Thor Nystrom


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NFL Draft OL rankings

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Offensive Tackle


1. Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) | 6’8/309


Athletic composite percentile: N/A

Player Comp: Jack Conklin (hat tip: Matt Miller)


McGlinchey is a 6-foot-8 skyscraper with serious athletic chops. Not only did he begin his high school career as a tight end, but he was a good enough prep basketball player that HC Brian Kelly joked he had to hide from Irish basketball HC Mike Brey. Athletics runs in the family. McGlinchey is the first cousin of Matt Ryan.


In addition to his athletic gifts, McGlinchey is long and polished. He’s been one of the nation’s most dominant offensive linemen over the past few seasons. Despite his height, McGlinchey has no issues sitting back into his hips and shuffling laterally, or getting low to blast and displace on running downs. He started 39 consecutive games for the Irish and has experience at both tackle positions.


Some think he should move back to RT in the pros. I don’t think that’s necessary, though McGlinchey’s best fit probably is on the right side in an ideal scenario. Like many seniors who returned to school after spurning the NFL, McGlinchey’s game got nitpicked over the past year. No, he’s not a dominant prospect on par with, say, Joe Thomas, but McGlinchey is a Day 1 starter who will be around for a very, very long time.


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2. Connor Williams (Texas) | 6’5/296


Athletic composite percentile: 78.3%

Player Comp: Jake Matthews (hat tip: Lance Zierlein)


Coming out of this past college football season, there was a bunch of smoke around the idea that Williams would be forced to kick inside to guard at the next level. To Williams’ credit, he took control of the narrative with a strong pre-draft process. While he still may move inside, depending on the needs of the team that drafts him, I think Williams can remain outside at the next level.


Williams is a nasty, athletic lineman who lacks ideal length and bulk. He was a longtime LT starter for the Longhorns, and he obviously understands what he’s doing out there. Williams is a craftsman whose tools are his strong hands and light feet.


If you watch his 2016 tape, Williams is a no-doubt first-rounder who should be OT1. If you watch his 2017 tape, Williams is a mid-rounder who may have to move inside at the next level. Which do you trust? It’s difficult to reconcile the brawler who paved the way for a 2,000-yard D’Onta Foreman season with the slow-footed, average-strength guy we saw last year. To be fair, Williams struggled with a left knee injury during the season. But he looked off even before that injury occurred, including in the losses to Maryland and USC. Last year’s performance should ding his grade a bit, but let's not toss the baby out with the bath water here. Williams can play.


3. Tyrell Crosby (Oregon) | 6’5/309


Athletic composite percentile: 23.2%

Player Comp: Russell Okung (hat tip: Jonah Tuls)


Crosby is a sure thing in a tackle class that doesn’t have many. He’s thick and powerful, and if he gets his hands on you, you’re in deep, deep trouble. Crosby isn’t as long as some of his brethren, and he’s a little chunky. He’s a natural run blocker, a malicious mauler only missing a Mortal Kombat finishing move. 


His next OL coach will have to iron out the technique, especially if he remains on the outside. Crosby isn’t a stud athlete, and he can struggle with quickness. His hands and feet aren’t the issue, and he isn’t getting more athletic, so he’ll have to learn to become more of a technician. Crosby looks like a long-time starter on the right side, though he also may move inside to guard. His ceiling is the lowest of my top-5 OTs, but his floor is high enough that I consider him a top-three tackle in this grab bag class.


4. Kolton Miller (UCLA) | 6’9/309


Athletic composite percentile: 99.2%

Player Comp: Nate Solder traits (hat tip: Lance Zierlein)


Miller probably locked himself into the first-round by blowing up at the NFL Combine, running a sub-5.0 forty with a 4.49 short shuttle, a 7.34 three-cone, a 31.5-inch vertical and a Combine-record broad jump of 10-1 for an offensive lineman.


That performance and a bit more tape work caused me to bump him up my tackle list from my pre-Combine rankings. Even so, I still have reservations. For how ludicrously athletic Miller is, he shouldn’t struggle with footwork to the degree that he does. Speed rushers can give him fits, and that problem compounds when he compensates too much and gets crossed up and torched by counter moves. And because he plays so high and wide, Miller can have a hard time keeping defenders outside of his personal bubble.


Are these technical issues that can be fixed by NFL coaching? Or are they bugs that will always plague him? That’s the question NFL teams are asking themselves right now. Miller’s elite size/athleticism combination and star-turn as Josh Rosen’s blind side protector scream high first-round pick, but his on-field issues suggest that he might be more of a Day 2 value (even though he’ll almost assuredly go in Round 1).


5. Orlando Brown (Oklahoma) | 6’8/345


Athletic composite percentile: 7.5%

Player Comp: Trent Brown (hat tip: Matt Miller)


Brown is a huge, mauling tackle, just like his late father Orlando "Zeus" Brown. Junior was dominant and frequently overwhelming in college. His technique needs work. McGlinchey has no issues bending his knees despite his height; Brown does.


You won’t be able to improve the athleticism. Brown had one of the worst NFL Combine performances we’ve seen in recent years. I nicked his ranking a bit because of that, but at a certain point, you have to trust what you're seeing. And on tape, he looks like a long-term starter at RT. The lack of movement skills may hurt him in pass protection, but it’s important to note that Brown was a strong pass protector in college. He’s as big as a building, has extremely long arms and sets up quickly off the snap, three factors that will help him compensate (even if he'll never be strong in that area of the game).


6. Geron Christian (Louisville) | 6’5/298


Athletic composite percentile: N/A

Player Comp: The Duane Brown starter kit (hat tip: Charlie Campbell)


This ranking is a bit of a leap of faith. Christian is a former basketball player who moves and shuffles like he’s still on the hardcourt. He’s quick, naturally athletic and he has a very good understanding of how to use his body and arms to keep defenders at distance (bigger wingspan than Mike McGlinchey or Kolton Miller).


But Christian needs work. His technique is rudimentary and he doesn’t yet know how to use his hands. Crosby and Brown are low-ceiling, high-floor prospects. Christian is the opposite. But if he hits that ceiling, he’ll turn out to be one of this class’ best tackles.


7. Jamarco Jones (Ohio State) | 6’4/299


Athletic composite percentile: 1.2%

Player Comp: Dion Dawkins (hat tip: Matt Miller)


What to do with Jamarco Jones? He’s physically unimpressive, one of the class’ shortest and lightest tackles. He’s also a terrible athlete. While Orlando Brown’s pre-Draft process was widely lampooned, Jones actually enters the draft with a lower athletic composite score (by a full 6.3%!).


It’d be convenient to discard him because of all of that, but you can’t exactly do that because he’s so darn effective on the field. How does he do it? He moves much better in pads than he does in shorts, and he was lauded by Ohio State’s offensive line coach as one of the smartest players he’d ever coached. Jones plays with great technique, and he has ludicrously long arms (his 85.125” wingspan is among the top-five of all OL in this class). Jones isn’t the sexiest of prospects, but odds are that he keeps overachieving in the NFL.


8. Brian O’Neill (Pitt) | 6’7/297


Athletic composite percentile: 84.9%

Player Comp: Jake Fisher (hat tip: Lance Zierlein)


Meet the anti-Jamarco Jones.


A former tight end and prep basketball stud, O’Neill has tremendous athleticism for his size. He confirmed that at the NFL Combine (4.82 forty, 29.5-inch vertical, 4.50 short shuttle, and 7.14 three-cone). At present, he’s lacking in strength, technique and feel. For those reasons, he was a disappointment at the Senior Bowl. True boom-or-bust prospect with a Pro Bowl ceiling and a career backup floor. He’ll get taken before I’d be comfortable investing.


9. Chukwuma Okorafor (Western Michigan) | 6’6/320


Athletic composite percentile: 9.1%

Player Comp: Poor man’s Ronnie Stanley (hat tip: Kyle Crabbs)


Speaking of projects! On looks alone, Okorafor would be OT1 in this class. He’s broad and thick, with no bad weight. He boasts Herculean power and quick feet. Okorafor underwhelmed during pre-Draft athletic testing, but I have no concerns about his athleticism.


Unfortunately, he remains extremely raw. He can be fooled by crafty defenders and get his feet crossed against quick-twitch edge rushers. Okorafor has only been playing football for six years, and the lack of feel is evident. He’s not even close to equaling the sum of his parts—but dang it, those parts could equal an All-Pro if everything comes together! As a Vikings fan, I went through the Willie Beavers Experience. I see a raw, knock-kneed, athletic Western Michigan tackle and break out into a cold sweat. Maybe he’s just not for me.


10. Will Richardson (NC State) | 6’6/306


Athletic composite percentile: 35.1%

Player Comp: Ju’wuan James (hat tip: Kyle Crabbs)


Richardson was a long-term starter at right tackle for the Wolfpack, and he should be a passable one in the NFL—if he can keep his nose clean. He served multiple suspensions in college.


He’s strong and tough, a bad-intentioned run blocker. Richardson lacks length and agility, so he’ll be on the right side if he remains outside. Richardson struggled with weight earlier in his career, and if he doesn’t keep it off, he won’t have a choice but to move inside.


11.Desmond Harrison (West Georgia) | 6’6/292


Athletic composite percentile: N/A

Player Comp: Julien Davenport (hat tip: Matt Miller)


Harrison is extremely long and incredibly athletic, but his past is checkered with off-field issues. Dominated on a small stage at WGU. Must add weight and keep his nose clean to have a chance. Pure roll of the dice if your OL coach has a conviction that he can get the light turned on long-term. I’d rather take a swing on him in Day 3 than on O’Neill in late Round 1 or early Round 2.


12. Joseph Noteboom (TCU) | 6’5/309


Athletic composite percentile: 37.0%

Player Comp: Garry Gilliam (hat tip: Matt Miller)


A long-time stalwart along the Horned Frogs’ offensive line (40 straight starts), Noteboom is your standard-issue developmental prospect. He has decent size, decent athleticism and he clearly knows what he’s doing out there from a technical perspective. But he’s inconsistent, particularly against power ends, who can bully him backwards. Noteboom’s stock rose after a strong Senior Bowl showing. I see a solid long-term backup who could potentially develop into a passable starter.


13. Timon Parris (Stony Brook) | 6’6/311


Athletic composite percentile: N/A

Player Comp: Charles Leno Jr. (hat tip: Jonah Tuls)


This year’s tackle class runs out of easy projections quickly. If you still need a tackle on Day 3, you’re going to have to choose between a low-ceiling, high-floor career backup type or else swing for the fences on a prospect who could flame out quickly if it doesn’t come together for him. Parris is the latter kind of option.


He’s athletic and experienced, with 41 career starts. Parris also packs a punch in the run game when he’s playing under control. That comes and goes. For a tackle with nifty feet, he ironically can come across on tape as uncoordinated. Certainly unrefined. A fractured fibula ended his 2017 season early and also deprived him a chance to show his stuff during the pre-Draft process. What you’ve got here is an interesting mystery box that can be purchased fairly cheaply.


14. Brandon Parker (NC A&T)

15. Toby Weathersby (LSU)

16. Jaryd Jones-Smith (Pittsburgh)

17. Greg Senat (Wagner)

18. Zach Crabtree (Oklahoma State)

19. Matt Pryor (TCU)

20. Brett Toth (Army)

21. KC McDermott (Miami)

22. Ike Boettger (Iowa)

23. Jamar McGloster (Syracuse)

24. David Bright (Stanford)

25. Matt Diaz (Wagner)


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Thor Nystrom is a former associate reporter whose writing has been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to Rotoworld's college football writer on Twitter @thorku.
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