Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Offensive Tackle Rankings

1) Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin Badgers
Height: 6'6          Weight: 310 
Arm Length: 33 3/4 Inches
Bench Press: 25 Reps
3 Cone Drill: DNP

It was incredibly tough to grade this year's class of offensive tackles as none of them appear to be elite prospects and they all have various skill sets. This wasn't an easy ranking, but Ramczyk was my choice as the top tackle due to his skill set as both a pass protector and run blocker. As a run blocker, Ramczyk is a bit disappointing as he doesn't have the usual mean streak that a lot of Wisconsin lineman have when they come out. He isn't one who wants to drive their man into the ground and make sure he gets the last word in on the play. It also shows in the way that he doesn't necessarily launch guys off of the line. He isn't a run blocker who is going to open up a ton of lanes with pure strength, but he does show a good ability to manipulate his man and get them turned around to the point that they can't make a play on the ball carrier. I think that his overall power is my biggest concern with Ramczyk for the pros. He didn't get beat too often by bull rushes as he plays with a good base, but I wouldn't be surprised if guys who can convert speed to power well in the NFL are able to knock him around a bit. However, I came away very impressed with his abilities as a pass blocker. Ramcyzk looked very light on his feet and showed good ability to mirror edge rushers who tried to turn the corner on him. With his nimbleness, he also showed a good ability to be able to get after linebackers at the second level when the play called for it. Ramczyk played with good leverage and knee bend and was rarely, if ever, caught off balance. With the NFL continuing it's to a much more pass oriented style, Ramczyk could be quite the commodity in a draft class that is perceived to be weak at tackle. The most interesting thing about his pre-draft process will be how teams grade what they believe to be a love of passion for the game. He took some time off after high school and scouts said following the Combine that they question what his motives for playing in the NFL truly are.

Number to Know - 1: Number of years that Ramczyk played D1 football. He showed a lot of promise, but will teams further downgrade him for being a one year wonder?

2) Cam Robinson, Alabama Crimson Tide
Height: 6'6          Weight: 322
Arm Length: 35 1/2 Inches
Bench Press: DNP
3 Cone Drill: 7.81 Seconds

A five star prospect and the top offensive tackle in his class, I was certain that Robinson was destined for big things when he started as a true freshman for Alabama. A pretty significant sophomore slump followed up a bit of a rocky junior year has dampened my beliefs a bit, but I still think that Robinson can be a fine lineman in the NFL, although it may be more so at right tackle than on the blindside. More than any of the other lineman I scouted, Robinson has natural, effortless upper body strength. He is an absolute monster in the run game as he launches his man off the line of scrimmage and continues to relentlessly drive them back. There were not a lot of lineman that were able to get the best of him in the run game, and it was almost comical when he hit the second or third level trying to see guys go through or around him. He manages to lock on to linebackers very well and throw them to the ground and take them out of plays. Against bull rushes, there were times when it didn't even look like it phased him as he maintains good balance and a good base. Combined with his power, bull rushes are almost worthless. However, speed rushes were his biggest detriment and they will likely continue to be in the NFL as you can't teach athleticism. He doesn't have elite speed or lateral quickness to be able to take away angles from speed rushers and often got beat back to the inside if a defensive end put a double move on him. Myles Garrett didn't have a lot of opportunities to affect the game, but when he got off the line quickly he was able to hit the edge and force Jalen Hurts to throw quicker than he wanted. And if you really want to see domination, watch what Derek Barnett did to Robinson. With his lack of quick feet, Robinson is probably better suited to play either right tackle or slide inside to guard where his ability to handle power and sustain blocks would be more valuable. It'll be interesting to see where teams think his skill set is best served.

Number to Know - 3: Number of years as a starter that Robinson played at left tackle. Considering how well Nick Saban has recruited the offensive line, this is a tremendous feat.

3) Garett Bolles, Utah Utes
Height: 6'5          Weight: 297
Arm Length: 34 Inches
Bench Press: DNP
3 Cone Drill: 7.29 Seconds

Most people probably haven't heard of Bolles due to East Coast Bias and all that, but by the time their careers are done he might be the best lineman out of these three players. Bolles has exceptional quickness and speed. There are times when I was watching him that I thought I was watching a tight end because he moved so fast and effortlessly for an offensive tackle. He has the ability to mirror speed rushers better than anyone that I saw. He takes away angles no matter how steep they come in at and is quick enough to readjust himself and re-engage rushers who put a double move on him. Utah ran a lot of pulling plays that involved him coming through an interior gap to pick up a linebacker and it was crazy to watch. The first few plays that I watched of him, I though I was accidentally focusing on one of their guards. This makes him a huge asset on running plays as offensive coordinators can get very creative with how they use him. This will help boost his stock as he does struggle at times with the run game when the play is designed to follow him. As you can tell by his weight, he isn't exactly the biggest and bulkiest offensive lineman and his reluctance to perform on the bench press will only serve to increase suspicions. He lacks elite upper body strength and does not always play with the sturdiest base which in turn opens up to being beaten bigger and more physical defensive ends. However, I love the attitude that he brings to each snap. Much like Robinson, he plays with a mean streak and will always play through the whistle and at teams even a tad bit beyond. He relishes in contact and his ability to dominate and he does not take plays off. All in all, Bolles might end up being a better guard on the right team due to his ability to pull and lock onto unsuspecting defenders. But if he can add 10-15 pounds of mass, I think he can really become a good left tackle in the NFL.

Number to Know - 25: The age that Bolles will be when he attends offseason workouts due to his faith and going on the mission trip. I'm hoping that his dominant play wasn't the product of being more physically mature.

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