After talking about the top interior offensive and defensive linemen last week, we move outside to the offensive tackles and edge rushers. Once again, I’m going to start with the offense and take a look at this tackle class. In a pass happy league, pass protection has to be the main factor for those guys protecting the edges, but I want to see them move people in the run game as well.
This group has two guys, who should absolutely be drafted in the first round and another one, who will end up in my top 50 as well. After those three, my rankings might vary strongly from the mainstream media, but I’m trying to project who I think will develop into quality starters and not necessarily who is ready to go day one.
1. Connor Williams, Texas
This young man started just five games as a junior due to a knee injury and didn’t look the same when he finally came back for the final two regular season contests. However, I didn’t forget what kind of incredible player he was in 2016. Williams has prototype size with outstanding athleticism for the tackle position. He is a true technician, who rolls his hips into the block in the run game and moves smoothly as a pass protector, with the punch to stand up his rusher.
Williams shows a nasty streak as a run blocker and buries some people as a result. When the play is drawn up to go behind him, he creates some major movement at the point of attack and finishes a lot of his down-blocks on top of the defender. Williams often uses that outside arm to push the defender down and lead him away from the play by using that momentum against him. On double-teams, he keeps him eyes up and focused on the secondary target. Then he displays excellent body-control on the second level and latches onto linebackers to take them out of the play. He continues to keep his feet moving and turning bodies.
The consensus first-team All-American in 2016 displays good balance in protection and uses kick-slides straight back to allow himself to perform a power-step against counter moves to the inside. His hand-placement is on point and he absolutely shuts down speed rushers going up against him on the outside. Williams has an understanding of when the edge rusher has overrun the arc and then he just rides that guy upfield by using the burst against him. In addition to that, he shows easy recognition and transition against twists. When he has a power rusher going up against him and Williams stands up due to the initial punch, he can re-anchor and get back under control.
Unfortunately, Williams defers to opening up his hips and just sealing the edge defender to keep him away from the play, when the run is going the opposite way or somewhere inside, instead of creating movement off the line. Therefore, he is more of a body to give resistance and gets pushed back a little. Despite being 6’5’’, he is not the longest tackle and could have some troubles with those giant edge rushers, who surpass him in that department and use extension. Most importantly though, he just didn’t show the same kind of ability to protect the inside and lateral quickness in general last year.
When I wrote down my notes at the end of the 2016 season, I had this as my bottom line for Williams – He just makes the job look easy and that’s when you know you have a great offensive lineman. Although Williams missed most of the 2017 campaign with an injured MCL and didn’t look like the same player, his 2016 tape is so dominant and he will only turn 21 in May. He looked pretty healthy at the combine and his pro day. Assuming he’s back to 100 percent, he is the most talented and top overall tackle in this class. The word out of his pro day is that teams like Williams at some of the interior spots as well.
2. Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
McGlinchey is a 2017 consensus All-American with excellent length at 6’8’’. He and his fellow All-American offensive lineman Quenton Nelson manned the left side of the Notre Dame front for the last couple of season and absolutely dominated the competition throughout the year. Both are now leaving for the NFL and could easily end up being top 20 picks.
This tower pops out of his stance and often is done with his first kick before the guy across from him is even off the line. McGlinchey guides rushers around the edge with quick feet and doesn’t stop sliding back until initiating contact. He can truly shut down edge rushers by staying true to his technique. He keeps his balance and rarely if ever gets out of position. He stays within very controlled motions and had the most consistent tape of any offensive tackle in the country throughout this year. The big guy allowed just three sacks over the course of the 2017 season. Lazy rushers won’t hear their names called when they face this guy. The very few, who have given him some trouble, were the really active ones, who didn’t stop working. McGlinchey sees a lot of rushers land at his feet, because they lose balance when trying to overpower him or spin away from his grip.
He and teammate Quenton Nelson had great communication in blitz pick-ups and twists on the defensive line. McGlinchey uses a wide base in protection, which usually treats him very well, but at times he slipped away with one of his legs, especially when the turf was wet. With how quickly he gets depth by sliding back, he barely has any problems with speed rusher, but he tends to stop his feet at times and gives those guys across from a way to get on one shoulder and opens up space for inside moves. This looked even larger with Nelson power-setting next to him.
In the run game, McGlinchey uses small, balanced steps to create movement. He was also one of the few tackles, who was heavily used as a puller and he did so with great success. The former member of the Irish has the athleticism to handle edge duties, but he will need to bulk up a little for the next level. McGlinchey does a great job climbing to the second level and has no problem at getting onto targets in space.
McGlinchey can be thrown off balance with a strong club to his elbow. He was beaten easily by one of LSU’s defensive linemen with an inside move like that in their bowl game. His lack of base strength and inability to anchor concern me a little at that height. While it wasn’t taken advantage of a lot at the collegiate level, NFL edge rusher, who can convert speed to power and use that stab arm, will force him to lose his footing. McGlinchey also stands up a bit late on run plays.
This guy was the most consistent tackle in all of college football last season and is probably the safest prospect at the position. While he’s not the most powerful player, he is technically sound and gets the job done. McGlinchey displays outstanding work ethic and investment in football. The Notre Dame coaches say he is more comfortable on the right side. To me he is clearly one of the top three offensive linemen available and whoever drafts him, gets a reliable pro for the next decade plus.
3. Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Here we have a bear of a man at 6’8’’, 345 pounds. Brown’s lack of mobility as a sophomore was scary to me, but he seemed quicker and more flexible in 2017, when he was named a consensus first-team All-American. He doesn’t get caught out of position very often and with the grip he has on defenders’ pads, you’d think he has superglue on the palms of his gloves.
In 2016, I thought Brown’s length saved him a lot against better edge guys, but he encouraged me by shutting down the talented Auburn guys in the Sugar Bowl to wrap up the season and did a much better job this prior season to turn some of that bare strength into power on the football field. I also liked seeing him play with more attitude in terms of finishing his blocks. Brown still needs some agility work and get better at second-level blocking, as I’ve seen him struggle quite a bit at getting hands on linebackers, but he was even used as a puller from that left tackle spot and a lot of times basically was the lead man. As a blocker on the outside, he shows a crafty move, where he gives the D-end or outside linebacker a quick set, lets him get upfield a little and then turns and moves him further back to open up a running lane.
Brown uses an alternation of the classic kick-slide, by turning his back-leg parallel to the line and dragging the front leg back until he completely opens his hips and rides his rusher upfield. While that technique should make him vulnerable against inside counters, it helped him to protect the edge and with the arm length and grip he has, he didn’t let that expose his inside. The mammoth dominated against Georgia’s talent-loaded defensive front in the Sugar and the one sack he gave up, he had his rusher under control, but Baker Mayfield ran right into that guy’s arms.
Even though he was asked to pull and put hands on people at the second level, his lack of sub-par speed showed up when the ball-carrier had to really slow down behind him. While he survived with his set-up and slide in protection against the college competition, elite edge rusher, who can stress him to the outside and then use his turn against him on inside slants could make him look pretty bad. Brown is so strong, you see him miss on some blocks and just get an upward push on a defender downfield and he still completely torques their bodies.
The heavy-weight was embarrassing at the combine, putting up 14 reps on the bench press, having the worst 40 yard dash at 5.86 and looking slow in on-field drills. Brown improved on those numbers and displayed much better mobility at the Sooners’ pro day. All of those TV analysts and draft pages dropped him immensely because of what happened in the pre-draft processes, but for those who really watched his tape – he never looked weak or slow last season. I mean he destroyed some defensive ends in the run game and more than held his own as a pass protector.
4. Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
When I watched Taylor Moton’s tape last year, I thought he was a really solid draft prospect in a weak overall class for offensive tackles. The only thing I wasn’t sure about, was why he was playing on the right side for them. Moton is a smart, powerful player and even though he might not have been the quickest guy out there I didn’t see a reason you wouldn’t let him protect the blindside. That was until I watched the guy, who actually lined up there. When I wrote down my analysis for the young lineman, who now plays for the Panthers, I ended with my statement that for anybody, who wants to know why he didn’t play on the left side, I’d advise them to watch the guy, who they have there and that Okorafor will be a stud.
Chuks started his career with the Mustangs as a starter at right tackle himself as a sophomore, but switched to the left side for his final two years. At that spot he received consecutive first-team All-MAC honors and is now entering the NFL draft as one of the most intriguing prospects on my watch, due to elite size and athleticism.
At 6’6’’, 330 pounds, Okorafor absolutely jumps out of his stance. He is very comfortable engaging early in pass protection and staying attached to the rusher. His foot quickness is off the charts and he is what you would call a dancing bear. If you put him in a mirror drill with a running back, he would probably have no problem staying right with that man. I didn’t see one snap on tape where he was beat by a pure speed rush. Chuks can move along the arc with anybody due to those insanely quick kick-steps. He also seamlessly picks up looping inside rushers on T-E-twists.
The talented big man keeps his hands inside the frame as a run blocker and he has the strength in those hands to torque defenders. Okorafor turns bodies in the run game and meets linebackers at their initial spot instead of letting them come up. He is so quick, that if the edge defender doesn’t immediately go upfield, he can easily reach-block them. He also keeps rotating his hips around when sealing the edge or shielding linebackers from the play.
Okorafor uses leverage to the side of the defender he wants to attack and can be slipped at times. With the way Okorafor is consistently second with the hands in pass pro and brings his upper body forward, he is vulnerable to push-pull moves and being slithered past by the rusher. Okorafor was beaten by Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt in their bowl game last season, because Watt was a very crafty rusher and knew how to take advantage of Chuks’ weaknesses. Okorafor doesn’t really perform a power step to counter inside moves, but rather brings his hips around and that’s just not how you shut down a rusher. The former Bronco is not nearly aggressive enough as a down-blocker for my taste and basically takes one step laterally and then stops in the zone game, instead of keeping the movement going and creating a flow that way.
Outside of my number one prospect Connor Williams, I don’t think there is anybody in this class with more potential than this guy. I’d like to see Okorafor go after it more in the run and I’d have my most balanced rushers go up against him early and often in training camp to make him work on transitioning his weight against multiple moves and counters. He’s not nearly where he could be at some day in terms of maximizing his athleticism and power, but he has those traits inside of him. It will be up to his future coaches to make them shine.
5. Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh
O’Neill came out of high school as Delaware’s Defensive Player of the Year and then started his collegiate career at tight-end as a redshirt freshman, before moving to Pitt’s offensive line. After earning second-team All-ACC honors in his second full year as a starter at right tackle, the Panthers asked him to move to the left side and excelled there as well, being named first-team all-conference.
At 6’7’’ with nice arm length, O’Neill showed some great work in space, driving smaller bodies into the turf and finishing his blocks. I love him as a lead puller with the tight-end blocking down or someone coming in and cracking the edge defender, which mostly ends in him punishing guys out there. The 305-pound athlete scored two touchdowns on throwback screens as a member of the O-line for the Panthers and almost had another one, had he not been cut down a couple of inches short.
The former Panther gets out of his stance with some pop and transitions his weight very well. He shows good technique when cutting defenders and takes off once he sees the ball completed around him or the quarterback takes off. O’Neill has the feet to kick-slide with speed rushers, as well as to transition and protect the inside on counter moves. He is smooth at progressing from passing on his initial responsibility to picking up the additional outside pressure. In addition to that, he has the hips and reactive quickness to turn around and recover when beat early, as well as the athleticism to pedal back on the opposite side of a rollout. However, he doesn’t protect his inside properly on those plays, which is the one thing you don’t want from the backside.
O’Neill keeps kind of a narrow base and too often is looking to catch the edge rusher with his hands outside the frame, instead of initiating the first punch to keep that guy under control. Therefore, he is pretty vulnerable to defensive ends and outside linebackers, who can convert speed to power. He also ducks his head a little as well as leaning forward at first contact and crafty rushers should be able to take advantage of that by arm-overing him. O’Neill oversets to the outside on a couple of occasions in the run game, where he can be slipped underneath. That happened on the first snap of the N.C. State game, when Bradley Chubb got the tackle for loss.
The former Pitt standout opened up one-on-ones with a couple of bad reps at the Senior Bowl, but held his own for the rest of the week. I think he has all the talent in the world, but he needs to show more consistency. He could also add some anchor strength. While he continues to work on those things, he can be a quality swing tackle. Even though I don’t see him as a gap-scheme mauler, I believe he will be a solid pro in a zone-based offense down the road.
6. Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
Crosby started 21 games at right tackle over the course of his first two seasons with the Ducks, before having an injury-raddled junior campaign, where he saw actions in just three contests. He started all games in his final year and was awarded the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s Offensive Lineman of the Year, as voted by opposing D-linemen. More importantly, he was one of the key pieces to Royce Freeman becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher and keeping the Oregon QBs upright.
He brings some thump with him at initial contact on down-blocks and that edge he has as a run blocker. Crosby has the agility to keep bringing his feet around on reach-blocks and just shielding defenders from plays. He rips under the inside shoulder of the defender and arm-bars him a little on the backside of zone plays. The former Duck shows good upper body flexibility to adjust to his opponent slapping away hands or shifting his weight and keeps his legs driving through contact. He was asked to pull around the O-line and put hands on bodies on the outside, as well as on skip-pulls, basically as a lead-blocker. Moreover, he gets out quickly on screen plays and puts smaller guys in their place.
The 6’5’’ tackle stands up way too much into his pass set, but does a nice job re-placing his hands and riding edge rushers to the outside. He has excellent feet and overall athleticism to survive as a left tackle, even though his run-blocking prowess might put him on the right side. Crosby didn’t allow a single sack in 362 pass attempts last season. He also puts some D-ends on the ground when they lose balance. At 325 pounds, he has the strength to anchor against bull-rushers and hold his ground. In addition to that, he moves his eyes inside once sees his man slant that way, to find the looper and picks him up straight away.
However, Crosby opens up his hips too early and can be beat around the edge with a strong club to the outside arm. He bounces more than sliding as a pass protector and will need to adjust in terms of being able to get deep quicker against NFL speed rushers. The big guy steps out far too wide in pass pro, opening up the inside for quick slants and counter moves. At the same time, he shifts his weight too much to the inside when his defender slants that way and can be taken advantage off with quick counters off that.
I love Crosby’s mentality as a run blocker and the fact he consistently creates movement at the point of attack. He will need to do a better job of keeping his rusher in the center in pass sets. A lot of analysts critique his lack of quickness, but I actually thought he is really good in that department and it was more his technique, which didn’t allow it to shine through. Crosby has the potential to develop into a Pro-Bowl caliber starter at either tackle spot in my opinion.
7. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Despite coming out of high school as a four-star recruit, a shoulder injury and a guy named Taylor Decker kept Jones from seeing the field early on. Jones saw limited action as a freshman and was Ohio State’s sixth offensive linemen the following year. Once Decker was drafted in the first round by the Lions, it was Jones’ time to shine. He repaid the Buckeyes with second- and first-team All-Big-Ten honors in his final two years respectively. Regardless of the high accolades in college, I think his best days will be ahead of him.
Jones shows a ton of power at initial contact with his hands, has the footwork to perform several different blocks and excels at reaching defensive linemen. He creates a lot of push when down-blocking on interior D-linemen, displays easy movement to the second level and looks very comfortable operating in space. The OSU standout rolls his hips into contact and continues to keep his legs moving. On zone plays, he keeps moving laterally if the next blocker is already occupied and looks to find his own target.
The 310-pounder can make rushers widen the arc and stay with them all along, but kind of stops working once he did his original job, which leads to some guys hustling and still making the play late. Jones will shut down defenders, who don’t have a plan when rushing the passer and allow him to get set up. If he can keep his shoulders square and sees his man trying to beat him inside, he sticks his foot in the ground like a defensive back and looks to stone the rusher. Moreover, he impresses with seamless transition on T-E-twists.
However, Jones gets a little wide with his feet on his kick-slide and should be vulnerable on speed-to-power moves. He allows edge rushers to get their arms free and be able to go around, instead of through him. The 6’5’’ tackle needs to work on setting a solid punch and re-placing his hands, while bringing his feet with him. Jones is basically opening his hips with his first kick and he just can’t move as fast laterally as the guy across from him can run forward. That also opens up the inside for counter moves. He was beaten pretty cleanly inside and outside by USC’s Uchenna Nwosu in the Cotton Bowl. His hand-placement in the ground-game is questionable as well, which limits his power to some degree. Jones uses a lot of forward lean as a run-blocker and when his hands aren’t inside their frame, defenders can pull him off balance.
This is an excellent tackle prospect with a lot of technical work still to do, to become the player he is capable of being. Jones’ foot quickness and power point to tremendous potential, but he is still not close to maximizing it. However, I don’t see why he couldn’t get there eventually. His future coaches need to work a lot on where to position his hands and how to stay in a neutral position in his pass-sets. I think the bottom line with Jones is that he needs to become a more balanced and technically sound overall player.
8. Kolton Miller, UCLA
After starting just five games at right tackle in each of his first two years at campus, due to riding the bench mostly as a freshman and missing the majority of his sophomore campaign with a foot injury, Miller moved over to the left side, to protect Josh Rosen’s blindside. In his lone season at that spot, he earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors and is now looking to make a living there at the next level.
At 6’9’’, Miller is the tallest offensive tackle in this class. He does a good job getting off the double-team and climbing onto the second level. In addition to that, he displays more than solid zone movement and keeps his feet churning throughout plays. He also gives that little extra shove at the end. On draw plays, he lets his defender get upfield and then throws him further that way and instantly accelerates downfield to get his hands on some target in space.
Miller flashes tremendous lateral agility and quickness to mirror edge guys, which he uses to counter spin moves and late inside charges. He stays patient with opening up his hips off kick-slides and his punch. Moreover, he possesses some excellent length to bail himself out when his rusher gets an angle on the quarterback and Miller is a step behind. Miller keeps a wide base in his pass pro and can re-anchor if he gives up some ground against bull rushes.
His height becomes a problem if he doesn’t play with better knee-bend, plus his overall flexibility and core balance are questionable. Miller should work on getting some more depth in his kick-slide. Often times, he ducks his head too much into the rusher and stops his feet in the process, giving the defender a chance to beat him around the edge. Moreover, he gives up his chest occasionally and can be taken for a ride if he’s already moving backwards. Overall, he has some balance issues and reacts too heavily to lighter blitzers trying to put some shake on him.
With his length and quickness, Miller definitely has some tools to work with. However, he will need to do a better job of hiding the fact he is towering over a lot of defenders by keeping his ass and pads lower in protection. If he puts in the effort on adding power to his mid-sections and being more balanced, he should be a much more consistent performer. I think he will be a solid starter in the NFL, but I don’t see him being one of the special guys coming out of this draft.
9. Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
This guy is a former top-five overall recruit. After redshirting his first year for the Bulldogs, Rankin started all games at left tackle in 2016 and was named first-team All-SEC as a senior, despite starting just nine games. He is now trying to build off that success and take it to the NFL level.
Rankin accelerates out of his stance and displays a powerful first step. He plays with a wide base and rarely gets out of control. He makes going off the double-team and getting up on a linebacker look smooth. Overall, his angles and breakdown on members of the second level are impressive. Rankin was even asked to pull all the way around to ISO the play-side linebacker and does a nice job sealing the backside. The former Mississippi State tackle provides some excellent lateral movement on zone-plays and understands where his responsibility will be, instead of stopping his feet. He is much more comfortable getting movement on interior guys, than actually down-blocking on the edge defender, to open up a hole behind him.
At 305 pounds, Rankins displays a strong anchor and good hips to open and counter inside moves. He keeps his eyes up in protection and has no troubles transitioning from inside-slanting edge defenders to outside blitzers. He even picked up guys rushing from the nickel spot. Rankin more than held his own versus Georgia last season, going up the likes of Lorenzo Carter and company.
Yet, he plays pretty heavy-legged and takes his time to get depth into his pass set. Speedy edge rushers might beat him bad off the snap, if he doesn’t work on that. Tim Williams and some of those other Alabama guys ate Rankin’s lunch in 2016 by doing just that. He also has some snaps on which he extends too far out to make the initial punch and can be slipped by in the process. The 6’5’’ offensive lineman doesn’t use much knee-bend as a run-blocker and usually keeps his hands outside the chest of the defender as well as pretty high, leading to him being bent backwards and not being able to really push defensive linemen around.
Rankin loses the leverage battle too often and the lack of quickness in his kick-slide is alarming. Had I watched more of his tape earlier, I would have included him in my list on interior offensive linemen, because I believe he can be a quality starter inside with some work on his hand-placement and pad-level. He should also benefit from not having to worry about going backwards that much. However, he would have probably been rather on the bottom of my top ten list among guards and centers as well, because that is one of the best groups in the draft.
10. Will Richardson, N.C. State
Richardson had an up-and-down overall career with the Wolfpack due to injuries and suspensions, but ended it with a second-team All-ACC mention. He played right tackle for them and is now looking to take his talents to the next level. At 6’6’’ with 35 inch arms, he certainly already has the measurements to make his mark.
The 320-pounder has the power to move people in the run game and knows how to twist them to open up a running lane. He keeps a sturdy base and rarely gets thrown off balance, while operating with a lot of forward lean and good knee-bend. Richardson uses the upfield burst of edge-defenders against them to create the hole and treats some smaller defenders like little kids, when he meets them downfield. He does a great job coming off combo-blocks and getting to the secondary target, as well as helping out the guy next to him, by torqueing his defender and setting up an easier block.
The powerful tackle engulfs some edge rushers with his wide frame and grip on them. He uses a well-timed punch to set up the block and keep his target squared up. Richardson continuously re-sets and re-anchors when he gets out of position. He doesn’t look like he’s fast enough to stay with defensive ends and outside linebackers, but he just gets the job done. On play-action, Richardson engages with defenders the same way as if they actually ran the ball and stays glued to that guy, right inside his chest.
However, Richardson performs very narrow kick-steps and doesn’t really slide, but rather bounces, which gives speed rushers a chance to beat him clean around the edge. He lacks the foot quickness to consistently stay with counter moves, if he can’t grab the defender. He ducks his head at times and shifts his weight in improper fashion, which leads to him being run by in protection. Most importantly though, Richardson was suspended by N.C. State for DWI in 2015 and last season, which cost him the first two games of the year.
Richardson is a mauling right tackle with the ability to slide inside at guard. He is the guy you want to run behind on third-and-inches or in goal-line situations, but he needs some agility work to make a living in a true drop-back passing system, instead of the zone-based offense he was in, which asked him to fake run or slide in protection. His off-the-field behavior will be a huge question mark for NFL people, but I certainly believe he has tools to work with if he stays clean.
Just missed the cut:
Joseph Noteboom, TCU
Noteboom started all 13 games as a sophomore at right tackle and then moved over to the blindside in 2016. As a senior, he was voted an honorable all-conference mention by Big 12 coaches. Noteboom shows good leg drive and has the power to toss defenders around. He possesses the quickness to successfully reach defenders, who line up outside of him and does a nice job creating movement at the point of attack on double-teams. The 320-pounder gets hands on people on the second level and keeps on working as a run-blocker. He is not the guy defensive backs want to see come at them on screen plays. Noteboom catapults himself straight back in pass protection, as he gets excellent depth quickly with his kick-slides and does a good job squaring up his target. Once the guy going up against him starts thinking and doesn’t go right through his chest, Noteboom has control of him and he has the length to swallow smaller edge rushers. Nevertheless, he lacks some aggressiveness in the run game, raises his pad level too much and with that his hands go to the shoulders of the defender. Noteboom doesn’t set an anchor to sustain bull rushers and that became a major issue when facing opponents, who knew how to convert speed to power. His arms and punch need to be tighter when kicking back and he needs to put his helmet on the right side of the defender on the backside of run plays and just seal earlier, to not allow his man to crash inside. Noteboom already has the looks of an NFL offensive lineman. He is comfortable against speed on the edge, but gets driven back by power rushers. He was embarrassed quite a bit by UTSA’s Marcus Davenport in team-drills on day three at the Senior Bowl, after having a pretty good overall week until that point. Noteboom has some snaps, that really excited me, but on others I don’t really get why he doesn’t show what he did a couple of plays ago. His biggest problem right now is the lack of consistency and his ability or inability to display that going forward, will define his NFL career.
Geron Christian, Louisville
Christian had his eyes set on the basketball court for most of his high school days, but then decommitted from Miami to Louisville, to show what he can do on the football field. In his three years with the Cardinals, he was a two-time honorable mention for the All-ACC team and made the third-team all-conference once. Christian is 6’5’’ with crazy 35-inch long arms and reminds you about his basketball past with remarkable footwork for a 300-pound man. He brings his hips and legs with him as a run-blocker and impressed me with his ability to get onto linebackers at the second level. Christian displays quick feet and a tight punch. He switched around between left and right tackle for the Cardinals to match up with the opposing team’s top pass rusher. He plays with a wide base and splayfooted to get more traction. His upper body stays calm and he is patient with dishing out the initial punch. At his length he has the potential to redirect rushers, who have an angle on the quarterback, but he doesn’t quite know how to use it at this point. His most exciting asset is the lower body quickness and ability to mirror defenders. Christian is a little slow out of his stance at times and tends to overset to the outside as a run-blocker, which can lead to him being slipped inside. He also gets stood up occasionally by stronger D-linemen. As a junior, Christian used small, choppy steps in protection to allow himself to keep the rusher in front of him for the most part, he was also vulnerable to speed rushers, who he couldn’t stay with without kick-sliding. He started inserting an initial kick at least to get some depth, but he raises his pads and butt way too much when kicking back and gets ridden backwards by bull rushes. The former Louisville tackle should have probably stayed in school for another year to improve his draft stock. However, he has the tools to develop into a much better actual player than he is right now. His foot quickness and length are something you can’t teach, but there are a lot of other areas NFL coaches can help him with. The main thing for Christian will be working in the gym to increase his base power and ability to anchor.
The next guys up:
Brandon Parker (North Carolina A&T), Desmond Harrison (West Georgia), Brett Toth (Army), Alex Cappa (Humboldt State), Greg Senat (Wagner)
Find more from Halil’s Real Footballtalk, including prospect rankings on all the other position groups, at https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/