The Top 5 Offensive Tackles in the 2015 NFL Draft

Anytime a club selects an offensive lineman in the first round, it is considered sound drafting. Offensive linemen, in general, have longer careers than players from most other positions. They are usually reliable people. Many are plug and play early in their careers. Obviously, tackles have more value than guards, but as we have seen in the last few years, clubs aren’t afraid to draft a guard in the first round. If he is a quality player, he is worth being taken with a premium selection. For the purposes of these “Top 5” articles, I am going to include Iowa’s Brandon Scherff as a guard. While he certainly can play tackle at the next level, I keep hearing that many clubs are looking at him as a guard first, and that is where he may start as a rookie. 1) Andrus Peat – Stanford The more tape I watch on Peat, the more I like him. He has excellent size (6’7 – 313) to go along with very long arms, speed and athleticism. The other thing that jumps out at me is his age. Peat is a third-year junior and will be a 21 year old rookie. Many offensive linemen in the draft are a year or two older. We are just beginning to see how good he can be. Peat has outstanding balance and very quick feet. In pass protection, he shows a strong punch, good mirror skills, and can anchor. In the run game, he shows he can be a physical blocker who can get movement and easily gets to the second level. He is smart and alert with top instincts. I see Peat as a rookie starter and a player who will eventually be a Pro Bowl tackle. He is a better player than Greg Robinson was last year and Robinson went second overall. 2) La’el Collins – LSU In the NFL scouting community, there were mixed opinions on Collins talent. Some thought he was a right tackle or a guard. All those thoughts went away when Collins had a strong Senior Bowl week. He clearly was the best offensive lineman in the game. At the Combine, he showed that he was easily athletic enough to play on the left side. He has good not great size at 6’4 – 305 with good length. He was a three-year starter at LSU with two seasons on the left side. He is a powerful run blocker who gets movement and can get to the second level. He has some nasty in his play, and he always looks to finish. In pass protection, he can get a little lazy with his technique but he shows he can bend, mirror and anchor. He has a strong punch and does a good job keeping his hands inside. Overall, Collins is ready to step in and play as a rookie. The needs of the team that drafts him will determine where he lines up. He may start out on the right side but will end up being a left tackle. SCOUTING BOOT CAMP IS COMING TO CHICAGO MAY 15th-17th! ATTEND LIVE OR BY WEBINAR 3) T.J. Clemmings – Pittsburgh Going into the Senior Bowl, Clemmings was high on most scouts' lists of offensive linemen. That week changed the opinion of some scouts because Clemmings had a rough week of practice. If you know anything about Clemmings, you know that he has only played on the offensive line for two years. He’s a former defensive lineman who was moved over to offense. He is still learning how to play and it’s easy to say his best football is in front of him. At the Senior Bowl, Clemmings was often lined up on the left side, and he has never played there. He was uncomfortable playing on that side and it showed in his play during practice. When he lined up on the right side, he looked much better. At 6’5 – 309, Clemmings has good size and he has the frame to carry 320. He is a top athlete with very good movement skills and bend. He is a powerful run blocker who is explosive on contact and is consistently able to get movement. In pass protection, he shows he can control his opponent with his punch, keeps good position, and can anchor. Because of Clemmings inexperience on the O-Line, he needs to start out as a right tackle. He has left tackle athleticism and may eventually end up there, but because he still is new to the position, keeping him confident is important. 4) D.J. Humphries – Florida If all reports are true, this spring, Humphries has taken the express elevator to the top. Because of his athleticism and ability to play left tackle, many teams are ranking him near the top of the O-Line lists. D.J. is a junior coming out and is one of the more athletic offensive linemen in the draft. He has good natural size, but he still hasn’t totally filled out. He played the 2014 season at under 300 pounds and weighed in at 307 at the Combine. He has a frame that can carry about 315. In pass, he shows he can set quickly, move his feet, mirror, slide, and recover. He is a natural knee bender who flashes the ability to anchor versus power. In the run game, he has some snap in his hips and can run his feet after contact. On the downside, he didn’t show top functional strength and power during the 2014 season. He is very young and hasn’t had a lot of playing time. He has also had some injury issues while at Florida. I see him as a player that has more talent than production, but he has a lot of upside. He will get drafted high because of that upside. He is still raw and learning how to play the game. Like Greg Robinson last year, he may need to sit and learn a bit before he is ready to start a game. 5) Ereck Flowers – Miami Flowers is another very young player who is entering the draft. He is a true third year junior and has been a starter since midway through his freshman year. He has played left tackle the last two seasons but looks more like a right tackle at the NFL level. Flowers is a huge man (6’6 – 329) with excellent length. He is tough and physical and is best in the run game. He is an above average athlete with natural bend and anchor in pass protection. He has some tightness in his ankles and needs to show better awareness versus counter moves while in pass protection. He is consistently quick to shift his weight and come back the other way when in pass protection. Because of his age, his best football is in front of him, but his size, power, and athleticism all say right tackle. That will give him the best chance to succeed at the next level. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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