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2019 NFL Draft Superlatives: Offensive Tackle

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NCAA Football: Tennessee at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden and the Raiders doubled up at offensive tackle in the 2018 draft selecting Kolton Miller in the 1st round and Brandon Parker in the 3rd round. Both tackles need time to develop and had more poor performances than good ones last season. Tackle could be addressed in this upcoming draft if Mike Mayock isn’t convinced either tackle is a viable piece of the roster moving forward.

Some people are down on this tackle group because there isn’t a surefire top left tackle in the class. There are, however, 4 or 5 players who will be starting at right tackle day 1 in the NFL and never look back. Overall this is a very good draft to take a tackle and a few players who can play inside at guard as well. Let’s look at the ones who stand out.

Body beautiful

Tim Cowie/Tim Cowie Photography

Olisaemeka Udoh, RT, Elon

“Oli” for short, the small school prospect turned heads at the Senior Bowl with prototypical size for the tackle position. At 6’5 3/4s, 327lbs, with 10 inch hands, 36inch arms and an 85 inch wingspan, Udoh is a mammoth of a man who has the length and bulk that every offensive line coach loves. Udoh handled the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl better than many expected and showed he knows how to use his size to bully blockers. He is still a work in progress but his measurables will likely make him the first developmental tackle taken in the middle of the draft.

Highest skill

Dalton Risner, RT, Kansas State

Risner hasn’t allowed a sack since 2016. That alone should make him one of the highest skilled players on the offensive line entering the 2019 draft. In addition to his great ability to pass protect, Risner is capable of playing multiple positions starting 13 games at center as a freshman and filling in for a stretch at right guard in addition to making over 26 starts at right tackle. Risner is a quick thinker who communicates with his unit. There is no blocking scheme in which Risner can’t produce. Some teams might like him better as a guard, but he gives a team flexibility to play anywhere on the line at a high level.

Strongest

Jawaan Taylor, RT, Florida

Taylor is a highly skilled pass blocker who shows some really solid hand fighting that knocks rushers off balance. Taylor’s functional strength however is really something to watch. He faced almost every top pass rusher in this class and had a great outing blocking them all using his power to envelop them at the point of attack. The play above where Taylor throws DeAndre Walker to the ground has become a calling card for the tackle and he routinely tosses pass rushers around on game day. Taylor isn’t just all brute strength—but it’s his best asset. The combination of all his traits could make him the first tackle selected in the 2019 draft.

Best athlete

Kaleb McGary, RT, Washington

McGary is Kolton Miller 2.0. A 6’7 tackle who can run with the best of them. Just watching the film its easy to predict this guy will crush the combine. McGary does an incredible job of pulling and blocking in space. Very light on his feet for a giant man and he backs it up with length and power. McGary like almost all other tackles on this list plays on the right side but has the potential to play left tackle if a team likes him there better.

Highest upside

Greg Little, LT, Ole Miss

Little is one of only a few top tackle prospects in this draft to play on the left side. He has all the size and athleticism you need from a left tackle and the high ceiling a team wants when they draft a guy in the first. Little is a polarizing player, some think he’ll be a bust, others think he’ll be the best tackle taken in 2019. For this reason, Little wins the distinction of highest upside. Upside is a sly way of saying a prospect has the chance of becoming great if they put it all together and Little can be as good as he wants to be in the NFL.

Most underrated

Dennis Daley, LT, South Carolina

Daley has great film, showcasing power and pass blocking chops but for some reason hasn’t garnered the hype of other tackles in this class. He won’t crush the combine and he doesn’t have the prettiest pass sets but he’s the type of player who gets it done even if it looks ugly. He had a poor showing against Josh Allen from Kentucky so that might be carrying too much negative connotations for Daley. If you watch him against Clemson or Georgia however, Daley showed he can match power with the strongest defensive linemen run or pass. Daley doesn’t have many holes in his game, he will be a starter in the NFL as soon as year 1.

Honorable mentions

Cody Ford, RT, Oklahoma: Highest skill, Strongest

Jonah Williams, LT, Alabama: Highest skill

Yodney Cajuste, LT, West Virginia: Best athlete

Andre Dillard, LT, Washington State: Best athlete, Most underrated

David Edwards, RT, Wisconsin: Body beautiful

Tytus Howard, LT, Alabama State: Best athlete

Chuma Edogah, RT, USC: Highest skill, Most underrated