Draft Prospect Watch: 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 of offensive tackles has a ton of potential, I would say the talent level is about the same as last year’s draft. Every year teams are looking for new tackles to ensure their quarterback’s blind spot is secure; any team in need of a tackle has to capitalize on the draft this year. Below are the top 10 tackles coming into the 2022 NFL Draft.
Evan Neal – Alabama – Not only is Neal the number one tackle in the draft, but he is currently Sportvival’s number one prospect. Neal can play guard or tackle on both sides of the line, a great overall blocker but thrives as a run blocker. Neal’s balance is his biggest weakness.
Charles Cross – Mississippi State – Currently Sportvival’s number 11 prospect, number 2 tackle. Opposite of Evan Neal, Cross thrives in the passing game. A tad bit undersized for an offensive tackle, but always gives 100% effort on every block. Displays a very quick first step.
Ikem Ekwonu – NC State – Currently Sportvival’s number 17 overall prospect, offensive tackle 3. Ekwonu looks to establish himself as the offensive lineman not to mess with every snap. Ekwonu has that mentality on every play to make his opponent look silly, a simple speed rush off the edge isn’t going to phase Ikem Ekwonu.
Trevor Penning – Northern Iowa – Currently Sportvival’s 28th overall prospect, as you can probably assume now, offensive tackle… 4. He played both tackles at Northern Iowa, a skill set favored towards being a right tackle. Shows high football IQ, is able to anticipate pass rusher hand moves and can pick up loose pass rushers if needed.
Nicholas Petit-Frere – Ohio State – Currently Sportvival’s 39th ranked prospect, OT5. Another tackle that has a history of playing both left and right tackle. Equal talent blocking in both the pass and run. May play too wide, resulting in the interior offensive line getting more pressure. Petit-Frere’s quick hands plays to his upper body strength, outweighing his lower body.
Darian Kinnard – Kentucky – Currently Sportvival’s 44th ranked prospect, OT6. Has the size to play both tackle and guard in the NFL. Kinnard is a better blocker in the running game compared to the passing game. He prefers to put his defender into the ground rather than get inside and get leverage to hold a block longer. Kinnard sometimes is slow off the snap, which could be another reason to be moved to guard in the NFL.
Daniel Faalele – Minnesota – Currently Sportvival’s 45th ranked prospect, OT7. Faalele has the perfect size to be a star offensive tackle in the NFL (6’9” – 390lbs). While his size is very appealing to NFL scouts, being that big can lead to faster edge rushers getting around him with ease. Faalele lacks playing experience, which could end up being a positive or negative when draft time comes.
Bernhard Raimann – Central Michigan – We are officially out of tackles ranked in the top 50, so I, Logan Lepiscopo will take it from here for the last three tackles. Raimann is very good getting up to that second level and getting leverage on that defender. Though Bernhard Raimann stands at 6’7” weighing in at 305 pounds is realistically light for an offensive tackle. Hand placement is another thing to be worked on as Raimann is more often than not beat by “bull rush,” meaning the rusher tries to use brute strength to beat the offensive tackle.
Zion Nelson – Miami – Zion Nelson may not be a recognizable name to a traditional football fan, but he has a lot to offer on the second day of the draft. While he may need some time to develop behind a veteran, Nelson has the abilities to be a good tackle in the NFL. He has good size and lateral movement and is certainly above average at the point of attack and has the football IQ to be a starting offensive tackle, but lacks that lateral movement needed to stop those speed rushers coming off that left side.
Jaxson Kirkland – Washington – Another not very known name coming into the 2022 NFL draft but has potential to see his way into the second round. The upside of Kirkland is that in college he has played both the tackle and guard position. Kirkland may stand at 6’7” but if he wants to be that prototypical tackle, he is going to need to add some more weight. Is stronger blocking in the passing so if he wants to be an all-around offensive tackle, he is going to have to develop more blocking for the run.