2018 Offensive Tackle rankings – high profile prospects
The class of offensive tackles in the 2017 draft was woefully thin. Only 7 college OT’s were drafted in the first 3 rounds, and approximately 20 overall. A good chunk of those players will transition to guard in the NFL, if they can even stick in the league. Of Seattle’s two OT draft picks, Ethan Pocic was a college center and Justin Senior was hidden on IR. Neither are the type of athletes that the Seahawks typically prefer on the offensive line.
There is a lot of discussion in the media right now about the poor development of offensive linemen coming out of college:
Memo to NFL teams. Since you are prohibited to work at developing offensive lineman you have 2 choices: draft the best, or overpay for them
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 19, 2017
However, the 2018 offensive tackle class looks ready to halt the decline of college O-Line talent. The group of draft-eligible prospects is extremely deep, with a few players having the potential to emerge as 1st round picks. It could not come at a better time, since left tackle figures to be among the most important positions of need for the Seahawks next offseason. Today we’ll cover the 2018 OT’s that have received the most hype (rightfully or not) by the media & online scouts. We’ll look at several underrated prospects later this week that could interest Seattle in 2018.
Connor Williams – LT, Texas – 6’6, 315 lbs – 2016 grade: Top 15 talent
- Consensus All-American – would have been the first OL chosen if eligible for the 2017 draft.
- Dominated Big 12 last season after excelling as a true freshman in 2015. Turned 20 in May.
- Dependable blindside protector – smooth footwork with proper pad level to anchor & re-direct.
- Packs a good punch and has strength in his hands to stop rushers’ upfield momentum.
- Surrendered only 1 sack & 4 total QB pressures in 2016, according to PFF.
- Even better run blocker – explosive off the ball with balance & remarkably quick feet.
- Creates huge holes at the 2nd level – catalyst for D’Onta Foreman’s 2000-yard rushing campaign.
- Tremendous fit in any blocking scheme – Hawks would love an athletic, mauling finisher at LT.
- Mediocre arm-length is his only apparent weakness – he’s put in some work this offseason:
#Texas OT Connor Williams said since JAN he’s lost 19 lbs of body fat, gained 12 lbs of muscle & upped his bench, squat & cleans by 60 lbs.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 18, 2017
2017 update – His film vs. Maryland in week 1 is the worst I’ve seen from Williams. He opened holes in the run game as usual, but also missed assignments and had uncharacteristically bad beats in pass pro. He looked slow and lethargic. After placing on Pro Football Focus’ all Big 12 team for Week 2, Williams left with injury early on against USC this weekend. He has since been diagnosed with MCL & PCL sprains, as well as a torn meniscus. Williams will have surgery this week and is out indefinitely. It’s fair to wonder how much his draft stock will fall. Could he drop into Seattle’s range on draft day?
Mike McGlinchey – LT/RT, Notre Dame – 6’8, 315 lbs – 2016 grade: 1st round talent
- Great combo of size, length & strength – power in the run game & anchors vs. bull rushers.
- Nimble athlete for his size – uses lower body explosion & power to generate movement.
- Solid in pass protection at the college level due to wide base, choppy feet & length.
- Average footspeed, bend & hand placement are problematic vs. twitchy/technical edge rushers.
- Success at both tackle positions – better fit at RT, but may have the athleticism to stick at LT in NFL.
- Experienced & older prospect who probably lacks the upside to be a high first round pick.
2017 update – McGlinchey’s strengths and weaknesses have been on full display early on. He struggled with the athleticism of Georgia’s rush LB’s and missed multiple blitz pickups on his side. Big matchups await against USC’s Porter Gustin & Uchenna Nwosu, and Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor. McGlinchey needs to be steady in pass protection and perform well at the combine to lock up a 1st round spot in 2018.
Trey Adams – LT, Washington – 6’8, 325 lbs – 2016 grade: 3rd round talent
- Fantastic blend of size & athleticism – explodes off ball, mobile in space & targets well at 2nd
- Raw in pass protection – susceptible to edge speed & counters. 5 sacks & 30 total pressures in 2016.
- Big sophomore year jump – high upside LT who needs refinement to vault stock to 1st round.
2017 update – Adams had a brutal game to open the season against Rutgers. He looked stiff after gaining weight this offseason. Poor balance, lunging, sloppy footwork – you name it. It’s still early, but Trey doesn’t look to be justifying the 1st round hype he received this summer. He may have the type of athletic profile that the Seahawks covet on draft day.
Mitch Hyatt – LT, Clemson – 6’5, 300 lbs – 2016 grade: 4th round talent
- 2-year starter at LT for Clemson – smart, technical blocker with quick feet & youth on his side.
- Average physical profile lacking size, strength & special athletic ability.
- Per PFF – allowed zero sacks but 28 total pressures in 2016.
2017 update – More of the same from Hyatt. I’ve noticed some improvement in his pad level and hand placement, but he still doesn’t have the size and strength to consistently hold up in pass protection. He’s a top 10-15 prospect among draft-eligible offensive tackles.
Orlando Brown – LT, Oklahoma – 6’8, 340 lbs – 2016 grade: 4th round talent
- Massive frame & knows how to use it – heavy hands, nasty & maxes out his mobility limitations.
- Limited athletically – plays very high without much lower body explosion in the run game. Slow feet.
- Excels in pass pro due to huge base, length & balance – success partially due to OU’s spread offense.
2017 update – Brown earned a spot on PFF’s Team of the week for his performance against Tulane. I watched his Ohio State tape and he played alright vs. top edge rush competition. Apparently Brown is lighter now than he’s been at any point since the 7th grade. He’s a better athlete & prospect than the similarly-sized Zach Banner, who was drafted in the 4th round in 2017. However, I don’t see the Seahawks targeting that type of physical profile at OT.
Martez Ivey – LT/LG, Florida – 6’5, 310 lbs – 2016 grade: 5th round talent
- 5-star recruit with outstanding length who played LG last two years – moving to LT in 2017.
- Fantastic explosion off the ball – can really drive defenders when able to sustain blocks.
- Pass pro liability – waist-bender, heavy feet, slow hands. Allowed 23 pressures at LG in 2016 (PFF).
2017 update – Ivey had a big opportunity to show he belongs at LT in a week 1 matchup with Michigan. His explosion was evident on the outside, highlighted by some remarkable down blocks. Florida consistently provided Ivey with help on passing downs, or schemed pass plays so Ivey wasn’t left on an island. Even so, it was apparent that Ivey doesn’t possess the balance and lateral mobility to effectively slide on the edge. Michigan’s Rashan Gary & Chase Winovich wrecked Ivey on a handful of 1-on-1 rushes in the 4th quarter. Ivey’s play simply doesn’t justify the 1st round hype he’s received.
Martinas Rankin – LT, Mississippi State – 6’5, 305 lbs – 2016 grade: UDFA
Here’s what I wrote about Rankin when he was expected to enter the 2017 draft: “I was excited to watch him after Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst reported that some scouts really like him. I just don’t see it at all. He’s athletic and he uses his hands fairly well, which are the only real positives. He lacks size for the LT position, and appears weak in his base. His pass protection technique, in particular his kick-slide, is a mess. He got smoked in pass pro by all the elite competition he faced – Carl Lawson, Arden Key, and the Alabama trio (Williams, Allen, Anderson).”
2017 update – Rankin appears to have tightened up his game over the last year. Tony Pauline reported that his stock has improved from UDFA to mid-round grades by scouts. I checked him out vs. LSU hoping for a matchup with Arden Key, but they barely faced off. Even so, Rankin’s improvement was clear to see. He fired off the ball with explosion and looked fantastic blocking in space. He’s an older prospect (turns 23 this October) and still must iron out some issues in his pass sets, but his stock is on the rise.
While the high profile offensive tackles eligible for the 2018 draft may not all justify the hype, there are several underrated prospects with promise we’ve left out today. That includes a number of players who could be top OT targets for the Seahawks come draft day. Check back at HawkTalk.net later this week for a breakdown of OT’s sure to rise on draft boards in the coming months.