF, he's best as a zone blocker in the run game, and they view him as a pass blocking liability. I didn't see that. I saw a long, strong, high IQ pass blocker who's traits are more aligned with power (gap) than agility (zone). In the last 2 years, in over 700 pass snaps, he only allowed 1 sack. Could improve consistency with leverage. A few too many plays where he's playing too high. He's also 6'6 so it may be optically deceptive. Leverage didn't always result in negative plays but as a pro the margin for error will be slimmer, so he could clean it up. Has some high effort moments downfield. Munford could surprise people depending where he lands. As far as fit, New Orleans might make sense, but I'm not sure if they'll view him as fast enough. He's definitely versatile enough. Munford seems like a 3rd round player. He's projected slightly after that by most outlets, but his tape could warrant as high as late round 2. Beyond that would be good value. Had experience starting at LT for a season too. Versatility to offer swing potential might move him up boards further than pre-draft projections indicate.
Scout Grade - 3rd/4th Round
Rivas is a nasty mauling run blocker. He's not a bursty or explosive athlete, but he's strong and understands leverage. He consistently plays low to where it's noticeable. The amount of push he gets on power run plays is noticeable too and it all hinges on his ability to get low and relentless effort driving his legs. Rivas lack of agility could affect his pass blocking upside versus speed rushers, however in 3 years as a starter and over 1400 snaps, he never allowed a sack. Rivas won't wow anyone athletically, so he could fall in the draft to possibly as late as 4th/5th round. However, the run blocking ability, size, power, and pass blocking effectiveness in college could warrant a pick as high as 3rd round. I could see him climbing by draft time because he does a lot right. As far as tape, he looks like a 3rd round player but maybe a 5th round athlete. 4th round would be good value. There weren't a ton of games available but from the couple I could find, Rivas consistently opened huge running lanes. Kansas State loved to run right behind him and he didn't let them down. As far as "value" options, he could develop into a starting OG for a variety of schemes which isn't bad value for a mid round pick. Even though the analytics indicate he's more of a power run blocker, I think his effectiveness in pass blocking and versatility in the run actually present some value for zone blocking units or pass blocking teams who are looking to add physicality, depth. Will he be athletic enough? He's on the fringe where possibly not. All things considered, I like the risk/reward because he won a lot more reps than he lost despite not being a great athlete so it's possible that trend continues as a pro.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Jamaree Salyer (+) Georgia
Big girthy LG who looks similar in body composition and style to last year's UGA guard (Ben Cleveland). He's more of a power type player, but one thing you notice is for that style of guard he does explode out of his stance with more juice than you might expect so there is good acceleration. He gets to the 2nd level with ambition and showcases power to move bodies and just enough short area speed to move. According to tape I see a player who's more equipped to run block than pass block due to lack of side to side agility, which is his athletic weakness. PFF advanced stats show the opposite; they've got him graded high as a pass blocker and low as a run blocker. I question whether that will continue to be the case as a pro. He has good angle IQ and makes up for lack of agility by properly positioning his body between defender and his QB. Pass blocking has me kind of split. There are moments where he looks good on an island, but a few other moments where you can tell pro speed could be a problem. High IQ player, limited athletically. On plays where he has no defined rusher attacking him, he does a great job chipping to help the man to his left or right. You can see he processes information and recognizes his surroundings way quicker than most of the others in this class. Well rounded power blocking guard, but the lack of agility in pass pro does show up a few times each game. Hard to tell how much of a liability it might be because o-line success has so much to do with surrounding cast and his surrounding cast was top tier. As far as a mid round pick, he does enough right to warrant taking a chance on picking him anywhere between late 3rd and 5th round. Has flaws, but smart and high effort with really good body/tools. Just one athletic liability with lack of agility could hurt his ceiling. In over 1,000 snaps, he only allowed 1 sack but I do worry if it will translate versus pro athleticism. He still performed well in SEC. Day 3 I'd feel most comfortable about the risk. I could see him going round 5 because of it.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Nasty mauling attitude and power run blocker. Started at LT in college, could play RT as a pro, but most likely converts to OG. According to some outlets like PFF, they say he didn't grade well in pass protection, however in over 400 snaps, he never allowed a sack. On tape you do see he could have issues vs pro speed so the OG projections have more to do with athletic limitations regarding agility than they do with performance on-field. If moved inside to OG, pass blocking vs speed may not be as much of a need/issue though. In that sense, Goedeke has upside. He definitely has a nasty enough attitude to play OG and probably fits best in a run heavy scheme, but I don't count out the possibility of being able to develop/contribute in other roles/schemes. Always looks to smash. Although not overly explosive, he does have nimble feet as he drops into his set and he is mobile enough to get to the 2nd level. Once he gets there he looks for people to hit so there's no issues with attitude. Goedeke is currently projected as early round 4, but I could see him climbing on draft day by a round or two. Looks like a 3rd round type player. Likely more of a guard prospect. Has starting upside. The fact he'll be converting from OG to RT could require some time to develop/adjust. In that sense he's somewhat developmental. Because of that his grade could vary widely. Neither round 3 nor round 7 would surprise me. Most likely in 4th/5th. I like his potential as a mid round project especially if he's available in round 4 or after.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Big athletic lineman with very limited tape available. All I can find are clips of him slam dunking a basketball. Former high school TE. Turned down LSU to go to Southern. Looks like a pro level athlete, but I can't find film. Hopefully some games will become available. I got to watch him in the senior bowl where he played guard. Will play OG as a pro. Senior bowl, he used length well and flashed agility. Solid footwork. Looks like a potential 5th round pick just on senior bowl alone, possibly higher to a zone blocking run team that favors passing slightly over the run. Carter grades best in pass protection according to PFF advanced stats. Coming from Southern to pro may require time to adjust to speed of game. Smaller school lineman usually require a year or two to develop before being ready.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Marquis Hayes (+)
Thick build who looks best pulling and power run blocking. Athletically, could be a liability versus speed pass rush. Gets some push in short yardage running situations. Looks like a run blocking rotational swing player. Maybe a starting guard in the right system but I worry about how his pass blocking will translate. He allowed 5 sacks in 2 years which isn't bad on it's surface (it's not great either), but when you watch him on tape there are a lot of plays where you think "that would've been a sack at the pro level." I like that he has 3 years of starting experience for a good program, at the same position, LG. I don't like his feet and I don't like the lack of agility/speed. PFF advanced stats show him as a better pass blocker than run blocker, but I think the tape shows the opposite. I see a big strong thick player who knows how to utilize his length well. He doesn't get ragdolled, and he has decent IQ, but he's got a long way to go with his footwork. I will admit that even though he's not someone I liked at first, that the more reps I watched, the more good flashes I'd see. He's a strong upper body and very strong hands/arms. Had some moments where he was able to ragdoll guys with just arm strength. Developmental player at this point. Not someone I'd want to start early. He has starter size, strength, length and shows potential run blocking. He's also got a nasty nasty side where if he gets a chance to hurt guys, he does. Hard prospect to grade. In the same game, you'll see 5 plays you hate and 5 plays you love. Very dependent on what reps you watch. He's very nasty and very physical, but can he hold up against pro speed? As far as draft projections, some outlets show him going as early as 3rd round, but that seems like a reach to me. You see dominant flashes but he wasn't dominant overall. I think 4th or even 5th round is a lot more likely. Before that, and fans/coaches might expect an immediate starter, which I don't think Hayes is. He might look like an NFL guard, but I think he has a long way to go in order to play like one. More stash and develop at this point. There's upside, but downside could get ugly. I don't like the risk/reward ratio before round 4, really.
Scout Grade - 5th Round
Justin Shaffer (+)
Georgia 6'4 330
Explosive out of his stance. Has a mean streak. Run blocker mainly, likely rotational player. Graded very low as a pass blocker. Allowed 4 sacks in 400 snaps. In previous years, like last year, he only allowed 1 sack and graded better across the board. It's possible teams will look to his 2020 tape and hope to revive his earlier better performance. Had some plays where he gives up too early and it resulted in his man making the play. Needs to learn how to finish. Shaffer is surprisingly athletic. When moving in the 2nd level, he looks fluid and rangy. That's really where he looks best. In a system that prioritizes movement, he has some upside. He doesn't have a high IQ as a pass blocker. There are plays where he'll block the wrong rusher and other times where he doesn't even see secondary blitzers. He has a chippy attitude though. This is the type of player who could be a really good short yardage run blocker. He could run block in a zone scheme or a power scheme. He doesn't anchor well and gets moved off of his spot as a pass blocker, too easily. He also gets called for a lot of holding penalties. Shaffer is a developmental project type player. He's what you want as a run blocker, but has a long way to go as a pass blocker. Late in the draft though, I could see teams taking a shot on him and hoping to develop his pass blocking for a couple years. He could offer some rotational value in jumbo package early and possibly develop into a starter if he cleans up the pass blocking lapses and penalties. Sort of a long term project who might only offer rotational value especially early in his career. Not someone I'd target until day 3, if at all.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
High effort pass blocker, but I don't see the power you'd want in the run game from a starting NFL tackle. Looks like a rotational player and looks more like a OG than OT (at pro level at least). Probably converts but long enough to possibly consider initial camp reps at OT. Teams may like him day 3 as a long term developmental player to move inside. Will be picked more on athleticism than tape. Could go day 3 as early as round 5, but I don't like the value unless round 7 or UDFA. Didn't watch a ton of tape so my assessment is based on limited reps, however I didn't watch a ton of tape because the early portion of his tape didn't warrant enough attention.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Tyrese Robinson (+) Oklahoma
RT for a program that's consistently produced NFL caliber OTs. Definitely lacks side to side agility and only shot will be a move inside to guard. Even then, there are athletic limitations. It's possible he improves at guard though instead of being asked to pass block on an island like he had to do at RT. He's thick but carries some sloppy weight. He has strong hands and plays high effort, but this looks like a priority free agent who'll need time to develop. Likely a rotational player. He's not overly strong or agile. He has length and size, and graded okay as a zone blocker in the run game. He allowed 4 sacks in about 400 snaps though and frankly he got beat more than the stats indicate in pass pro. OK was playing him out of position at RT though so taking a late round flyer on him with the intention of playing him at his natural position of OG could have some intrigue late on day 3. It's possible he improves if not asked to block speed on the outside.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Andrew Vorhees USC
Played LG and filled in at LT. Absolutely demolished on some bull rush. I'm not sure he has the natural power to anchor in pass pro. Looks like a good collegiate, but I don't see an NFL starter here. Maybe some value to a rotation but not enough baseline athletic ability to warrant a selection. Because of the program and his experience playing multiple positions, I guess one could argue there's some rotational value late in the draft, but you wouldn't want someone like this filling in your lineup for very long. What bothers me on his film is his work in the 2nd level. On far too many plays it's like he's grabbing air. Other players at least make contact and find something to hit. It's like he doesn't have the athleticism to even make consistent contact in the 2nd level. You might live with it if he was better on the line, but he flashes liability there too. I don't see it.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Tyler Linderbaum (+) Iowa
One of the highest graded zone run blockers in the interior. Only allowed 2 sacks in 3 years of starting for Iowa & PFF claims he's the highest graded interior OL in their history of grading. Truthfully, I wouldn't have known that from the tape alone. Linderbaum has very agile feet & gets good leverage but he's not physically imposing. He does convert speed to power though and has a high IQ as a pass blocker. Picks up secondary blitzers and assignments. Looks best in space and when the offense schemes movement. Best moments are when he gets to the 2nd level. Not big, but rarely outclassed or ragdolled by power. Interesting prospect. Not ideal size, but not unprecedented for undersized players to perform well at C. Still, I could see him falling further than where most have him graded which is top 10. Mid 20s might be more comfortable considering lack of size/strength.
Scout Grade - Late 1st Round
3 year starter who grades well in run blocking and pass blocking. Played 2 years split between LG & RG than played 1 year at OC. One of the few OC prospects that could also be listed in OG group. Arguably either. He's slightly more oriented towards zone running but highly graded in both zone and power run blocking. Powerful player that looks like a potential starting pro. Packs a heavy punch with his hands. Entire KY OL plays a nasty physical brand of football. Looks good in pass pro. Looks like the most underrated C in this class. Some outlets show him 7th round, but if you just put each C's tape on side by side, I would've thought he was the 2nd best C in this class and a possible 3rd round pick. Beyond that would be outstanding value. He has length, strength, and decent functional athleticism. Anchors well. He's not a fast athlete, but he's 6'6 and oriented towards power. Scout Grade - 3rd/4th Round
*Dohnovan West Arizona State
Run blocker who's not refined as a pass blocker yet, but very athletic. West' movement is exceptional. Utilizes his length well. Almost uses his arms too much, meaning I'd like to see him generate power from his lower half more than being too reliant on upper body strength. This is a player with all the athletic tools you'd look for. Despite not grading great in pass pro (according to PFF advanced stats), there were some great flashes in pass pro and not too many examples of him getting smoked. He's more fit for a zone blocking, run 1st scheme, however there's upside as a pass pro too. Looks like a developmental prospect with starter upside. Looks like a potential 3rd/4th round pick. May not start immediately, but has upside.
Scout Grade - 4th Round
*James Empey BYU
Pass blocker. Missed a lot of time over last 2 years. In over 1700 snaps, only allowed 3 sacks. Got less efficient year after year. Teams will hope to revive his earliest best form. Off the snap, he has some explosion. May be the most explosive center in this class. Despite the advanced stats, I thought he looked good as a run blocker. He could latch on to his man a little better, but I like how he converts speed to power.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Alec Lindstrom (+) Boston College
Pass blocker that lacks power in run game. Lack of strength and power in general could be a problem as a pro. Needs to go to a zone blocking scheme. Looks rotational until he adds strength. Has some nasty pancakes but most were from pass blocking, which is unique. As a pass blocker, he actually had a lot of good moments. Chippy player. Possible starter upside. Had a lot of good blocks where I expected him to be overpowered but he held ground. Sort of an overachiever type because there's not much raw power or even speed traits, but he utilized leverage and technique to hold up against bigger, stronger players. Didn't lose many reps in the games I watched, even vs good teams like Clemson. Still he's not ideal in traits. Worth a shot to develop.
Scout Grade - 5th/6th Round
*Nick Ford Utah
Zone run blocker who allowed no sacks in last 2 years. Despite that PFF advanced stats show him as more of a run blocker only, and below average draft grade. Looks like a pro athlete. Has length and good feet. Doesn't get much push and isn't a mauler. More of a technician that wins with length. There's some upside though. He's similar to West from AZ State in this class.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Dylan Parham (+)
Parham is a 3 year starter who only allowed 1 sack in the last 2 years. He's a zone blocker in the run game who didn't get beat much at all as a pass blocker. My concern with Parham is size. I've never seen an offensive line prospect this small. I mean it's noticeable. He is tiny compared to every other lineman and most defensive lineman that he lines up against. He's listed at 6'4 285, but looks like he's 6'1 275. He'll likely only be able to play OC. He looks best in space and gets to the 2nd level quickly. As a pass blocker he has quick feet and resets well to adjust to pass rush counters. His angle IQ is only average resulting in some plays where it looks like he's having to work harder than he should simply because he didn't take the best initial angle in pass pro. He's more natural as a run blocker than in pass pro. He plays low, but on a lot of plays it looks like he's an overachiever. It's not that he gets beat, but he's certainly not overpowering anyone. If anything, it just looks like he's 'got his hands full' in pass pro. I don't know how a player this size can make it in the NFL. His best days are likely at the college level. PFF loves him and grades him as a top 100 prospect, but it reminds me of TuTu Atwell the 150 pound WR last year. At some point you have to put the analytics aside, and use common sense. Parham has good tape, and doesn't get beat much, but I just wonder how high his ceiling could really be at this size. It would surprise me if he developed into a game-in game-out starter, and it would surprise me even more if he became a good starting guard. Occasionally, smaller players can make it at center though. Changing positions might not be a bad idea if he wants to stick around. As it stands now though most outlets list him as a OG. I don't see that. He's very agile, but lacks power. Good tape to watch is versus Houston where he had a few reps vs Logan Hall (projected 2nd round DT). He held up generally well but at no point did he move anyone off of their spot. That worries me. I could see him falling in the draft to day 3.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Doug Kramer (+)
Graded really well in the run as a zone blocker but poorly as a pass blocker. 3 year starter who only allowed 3 sacks which isn't bad considering that's his weakness. Very physical player in the run game. Has a nasty attitude and looks for people to hit. Reckless type and will throw his body around just to put a hit on a guy. Looks and loves to hit. Certainly not what you'd draw up as a "pro athlete." Kind of small and not refined or muscular in frame. Despite that he's sort of an overachiever. Lack of length could create problems for him as a pro. Love his attitude, but he loses ground as a pass blocker. Doesn't have natural strength to really anchor like you'd want. Could offer value to a run heavy system. Certainly worth a try out if he goes undrafted.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Luke Wattenburg (+)
Graded well as a power run blocker and as a pass blocker. Didn't allow many QB hits or sacks. 3 year starter who only allowed 2 sacks. Not fast and doesn't have many explosive athletic traits. More of a long, strong player. Gets sloppy at his base and gets pushed back into the pocket a few too many plays for my liking. It's more from bad technique than it is from athletic limitations though so I think he could be coached up. Absolutely needs to play lower against bull rush. Looks stronger in the run game where he gets a little bit of push. Looks like a project player that you hope to develop into a starter long term. Has some tools with length and strength.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
DIDN'T DECLARE EARLY (Next year's class)
Jarrett Patterson Notre Dame
Long for a center. Graded really well in all facets of the game, zone blocking in the run game, and never allowed a sack in the passing game. After Linderbaum, it wouldn't surprise me if Patterson was the 2nd center taken.
Scout Grade - 3rd/4th Round
Emil Ekiyor Alabama
RG for a prestigious program. 1st glance, his body and movement look similar to Ed Ingram from LSU. As a prospect he's a little more controlled, not as reckless. For example Ingram would have plays where he is so ambitious getting upfield to the 2nd level that his man sometimes will peel off of him in the process (usually 3 yards into a 5 yard block downfield). Ekiyor maintains a better control of the opponent in power run blocks, yet in doing so might not push his man quite as far upfield. There's still power here to people push; it's just contained. Generally technically sound with his footwork, you can tell he works on it, but naturally doesn't have the balance that some others are gifted with. It doesn't appear chronic but there are plays where he's on the turf from balance issues (more in pass pro than run block). He's really athletic getting to the 2nd level. The more I watch the more I realize the athleticism. It doesn't jump out at you at 1st but watch enough plays and you'll see some great flashes. His lower half is beautifully proportioned. As far as build, he is a thick dude, and has a thicker (not sloppy) lower mass. Penn State's LT had it. He has it. Tree trunk legs and butt. Could improve chipping secondary rushers in pass pro. Needs to identify those plays where he "doesn't have a man" a tick earlier. Whoa, for as much good as I see, he might have the worst moment of any lineman in this class. Luckily it's one play. But vs. Ole Miss near the end of the 1st quarter, he gets absolutely flattened by a linebacker. I mean it's on the level of when Cam Chancellor took out Alex Boone. You almost wouldn't think it's possible that a smaller player could flatten someone so emphatically with that type of size differential. That's why leverage is so important. That linebacker might be a freak of nature (I still haven't watched EDGE in this class - will update if he's a prospect), but that's the only example of any lineman in this class where I've seen them lose a down so badly. Absolutely smoked, like on his back. It's one play, but wow. I keep seeing balance issues flare up in his film. Sort of the tale of 2 tapes. On his best reps (which he has many more good reps than bad), you feel like you're watching a starting caliber NFL guard, but his worst reps are bad. The worst reps aren't plentiful, so I like the upside, but he may need time to develop. There's enough to work with to warrant a selection. Anywhere from late 3rd to 6th round. Wide range of outcomes depending how coachable teams view his weaknesses. Good news is he's a high effort player and has a healthy athletic baseline so there's a lot to work with.