Draft Prospect Watch: Interior Offensive Lineman
The 2022 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and here at Sportsvival we will be pointing out the top players at each position. This article will touch on one of the most important positions every draft but is often put in the shadows of the skill position players. This draft class the tackles have already been talked about, but now it is time to show love for the guards and centers. Every year teams are looking for new offensive lineman to fill the trenches and create running holes up the gut. Below are the top 10 interior offensive lineman coming into the 2022 NFL Draft.
(C) Tyler Linderbaum – Iowa – The number 1 interior offensive lineman ranked by Sportsvival, and the number 8 overall prospect. Has great hands and strikes pass rushers accurately with little mistakes. Linderbaum has great balance and is very rarely knocked onto his heels. Linderbaum also plays with great toughness and always plays through the whistle. The only knock is that the system he played in at Iowa was very run-heavy in 2021 and ran significant play-action and screen passes, so he does not have much experience with true drop-back passing.
(G/T) Kenyon Green – Texas A&M – The second of two interior offensive linemen ranked by Sportsvival, and the 18th overall draft prospect. The best thing about Kenyon Green is that he can play both the guard position and right tackle, and even has experience as a left tackle. Green has a lot of lower body strength which is great to have for every aspect of his game. There could be a genuine argument for Green to be the best interior offensive lineman in this draft.
(G) Zion Johnson – Boston College – Zion Johnson brings some versatility at the left tackle position but is definitely strongest on the interior part of the offensive line. The scheme that Boston College ran is very run zone-heavy which allows him to showcase his exceptional lateral movement. Zion Johnson also shows great hand techniques and presents a variety of attacks to keep pass rushers always questioning what he will do each snap.
(G/T) Jamaree Salyer – Georgia – Salyer is an absolute unit standing at 6’4” and 325 pounds and is almost impossible to move. With such strong hands Salyer moves and blocks his opponents with ease, and his wide frame makes it difficult for pass rushers to escape his long reach. His size is both a blessing and a curse because it prevents him from being able to get lower in his stance, allowing quick edge rushers to get under his frame.
(G) Lecitus Smith – Virginia Tech – Though as an offensive guard you do not need to be the most athletic person Smith has that athleticism that gives him the edge over some of this year’s interior offensive line class. Another great part of Smith’s game is that he doesn’t fatigue early, and often gets better as the game goes on. The biggest knock on Lecitus Smith’s game is his length and inability to strike pass rushers first.
(G) Ed Ingram – LSU – Though there are some character issues for Ingram, he brings a ton of potential with his ability to hold down the interior part of the offensive line. Ingram standing at 6’3” and 315 pounds posses great blocking skills and a strong lower body which causes him to rarely get knocked off his stance. To become a more complete and starting guard in the NFL Ingram needs to work on his explosiveness and first step.
(C) Alec Lindstrom – Boston College – Lindstrom has great lateral mobility, which helps a lot when he starts to work out in space, there are tons of examples of this in the screen game. Lindstrom is also a fierce competitor and is always looking to make that extra block after the whistle. However with those strength’s come weaknesses with his balance, his hand technique, and is strictly a center having no other experience. Lindstrom is going to need to be developed behind a veteran center to eventually become a starter in the NFL.
(G) Josh Sills – Oklahoma State – Sills is an offensive guard at heart but has the build to play offensive tackle in the NFL. Sills, like many of the guards in this class, loves to play through the whistle, ending the play with his opponent’s back on the turf. Sills often played as the puller in Oklahoma State’s offense, meaning he should fit best in a run-first offense. Struggle when plays involve him getting up to that second level and blocking.
(G/C) Dohnovan West – Arizona State – West having the ability to play all three spots on the interior offensive line is big for his draft stock coming into the 2022 draft. Though West may be a little undersized for his position, he moves great laterally and can get up to that second level and clear the way. To really get better and be a starter in the NFL, Dohnovan West needs to improve on getting consistent leverage on defenders.
10.(G/T) Sean Rhyan– UCLA – Though Rhyan played tackle for UCLA he will likely transition to guard in the NFL due to his excellent run-blocking abilities. Rhyan has very quick feet for a player his size, which is another attribute that will lead to a position change. Rhyan lacks the skills to be an excellent pass blocker, which could hurt his draft stock come time for a team to look for a starting offensive lineman.