2017 NFL Draft: Offensive Lineman

This is one of the weakest offensive line classes in a long time. We may see some reaches because of that.

Full ratings here:

https://sethburn.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/2017-nfl-draft-ratings/

Offensive lineman

Ryan Ramczyk: He’s a very tough player to evaluate. He hurt his hip early in the year and still managed to put up very good numbers. Is the hip injury going to be a nagging problem? Or does he have another gear? Answering that would require medical information I am not privy to. If the hip isn’t an issue, we’re looking at an excellent option at either tackle position. What he lacks in raw power he makes up for with solid technique and excellent reaction speed. Even in pass protection he’s very good at making the first move and winning the initial point of contact. That’s hard to teach, and is why he’s my #1 tackle prospect for the draft.

Forrest Lamp: It’s anyone’s guess what his position is in the NFL. He dominated at left tackle at Western Kentucky, but he might end up being a right tackle, a center, or a guard in the NFL. There are concerns about Ramczyk’s arm length, and Lamp’s are 1.5 inches shorter. That makes it very tough to project him as a tackle. It’s hard to get great value out of a guard (with notable exceptions), so if a team doesn’t view him as a tackle, they’d probably want to try him at center. No matter where he ends up, I expect him to become a quality football player.

Cam Robinson: There are some concerns about his shoulders, but nothing major. Similarly, his off-field issues have been blown out of proportion. Unlike Lamp and Ramczyk, he has the prototype build to play left or right tackle. His skill set fits right tackle slightly better as he’s a natural mauler, but he’ll be given a chance to prove himself at left tackle first. He has a bad habit of overcompensating if he feels he is getting beat on a play, and draws an unacceptable number of flags as a result. Coaches are going to need to improve his footwork such that he isn’t falling behind as often early in the play. He has a higher ceiling than Ramczyk or Lamp and should be a high quality starting tackle in a year or two.

Garrett Bolles: Hard pass. He’s a 25 year old rookie. He looked great on film getting to the second level, but generally that was against weaker competition. Robinson had a problem with penalties due to poor technique. Bolles committed penalties that were just indefensible (he had 17 last year). I’ll grant he’s an elite athlete who had a great combine. Well, in terms of speed and agility. He didn’t lift because of a pectoral injury, so his power is still an unknown. And then there was the generally useless Wonderlic. Given concerns about his mental makeup a nine isn’t a great sign. The bust potential here is off the charts.

Dan Feeney: If not for a concussion that cost him four games last season, he might have been a potential first-round pick. It’s an injury that scares teams, so it will cost Feeney. Otherwise, he’s a four year starter and prototypical right guard. If he can stay on the field there is no reason for him to fail at the next level.

Taylor Moton: He’ll get a shot to start at right tackle. He has excellent power, but was somewhat vulnerable against speed. NFL coaching might be able to fix that. If not, he’s shown himself to be a quality right guard, which isn’t that bad of a floor once you get past the first round. I expect him to be a productive player and would be very happy if he fell to the Jets in the third round.

Dion Dawkins: Had some awesome moments on film. Best highlight package of any lineman in the draft. Two major problems: 1. Gets beat far too often. It’s not just speed rushers beating him around the edge. There are times when it looks like he isn’t cognizant of his responsibility on the play and takes himself out of position. 2. Doesn’t have the proper physique to play tackle, or the quickness to play guard. Overall, he has NFL-level talent, but finding the right fit is going to be key. High ceiling if a team can maximize his talent.

Antonio Garcia: Scouts are all over the place on him, with good reason. He was a lightly regarded prospect who has improved each year. He’s a natural left tackle in a draft lacking them. The step up from Troy to the NFL is huge, but the NFL needs left tackles, so look for someone to roll the dice on him earlier in the draft than his current skill level would suggest. Like Dawkins, he has a high ceiling, so a patient team could grab a long term left tackle at a budget price. I think he’s a worthy gamble.

Ethan Pocic: For a guy rated as the top center in the draft Pocic got his ass kicked on film a lot. Lamp is going to be off the board well before Pocic, but if I needed a center, I think I’d rather gamble that Lamp can hold the position down. Pocic is versatile and can play guard or tackle if asked. Thing is, I don’t particularly like him at either of those positions. His height is also a concern, but the real problem is an NFL-quality nose tackle should eat him alive. I’d pass on Pocic.

Dorian Johnson: The more film I watched of him, the more I liked him. He doesn’t have the power to dominate people, but he was always where you wanted him to be. Played clean and drew very few flags. He definitely needs to get stronger, but that’s something a NFL strength coach can take care of, especially for his second season. I’m a fan of Johnson and expect him to succeed in the NFL.

Roderick Johnson: Played against elite competition at Florida State. You’d think their starting left tackle would have a better draft grade, but he wasn’t all that dominant. He looks the part with great size and length, but then you watch the film. He might be a better fit for right tackle in the NFL, but it is hard to tell. I wouldn’t take him until the later rounds.

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