We have finally made our way into the trenches of a football team with a preview of this year’s tackles. Most people will say that watching the offensive line is boring and that they do not matter much. Those people could not be more wrong the offensive line is the 2nd most important position on a football field next to quarterback. Games are won in the trenches and if you need any proof of that look at the last couple of Super Bowl championships all of them have had great players in both the offensive and defensive trenches. The Tackle class from last year was weak compared to most years but like the WR class, it is a good bounce-back year. I think there are three potential first round picks this year so let’s dive into these players.
- Jonah Williams/ Alabama
Jonah Williams is about as close to perfect left tackle prospect as they could possibly get. He looks fluid and agile in space which is a must-have in today’s game. His pass blocking is almost perfect he always keeps his defender to the outside and can handle all different types of rushers. His most impressive tape was against the daunting Clemson D-line which could have three first round picks. During that entire game, I think he lost one battle which really impressed me because he was left on an island the whole game with no help. He also can be a great run blocker with his ability to get to the second level and punish linebackers. I like to end with these reports with some of the negatives that I have with a certain prospect but Williams is completely clean in my book.
- Trey Adams/ Washington
Adams is another really great left tackle prospect and a lot of years might be the number one guy if it were not for Williams. Adams always keeps a strong base when the opponent decides to bull rush him. Offensive lineman must also be able to keep that base when an opponent uses the speed rush which Adams does well. One thing that impressed me so much about his tape was his ability to recover when he was beaten off the line. Adams always recovered enough to push his defender way to the outside keeping a clean pocket for his quarterback. My only issue with Adams is that he does not seem to have awareness when blocking in space. Sometimes he looks lost when leading the run game or being asked to pull into space. Overall Adams is a great prospect who almost never gives up a sack.
- Greg Little/ Ole Miss
Our next prospect has a name of irony if I have ever seen one. The first thing that jumped out to me with Little is how big of a man he truly is. With that said he moves really well for the massive man that he is. His pull blocks were some of the best I saw throughout my tape study of this class. Some of the other positives to his game is that he excels when asked to protect deep dropbacks. This is an important skill for his NFL development because unlike college he will be asked to protect seven-step drops way more often. Some of my issues with Little is how he handles “inside pass rush moves”. He almost never gets beat when defenders try to beat him on the outside but occasionally if they attack him on the inside he gets beat. Little still rarely gives up a sack and is effective as both a pass and run blocker.
- David Edwards/ Wisconsin
The entire Wisconsin offensive line needs to be scouted before the end of this season because they are all draftable. Edwards cracks the best tackles list because of his consistent play throughout Wisconsin’s great season. He gets off the line like he was fired out of a cannon in the run game which allows him to create plenty of space for runners. Unlike the previous prospects, he is a right tackle instead of a left tackle which brings down he is overall value. With that said Edwards is so good in the run game and solid enough in the passing game that he makes this list. His tape against Nick Bosa (might be the best player in this class) in last years Big 10 national championship game is also very impressive. My biggest issue with Edwards is that sometimes he is a little slow out of stance in the passing game. These moments are not common but still something to keep an eye on during the season.
- Mitch Hyatt/ Clemson
Mitch Hyatt has been the starting left tackle for the Clemson Tigers since his freshman season which is really saying something. He protected the blind side of Deshaun Watson for three years and did a great job. The best part about his game is that he excels in the passing game but last season Clemson became a running team which exposed some of his weaknesses. The only time I saw him be effective in the run game is when he asked to make a seal block on the edge of the line. Hyatt would also occasionally struggle with speed rushers off the edge which again will be something he needs to improve on this season. I think Hyatt might actually be better in the NFL where he will be asked to block on more passing downs like his first couple of years at Clemson.