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Raiders Draft: Holder’s offensive tackle rankings

All reports are in, now we turn to the rankings

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State
Abraham Lucas
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the day we’ve all been waiting for has finally come and the scouting reports are over and done with, shed a tear. It’s been a long journey with a few twists and turns, most notably trading first- and second-round picks for Davante Adams, but we’ve finally reached our destination as the NFL Draft officially gets underway tonight. Granted, the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t scheduled to make any selections until Day 2, but the draft is unpredictable and the Raiders could use a starting-quality right tackle.

Those who have been following along this offseason know that I’ve been doing a deep dive into the tackle class for that reason. While Las Vegas may not have a shot at drafting some of the players at the top of the list, it still helps to know where everyone lands.

That being said, I’ll give a little more information on the guys who I think have at least a chance at putting on the silver and black, and a link to a full scouting report from either myself or someone I trust will be under each player’s name. This is also a list of only the players I had a chance to watch this draft season, so if you’re wondering why someone is missing, that’s likely why.

With that let’s get to the rankings!

1) Evan Neal, Alabama

Scouting Report link

Projection: Top 5

To me, Neal is the most well-rounded tackle in the class. He might sacrifice some run-blocking prowess to Ekwonu and pass protection skills to Cross, but the Alabama product is plenty good in both of those areas in his own right. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the biggest of the bunch and was named Bruce Feldman’s biggest freak in college football.

2) Ikem Ekwonu, NC State

Scouting Report Link

Projection: Top 5

Ekwonu went from being one of the nastiest run-blockers in college football but also a liability in pass protection as a sophomore to one of the most outright dominant offensive linemen as a junior. He cut down on his pressures surrendered, going from 25 to 13 total and seven sacks to just three, while also improving his PFF run-blocking grade from 91.2 to 93.8.

3) Charles Cross, Mississippi St

Scouting Report link

Projection: Top 10

Arguably the best pass protector of the draft class, Cross allowed just 16 pressures — two sacks — on 719 pass-blocking snaps last season. However, he played in an offense that doesn’t translate well to the NFL and only had 200 reps as a run blocker in 2021.

4) Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

Scouting Report link

Projection: Top 20

It’s a shame Penning will likely be out of the Raiders' reach, pending a big trade, because he was born to be a Raider. The Northern Iowa product is a mean, nasty run blocker who gets some sort of sick enjoyment from putting another human being in the ground. My biggest concern with him during the draft process was a lack of athleticism, but he erased that with a 9.95 RAS score at the NFL Combine.

5) Darian Kinnard, Kentucky

New Mexico State v Kentucky
Darian Kinnard
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 2

Admittedly, I’m a lot higher on Kinnard than most. Several people I respect in the industry even have him slated as a guard and while I can see where some of the concern may lie, he’s a guy I’d put at tackle until he proves me wrong.

The former Wildcat has earned overall PFF grades of 89.2, 91.5, and 91.9 in three seasons as a full-time starter, while never allowing more than 12 pressures in a year and surrendering just seven in 2021. He reminds me of Donald Penn and if I’m Dave Ziegler, I’m hoping Kinnard slides far enough down to a spot where I can trade up to get him.

6) Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 2

Raimann became a complicated projection for me after the Senior Bowl. For being a converted tight end and new to the position, he was pretty technically sound on tape and has some athletic potential. However, I was less than impressed with his performance in Mobile and now wonder if he’s ready for the jump in competition.

7) Daniel Faalele, Minnesota

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 2

Faalele has been a popular name that Raider fans have tossed around this offseason and rightfully so. To put it simply, 6’8” and 380-pound dudes who can move as well as he can don’t grow on trees. He does struggle badly against inside counter moves in pass protection which is concerning, but I have little to no doubt about his prowess as a run-blocker. The Australian is another guy I could see Ziegler trading up for if he feels so inclined.

8) Tyler Smith, Tulsa

Scouting Report link

Projection: Rounds 2-3

If this list was a ranking of offensive tackles who embody the Silver and Black mentality, Smith would be a close second behind Penning. Smith is nasty in the ground game and posted an 8.77 RAS score in Indianapolis. He has flaws in pass protection that could cause him to slide down draft boards, but he only allowed 17 pressures and two sacks in the last two years combined.

9) Abraham Lucas, Washington State

Scouting Report link

Projection: Rounds 2-3

Continuing with the theme of connecting players in the middle of this list to the ones at the top, Lucas is basically the poor man’s version of Cross. The former Cougar is athletic and well-versed in pass pro, just not in the same pedigree as the former Bulldog. They even played in basically the same offense with head coach Mike Leach hopping from Washington State to Mississippi State in 2020.

In my opinion, the best-case scenario for the Raiders in this draft is that Lucas falls into their laps at pick 86.

10) Sean Rhyan, UCLA

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Oregon at UCLA
Sean Rhyan
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 3

Rhyan is another prospect that has analysts split on his best position at the next level. He’s athletic enough to play tackle with an 8.18 RAS score, but he lacks the ideal arm length at 32 3/8”. To me, he’s another guy I’d at least give a shot to play on the outside and see if he sinks or swims. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the UCLA product joins a couple of other former Bruins in the trenches this fall...Rhyan was a popular player to send to the Raiders in a few mock drafts not too long ago.

11) Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan

Scouting Report link (coming soon)

Projection: Rounds 3-4

We’ve reached that point of the list where several prospects can be seen as guards or tackles, and Goedeke is no different. He has short arms — 32 1/4” — and questionable feet in pass protection, but he is strong and impressive in the ground game. How the league perceives him will be the difference between him going in the third and fourth rounds, but the former Chippewa’s versatility could be intriguing for Las Vegas, who could use someone on the inside and/or outside.

12) Kellen Diesch, Arizona State

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 4

If Lucas ends up being out of reach for Ziegler and the Raiders, then Diesch would be a good consolation prize. The former Sun Devil is one of the most athletic offensive tackles in this draft class with a 9.75 RAS Score, which is rare for a player that projects as a Day 3 pick. However, he does have the short arm stigma — 32 1/4” — and isn’t a great run-blocker, so he does leave something to be desired.

13) Max Mitchell

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 4

It’s not often that we’ll dive this deep down the board and find PFF’s highest-graded offensive tackle from last season. Mitchell posted an impressive 94.8 overall mark in 2021 and is probably the most well-rounded option in the late Day 2 to early Day 3 category. However, he tested poorly at the combine — 5.54 RAS Score — and had glimpses on film where it looked like his athleticism could be an issue at the next level. Still, Mitchell would be someone who could at least compete for the starting right tackle spot in the desert.

14) Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 2

This is one where I’m much lower than the general consensus, hence why the projection is off from the other players grouped in this section or tier of the list. To me, Petit-Frere doesn’t have the feet to play tackle and I was underwhelmed by his skills in the ground game. I’d stay far, far away from him if I was an NFL general manager unless the plan is to move him inside.

15) Rasheed Walker, Penn State

Scouting Report link

Projection: Round 4

Walker wouldn’t be a bad mid- to late-round option for the Silver and Black, but he does worry me. I think he’s a solid run blocker but he posted a sub-60 PFF run-blocking grade last season, and I feel pretty confident that he’ll struggle to hold down the edge in the passing game, as both the film and numbers point me that way. The Penn State product has questionable footwork on his vertical sets and allowed 26 pressures — four sacks — in 2021.

Notables not ranked/watched