Offensive tackle is one of the most important positions in football and quality play at the position is paramount to the success of an offense. Luckily for lots of NFL teams, this year’s offensive tackle haul is quite impressive, with several players who I think could step in almost immediately and contribute quality play and even more that could provide quality play with some development. There is a realistic scenario where eight offensive tackles become drafted within the top-50 selections. I’ve broken down this class by tiers for some easier reading, with 1 being the best group and 5 being the worst. The players themselves are not ranked within the tiers, merely organized by them.
Tier 1: Best of the best
-Jonah Williams, Alabama
The best offensive tackle in this class and one of the most pro-ready prospects I’ve ever scouted, Jonah Williams offers an elite technical skill to his game that is starting to become rarer and rarer in the NFL. Williams will be a mainstay at tackle and will be a franchise cornerstone for a team for a very long time.
-Cody Ford, Oklahoma
A ridiculous athlete, Cody Ford has incredible upside to pair with power and toughness. For a one-year starter at right tackle, Ford blew off the doors for the Sooners this year, consistently dominating almost every rep he had. Ford likely stays at right tackle at the next level, but he’ll be up there at the top of his position sooner rather than later.
-Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Taylor is one word: Smooth. In pass protection, Taylor’s footwork is quick and efficient, not wasting any energy gliding to his landmarks. Has really impressive processing in pass pro to pair with this, making him a valuable and quality pass protector. These traits mixed with some very good power and athleticism, and Jawaan Taylor projects to be a quality bookend for years to come.
-Dalton Risner, Kansas State
I’m a huge fan of Dalton Risner, as his toughness and gritty attitude makes me incredibly confident in his success at the next level. Risner possesses fantastic power and technical skills with his hands to punish opposing pass rushers. Some people view him as a guard, but in my opinion, he should stay at tackle and focus on fixing his footwork laterally.
-Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
Cajuste is a mauler, providing very good power to mix with his length and violent hands. Displays no trouble with footwork, however will need to become more fluid at the next level if he wants to start right away, as he can get tangled up with his footwork against more athletic pass rushers. Cajuste’s power, length, and toughness will entice teams enough to bank on his upside, and I’d be willing to as well.
Tier 2: Great flavors but still need some seasoning
-Greg Little, Ole Miss
I feel like Greg Little got so overrated by the media over the summer that he became underrated by the time the offseason came along. Greg Little had a very good season for the Rebels this year, and projects as a high upside player. Surprisingly quick for his size and possessing ridiculous length, Little has the talent to play at the next level. Once he gets his base sorted out, Little can become a very good player. I think a team will bank on the upside and take him very high. One of the more riskier selections in this draft, but I trust my gut here for better or worse.
-Andre Dillard, Washington State
Dillard has some fans in the draft community, but I’m more hesitant apparently. Some of the traits are there, the footwork, the mental processing, but Dillard is lacking in play strength and that gives me pause. Combined with punches and technique that are at best high variance, and Dillard’s startability early gets put into doubts. If a lineman’s hands are inconsistent and wild, that is one thing. A near lack of anything more than average play strength and I begin to worry. Still, Dillard has good value to be a starting caliber tackle, just don’t be surprised if it takes him a couple years.
-Bobby Evans, Oklahoma
Bobby Evans is the 2nd of 4 quality NFL starters coming from the Oklahoma offensive line. Evans was arguably the weakest link on that offensive line, but that is no insult to him-rather a testament to the quality of players coming in. Evans has the length, athleticism, toughness, and fluidity to be a starter in this league. He’ll need refinement with his UOH, but by year 2 and onward Evans will be a contributor and anchor for any NFL offensive lineman.
Tier 3: Can’t wait to say I told you so
-David Edwards, Wisconsin
Edwards is my kind of offensive tackle. He’s smart, huge, and a ridiculously powerful blocker. A former tight end, Edwards has very good athletic ability to pair with great length and size. However, he’s still working to develop his stance and footwork in pass protection and it becomes frustrating watching him at times. He’ll likely stay at right tackle and will need to develop in pass protection before he is ready, but give him a season or two of proper development and he will be a fine quality right tackle as his demeanor and play strength are already near elite levels.
-Tytus Howard, Alabama State
I have been a huge fan of Tytus Howard for a long time as his potential is extremely high and his Senior Bowl week confirmed I am not the only one Howard has buzzing. Howard is a fluid mover laterally and is incredibly lengthy. Combine that with very good play strength and we have ourselves a small-school sleeper. Much like Wisconsin’s David Edwards, Howard is a former TE who needs development in pass protection, but as time goes on, Howard could become a top-tier quality starter at right tackle for a team.
-Oli Udoh, Elon
Speaking of small-school lengthy right tackles, Udoh is almost identical to Tytus Howard, except Udoh is even more freaky lengthwise. Possessing an 85 inch wingspan at 6’5 327 is jaw-dropping. When I turned on the tape I could find, I couldn’t help but really like the tools he has. Udoh is an excellent puller and very fluid on the move and his length and size help him bully defenders. He needs to be coached up in pass protection as he wasn’t asked to do a whole lot of challenging sets with Elon’s offense, but I think Udoh has a ceiling like Trent Brown.
-Chuma Edoga, USC
Chuma Edoga plays very much like the above Andre Dillard-quick feet, great athleticism, and great mirror tackle. However he has nearly the same issues as Dillard, with poor hands and anchor to pair with a lack of play strength. He is a strong swing tackle option for development and with refinement can be a starting-caliber tackle for a franchise.
-Dennis Daley, South Carolina
Daley is a mean dude on the football field, featuring great power and football IQ. Daley is a violent run blocker, but needs to develop working on lowering his pad level to boost this violence and continue to develop in pass protection. Daley looks like a very promising swing tackle early on that could contribute right away in heavy sets while he continues to develop before starting.
Tier 4: Needs more work than a Rihanna song
-Max Scharping, Northern Illinois
I hear some top-50 and Day 2 hype for Max Scharping, but I just can’t get behind it. His hands are nice and efficient and he’s a very smart player in terms of IQ and blitz recognition, but the rest of his game has me concerned. His footwork is so incredibly raw and his play strength is woeful at times, especially against stronger bull rushers. If he struggles with this at Northern Illinois, he’s going to have a tough adjustment at the next level. Still, Scharping can be a quality swing tackle for a team and with refinement can be a starter.
-Tyree St. Louis, Miami
I don’t even know if Tyree will continue to play at tackle in the NFL, as he practiced all over during the Shrine games, but he played tackle on film and that is what I am evaluating. However, Tyree really struggled this season after transitioning from right tackle to left tackle. He did not look as fluid or as coordinated playing on the left side as he did on the right. If a team wants to play him at right tackle (hint: they should), then they will need to continue to develop his footwork in pass protection.
-Calvin Anderson, Texas
Anderson burned me pretty bad earlier this season. I watched quite a few Texas games this season and he really impressed me, continuing to further do so against Oklahoma. I was ready to call him a Day 2 selection…and then he fell off a cliff as the season went on. I like his potential with his size and length but he needs to sit and develop in the right situation to maximize it.
Tier 5: The AAF is calling
-Kaleb McGary, Washington
McGary is strong, but that’s really it. His footwork is a mess and he’s raw technique wise. Sitting in the new developmental league and working his way up with proper coaching is good.
-Martez Ivey, Florida
Ivey is quite possibly the rawest of raw dudes on this list. His technique is abysmal and he isn’t really all that athletic. I have no idea where I would play him until he develops.
-Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
Rounding off this list with the 2nd of two awful 5-stars and somehow All-Americans, Mitch Hyatt comes in with pedigree and…nothing else, really. He’s not athletic enough and refined enough to play outside at tackle, and has next to zero play strength, which eliminates him playing inside. So, a positionless player.. Hyatt is a great candidate for the AAF to target with his pedigree and experience, but he’ll need to develop in every facet of the game before he sniffs being a starter in the NFL.