NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: OFFENSIVE TACKLE
(This is the fourth in a series previewing the 2018 NFL Draft.)
Overview: The crop of elite offensive linemen in last year's draft was thin. Only two went in the first round and only seven in the first two rounds. This year is improved, as five offensive linemen could go in the first round and 10 to 12 in the top two rounds. There are no top-10 tackles but look for 11 to go in the first three rounds. Not a bad year. Grade: B.
The Best: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame. He's a safe first-round pick. Huge frame, smart, high character. He was a three-year starter, the last two at left tackle. Can start immediately. McGlinchey is a first cousin of Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, a Boston College product.
"Matt has guided me every step of the way, whether he knew it or not," McGlinchey said. "Just watching the way Matt goes about his business, the way that he works, the way that people respect him is something that I’ve always worked for. He’s been my football hero ever since I was a little kid going to his BC games in fourth, fifth, sixth grade. When he got drafted into the pros when I was in eighth grade . . . we all went up for the trip, and it was at that moment that I said, you know what, I want to do that, too. . . . The experience and the values that he’s taught me have been invaluable, whether he’s said things directly to me or not."
Bills View: Tackle isn't a top priority for the Bills.
The Bills' top four tackles are Dion Dawkins, Jordan Mills, newly signed Marshall Newhouse and young Conor McDermott. If Newhouse or McDermott could beat out Mills and upgrade right tackle, that would be nice. If someone they like falls to them, this could be a middle- or late-round position for the Bills.
Stock crash: Texas' Orlando Brown was viewed as a potential first-round pick when the college season ended. Then the NFL Scouting Combine happened. Brown ran the 40 in 5.85 seconds, slowest of any player this year and the fifth slowest of anyone since 2003. He bench-pressed 225 pounds only 14 times, worst of any lineman at the combine. He had the worst vertical jump (19.5 inches) and tied for last in the 20-yard shuttle (5.38).
At his pro day, Brown improved his 40 to 5.63 and his reps to 18. Still, it increased fears that he plays too tall and lacks mobility. Brown is a giant of a man. He weighed 450 pounds in eighth grade. He's the son of late NFL tackle Orlando "Zeus" Brown, who played 10 years for the Browns and Ravens.
"I don’t necessarily try to model my game after him," Brown said of his dad. "What I learned from my dad was really more a mentality. He wasn’t the most technical, fundamental football player. It was more the way he approached the game, his work ethic."
OT Pipeline: The last four left tackles for Ohio State – Taylor Decker, Jack Mewhort, Mike Adams and Alex Boone – all have gone on to start in the NFL. Jamarco Jones will make it five straight. He could be a value pick in the third round. He's still raw but he has super-long arms (35 1-4 inches) and he's intelligent.
Sleeper: Wagner's Greg Senat played four years of Division I basketball for Wagner on Staten Island and transitioned to football the past two years, even though he had not played football since his freshman year of high school. He's raw. But his arms measure 34 7/8 inches, among the top 10 of O-linemen in the draft.
Next: Interior offensive line.
TOP 10 OFFENSIVE TACKLES
1. Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame. 6-8, 309. Big-framed, high-character, safe first-round pick.
2. Connor Williams*, Oklahoma. 6-5, 296. Powerful, aggressive, three-year starter. Pro Bowl talent.
3. Kolton Miller*, UCLA. 6-8, 309. Tall but has excellent feet. Lean. A Nate Solder type.
4. Tyrell Crosby, Oregon. 6-5, 320. Powerful mauler in run game, athletic in pass protection.
5. Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State. 6-4, 308. Raw but athletic, played well vs. Myles Garrett in 2016.
6. Brian O'Neill*, Pittsburgh. 6-6, 298. Ex-TE ran 4.82 40, 4th fastest among OL in last 10 years.
7. Geron Christian*, Louisville. 6-5, 298. Three-year starter but still only 21. Big upside.
8. Orlando Brown*, Oklahoma. 6-8, 345. Combine disaster hurt draft stock of this massive man.
9. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State. 6-4, 299. Athletic talent, but he's still raw and needs time to develop.
10. Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan. 6-6, 320. Nigerian-born prospect is tough evaluation. Risk-reward.
Story topics: 2018 NFL Draft