Bad News: He's not Jared Gaither. Good News: He's not Khalif Barnes
Alright, so Jared Gaither is not on the Oakland Raiders and they are back to looking at the 2011 free agents for an answer on the offensive line. At least I hope they are. The Raiders re-signed Khalif Barnes yesterday, but I am hoping this is just for depth. Anyway, hopefully the Raiders realize that upgrading the tackle position is still a priority, and seeing as how Khalif Barnes was a third string tackle in 2010 starting him is an upgrade in the wrong direction. The good news is there are still some options out there.
Here is my wishlist with analysis provided by ESPN.
1. T Jammal Brown, Redskins 6'6" 313 lbs
Jammal Brown was a perennial starter for the Saints before being injured and missing the entire 2009 season. He was acquired in a trade in 2010 where he returned to his starting role at the right tackle position for Washington. Brown is a long limbed lineman with good strength and athleticism. He is a solid knee bender with good initial quickness to gain leverage as a run blocker. Brown has an effective kick step and balance as a pass blocker to maintain proper body position. He shows good awareness and agility to react well to stunts, twists and counter moves off the edge. Jammal Brown is a good football player that brings experience and attitude to Washington's offensive line.
Brown is No. 1 on my list by a wide margin. I want this guy in for a visit yesterday.
Jump over for the rest....
2. T Matt Light, Patirots 6'4" 305 lbs
Light has been a mainstay on the left side for New England. Light has just above average size and excellent athleticism. He isn't powerful but wins with technique, toughness and intelligence. He comes off the ball with good quickness, balance and control. Light understands positioning. He has good speed on the move and is active with his hands. He reacts well to stunts and blitz packages. He has been very durable and consistent.
3. T Charlie Johnson Colts 6'4" 305 lbs
Johnson brings position versatility in that he can play either guard or tackle and looks equally comfortable at either position. He is more of a finesse blocker who uses foot agility and body control to position and screen opponents away from the play, but lacks the power and bulk to drive opponents off the ball on a consistent basis. He can bend his knees to keep his pad level down to leverage blocks and shows good lateral range in pass protection to pick up edge speed rushers.
4. T Sean Locklear 6'4" 310 lbs
Locklear has been Seattle's starting right tackle for seven years, but he has played in all 16 games just three times. He can play on either side but is best suited to the right. Although he has enough girth to hunker down and hold his own, he is more of a finesse blocker. He can step to get out with the speed rusher and will adjust to counter moves but has limited lateral range. He can leverage blocks but could use more hip and upper body strength. He does not finish blocks off as often as you would like but generally gets the job done.
5. T Ryan Harris 6'5" 300
There have been some concerns about Harris' ability to stay healthy for a full 16-game season. When healthy, he is a quality right tackle who relies on initial quickness and technique to get the job done more than agility and being a natural knee bender. He has a tendency to play tall and will lose leverage on some blocks when he's trying drive opponents off the ball. He could stand to add more bulk and strength in his lower body.
Worth considering pending physical: T Damien Woody 6'3" 323 lbs.
Woody sustained an Achilles injury late in 2010. He is a short, powerfully built lineman who has been versatile throughout his 12 years in the league. He utilizes great initial quickness, technique and toughness to be successful at the point of attack. He has good pop and punch as a run-blocker and stays connected with great effort and athleticism. He reacts well to changing fronts and pressure stunts. He can chip up to the second level and hit more athletic defenders in space. He can anchor well in pass protection with a naturally low center of gravity. Woody has had an excellent career but it remains to be seen if he can bounce back from such a serious injury so late in his career.