Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Disclaimer - offensive tackles 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.
*Evan Neal Alabama
Played RG, RT & LT for AL. Massive man who arrived on campus as a 5 star elite recruit, but was 6-7 385 pounds. He dropped weight to 350, but despite how those numbers sound, he is not sloppy. A lot of the weight is distributed in his legs which are like 2 tree trunks. He's surprisingly athletic for that size. Nimble footwork in pass pro, and a body mover in run blocking. Weight is the main thing to watch; hopefully a year of pro strength & conditioning will do him well and make sure his body is optimized. Maybe he's just built differently too because at 350 pounds his ability to move for that weight is like watching Refrigerator Perry where the man's still an athlete. Players this big inherently make me wonder about optimization and conditioning. Would he move better at 330? Either way he's a top 10 pick. Still he could improve finishing plays and 'heat-seeking' in the 2nd level. There are a few instances on screens and short passes where had he gotten upfield with more ambition, he could've contributed to helping the runner get more yards. There are also instances where he has the chance to punish but doesn't. Not overly mean-spirited (in demeanor) despite imposing traits. Overall he looks great in pass protection and good as a run blocker. Despite his size, PFF analytics show him better as a zone blocker than a power blocker. I'm not sure the tape reflects that. He's powerful enough to play in any scheme. The size and athleticism give him scheme and positional versatility. He'd fit in either side the line and most offenses, but I think would be best suited as a LT in a pass 1st offense. Jaguars, Texans, & Saints would all be good fits. Saints might be wise to trade up in order to get him because his upside might be too good to pass up. Has 1st overall type traits. Raw, but also never got settled in one position because Alabama kept moving him.
Scout Grade - Top 10 Pick
*Charles Cross Mississippi State
Fundamentally does a really good job of "latching." His pass pro is solid but needs to improve balance on some plays. Footwork can get cleaned up, but very strong hands. He's generally good there, but a few moments where he slips and ends up on the turf. He is nimble and adjusts to blitz from outside. It doesn't always look pretty, but he gets the job done. He's a LT with just enough athleticism to hold up on an island, but the one concern is how he'll deal with pro speed from smaller more athletic EDGE rushers. Room to improve against speed rush and if his game doesn't translate in that one area, he may be a candidate to move to guard where it wouldn't be as much of a concern. This is a 'tools over tape' player currently, but potential is there because you see really good flashes in both aspects of the game (run, pass). His hand strength is real, and he's very high IQ. Athletically, he may still have room to improve. In games like vs. Alabama, they were playing from behind so you get to see mainly pass protection against a good defense, he held up pretty well. In games like vs. LSU you get to see his run blocking, and he surprised me with his versatility. Most o-line prospects are either pass blockers or run blockers; they have a obvious preference/leaning. In Cross' case, he looks ambitious as a run blocker where you see a lot more of his athleticism, and he looks generally reliable in pass pro. This dude might have higher ceiling than pre-draft rankings would indicate. He needs work, but flashes everything you'd want from a versatile OL. Very pass heavy offense, in over 700 pass snaps, only allowed 2 sacks on the year. Graded even higher as a run blocker (slightly better as a zone blocker than power). Showed flexibility to do it all in his last year. Made a big jump in production from previous seasons. High ceiling, but low floor.
Scout Grade - 1st Round
*Nicholas Petit-Frere Ohio State
You see the athleticism on the very 1st snap. He looks like an NFL LT. Great feet, explosive actually, powerful enough by converting speed to power, long arms, and ability to put all of those tools together. He could improve maintaining his balance in some pass pro against strength rushers, but even on the plays where he'll look slightly knocked off his spot, it didn't always result in bad plays. He could slightly improve his anchor against bull rush though. Best moments look like a 1st round LT with upside. Very comfortable pass blocking, many times making it look easy. Worst moments look really developmental like a 2nd/3rd round type player; he had bad stretches like vs Michigan where he got destroyed by Aiden Hutchinson. Overall there's upside. Competitive run blocker. Would do well in a versatile offense that prioritizes zone blocking/agile, athletic OL. On 1st impressions I was damn close to ranking him as the top OL in class but he's very up and down. In traits, he's top tier. As a player, he has erratic stretches. His value, more so than most other OL prospects in this class, is really dependent on team/system. I don't think the gap between him and some of the top of class LTs is as wide as pre-draft rankings might indicate. I'm talking upside. Petit-Frere's worst moments are awful lapses, but he has games where he really looks the part too. It's about improving consistency. You get a good run blocker immediately & a guy who'll need to improve pass blocking consistency. Even as a pass blocker, you see top tier upside and tools. Athletically, stylistically, build he looks similar to Terron Armsted out of Arkansas Pinebluff. Armstead went 3rd round but became a starting LT. Petit-Frere might go 2nd/3rd round because he has some bad moments on tape, but he has starting LT upside. As much as people talk trash on his lapses (he's been one of the most criticized prospects in this class, especially for his poor performance vs Michigan) I think the criticisms are a bit overblown. In over 450 snaps, he still only allowed 2 sacks. He also is one of only 3 OTs in this class to start entire seasons at both tackle positions (along with Evan Neal & Max Mitchell). He started RT for a year and LT for a year. Considering last year was his 1st year at LT, I'm a bit more forgiving on the growth curve. I wasn't expecting a 1st year guy at the position to have perfect tape. Frankly, if the players ranked ahead of him were graded with that same logic, than Cross and Neal didn't look superb in their 1st years at the position either. Petit-Frere is a polarizing prospect. Him and Daniel Faalele are the most debated OL prospects in this class. If you watch his best games, you'd think you're watching a top 10 pick. If you watch his worst games, you'd think you're watching a 4th round pick. Because of that he may fall in the draft, but I consider it value for the team that gets him because he has the traits to potentially become a dominant LT, and there's just not many guys in this class where I can say the same. He's high risk because the lapses did happen, but I like the potential reward. Ideal situation would be going to a good team in the 2nd round (where he doesn't have "1st round pick" expectations) that has a veteran LT to start ahead of him for a year and mentor.
Scout Grade - 2nd Round
*Rasheed Walker Penn State
Starting LT for Penn State, this guy jumps off the tape immediately, like on the very 1st play. Explosive athlete who converts speed to power. You can pull him from LT on power runs. Strong anchor in pass pro. Could utilize leverage better and improve technique on bull rush but there's a ton to work with here. Walker finishes plays. Has some of the nastiest finishes, consistently, in this class. Really looks to punish, drives rushers into the ground, and hits them while their down. Might be my favorite mid round OT I've watched. I'm not sure why he's not ranked higher. He had lapses in pass pro, but he also has all of the athletic tools to develop into a top tier starting LT. The lower half of his build is really exceptional. After watching games from this entire o-line class, Rasheed Walker may have the best ability to convert speed to power. As far as raw tools, he has top 10 traits. The fact he's projected around pick 100 speaks to some of the gap between tools and tape, but frankly the tape has a lot more good than bad. I'm much higher on Walker than most. He has what can't be taught athletically plus a nasty attitude. I'll take a chance on that in the 2nd/3rd round any day. Beyond that would be great value. Not many guys have athleticism to play LT and block speed on an island but also have the strength to move bodies if lined up at OG. Development required but massive upside. For perspective, athletically, when factoring speed traits and power traits across all o-line prospects in this class, he's near top of the class (I'm talking for teams looking for both speed & strength instead of one or the other). In 450 snaps he allowed 4 sacks which needs to be improved. He allowed more pressures than most of the class too. It's worth noting though that much of this class, if we're just comparing statistical performance (like pressures allowed and sacks allowed), are small school guys. Can we really compare Walker and who he faced at Penn State versus Tervor Penning's performance at UNI? My guess is if you swapped their situations, that Walker's stats would look better had he been facing UNI type competition too. So there's nuance that has to be considered beyond just analytics. Walker has to clean up his pass blocking consistency, no doubt about it, but his upside is through the roof. He's nasty & athletic. As far as trying to find a starting LT in mid rounds of an NFL draft, I think potential reward is worth the risk especially after round 2.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
*Braxton Jones Southern Utah
Plays through the whistle instead of just playing through his assignment. High motor. Misses on some angles which makes me question overall game awareness/angle IQ. As a blocker, he's got good power. Strong upper body and arms. More ability to rag doll from top half than most. With that said he could work on using his lower half to generate power especially on bull rush where you'd like to see better leverage and anchor. Overall I think it's fixable with good coaching. Biggest issues with his tape are awareness where free rushers get past him. Some of it may be due to assignment, but I'd like to see him recognize secondary blitzers and chip more (best guys make it possible through high IQ, quick processing, and anticipation). Charles Cross for example from Miss State had a "nobody gets passed me attitude" & embodied that mindset in pass pro. Jones could benefit from that type of "secondary rusher awareness." There's no glaring issues of athleticism nor glaring issues in pass blocking or run blocking, with the exception of occasional anchor improvements vs bull rush. He looks balanced and above average athletically both in terms of speed traits and strength traits. Overall, he might have the highest motor of any OT I watched in this class. There's an intensity in his overall approach to each game, his body language and hustle. He really competes really hard. This is someone you have to pull for because he plays so much harder than most. He looks to finish plays and enjoys pancaking guys when they take a play off. As far as developmental LTs with upside to possibly become starters, there's a lot of value here if a team can improve his leverage and processing. He could go as late as 4th round, but there's enough to work with to where a 2nd round pick wouldn't be out of the question. He shows ability as a run blocker and pass blocker. Because he's dual threat and starter upside, I could see him climbing in the draft. In 442 pass blocking snaps, he allowed 3 sacks. In his 2 years prior, he allowed zero. It's arguable which side of the line he projects better to, but I lean slightly towards RT because of the nastiness. He's someone that might rejoice the challenge of battling against strongside power & has a mindset that feels appropriate for that side of the formation.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Small school LT that never allowed a sack in 17 games. Some project him more to RT but similar to Ryan Ramczyk where I think he could play either. May be the only prospect in this class to never allow a sack throughout college (I'll verify to make sure, but according to memory). Physical pass blocker & potential sleeper. There's not much tape available, so my assessment is based on limited information, but on the reps I had access to and watched, he looked solid in both run and pass. Natural nasty presence to him as a run blocker. Pass blocking in one word: comfortable. It's hard to describe but Waletzko is one of the most comfortable blockers in this class, like poised under pressure. At no point does he look rattled or out of control. There's a calm, grounded nature to his body language. Possible starter upside. Low rankings across other outlets may be a byproduct of small school more so than any liability he actually presents on tape. Tape is hard because level of competition is not great; he's sort of men amongst boys at North Dakota. Hence, he's one of the few guys in the class where the senior bowl was actually important, and maybe even a better reference point for scouts than his actual tape because at least it's versus the types of players he'll be facing in the pros. Opinions on Waletzko range extremely widely. To me, he looks like a 3rd/4th round type prospect with starter upside. Because of that, I wouldn't have a problem with teams taking him as early as late 2nd round/early 3rd because finding quality OT is so challenging. Regardless, he should be ranked a lot higher than most have him which is generally 6th/7th round projections. He uses his length as well as anyone in this class & constantly keeps rushers at a distance. He has strong hands, arms. Lower half of his body is on the thinner side, almost more like a DE than OL. Still, he's a very underrated prospect. Expect him to climb come draft day. He may take time to develop as a pro since he's coming from D2, but I really like his attitude, traits, & overall game. One of the better value picks in this OT class. Granted I'm making the assessment based on senior bowl and only a couple games vs D2 defenses, however he looks athletic enough, coordinated enough, and potentially consistent enough to develop into an every down viable starter, albeit most likely after a couple years of development. I could see him being a good value fit for the Saints in round 3 or possibly even trading back into round 2 to target. One of my favorites.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
*Dare Rosenthal Kentucky/LSU
Strong LT with strong anchor vs bull rush. Imposingly big frame, uses arms/length really well. Extends early with heavy hands, disrupts pass rushers early in the rep. Needs to stay with his blocks through the whistle!! Too many moments where he beats his man, eases up, than his man continues to pursue and gets the tackle. Had he stuck with the play, likely a different outcome. That's coachable. There are also some inexcusably low IQ moments, like not seeing a free rusher (that appears to be his assignment) until his QB is taking a sack. How can you not see a guy who starts in front of you and is running right past you, until he's already passed? Might want to drug test him because it almost appears like a "high moment." Freak athlete, looks the part in traits, but a sloppy player overall. Technique is inconsistent, often plays too high when he should be getting bend to gain leverage. It's like he's relying too much on upper body strength (which is very strong) instead of technique. Rosenthal is a big, strong player that will likely go to a run heavy team. Kentucky ran zone concepts too but as far as traits, there's enough size and sheer power to develop into a power blocking OL at the NFL level. Might project best to RT but has tools for LT too. What makes him unique is he has the traits to develop into a good pass blocking OT. Compared to the other Kentucky OT (Kinnard), he has a better shot at becoming a OT than can pass block. Hard to believe considering Kinnard is projected round 2/3 and Rosenthal is projected rd 4 at the highest and undrafted by PFF. He's a project for sure. There are some 2nd/3rd round athletic traits here (I nearly put 1st rd traits) and even starter upside, but it will take time (keep in mind I only had his LSU tape, so I can't account for potential growth he may have had at Kentucky). In what I had access to, Rosenthal will have sets where he looks like a starting NFL LT tackle, but too many reps where you wouldn't want a high schooler making these mistakes (lack of awareness, lack of effort). I also want to know why he transferred from LSU to Kentucky. LSU is a good program and he was their starting LT. Kentucky has developed good OL talent and they're a power run blocking team so I get the allure, however the optics of a draft eligible player leaving a good program even though he's a key starter raises my eyebrows a little bit. Looks like a mid round developmental project. Feels similar to Jordan Mailata in traits. Wouldn't surprise me if he climbs into late 2nd or 3rd round. Needs a ton of work, but has big upside.
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
*Daniel Faalele Minnesota
Imposing, thick RT who leans on strength. He is huge, very wide. Some tackles are long, not Faalele. Faalele is thick for a tackle. Very controlled as a pass blocker, and oriented/built more like a run blocker. My only issue is on some run blocks, he doesn't maintain control of the defender. He has the strength and power to move bodies, but not always the coordination or athleticism to keep engaged with the defender. It's not glaring, but you see it time to time. It's also versus lesser competition so I could see him taking time to develop. I like his poise in pass blocking. No wasted movement in his feet, keeps proper balance. (next section I added on 2/10/2022 after my initial assessment) It turns out Faalele is new to football and only played 5 years. He's bigger than I realized at 6'8 nearly 380. Minnesota had plays where they lined him up at RB and he scored TDs on the goalline; his feet are exceptional for his size and much better than I initially realized. He's a project, and still very raw, but flashed potential as a powerful run blocking presence with pass blocking upside. Potential starting RT who is very unique. Every few years we see prospects like this who are freak athletes but new to football. Sometimes it's Jimmy Graham and it works. Other times it's Margus Hunt and never comes to fruition. Faalele's team was very run heavy and leaned power over zone blocking. In 300 pass blocking reps he only allowed 1 sack though and finished his last year extremely strong in pass pro (only 1 pressure in his last 8 games). Because he improved year after year, teams might bank on the possibility he'll continue improvement. Next to Evan Neal, he may have the highest pure ceiling of any OL in this class. Being new to the game, he also has one of the lowest floors. His traits and upside will be too appealing come draft day & it would not surprise me if he snuck into the late 1st or early 2nd round. The raw tools are so unique, that I've just never seen someone this big who can move like this. Most 400 pound players aren't nimble enough to line up at RB and get you a TD. He's very raw, but coaches will drool at the potential for him to become a top tier OT. Very low floor project with pro bowl upside. What's not to like?
Scout Grade - 2nd/3rd Round
Abraham Lucas (+) Washington State
Starting RT, athletic for his size. They pull him from tackle on some runs and he moves well. He's faster than most getting to the 2nd level when needed. You'd like to see him convert speed to power a little better, but this is a big dude with above average athleticism especially agility type traits. There's potential as a pass blocker because he doesn't get beat, but I'd just like to see more push on in run blocking especially when power's required. He's high motor but not brute strength type player. In a pass blocking heavy scheme that leans zone blocking in the run game, he has potential starter traits. He could go higher than projected on pass pro alone. In 477 snaps, he allowed zero sacks. One of very few players in this class that just doesn't get beat on pass rush. Because the game has moved more towards pass, he's someone that could sneak into the end of round 1 or early to mid round 2. I have him graded slightly lower than most because of the single dimensional aspects of his game, however for some schemes, I recognize those concerns won't matter as much. Hard player to "grade" because more so than most OTs in this class, his value really depends on fit. For a team like the Saints (pending they move Ramczyk to LT), he could have value anywhere between pick 18 and 49. For a team like the Patriots, I'm not sure they'd want him in round 3. All things considered it's hard to imagine him falling past round 2. In an overall sense, I'd be most comfortable in round 3 and worry about lack of power.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Trevor Penning (+) Northern Iowa
This is where the "top tier" changes for me. Penning didn't flash obvious starting NFL OT potential in my opinion. Penning is highly regarded, most outlets show him 1st round, but I'm having trouble understanding risk/reward. He played LG & LT for UNI. Big with a wide base at his feet, understands leverage and technique which makes up for the lack of top tier athleticism. Plays mean, better run blocker than pass blocker. Patient and no wasted movement, looks to put pass rushers in the dirt. Athletically, I have some concerns, especially since he didn't play much for a small program like UNI. For a potential high draft pick coming out of a school like that, without top tier athleticism, I'd expect at least multiple years starting. He played 2 seasons and rotated between positions. You like his in-game attitude, but he's not a bullet proof prospect. In 450 snaps he allowed only 1 sack, but the level of competition has to be factored. I could see him falling a little farther than pre-draft projections. Looks more like a 2nd/3rd round prospect, not 1st round like currently projected. I'm not as high on him as others because I don't see any particular athletic trait that sticks out. He has nastiness and size and graded well for run (and pass), but I wonder if people should factor the level of competition more. He is capable of being a nasty power run blocking presence, so it's possible he goes higher than his actual grade because that skill set isn't as common in this particular class, but that could cause him to be picked higher than his actual grade. Seems more like a typical RT but some teams may keep him at LT. I could see teams like Ravens, Steelers, Patriots, Titans being his best fit.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
Bernhard Raimann (+) Central Michigan
Big top-heavy LT who plays like a strength athlete more so than explosive athlete. With that being said, his agility type attributes flash better than you might think. I like how he fights. He occasionally gets pushed off of his spot, but his competitive nature allows those kinds of plays to still be effective. When he looks beat, he still finds ways to win the rep. Had some bad IQ plays where he allows free rusher to go by him unnoticed. Could improve power as a run blocker where he's average to above average play strength. He's a high effort, high motor player that does not give up, so I like his attitude yet there are bad plays on film too. Granted, he plays for C Michigan so the expectation when watching him play against an SEC team like Mizzou has to factor surrounding cast and competition differences. He's a project player that needs development. PFF had him ranked as the top OT in the country, yet I'm not sure I understand their grading system because he does not look better than Neal or Petit-Frere. In 475 snaps he only allowed 1 sack. May be sort of average as an athlete; could benefit from adding power & strength. Most likely targeted by a zone blocking run scheme with a balanced attack between run/pass. Potential starter, but no particular trait that makes you go "wow." Admittedly, those can be the guys that shock people so I won't bet against his attitude.
Scout Grade - 3rd Round
*Max Mitchell Louisiana
Pretty physical player. At 1st glance I thought he was below average athlete because you don't see raw power to move bodies, yet he has some flashes of good size adjusted agility. It's not in the sense of explosiveness, but more so his coordination. He's surprisingly nimble. Most tall guys move sloppy, he doesn't. Because of that coordination, I could see him going higher than projected. He's nimble enough to pull as a tackle which Louisiana did on occasion with him. In Rajun Cajun's run heavy spread offense, he started as a RT for a year and also at LT for a year, making him one of the few OTs in this class that has experience at both. Mitchell's biggest knock is lack of strength. He has more fits with strength than he does with speed. Nothing glaring, and he holds ground ok, he just isn't going to pile push or maul bodies. For a mid round tackle prospect, this is a quality player to target. There's starter potential here for a pass blocking RT (possibly even LT) in a zone scheme. In 430 snaps, he allowed 3 sacks, yet PFF regards him as "one of the highest graded in the country over the last 2/3 years." He looked serviceable, but I wouldn't go that far. May need time to add strength before he really develops.
Scout Grade - 4th Round
*Kellen Diesch Arizona State
Starting LT for Sun Devils. At 1st glance he's much leaner than others in this class. Philosophically, I'm ok with that because I think as the NFL game moves more towards speed (which is the overall trend) that we may see offensive lineman become leaner. Personally, I've always wanted to see what would happen to an o-line if you eliminated each players' bad weight and had their body composition optimized for lean muscle. For example 6'5 290 of lean muscle with a flat stomach instead of 6'5 330 of just mass. My personal diatribe aside, this is film study not football philosophy. As a player, the 1st thing I notice is he uses his eyes well. You see him really locked in and aware of the entire defensive front and you can see his brain at work as he assesses what's in front of him. That might sound standard, but it's not. Most guys are just locked into their assignment, it's more rare to see a lineman scanning the field like he's a QB. So I like his awareness and IQ. He's nimble getting to the 2nd level. Moves well especially in space. It's not explosive traits, but solid functional movement. There are some explosive flashes. On occasion he'll explode out of his stance and look fast; other times he's a bit more methodical. Athletically, there are moments that remind of Jalen Mayfield last year who got drafted pretty high out of Michigan. I'm not sure if Diesch has the same strength needed to "anchor." He's going to have to rely on other qualities like athleticism, technique, and arm length - which all appear good. He's a unique lineman. I think he's going to have to go to a team that needs/wants their linemen to move, zone blocking - not power. Overall I get James Hurst type vibes of a versatile rotational player, a backup 'swing tackle.' I'm not sure he's a starter, but there's enough here to have depth value. He needs to add strength in order to hold up against bull rush better. That's the knock. It's not like he was a sack machine or anything like that, you just see moments where he's getting moved off of his spot a little too easily. When trying to move bodies, you see a lot of effort but you don't see brute force or much movement. In 413 snaps, he allowed 2 sacks.
Scout Grade - 4th Round
Moves well for his size. I like his feet and his length. Not much tape available, but from the little bit I can find, he looks like a potential pro, possibly even a starter. Need more film to really assess. Could only find a few highlights. Looks like a potentially good pass blocking LT, and 4th or 5th round type prospect. If more film becomes available, I'll add to Paul's profile. Grade is currently based on flashes. He looks like a pro level athlete which you can't say for all prospects even some of the guys who'll be picked ahead of him. Most outlets show him as a late like 7th round type guy, but I could see him climbing on traits, athleticism, and length alone. Played LT for Houston. Graded well as a pass blocker with not much production in run blocking especially power. Pass blocker 1st who projects best in a zone scheme.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Jaxson Kirkland (+) Washington
LT, a technician who looks most natural pass blocking. Moves pretty well, team would pull him in run plays which you don't always see from a LT. He's not the type of athlete where you can expect him pulling across the formation as a pro, but he's athletic enough to develop into a pro. Really understands positioning and how to maneuver and position his body in a way to make his work easier as a pass blocker. High IQ. Unfortunately not a top tier athlete in either phase of the game, not as a speed guy or as a brute force guy. More of a well rounded technician. Despite that, he did not allow much pressure when rushers attacked him. He held up generally well so there's some upside to develop into a rotational player. In 404 snaps, allowed 3 sacks. Tape was slightly better than analytics indicate. Flashed good moments especially IQ.
Scout Grade - 4th/5th Round
Big RT prospect that lacks explosion traits but was a quality pass blocker at the college level. Not overly athletic, so teams may worry about how he'll hold up against pro speed. Only allowed 1 sack in 20 starts. Despite lack of athleticism, teams might like the performance and size, and take a late round flier on long term development (think Zack Strief). Could see him being picked in the 6th or 7th round based on program, size, and performance. Graded above average as zone run blocker too. Need to watch more tape to assess but 1st impressions are rotational player with some upside to maybe become a starter. Problem is he doesn't convert speed to power because he lacks speed. Has a good anchor in pass pro. Not the best balance. Has tendency to lean backwards before even being hit. Does a decent job with leverage for his height. Uses arm length well. Has some good flashes. Could be an interesting upside RT prospect late in the draft. Likely a 6th or 7th round pick at best. Could have problems with pro speed off the edge. Might be more of a rotational player for jumbo packages, but enough upside and production to warrant a day 3 pick.
Scout Grade - 6th/7th Round
Obinna Eze (+) TCU
Big LT in outstanding shape. Body composition, size, muscle mass and how his weight is distributed...he is one of the healthiest looking offensive lineman in this class. The old "1st one off the bus" adage, he's it. In that sense, his conditioning appears optimized already. With that said, his athleticism is likely capped. It's not like you can expect him to add explosion by losing bad weight or to add strength by increasing muscle mass. As a body, as an athlete, what you see is likely what you get. He lacks foot speed, and it's pretty glaring. If it were not for that one limitation, he'd be a high pick. I'm talking functional speed against quick pass rushers. He's actually fast out of his stance and he's fast getting to the 2nd level, but he's very much not fast when it comes to moving backwards (i.e., dropping back into his pass sets) and it really shows up vs speed rush. With that 1 limitation, I'm not sure I could draft him. It also makes me realize that, for offensive lineman, it might make more sense to add a combine drill: how fast do you run 10 yards backwards? Not necessarily 40 yards forwards. Eze will dupe teams because he runs forwards fast, especially for his size. But he cannot do it backwards and that's a fundamental requirement in order to play LT as a pro. He could possibly move to RT, but his best chance is to guard where at least that deficiency can't be as easily exploited. There are just too many moments where he can't keep up vs. explosion on the edge. It didn't always result in sacks, so a lot of it is off the stat sheet, but it is consistently noticeable. He has a good body, size, overall athleticism and really good arm length. Those attributes might allow him to develop into a rotational run blocker, and I'm sure a team will fall in love with the "tools" but there's no hiding deficiencies in today's NFL. It'd be a long road for Eze because if his best chance is converting to guard, than you'd want to see more "mauling" moments as a run blocker, and there's not enough examples of converting speed to power. Both programs, Memphis & TCU, didn't give (him or anyone scouting him) many power run examples in their spread offenses. He plays hard and does a lot right; overall you get the vibe watching him that he's working hard on his body, on his technique and on everything that's in his control. Unfortunately God-given gifts aren't in our control and in that sense I don't see a starter here because of one fundamental weakness. It's a shame too because he has a lot of other draftable attributes. He moves well (forwards) for his size and is strong enough to anchor vs bull rush. Is that enough though if you can't hang vs NFL speed? It's possible NFL coaches like the raw tools and think they can coach him up. He does have size and can move for that size, so I get the developmental intrigue but it seems high risk.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
Luke Tenuta (+)
Huge son of a bitch. Could do a better job utilizing his length. 3 year starter. Allowed 10 sacks in pass pro which is near the higher side of this class if not the worst in class. Developmental project. Better fit for RT. Not as many displays of power as you might expect from a player this size. More finesse. Athletic for his size, moves well. Worth a shot to develop long term especially if you could get him undrafted. If someone could teach him how to utilize his length, he has some upside. Looks like a UDFA, maybe 7th rd type prospect. Teams may realize he was out of position at LT, give some leeway and move him to the right side. Things won't slow down from V Tech to NFL though. Someone could see him as a Zach Strief type prospect. Strief was big, went 7th round, developed on practice squad for a few years than became a starter. Can't teach 6'9 and athletic. For teams that miss on Faalele, Tenuta could be a consolation prize late. Draftable traits but not game. Wouldn't go higher than round 7.
Scout Grade - 7th Round/UDFA
North Dakota State
RT for a run heavy offense in North Dakota State. Not great footwork in pass pro. Poor awareness moments too where free rushers go right past him without him even noticing. May be a run blocking only type prospect and rotational player. Looks off balance in his pass sets. Almost like he leaves his feet. Poor coordination in pass pro. Has length and tools, even pro level athleticism, but definitely not pro level game (not yet at least). Strong run blocker. Very physical downhill type player. Hard for me to draft someone with this much potential liability in pass pro. I didn't have a ton of tape on him and will dive deeper as we get closer to the draft, but initial impressions are not impressive. 7th round as long term developmental project...at best.
Scout Grade - UDFA
Tyler Vrabel Boston College
RT for on a BC team that has a surprising number of draft prospects this year. Movement is slightly labored, not natural athletically in his pass blocking. In fact, in the 1st few pass sets he's getting smoked so much that I'm not sure the rest of his tape is worth watching. I just don't see a pro level athlete here. On run blocking I see good effort, but I don't see him moving bodies. There's a few too many times where on blitz, he doesn't recognize what's going on around him. Too many low effort "jogging" moments. Looks sloppy, out of shape. Body composition, he should be proportioned much better especially for someone who isn't a top tier athlete.
Scout Grade - UDFA
DIDN'T DECLARE EARLY
Starting LT and balanced blocker. Average to slightly above average athlete. More of a mobility blocker than power blocker. High effort getting to the 2nd level, but not overly coordinated or smooth in his movement. Where he looks best is in pass pro. He's more of a technician than an athlete. He plays really low, plays through the whistle, and fights hard. There's a vibe of overachiever here because I don't see the kind of power or speed you might want from the position. That being said, I also don't see him getting beat much. Even against top tier competition like Alabama, he didn't lose many reps at all. So as much as people may focus on what he can't do and the tools he doesn't have, it's hard to not like a guy who finds ways to win. Overall this is a late round player like 6th or 7th round that you hope to develop into a rotational contributor. I'm not sure he'll be able to translate into dealing with pro speed. You pull for him though because he plays as hard as anyone in this class. Even in games where they're losing, he fights really hard for every blade of grass, on every play. You wish all of your lineman played with this kind of effort. In that sense you hope he can continue to develop. His best chance is as a backup LT and as a pass blocker where he shows his best stuff. Even as a pass blocker, he's not an anchor and can get moved off of his spot. The downs he wins are through technique and effort. When he tries to go strength v strength, it's not as pretty,
Scout Grade - UDFA
Zion Nelson Miami
Highly touted above average athlete who played LT for Miami. There are some athletic moments that jump off the screen like swimming past DT to get to the 2nd level. But as a blocker, he doesn't jump off the screen. Needs to improve balance, where he loses his footwork from time to time on pass blocks. And as a run blocker I don't see him moving bodies like you might hope. He runs well for a big guy though and has unique agility. I could see him moving to guard. Overall, I'm slightly lower on him than others. He's still a draftable player, but needs development. Flashes potential to be a solid pass blocker but may be more of a project than player who's ready to contribute.
Scout Grade - UDFA