NFL draft: Rating the offensive tackles

Dan Pompei
April 12, 2010

What is most interesting about this group of offensive tackles is there is no consensus No. 1. Some teams are going to like Trent Williams better; some will go for Russell Okung.

1.Russell Okung, Oklahoma State, 6-5, 307. This is a strong, physical, tough blocker who probably is best-suited on the right side. He plays hard and finishes blocks. His pass-blocking technique is solid, and he knows how to use his long arms. His foot quickness is just slightly above average, and one scout described his movement skill as "a little mechanical." Okung is NFL-ready and should be able to start and play well immediately. He will be a very safe pick, though his potential for greatness may be limited.

2.Trent Williams, Oklahoma, 6-4, 315. He is the most gifted tackle prospect in the draft, with flexibility, quick feet, balance and the ability to anchor. Williams can move and slide and redirect to a counter move. He moves defenders off the ball. He has the versatility to play left tackle or right, and has played both in his college career. Williams confirmed his athleticism with his combine workout. His work ethic and accountability is questionable. He isn't quite as tall or long-armed as some teams prefer.

3.Anthony Davis, Rutgers, 6-5, 323. This player has incredible tools the size, athleticism and power to dominate. His upside is very high, but Davis probably is further away from achieving it than any of the other top tackle prospects. He is a very raw player who needs to mature on and off the field. Scouts believe his dedication is an issue, and he was an underachiever at Rutgers. He has had weight problems in the past. He gets lazy with his technique and sometimes does not move his fee the way he should.

4.Bryan Bulaga, Iowa, 6-5, 314. NFL teams know exactly what they are getting with Bulaga, who also played defensive end, tight end and linebacker at Marian Central Catholic High School. He is a very competitive blocker with excellent technique who always plays under control. He takes good angles and finds a way to get the job done. He anchors well and finishes his blocks. He was highly productive over time against top competition in the Big Ten. Bulaga's arms are a bit on the short side at 33 inches, and his lack of length could be an issue. Bulaga struggles at times against speed rushers and counter moves. As a result, some teams think he will be more suited to play on the right side. He had a thyroid condition last season that caused him to miss three games, but it appears to be a non-issue at this point.

5.Charles Brown, Southern California, 6-5, 303. He has an intriguing blend of size, athleticism and quick feet. Brown has everything it takes to be a fine left tackle in the NFL. This former tight end has been a good player for one of the premier football programs in the country. He has a lean frame and could stand to pack on some muscle. Brown is a little inconsistent in his play. He is more of a finesse blocker. His technique gets sloppy at times, especially in the run game. He improved his intensity level as last season went on.

6. Bruce Campbell, Maryland, 6-6, 314. He was a sensation at the combine with a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, a 7.58 three-cone drill and an 8-5 broad jump. He has an incredible build for the position with long arms, and he looks like a bodybuilder. His feet are very quick and he has plenty of strength. But Campbell, who came out of Maryland a year early, doesn't play up to his athleticism. He doesn't bend well, and he doesn't finish blocks. His technique needs refinement. He needs to be viewed as a developmental player.

7. Roger Saffold, Indiana, 6-4, 316. Saffold is built more like a guard, but he has enough athleticism to play tackle. He has left tackle athleticism and light feet, but might be best on the right side because of his lack of length. He was a little inconsistent as a run blocker at Indiana but showed improvement over time. He is tenacious and can lock onto a defender and sustain his blocks. He helped himself at the East-West Shrine Game.

8.Vladmir Ducasse, Massachusetts, 6-4, 332. This is a raw prospect with the chance to develop into a very solid player. Ducasse has played against a lower level of competition and he needs technique work. A native of Haiti, Ducasse was exposed at the Senior Bowl when he had a lot of new information thrown at him. He does have size, strength and enough athleticism. He probably is best-suited as a right tackle, or possibly even a guard. His potential is very good.

9.Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale, 6-8, 312. He is very tall and long. He has surprisingly quick feet and good athleticism for his size. He also bends well and can get to the second level. Veldheer caught the attention of NFL teams with a solid performance at the Texas versus the Nation game. Veldheer needs to improve his strength and ability to drive defenders. He is very raw, and is probably one year away from being able to help an NFL team.

10.Jason Fox, Miami, 6-7, 303. Fox has excellent height and reach, and he is a technically sound blocker who can protect the passer. He has the versatility to be a right or left tackle. He is smart and tough but needs to develop his strength. Scouts have concerns about his durability, and a knee issue could hurt him on draft day.

11.John Jerry, Mississippi, 6-5, 328. This is a blocker with natural athleticism, strength and size. He moves well for his size, and he plays with good punch. He has had weight-control issues in the past but has dedicated himself to getting in shape recently, and he subsequently has helped his draft stock. Jerry also has worked out pretty well. He is the brother of Falcons 2009 first-round pick Peria Jerry.

12.Sam Young, Notre Dame, 6-7, 316. Young is a huge man who looks like an NFL right tackle. He doesn't have the quick feet or athleticism to be a premier pass-blocking left tackle. But he is tough and is difficult to get around. Young plays hard, and he can engulf defenders. He started every game over his four years at Notre Dame.

13.Thomas Welch, Vanderbilt, 6-6, 307. This huge blocker looks like a prototype right tackle. A two-year starter, he is tough, smart and athletic enough. Welch could be more physical. He is decent in pass protection. Welch helped himself in his workouts.

14.Ed Wang, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 314. He has the versatility to be a backup at tackle or guard. This is a pretty good athlete but not yet a great player. He has the drive, toughness and intelligence to develop over time.

15.Selvish Capers, West Virginia, 6-4, 308. Capers' athleticism is his selling point. He also has decent size but is not a very physical blocker. He is still a little raw and needs refinement.

16.Kevin Haslam, Rutgers, 6-5, 304. Haslam is average in just about every area, but he has enough determination to find a role on an NFL team. He can play tackle or guard, which could help him stick. He's big enough, but is mostly a position blocker. He was not invited to the combine.

17.Clifton Geathers, South Carolina, 6-8, 299. He played defensive end in college, but many NFL teams consider him an offensive tackle prospect because of his huge wingspan and height. Geathers wasn't much of a prospect on defense, but he has the tools to be a developmental prospect on offense. He helped himself with his workouts. His brother is Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers.

18.Kyle Calloway, Iowa, 6-6, 323. Size is his best asset. Calloway has average athleticism and strength. He has some problems in pass protection against speed and quickness. As a run blocker, he can be tough and tenacious.

19.Will Barker, Virginia, 6-7, 317. He has enough athleticism to play right tackle, as well as excellent size. This four-year starter is tough and smart. His feet are a tad on the slow side, and he overextends at times.

20.Jeff Linkenbach, Cincinnati, 6-7, 311. Linkenbach has the size and know-how to make it in the NFL. He shows good technique. He probably is best-suited on the right side, and could benefit from more strength.

21.Chris Scott, Tennessee, 6-4, 319. He has some athleticism for his size at least enough to be an NFL backup. Scott could play with more violence. He does not always finish his blocks.

22.Adam Ulatoski, Texas, 6-5, 300. He played on the left side in college but probably will have to be a right tackle in the pros. Ulatoski has the height but is a marginal athlete.

23.Chris Marinelli, Stanford, 6-7, 301. His big frame and toughness make him a prospect. But Marinelli has slow feet and below average athleticism. His technique is pretty sound. Marinelli can be considered at guard as well. He also has some medical issues.

24.Tony Washington, Abilene Christian, 6-6, 311. This prospect has good size and decent feet. He has the athleticism to develop into a decent NFL player. He has helped his stock with nice workouts. However, he is considered a character reject by many teams because of his off-the-field problems.

25.Levi Horn, Montana, 6-7, 327. He has the size and strength to get a chance. He also could be considered at guard. Horn's athleticism is average at best, but he could develop.

26.Kyle Jolly, North Carolina, 6-6, 311. A three-year starter at left tackle, Jolly probably is best-suited at right tackle in the pros. He has an NFL body. His balance and foot quickness are only average, however. He struggles in pass protection at times.
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