NFL Draft Talk Volume XII
As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level. Could this year’s O-Line crop be just as formidable as their defensive counterparts? All the buzz surrounding this year’s draft is focused on the top two quarterbacks and an extremely deep and talented crop of front seven players, especially along the defensive line. However, there’s another position group loaded with big boys on the other side of the ball that warrants mentioning. This year’s draft class is loaded in the trenches on both sides of the ball as the first round alone could see more offensive linemen get selected than offensive skill positions. Here’s a list of some road graders and pass blockers that could get their names called early or become a steal in the mid to later rounds.
Jonah Williams: The Alabama star left tackle is arguably the best offensive linemen in this class and is being mocked to go in the top 15. His excellence in both pass and run blocking leads many to believe that he could be a day one starter at either tackle or guard.
Jawaan Taylor: He once weighed nearly 400 pounds before he even played a snap in college as a highly rated recruit coming out of high school, but now he has refined both his body and his play, leading many to believe that he could go even higher than Williams.
Andre Dillard: Despite being viewed as slightly undersized for a tackle, he is widely believed to be the best pure pass protector in this class. With the injection of all these young and talented pass rushers that will be entering the league in this draft, teams will be looking for a guy that block them and neutralize some of that pressure off the edge.
Greg Little: He possesses the ideal combination of size, athletic ability and requisite skill set that could make him not only a top 20 pick but also a proemial Pro Bowler for years to come.
Garrett Bradbury: He was the recipient of the Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in all of college football. The former NC State Wolf is viewed as the best interior linemen in this draft and is capable of anchoring an offensive line from the center position and could even shift to either guard positions.
The Savage Sooners: Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley will have to replace all but one member from his starting five along the offensive line from last year going into next season. Right tackle Cody Ford, left tackle Bobby Evans, left guard Ben Power and right guard Dru Samia have all entered this year’s draft pool and all are expected to hear their names called during draft weekend, with Ford being the headliner that is being mocked to go in the late first to early second round. The road grading bunch of maulers paved the way for Heisman winning quarterback and possibly No.1 overall pick Kyler Murray last season as he ran for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns as well as threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns.