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1. Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin
Probably a guard at the next level, but could compete for a job as a tackle. Packs a punch in run blocking. Manages to get good shots on defenders. Moves players out of the way of his running back. Drives defenders into the dirt. One of the great pulling blockers in college football today. Rare speed for a guard in the open field, and takes great paths to the point of attack when executing a pulling play. Possesses enough lateral agility to mirror defenders in the open field when lead blocking for a ballcarrier. Utilized heavily on pull plays. Above average pass blocker for a guard. Perhaps surprisingly, can sometimes get driven backwards in pass protection. Tough to get around this player, though. Has nice awareness to switch from assisting with one pass rusher to another, more immediate threat. Tremendous build – big, tall, and stocky.
Three-star recruit at tight end who also lettered in baseball and basketball. Graduated from Grafton High School in Grafton, Wisconsin. 6’6”, 322 lb. Redshirt senior who has switched from a recruited tight end to a right tackle to a fixture at right guard. Suffered a right knee injury in training camp as a redshirt freshman, keeping him out for the first five games of the year. Started the final eight games of the season – six at right tackle, then two at right guard. As a redshirt sophomore, locked down the starting right guard position, starting all 14 games of the season at the position. The next season, started all 14 games at right guard again, but missed most of the Florida Atlantic game with a right leg injury (went on to start the following week after recovering). Father and uncle both played football at Wisconsin in the 1980s; brother is currently a tight end for the Badgers.
Grade: Second Round
2. Alex Bars, Notre Dame
True guard/tackle hybrid who can play either position given his height, but will likely get the strongest look at guard. Natural pulling blocker who takes near-perfect angles and delivers a powerful blow. Beats up on defenders – a powerful blocker who uses his strength to pop opposing players. High-caliber footwork, which will serve him well in the NFL. Does not always do the best job of getting defenders out of the way when run blocking. Can sometimes make a mess of the designed blocking scheme, creating a scrum where the running lane should be, but other times does a good job of moving his assignment out of the way. When he gets to the second level, has a habit of going low and trying to land a big hit on defenders’ legs, instead of actively engaging the defender and finishing the block. A fine pass protector who has the occasional lapse, getting turned around and allowing inside pressure. Difficult to beat in a one-on-one pass rushing scenario; adjusts well to pass rush moves and keeps his hands on the defender. Runs hard when getting to the edge or getting out in front of a ballcarrier, but does not have mind-blowing speed for a player at his position. Generally needs to do a better job of keeping himself square to the player he is blocking.
Four-star recruit among the best offensive tackles in his class. Graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Played basketball and threw shot put in high school. 6’6”, 318 lb. Redshirt senior who is a team captain. As a redshirt freshman, appeared in six games and made two starts at left guard before injuring his ankle and missing the rest of the season. Moved to right tackle as a sophomore, starting all 12 games. Kicked back inside to right guard as a redshirt junior, starting all 13 games. Has played alongside two first round picks: guard Quenton Nelson and tackle Mike McGlinchey. Father was a linebacker for Notre Dame; one brother played defensive line at Penn State, another played offensive line at Michigan.
Grade: Second Round
3. Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
Projects as a guard. Powerful blocker who is tough to move. Leverages body size well when matching up against defenders, using weight to gain significant leverage. Patient enough to let run plays develop, allowing him to square up with defenders and deliver a pop – ability to execute with patience showcases experience. Especially patient when pulling, but still gets to the spot quickly and stonewalls. Sometimes awkward when moving around on pulls or in the open field, but is a fine blocker at the second level. Also sometimes catches defenders instead of initiating the contact. Plays to the whistle. Not an elite pass blocker, but gets the job done – can certainly be beat with a quality rip move. Does well in assisting tackles on inside moves from edge rushers.
Four-star recruit among the best at the guard position in his class; listed by some as an offensive tackle, too. Graduated from Cedar Falls High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa. 6’4”, 303 lb. Redshirt senior who has amassed 42 career starts at left guard, while also playing some center. As a redshirt freshman, locked down the starting job at left guard, earning Freshman All-American recognition. As a redshirt sophomore, moonlighted at center and right guard before settling back into the left guard slot, starting every game. Started every game but one at left guard as a redshirt junior – sustained an ankle injury early in the Mississippi State game, knocking him out of the contest, but came off the bench against Auburn the next week, fighting through the injury to earn “Offensive Player of the Week” recognition from coaches. Could move to center in 2018.
Grade: Second Round
4. Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas
Projects as a guard. Nasty blocker who approaches the run game in an aggressive manner. Drives defenders back and overpowers opposing linemen in one-on-one scenarios. Drives his legs and generates tremendous strength when making hits. Moves quickly through his blocks, finding his assignment and engaging the defender – a natural pulling blocker who is most effective on outside handoffs to his side when lead-blocking as the puller. Can sometimes get turned around, giving up some ground, when defenders attack gaps. Pancakes opposing defenders at a nice rate. Gets beat off the ball here and there. Not the best at creating running lanes, but sometimes rides defenders upfield to allow the ballcarrier to scoot underneath. Is a very good pass protector who is most effective when assisting other linemen on blocks. Adjusts well to complex pass rushing schemes and keeps his head on a swivel. Sets his feet adequately, but needs to do a better job of anchoring in place. Not afraid to get dirty to keep his quarterback clean. Takes deep dropbacks effectively when the pass protection scheme calls for it.
Four-star recruit as a defensive tackle. Graduated from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, but grew up in Svendborg, Denmark. Was a high school sophomore on foreign exchange in Ohio when he first played football. Also competed in track and field. 6’5”, 315 lb. True senior who switched to offense after a year at Arkansas. As a true freshman, appeared in 10 games at defensive tackle, making three tackles. Moved over to offense as a sophomore in spring workouts. As a sophomore, started all 13 games at left guard, but suffered a leg injury against Florida. As a junior, started all 12 games at left guard. Sustained an ankle injury late in the year that nagged him for multiple weeks. According to Pro Football Focus, spent 366 pass blocking snaps without a sack allowed – third-most among returning guards in his conference (SEC).
Grade: Third Round
5. Ben Powers, Oklahoma
Could play guard or center in the NFL. Stacked interior lineman with a good build for a guard. Clean technician in all phases of his game. Executes pull blocks well – takes great angles when pulling and adjusts nicely to defenders who are out of position. Very aware blocker who seeks out contact and moves quickly from chipping at the line to engaging his assignment. Physical road grader who blows holes open for his running back. Uses his hands well, but needs to stay on blocks for longer to spring big plays. Good pass blocker who does not give up much ground against bull rushes. Quick pitter-patter footwork in pass protection allows him to react to defensive line stunts in real-time. Keeps his head on a swivel. Not the fastest guard, but makes up for it with above average instincts and a good first step.
Junior college product who rated as a three-star offensive tackle out of Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kansas). Graduated from Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita, Kansas. 6’4”, 314 lb. Appears to be a true senior, given his lack of a redshirt year since arriving on campus in Norman. Took over as the full-time left guard at the beginning of his first season at Oklahoma, starting the final 10 games of the 11-game season. Played in every game as a second-year player at Oklahoma, starting 12 at guard (10 at left guard, two at right guard). Started at right guard against Iowa State and Texas before being benched a few series into the Texas game – did not start the next week, before returning to the lineup at left guard.
Grade: Third Round
6. Nate Herbig, Stanford
Projects as a guard. Stocky lineman with a hefty frame. Bowling ball of a blocker. Low center of gravity and stays low throughout blocks. At the same time, not the most coordinated athlete, and takes awkward angles to execute blocks. Stays a bit flat to the line of scrimmage when pulling. Very physical player who seeks out contact and blasts defenders. Gets his arms out in front when lead blocking on run plays and puts his full weight into blocks. Could be outclassed in the pros by quicker, savvier defenders who will take advantage of his clumsiness. Does not always execute his assignment, but when he does, usually disposes of defenders and washes them out of the play. Solid pass protector who has a keen awareness of pocket creation. Sets the interior of the line when pass blocking and serves as an anchor against defensive tackles. Gives his quarterback time to throw and stays engaged in blocks throughout the play. Much more technically sound in pass blocking than in run blocking. Ferocious at the point of attack.
Three-star recruit, rated higher at center than guard. Graduated from Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii. 6’4”, 339 lb. As a true freshman, played in 13 games, starting six at left guard. First true freshman at Stanford to start on offensive line since 2012, second since 2000. Made ESPN.com’s True Freshman All-American Team. Played in 13 games as a true sophomore. Nicknamed the “Big Island” by his teammates. Father, uncle, and grandfather played college football.
Grade: Third Round
7. Michael Jordan, Ohio State
Guard who has the size to play tackle. Not an elite run blocker, but moves well through blocking schemes. Not the most effective run blocker in space. Long arms allow him to control defenders, but has a tough time driving opposing linemen. Does not generate a great deal of power. Gets low enough to play at the pad level of shorter defensive linemen. May not be best suited for a zone blocking scheme. A fine pass protector, which could be a compelling reason to test him at left tackle. Above average footwork in the passing game, and anchors the interior when set. Difficult to get around. Not very susceptible to pass rush moves, but can sometimes get into trouble when the defender gets a good jump off the snap. Could do a better job of executing his assignment and beating defenders to the spot.
Four-star recruit at offensive tackle. Graduated from Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan. Wrestled and competed in track and field in high school. 6’7”, 310 lb. True junior who has been a full-time starter since he first stepped on campus. Became the first true freshman to start at Ohio State since 1994 (NFL Hall of Famer Orlando Pace) – started all 13 games at guard in his first year on campus. As a sophomore, started every game of the year at guard again. Underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum after the 2017 season ended.
Grade: Third Round
8. Lester Cotton, Alabama
Likely a guard. Moves well for a player of his size. Technically sound with easy footwork and the kind of hand usage that only comes with experience playing the position. A fine pulling blocker, if his assignment is a defensive lineman. Struggles to block linebackers in space, and does not do a great job of getting to the second level. On a talented Alabama line, generally plays a complementary role to other offensive linemen, but shines when the play runs through his gap. When in a phone booth, executes his blocks consistently, pancakes at a nice rate, and moves defenders where they need to go for the play to work. Throws defenders into other blocks, helping to neutralize multiple players. Above average run blocker. In pass protection, fights hard against pass rushers. Gives some ground on bull rushes, but holds the line and keeps the quarterback clean. Helps create a decent pocket. When hitting defenders, gets a very powerful push.
Four-star recruit as a guard. Graduated from Tuscaloosa Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 6’4, 324 lb. True senior who started seeing game action as a sophomore. As a true freshman, played in four games as a backup at offensive tackle. As a sophomore, started two games at left guard, three games at right guard, and came off the bench in the rest of the games after losing his starting job. Locked down the right guard spot as a junior, starting all 13 games, before missing the College Football Playoff final game with a knee injury. Arrested on drug charges in February after his sophomore season.
Grade: Fourth Round
9. Connor McGovern, Penn State
Likely a center in the NFL. Has experience with shotgun snaps. Thick blocker with a wide frame. Nasty run blocker with a mean streak. Great upper body strength. Quick first step after snapping the football. Sometimes stands straight up – will need to be lower to leverage full power; could do a better job of using his legs when driving defenders. Gets where he needs to be, but block execution is sometimes sketchy. At times, makes space for running backs with creative body placement in real-time during blocks. Seeks out linebackers at the second level and makes consistent contact. Not a great pass blocker; lacks awareness and technique can be improved. Catches pass rushers instead of getting his hands out in front. Can get beat a number of ways. Below-average speed on tape. Very obviously a lineman from a scheme whose bread and butter is the run game.
Four-star recruit at center. Graduated from Lake-Lehman High School in Lehman, Pennsylvania. Two-time team captain in high school, where he was also a stellar basketball player and shot put thrower. 6’5”, 312 lb. True junior who has been a fixture on the Penn State interior offensive line since true freshman season. As a true freshman, appeared in 13 games with nine starts. Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after the Iowa game (Penn State put up 599 yards of total offense), becoming first offensive lineman to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. As a true sophomore, started all 13 games of the season at center. Mother played college basketball, father played I-AA college football.
Grade: Fourth Round
10. Damian Prince, Maryland
Played right tackle in college, but lack of height will likely force him inside to guard. A bit of a lunger who lets his upper body get too far out in front of him sometimes. Has a tendency to lean one way or another. When he locks onto a block, has impeccable hand and body placement – gets his arms into the defender’s breastplate and makes impact blocks. Puts defenders on skates when he gets into the blocking. Manhandles opposing linemen. Intense, physical blocker. Very good pass blocker. Takes deep kicksteps in pass protection, allowing him to get nice depth against pass rushers – likely has the technical capability to adjust to pass protection as an interior offensive lineman. Does sometimes get turned around, losing track of defenders, when he doesn’t make contact directly after the snap.
Four-star recruit among the best tackles in the nation. Graduated from Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland (hometown listed as Washington, D.C.). 6’3”, 315 lb. Redshirt senior who has been a fixture at right tackle in College Park for two and a half years. As a redshirt freshman, appeared in 10 games, making six starts at right tackle. Missed a game due to an ankle injury. Became the full-time starter at right tackle as a redshirt sophomore, starting all 13 games at right tackle. In his redshirt junior season, started 11 games at right tackle, missing the Michigan State game with an injury. Ranked first in pass blocking efficiency in the Big Ten according to Pro Football Focus in 2017. Sustained a leg injury in spring ball.
Grade: Fourth Round