I just wanted to give a little explanation before I get into my positional breakdown below. I have 3 categories with each player.
First, I tell you the main reason I would take a player. This isn’t every reason I would give to take a certain player. I wanted to narrow it down to one specific reason.
I then tell the main reason for not wanting to draft a player. Typically with the draft, team’s look for reasons not to draft a player, so I give you at least one with every player mentioned.
Finally, I give you an NFL comparison for each player. This DOES NOT mean that the player being compared will go on to the exact career that the player they’re being compared to had or is having. I’m strictly giving examples of players who have a similar skill set as the player in this year’s draft.
Here are my top 10 offensive tackles for the 2012 NFL Draft:
1. Matt Kalil – USC 6’6” – 307 lbs – 4.99 Top 5
Why The Commish would take him: What I really like about a prospect like Kalil is that he was hyped coming out of high school as a 5-star recruit and lived up to that hype. Therefore, I know that he has dealt with the pressure of living up to expectations before. He is extremely athletic and has a frame to add another 20-25 lbs.
Why The Commish would stay away: Kalil is still developing as a man, so hasn’t tapped his full strength yet. He needs to continue to focus on getting stronger to become better as a run blocker.
NFL Comparison: Joe Thomas – Cleveland Browns
2. Riley Reiff – Iowa 6’6” – 313 lbs – 5.23 1st Round
Why The Commish would take him: Reiff is your typical Big 10 offensive tackle. He is tough and physical, while always playing with good balance. Reiff is loaded with experience and a smart player with great instincts.
Why The Commish would stay away: When you watch Reiff play, you notice that some times he tends to get over-extended. I think the reason behind this is because his arms are slightly shorter than most offensive linemen. The good news for Reiff is that former Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga had the same issues and he is doing just fine.
NFL Comparison: Bryan Bulaga – Green Bay Packers
3. Jonathan Martin – Stanford 6’5” – 312 lbs – 5.27 1st Round
Why The Commish would take him: First, an offensive lineman from Stanford has to be smart, so that is the first Martin was also a 3-year starter for the Cardinal and thrived in pass protection. He is extremely athletic and light on his feet.
Why The Commish would stay away: For an offensive lineman that played on an offense that was a run-first mentality, Martin is not dominant in the run game and lacks elite strength. I also fail to see a killer instinct from him.
NFL Comparison: Rodger Saffold – St. Louis Rams
4. Bobby Massie – Ole Miss 6’6” – 316 lbs – 5.23 1st/2nd Round
Why The Commish would take him: Power, toughness, and level of play are all very bright spots with Massie. On a bad Ole Miss offense, Massie played very well against some extremely tough SEC competition. I watched his snaps against Alabama and LSU, and other than one sack he gave up to Courtney Upshaw, I thought Massie played very well in both games.
Why The Commish would stay away: Massie was a right tackle at Ole Miss and I think that will stay the same in the NFL. He needs to improve in pass protection, but not by much. I think Massie might be limited to only playing right tackle, which might hurt his value a little.
NFL Comparison: Michael Oher – Baltimore Ravens
5. Mike Adams – Ohio St. 6’7” – 323 lbs – 5.41 1st/2nd Round
Why The Commish would take him: The most attractive part of Adams is his outstanding size and long arms. He is very good in the run game and displays good technique in opening up holes.
Why The Commish would stay away: A couple of things are concerning to me. When I watch Adams against Vinny Curry in 2010 and Whitney Mercilus in 2011, I am not impressed. Mercilus got a sack and a half going against Adams. I was also surprised at Adams lack of strength at the combine. If Adams struggles with speed rushers, he might be destined for right tackle in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Gosder Cherilus – Detroit Lions
6. Mitchell Schwartz – Cal. 6’5” – 318 lbs – 5.45 3rd Round
Why The Commish would take him: What’s most impressive about Schwartz while watching him is his ability to keep leverage by being a natural knee bender. I was impressed with his matchup against USC DE Nick Perry and thought when he matched up with Perry, Schwartz won a majority of the matchups. Schwartz can play left or right tackle.
Why The Commish would stay away: I’m not sure he’ll every be a devastating run blocker or dominate in the run game, but he can hold his own.
NFL Comparison: Jeff Backus – Detroit Lions
7. Kelechi Osemele – Iowa St. 6’5” – 313 lbs – 5.36 2nd/3rd Round
Why The Commish would take him: I think Osemele offers some position versatility as he could play either right tackle or guard. He has a massive frame and nice long arms to match with his strength. Osemele can be very powerful as a run blocker.
Why The Commish would stay away: When I was watching his film, I was surprised at how many plays he didn’t play all the way to the whistle. Osemele can be a liability in pass protection, which will prevent him from playing left tackle. He might be best fit at guard, but I believe teams will try him at right tackle before ultimately making that move.
NFL Comparison: Vladimir Ducasse – New York Jets
8. Zebrie Sanders – FSU 6’6” – 320 lbs – 5.42 3rd Round
Why The Commish would take him: I think Sanders is a solid player with some versatility to play both sides of the line. I think he is athletic enough in pass protection and could provide good depth to an offensive line in the NFL.
Why The Commish would stay away: I’m not a big fan of how tall Sanders plays at times. He loses leverage often and opposing defensive linemen took advantage of it. I think a lack of leverage led to a lack of power at times. He needs to play lower and use the power in his legs.
NFL Comparison: Selvish Capers – New York Giants
9. Jeff Allen – Illinois 6’4” – 307 lbs – 5.28 3rd Round
Why The Commish would take him: Allen has proven over his career to be a pretty balanced offensive tackle. I think he is athletic enough and has good enough technique to stay at left tackle in the NFL. Allen also displays some good strength in the run game and keeps good leverage.
Why The Commish would stay away: Allen lacks ideal size for offensive tackles these days. Allen would be a developmental lineman that would need more consistent technique and to develop more confidence to protect a quarterback’s blindside.
NFL Comparison: Charles Brown – New Orleans Saints
10. James Brown – Troy 6’3” – 306 lbs – 5.30 3rd/4th Round
Why The Commish would take him: Brown’s athleticism will be most attractive to NFL teams. His athleticism will allow him to be a potential left tackle after developing for a couple years. As a mid round selection, Brown would provide good depth with the potential to start.
Why The Commish would stay away: A lack of ideal size and strength is a concern. Despite Brown’s athleticism, this lack of size and strength could prevent Brown from ever becoming an impactful player along the line.
NFL Comparison: Jamon Meredith – Tampa Bay Buccaneers