Early look at the 2019 OL class
Finally some talent at Offensive Tackle! After back-to-back thin years, the NFL is desperate for the 2019 OL class to reverse the trend at OT.
2019 OL class rankings
|1)||Jonah Williams||Top 15||Alabama||6’5||301||JR||LT/G|
|3)||Greg Little||R1||Ole Miss||6’6||325||JR||LT|
|5)||Yodny Cajuste||R2||West Virginia||6’5||321||rSR||LT|
|7)||Isaiah Prince||R2||Ohio State||6’7||310||SR||RT|
|8)||Dalton Risner||R2||Kansas State||6’5||308||rSR||C/RT|
|17)||Chris Lindstrom||R3||Bos. College||6’4||310||SR||RG/T|
|18)||Max Scharping||R3||N. Illinois||6’6||320||rSR||OT/G|
|21)||Yosuah Nijman||Virginia Tech||6’7||314||SR||OT|
|23)||Tyree St. Louis||Miami||6’5||315||SR||OT|
|25)||Andre Dillard||Wash. State||6’5||310||rSR||LT/G|
|27)||Mike Jordan||Ohio State||6’7||312||JR||G/C|
|28)||Connor McGovern||Penn State||6’5||323||JR||C/G|
|30)||Donell Stanley||S. Carolina||6’3||315||rJR||LG/C|
2019 OL class superlatives
Most NFL-ready: Williams
Best Run Blocker (OT): Edwards
Best Pass Protector (OT): Cajuste
Best Run Blocker (iOL): Benzschawel
Best Pass Protector (iOL): Risner
Highest Upside: Little
“My Guys”: Williams, Edwards, Benzschawel, Cajuste, Biadasz, Prince, Herbig, Edoga, Nijman
2019 OL class player profiles
Jonah Williams | Alabama, JR
- Shined as a true freshman vs. top competition in 2016, starting every game at RT. Didn’t miss a beat shifting to the left side last year, locking down Jalen Hurts’ blindside and earning AP 3rd-team All-American honors as a true sophomore.
- Standout athlete – explosive, agile and powerful for an undersized OT. Looks like a sub-5.00 forty athlete (fast for an OL) with superb phone-booth quickness.
- More of a position blocker than bulldozer but gets the job done. Gets to his spots on balance with swift footwork, typically winning the hands battle on contact and locking in with strong hands. Absolute technician in both phases.
- Plays with pristine leverage, especially in pass pro. Drops his pads as needed to match shorter defenders and stays in control even at extreme ankle/knee flexion.
- His down-to-down reliability is a coach’s dream. Understands what’s asked of him and constantly executes his assignment to the best of his ability (often with great results).
- Occasionally short-sets in pass protection, which highlights his lack of size. 6’5 is on the low end for a Tackle, and his arm-length appears average. Might be the next elite college OT to move to Guard in the NFL, as we’ve seen in recent years by Zack Martin, Forrest Lamp & Connor Williams.
- Bottom line: he’s a terrific athlete and highly skilled blocker, who’s only weakness is size. Might not have the theoretical ceiling to go top-5, but I’d take him in the top half of R1.
David Edwards | Wisconsin, rJR
- Came out of HS as a 225-pound option QB with experience at OLB & TE and starred in basketball as well. Began his Wisconsin career with a redshirt season at TE before gaining considerable weight and finally transitioning to RT.
- He’s protected the blindside of the Badgers’ southpaw QB for the last one and a half seasons. Struggled during his 2016 redshirt FR season, in what was essentially his first ever experience on the offensive line.
- Then took a gigantic leap forward last year, emerging as one of the best Tackles in the country. Burst out of the gate by obliterating non-conferences foes and easier Big 10 matchups, before slowing down a bit late. Earned a 3rd team AP All-American spot.
- Edwards’ dominance starts right from the snap. He times it perfectly (almost too perfectly) and is incredibly quick & explosive off the ball. It’s like he’s shot out of a cannon moving to the second level, and he creates outstanding leverage to boot. Also pops up out of his stance with urgency in pass sets.
- Exceptional size & athleticism for an OT prospect – Tall with long arms & thick frame, and maximizes it with physical, high-effort blocking. Very light on his feet as well, despite gaining close to 100 lbs over the last 3+ years.
- Generates power with his strength, leverage & explosiveness off the snap. Moves lineman off the ball to create rushing lanes, covers ground quickly on stretch runs in either direction, and makes a devastating impact at the 2nd-level.
- A little stiff opening up hips in his kick-slide, yet able to turn, maintain balance and ride top college rushers around the pocket.
- Likes to stab early at the rusher’s chest and syncs up controlled footwork with aggressive hand-fighting to sustain his blocks.
- While he is still learning the ropes on the OL, he’s come so far in such a short period of time. He performed well against top competition last season, other than the 4th quarter vs. OSU (stamina/injury?).
- There’s no telling how far he could rise with another year of experience and development in Wisconsin’s offense. That school has littered the NFL with quality linemen over the years, and its current O-Line could produce four top-100 draft picks in 2019. Edwards is the best of the bunch – right there with Williams and Little in the race for OL1.
Greg Little | Ole Miss, JR
- Physically gifted offensive tackle. Really fits the prototype for the position. Great size & length without any of the stiffness commonly associated with large OT’s. Fluid athleticism best shows up when advancing up to 2nd-level after combo blocks.
- Fires off the ball low with power behind his pads. Moves bodies when he targets his hands properly, aggressively looking to engage & finish.
- His overall physical advantage makes him a deterrent, just like a top shot blocker on the basketball court. His mere presence opens rushing lanes and halts pass rushers, because no opponent can match his size profile (height/length/bulk) and he has the foot-speed to keep up with smaller defenders.
- Hasn’t reached an elite level of play yet, with hand-use being a huge limiting factor at this point. Very inconsistent placement – haphazardly grabs high & outside all the time, simply relying on his physical superiority to get by. It works for the most part given his attributes and friendly scheme, but he’d get roasted in the NFL with his current technique. Struggles to sustain, and liable for more holding penalties than called for.
- The Rebels’ quick-hitting spread offense provides plenty of help. Little is rarely asked to protect 1-on-1 in their scheme, often blocking down on passing plays or having support on edge rushers.
- Still learning the nuances of the position as well. Oversets when trying to reach edge defenders on outsize zone runs, allowing a free lane inside. Also blows assignments and generally lacks next-level awareness.
- All these issues are correctable for such a young & talented athlete, but evaluators surely hope to see improvements across the board in 2018. His upside is undoubtedly through the roof, and he could easily be a top 10 pick a year from now.
Beau Benzschawel | Wisconsin, rSR
- 3-year starter on one of the best coached/developed offensive lines in the country. He’s improved every year, culminating in AP 3rd team All-American honors for his work last season. Highly ranked Guard prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft with some experience at RT.
- Big, strong, nasty blocker. Beau’s a big boy at 6’6, 315+ lbs, and he’s got plus power & mobility to go with it. Can struggle with initial leverage because of his height at OG, but he packs a punch and man does he look to finish. Mauler.
- Explosive off the ball with nimble feet for such a large man, and he’s a beast advancing to the 2nd level. Surprisingly quick & athletic – a huge weapon on screens.
- Not usually the low man, yet he’s so strong he can drive defensive linemen one way or the other to create big rushing lanes even without great leverage.
- Tremendous pulling across the line or out into space. Hugs the line to fill & finish his gap and maintains terrific body control sprinting out around the edge (not unlike Quenton Nelson).
- As much as I love his run blocking prowess/potential, it’s hard to ignore the bad losses he’s prone to in pass protection. The main culprit appears to be recognition at this point, as he misses some assignments & can be late to pick up blitzes. Can’t tell if he needs to speed up his processing or simply focus it, though the skills are there. If he shows the necessary improvement in that area, he can be a 1st round pick next spring.
Yodny Cajuste | West Virginia, rSR
- Terrific overall athletic profile, with good length, bulk, quickness & strength. Missed the 2016 season with a torn ACL.
- Spring 2017 testing: 1.65 split, 495 lbs on the bench, deadlifts 735 lbs, 9’2 broad jump.
- Talented pass protector – covers ground rapidly in his slide with smooth ability to mirror rushers. Plenty of sand in his pants to anchor and works for superior position until the whistle. Very controlled in his movements. Prototypical knee bender who balances in an optimally shallow squat and rarely overextends in any direction.
- Not much of a factor in the running game considering his athleticism and how effective he is in pass protection. Doesn’t drive his legs and body forward with enough power. Generates little movement – more of a position blocker. Also has a weird false sidestep on runs – much less comfortable moving forward than backward/laterally, which is rare for a big guy.
- Cajuste’s health is key. He needs to stay on the field to prove his ability this season, and hopefully not getting flagged for medicals during the pre-draft process. Given his athleticism and prowess in pass protection, he could rise to the first round in 2019.
Isaiah Prince | Ohio State, SR
- 2-year starter at RT for the Buckeyes and looks set to start there again during his Senior year. Tried at LT in spring practices before moving back to the right side, like Germain Ifedi did his last year at Texas A&M. Prince improved by leaps & bounds last season and possesses the physical tools & talent to do so again in 2018.
- Good looking athlete – tall & long frame currently supporting adequate bulk but could use a few more pounds. Mobile/agile.
- Best in the running game at this point. Fires of the ball with explosiveness and great bend for a guy his height. Drives his legs & hits with power on contact, often moving defenders off their spots. Terrific blocking on the move with his size, strength & quick feet. Creates some huge running lanes when he gets out in space.
- Tendency to stand up, lunge, or ease off entirely over the course of a long developing passing play. Needs to sustain his effort throughout the rep.
- Delivers his punch with precision & power, and anchors well vs. both size and speed-to-power rushers. Susceptible to quick inside counter moves + the bad habit above. Tools (length, wide base, footwork) are there to be a plus pass protector though.
Nate Herbig | Stanford, JR
- Massive OG at 350 lbs (2017 weight), whose game is what you’d expect for a man that big. Road grading, power-blocking lineman who plays with tremendous strength & physicality.
- Yet he’s a lot nimbler than the average XL Guard. His footwork is relatively quick & controlled, and his lateral movements are swift in space.
- The combination of size, strength and mobility makes him a tremendous run blocker. Not nearly at the same level in pass protection, though far from a slouch in that area as well.
- Probably best served by getting his weight in check. He has OG1 upside in 2019 or 2020, especially if he can drop down to 330 without losing his functional power.
Chuma Edoga | USC, SR
- Purely a tackle at USC (primarily on the right side) yet could project to Guard at the NFL given his size. Worth a shot at OT first given his length, explosive athletic ability, and his impressive performance on the edge for the Trojans.
- 2014 Nike Opening results: 6’3, 283 lbs, 4.86-4.91 forty, 4.46-4.53 shuttle, 34-35” vertical.
- Exceptional athlete – footwork is so swift & smooth in both phases. Pops out of his stance instantly in pass sets, and he covers considerable ground in his slides despite lacking size. Fires off the ball with elite lower body explosion & delivers a jolt with powerful hands.
- Not just physically gifted – also possesses NFL skills blocking in the run & pass games. He plays with consistent leverage and wins the hands-battle most of the time. Still needs to tighten up his game overall (wildly erratic footwork & balance at time), but his NFL potential is vastly underrated.
- Could improve the positioning of his pass sets a little bit – tends to bounce too far outside the Guard. Though he’s able to close the door to inside moves with quick feet, the bad habit leaves too much space vs. stunts.
- Has the requisite length for an OT, though his listed measurements are a little shorter & lighter than you’d like. Makes up for the short-ish stature with mobility & leverage, but the lack of bulk is his greatest weakness right now.
Trey Adams | Washington, SR
- Fantastic blend of size & athleticism at the LT position – 6’8, 316+ lbs with decent length and quick feet for such a mountainous tackle. His mobility is most apparent in space on pulls or at the 2nd level, where he targets extremely well. Not extraordinarily agile, but his movements are controlled & balanced.
- Capable of dominance in the run game with his natural power. Fairly quick to get out of his stance off the ball, punches with authority, and keeps working both feet & hands to maximize gaps throughout the rep.
- Improved a ton from 2015 to 2016, but he’s still raw in pass protection. Allowed 5 sacks & 30 total pressures in 2016, per PFF. Had some ugly losses vs. Rutgers in Week 1 last season before righting the ship vs. a series of inferior opponents.
- Leverage is the main problem in pass-pro, which isn’t surprising for a dude with such a huge frame. He struggles to consistently keep his pads down. Can cover ground with nimble footwork and stop bull rushes in their tracks, but he’s susceptible to edge speed and counters vs. twitchier athletes on the edge.
- While Adams is an intriguing OT prospect, I think the hype is getting a little out of hand with him. He has 1st-round potential, though his play hasn’t begun to justify it yet. And he’s coming off a torn ACL to boot. I want to see improvement and a clean bill of health before I can get there. Could be a guy that gets over-drafted on reputation plus the demand for prototypical tackles.
Alaric Jackson | Iowa, rSO
- Started at LT for the Hawkeyes as a redshirt freshman and flashed NFL upside in a pro-style offense vs. top Big-10 competition. He has three more years of eligibility and only turned 20 in July, so he might not declare in 2019. However, his skill-set and physical tools really stand out and give him early-round potential.
Mitch Hyatt | Clemson, SR
- Already has 3 years of starting-LT experience for one of the top programs in the nation. Smart & steady technician who wins with choppy footwork, good bend, and quick hands. Takes great angles in the run game and works off double-teams with exceptional timing.
- Quick out of his stance in pass pro, displaying the fundamentals & quickness to effectively slide and mirror vs. rushers.
- Average physical profile, lacking standout size, length, strength and athletic traits. Works to stay square with hands engaged, but he’s physically overmatched vs NFL-quality athletes. Gets to an advantageous position after the snap, yet he often loses decisively on contact to superior athletes.
Yosuah Nijman | Virginia Tech, SR
- Physical specimen at LT – tall & lengthy with little bad weight. Nicknamed Zeus for his physique. Freaky athletic profile – posted 550-pound squat, 36” vert as a 6’7, 270 lbs freshman.Elite shot-putter in HS, also ran a 4.88 forty in HS.
- Explosive lower & upper body power when using proper leverage & balance – drives off the ball low with choppy feet, wreaking havoc across the line on down blocks.
- Needs significant refinement still but has all the tools in pass pro – length, quick feet, active hands, good pad level.
- Still quite raw – reaches/lunges often, sloppy footwork & hand placement at times, and blown assignments. Irksome tendency to stop his feet on contact, negating the advantage provided by his tremendous physical tools. Is it effort or stamina-related? May have gained too much weight for one year (20 lbs) from 2016 to 2017.
- Former DE recruit who transitioned to OT in 2015 – improving rapidly, but plenty of upside left. Started off very strong in 2017 before a couple shaky performances vs. Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell & Boston College’s duo of Harold Landry & Zach Allen. Missed last chunk of the year due to injury.
- Early round upside if he can put it all together in 2018, though he’s only shown flashes so far. Needs to stay healthy and become more consistent before most evaluators view him highly.
Jawaan Taylor | Florida, JR
- Beastly road grader perfectly suited for a gap blocking scheme. Lines up at Right Tackle for Florida, though probably translates best to Guard at the NFL level.
- A burly 334 pounder who gets off the ball explosively and packs tremendous power. Also has long arms to help him max out leverage, which is impressive off the snap given his bend.
- Definitely a bit stiff sliding in space when pass blocking (as you’d expect for an OT his size), but he’s got more juice athletically than the typical plus-sized mauler.