CFF Overview: OT – Top of the Crop
Mike Renner lists out the top tackle options and tells what each brings to the table.
CFF Overview: OT – Top of the Crop
With all the talent at the tackle position this year it was quite the contest to make our top four. For one to make this list they had to show a proficiency in both run and pass blocking with flaws that we deemed either correctable or mild.
Tackle is the most highly coveted position on the offensive line and we’ll see that play out come draft day. All of the following players, and even some others we didn’t put at the top of the class, have the potential to be first round selections.
La’el Collins, LSU
Our own Khaled Elsayed gave a full breakdown of Collins’ skillset earlier this week, but what specifically makes him the top of the crop? With offensive line it’s not necessarily about the most pros, but the fewest cons and there just aren’t many knocks against the LSU left tackle. The biggest issue was how he dealt with speed to power as he can sometimes be low and late with his hands in pass protection, but even that showed up infrequently. Strong hands, smooth hips, and quick feet, there’s not much to dislike about La’el Collins game.
Signature Stat: Led the SEC in run blocking grade and Pass Blocking Efficiency (98.6).
Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
If you were putting together the ideal frame and movement skills for a left tackle in the NFL it might look a lot like Cedric Ogbuehi. 6-foot-5, 306 pounds with freaky 35 7/8” arms, Ogbuehi was as quick to mirror pass rushers with his feet as any tackle in this class. It looks so effortless for him in pass protection that it’s almost as if he’s not even trying.
When he got himself into trouble it was because he tried to time his punch too perfectly to swat a defenders hands away. What inevitably happened was Ogbuehi mistimed it and let the defender into his body. While Ogbuehi has almost the ideal frame for a tackle, his strength is definitely lacking and he doesn’t do as well as someone like Andrus Peat when the defender gets into his chest.
Ogbuehi wasn’t asked to do a whole lot of run blocking in the Aggies’ scheme (63% pass-37% run), but when he did, the results were impressive. His long arms came in handy here as well, gaining ground on the edge and not allowing defenders back over the top. It’s a shame that Ogbuehi’s health is uncertain after an ACL injury in Texas A&M’s bowl game, but based solely off his tape, Ogbuehi belongs in this group.
Signature Stat: Was downgraded on just 5.6% of run plays last season, the fifth-lowest rate among Power 5 tackles.
Andrus Peat, Stanford
Peat is another player that we’ve already profiled. At 6-foot-7 with 34 3/8” arms, he has the frame of a Top-10 tackle, but he doesn’t have the natural feet or change of direction ability of one. The problem is that you can’t teach change of direction so it’s likely an issue Peat will have to deal with over the course of his career. There’s still so much to like, though, as he’s only 21 and already has prodigious lower body strength. Peat was born to play in Stanford’s offense and caved in the left side of the line with down blocks routinely. That strength held up in pass protection as well as he allowed one pressure from a bull rush all season.
Signature Stat: Yielded six pressures in Pac-12 play against a slate of Leonard Williams, Hau’oli Kikaha, Nate Orchard, and DeForest Buckner.
Ereck Flowers, Miami
Flowers is the most curious prospect in the class with possibly the highest ceiling of any tackle in the draft. The Miami left tackle is an ox that can flatten a downblock on one play and then beautifully kickslide out and stone a speed rush on the next. He was extremely productive in both run and pass blocking, but Flowers is about as raw as they come — while some guys have problems in one area or another, he had head-scratching issues sprinkled throughout his entire game.
The biggest concern is that Flowers’ form will completely break down for no apparent reason and it’s like you’re watching a different player altogether. There is no better example of this than his pass blocking effort with 6:55 remaining in the first quarter against Nebraska.
On that play he’s bent so much at the waist upon first contact with Randy Gregory that his upper body is almost parallel to the ground. Flowers then ducks his head and tries to wrap his arms around the Nebraska end. This allows the 235-pound Gregory to gain leverage on Flowers and walk the 329-pound tackle all the way back to the quarterback for a hit.
He got away with that kind of sloppy play far too often in college because of his tremendous strength (37 reps at combine) and length (34 ½” arms), but that won’t be the case if he continues it in the NFL.
Signature Stat: Had one negatively-graded game all season and didn’t allow a sack.
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