Offensive Line

Grading System:

A – Top Tier

B – Starter

C – Backup

D- Practice Squad

Recent Prospect Grade Comparison: Joe Thomas, A+

1. Quenton Nelson – One of the best pure guard prospects to come out in recent years, Nelson is a technically sound player with all of the desired traits for a top tier player. He is a big player with an extremely sturdy build, an ideal body type for the premiere run blocker that he is. He is a dominant blocker from the snap to the whistle, firing up into opponents off the bat and finishing blocks with constantly moving feet. He also has very strong hands and arms, enabling him to get a firm grip on the defender and drive them wherever he wants. As a result, he is an absolute people mover, showing the ability to both seal holes and drive opponents back. He has extremely fluid movement skills for a player of his size, allowing him to find holes when pulling and move his hips when blocking. He is very quick getting to the second level in the run game. Additionally, he has a very balanced base and good bend, making him a good player in pass protection regardless of the few whiffs that he has. He is also very good at adapting to the defense in both the run and pass games, showing a knack for picking up the right blitzer and blocking the correct second level defender. An outstanding run blocker, Nelson has talent to consistently pave holes for the running back while remaining an asset in the passing game.

A+/A

2. Will Hernandez – Although a shorter guard from a less renowned school, Hernandez has dominated upped echelon competition. He is an absolute monster as a run blocker, combining vast strength, aggression, and technique. He is very strong and thick, and can easily box out and block defenders by shifting his hips. He is very good at sealing holes, as it is extremely rare that he is driven back. He fires out at the start of the snap, consistently dominating entire snaps and bullying his opponent from start to finish.  He also shows outstanding hand placement inside the shoulder pads, gaining immense advantages by controlling the defender. The dominance and ease with which he blocks in the run game can’t be understated, as he is a one man hole maker on nearly every snap. He also has enough speed to pull effectively. Additionally, his balance is impeccable, showing the stout base to hold up in pass protection against either bigger or faster competition. He has good football intelligence, knowing how to chip block and then move to the next level. However, he is not necessarily an excellent athlete, as he lacks top tier agility. As such, he can whiff blocks at times due to his inability to change directions very quickly. However, these instances are not often enough to dampen his talent.

A

3. Isaiah Wynn – The most versatile lineman in the draft, Wynn projects as a guard but could easily start at tackle or center. He is undersized for a tackle, but has the technique and strength to either play there or move inside. His footwork is outstanding, using very few wasted movements and putting himself in advantageous positions. This helps him to keep the edge rush out wide and gain advantages that compensate for his small stature. It is also a major reason why he rarely bites on pass rusher moves, allowing him to keep his balance. He makes minimal mental or technical mistakes, a testament to his ability to read the blitz and not get overwhelmed. He does a good job getting his hands on the defender and keeping his hands inside, although at times he does this to mask his lack of explosive hands. He exhibits decent speed when pulling, but is excellent at using his hips to effectively maneuver into position. As such, he is good at sealing blocks and countering pass rush moves. He is a good run blocker, using his good footwork and positioning to drive the defender back and create holes. However, he’s not particularly talented at moving to the second level as he is more of an angle blocker. Due to his size, he can sometimes get pushed back off the snap if the defensive player is significantly stronger and more explosive than he is. Wynn is technically sound and extremely versatile, making him a key piece for any offensive line.

A-

4. Frank Ragnow – A versatile blocker who can play both guard and center very well, Ragnow has the talent to be a good starter at both positions. He has a big, strong build and decent athleticism, a big aid in his ability to play multiple positions effectively. He has an extremely sturdy base, and is great at keeping his body centered over his hips. He also possesses strong arms, allowing him to keep defenders at bay and effectively limit their push into the pocket. This also helps him when he puts his head down to drive back the defender, giving him the upper hand and often forcing the defender on their heels. Because of this, he is very calm and controlled when blocking, showing very little signs of panic. Additionally, he is a patient blocker, a major contributor to his talent for dealing with stunts and cluttered boxes easily. He has very clean footwork, as well as fluid lateral movement that is an asset in pass protection. He is also very good at working the angles in the run game, clearing holes quickly and creating open running lanes. The one flaw in his game are his occasional mental lapses, where he will miss a pass block. otherwise, Ragnow is an athletic and complete prospect who is very good in both the run and pass games.

A-

5. Billy Price – While he can also play guard, Price is mainly a gritty and well rounded center who can perform in both the run and pass games. He is extremely quick and athletic, and was frequently pulled as a lead blocker even after snapping from the center position. Although he doesn’t chop his feet very much, he has very strong legs and a wide stance that give him a good base. He is not much of a driver, largely due to his tendency to lean forward too much as he gets impatient. If he can correct this, it will go a long way toward improving his run blocking, which is already decent because of his athletic traits. He excels at using his hands, exhibiting good placement and strong, heavy hands to firmly counter defenders. When defenders overcommit to gaining the lower position, he is outstanding at trapping them from above, pancaking them, or sealing them in. Additionally, he has fluid hips that allow him to mirror pass rushers and keep them at an angle where he can hand punch them. He also has great lateral agility, helping him to contain pass rushers and reach block in the run game. However, he doesn’t do a good job reading and picking up blitzes, regardless of his agility and movement skills. As an extremely athletic center with balanced blocking talent, Price is an above average starter.

B+

6. Kolton Miller – At 6’9″, Miller has the best combination of length and athleticism at the tackle position in this draft. Due to his size, he plays higher than one would like, contributing to his strong but sometimes unstable base. Additionally, he exhibits a false step off the snap in pass protection, causing him to be pushed into the pocket at the start of the snap. He is also slow to turn his hips at times, an inconsistency that tends to be tied to the general inconsistency in his play. While his athleticism can generally help him cope, it should – and probably can – be fixed at the next level. Otherwise, he has clean footwork and balance even though the false step isn’t ideal. Additionally, he has powerful and active hands, giving him a good punch on defenders and allowing him to control them often. He has very fluid lateral movement and running, which helps him chase down players to block them. This helps him mainly in the run game, where he is very quick in getting to his second level blocks. His combination of size and speed make him an intimidating run blocker, as he can seal and drive very well. He can also pull from the tackle position due to his athleticism. His athletic ability gives him high upside, particularly as he is one of the few pure left tackles in the draft class.  Most of his problems stem from his somewhat shaky technique, something that can be coached up and refined at least enough to cause decent improvement.

B+

7. Mike McGlinchey – A tall player with good length, McGlinchey has the build of stereotypical tackle. He has an upright stance and a wide base, as well as good knee bend that gives him good balance in pass protection. He has a great sense of positioning, keeping the pocket wide and using good footwork to give his quarterback space to maneuver. However, his size causes him to be slow when moving laterally, making him very susceptible to speed rushes off the edge or interior blitzes. He could also use more strength to avoid getting pushed back and to help him drive defenders. He is a very good hand fighter, countering pass rushing moves or block sheds with heavy handed punches. While this can sometimes cause him to overextend in the run game, he is typically a good run blocker. His active hands give him a major advantage when he is engaged with defenders, as they allow him to take over the battle and stall the defender. Thus, blocking pass rushers in space is harder for him. Additionally, he can effectively seal holes by turning his hips well. This is also true when he pulls to get the edge, something he is good at considering his straight line speed is better than his lateral agility. McGlinchey is also known to have good leadership ability. While an inconsistent prospect, his high floor and character increase his grade.

B+/B

8. Connor Williams – Although he a tackle at Texas, Williams short arms cause him to project as a guard in the NFL. He is primarily a run blocker, as he can be inconsistent in pass protection. He is extremely effective as a run blocker, showing the ability to be a people mover in addition to sealing blocks fully. He has active hands in pass protection and strong hands in the run game, allowing him to stick to blocks throughout the play. His balance is suspect, as he finds himself on the ground too much, typically due to overextending in the run game. However, his mass is centered and he has good bend in the pass game, although he could use some more strength to avoid getting pushed back. He is very smooth in pass protection, with good footwork. He is an aggressive finisher, driving opponents to the ground or taking them out of the play in order to reach his second level block. His feet are slow and he lacks quickness, making him slow when pulling and impacting his lateral agility. His greatest asset is his advantageousness, as he routinely knocks over defenders who turn their bodies slightly or experience a misstep. Although a high end prospect last year, inconsistencies and a lack of great athleticism caused his value to drop.

B

9. James Daniels – An outstanding interior run blocker with issues in the pass game, Daniels is more of a technique player than a great athlete. His technique in the run game is outstanding, blocking and moving with low set hips. He has good pad level when he drives and has very choppy feet, a dominant skill set when combined with his explosiveness off the snap. He is also quick to his blocks on the first and second second levels. Because of his lack of athleticism, he doesn’t move his hips well and can get shed to the side by defenders. In pass protection, he has numerous problems with getting beat physically and technically. He doesn’t set his base quick enough in pass protection, allowing defenders to knock him off balance and gain an advantage from the snap. Additionally, his lack of hip movement and athleticism helps defenders beat him with either strength or quickness. While he uses his hands well to spar with the defender, he is not strong enough to win consistently or dominate defenders. He also has a problem with delayed snap, causing false start penalties. He can make adjustments in the run game, showing a good football intelligence not seen in the pass game. A dominant run defender, Daniels is a going to need a team that can deal with his pass protection problems.

B-

 

 

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