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Cole’s Corner: A Look Into the NFL Draft – Offensive Tackles

Adam Cole, Sports Editor

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While the NFL Combine is winding down, this week’s article will take a look at this year’s class of offensive tackles. Sadly, the three tackles covered in this article are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of lineman talent. Names like Jack Conklin, Taylor Decker, and Vadal Alexander will all be top priorities for teams, so make sure to keep an eye out for other names at tackle.

 

Laremy Tunsil

This decision is close, but Tunsil is the top tackle prospect in the class. His counterpart, Ronnie Stanley has an uncanny resemblance to him in practically every aspect of his game, but Tunsil appears to be the consensus top tackle, and maybe even the top selection in the upcoming draft.

 

Pros:

  • Extremely quick prospect. Does well getting from point A to B in confined space.
  • Usually the first one off the snap and is quick to get into his stance.
  • Quick-footed pass blocking stance pairs well with a hard punch.
  • Locks onto defenders when blocking for either the pass or run.
  • Size and smarts for the position are apparent, is always aware and his size/length are ideal.

 

Cons:

  • Isn’t the nastiest player, but it doesn’t appear to affect his game.

 

Ronnie Stanley

Stanley is the equivalent of Tunsil. Once a highly touted high school prospect, Stanley has an ideal size/speed/smarts combo which lays a solid foundation to his skill set. What sets Stanley apart from Tunsil is simply that there are bigger holes in his game. Fixable ones no doubt, but still more serious than Tunsil.

 

Pros:

  • Good blend blend of size, speed, and smarts for the most part. Is about 6’5”, 315 lbs. and moves around well, especially when getting to the second level.
  • Really good at anchoring at the point of attack and keeping his defender in front of him.
  • Plays mean when blocking for the run and can get up to the second level quite well.
  • Can handle complex blitz schemes.
  • Still hasn’t hit his full potential.

 

Cons:

  • Can play stiff at times and it can mess up his game. Consistent fluidity would take him from being a good to great player.

 

Jason Spriggs

Spriggs has made a name for himself at this weekend’s NFL Combine, posting some of the top numbers of any offensive lineman. He’s a name which came up a lot before Indianapolis, but it’ll be interesting to see just how far a good weekend can take his stock.

 

Pros:

  • The athleticism is superb and likely his best trait. Proved just how athletic he truly is with great combine number.
  • At about 6’7”, Spriggs’ long frame looks great on film.
  • Really good moving short and long distances, especially for his size. Makes fluid, easy moves and can mirror the best pass rushers.
  • Certainly has an aggressive mindset. Plays gritty.

Cons:

  • Lacks strength to overpower opposing pass rushers.
  • Gets overpowered on occasion and thrown off balance. Needs to do a better job of anchoring and holding his opponents with better form.

 

Final Verdict

The storylines in this year’s offensive tackle class are aplenty. The Tunsil-Stanley debate (or what’s left of it) and the rise of Spriggs are just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, it will certainly be interesting to see if Stanley can make up some ground and be considered as prominent a prospect as Tunsil and it will be interesting to see if Spriggs can sneak his name into the first round conversation, but only time can tell. The one thing that’s for certain is that these are the cream of the crop bookends from this year’s draft class.

 

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Cole’s Corner: A Look Into the NFL Draft – Offensive Tackles