The 2012 Offensive Tackle class is headlined by USC’s Matt Kalil. But Iowa’s Riley Reiff, Stanford’s Jonathan Martin, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn and Ohio States Mike Adams are also most likely first round picks that have a nice upside. Kalil will be the first tackle taken and rightfully so, he is the total package and should anchor the left tackle spot for some team for the next decade.
My Top 10 Offensive Tackles:
1. Matt Kalil – USC – 6-6 – 306:
Cut from the same cloth as Joe Thomas and Jake Long, Matt Kalil is one of the best offensive tackle prospects to enter the NFL in the past five years and has everything that you look for in a franchise blind side protector. A former top recruit who started for two seasons at USC, Matt is hoping to follow in his older brother Ryan’s footsteps in being a top pick out of USC who works his way into being one of the highest-paid players at his position in the NFL. As polished technically as you’ll find at the offensive tackle position, Kalil owns an elite combination of size strength, and athleticism for the position; his upper body strength (30 reps on bench) and long arms (34 inches) are both ideal. Kalil is a smart player who has the instincts and understanding of the game that you hope to see in a player. In pass protection, Matt is a natural at sinking back into his pass set immediately off the snap and his flexibility for a player of his size is some of the best that I’ve seen at the position in the last five years. Despite being taller than nearly any defender he matches up with, Kalil has no trouble bending down and playing underneath smaller defenders, showing an outstanding ability to consistently bend at the knees with the balance, light feet, and coordination needed to be a very successful NFL player. Matt is very nimble for a player of his size, owning the agility and range to move laterally with ease; he has the size, long strides, and quick feet to mirror any pass rusher in the country. In addition, Kalil does a great job of shifting his weight while shuffling his feet, showing the ability to consistently close off cutback lanes inside. He plays with a wide stance that is very effective at swallowing up defenders when they get inside on him, and when combined with his great lateral agility, it makes it very difficult for pass rushers to get around him. Matt uses his long arms to his advantage as a pass protector, showing a great understanding for how to extend his long arms out to attempt to lock on and gain control at the point of attack. He displays very good hand use, consistently firing his hands into the defender repeatedly until he can gain control. More of a finesse run blocker up front, Kalil excels at standing the defensive lineman up off the ball before using his wide frame and flexibility to turn and position or wall the defender away from the hole to open up a running lane inside. While he’s proven to be effective here in college, I would like to see Matt continue to work on getting underneath the offensive lineman at the point of attack, coil up, and explode through his hips to drive the defender backwards. He doesn’t physically dominate as a run blocker, but rather uses his athleticism and technique to just get the job done. Kalil is not as ferocious or tenacious as Joe Thomas and Jake Long were, which is why I would like to see him develop a more fiery attitude, as I think that would help him in the NFL. He has the tools and potential to dominate opponents in the run game, but seems to just settle for getting the job done here. Matt Kalil is a franchise left tackle prospect with everything that you look for in a future 10-15 year starter who will make it to a number of Pro Bowls. If he continues to fill out his frame and get stronger, in addition to polishing up his technique and fundamentals, he has the talent and complete package of tools needed to develop into one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.
2. Riley Reiff – Iowa – 6-5 – 313:
The next in a very long line of productive Iowa Hawkeye offensive linemen to enter the NFL, Riley Reiff projects as a more-athletic version of former teammate Bryan Bulaga, who was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. A three-year starter with 37 career starts for the Hawkeyes, Reiff was a former defensive end recruit who began his career at left guard playing next to Bulaga as a freshman in 2009 before replacing him at the left tackle position in 2010, where he spent the past two seasons holding down the blind side. Offering the great intangibles and work ethic that you look for in a player, Riley was one of five juniors on Iowa’s leadership group in 2011 and was a team captain in high school, and also was awarded with the team’s Hustle Team Award and Next Man In Award in the past three years. Owning ideal size for the left tackle position with shorter arms than you like to see (33 inches), Reiff has a terrific blend of size, strength, and athleticism at left tackle. Fluid in pass protection with the polished technique that you look for, Riley is more than capable of mirroring the best of pass rushers out on the edge. His great wrestling background is shown on the field, as he does a good job of bending at the knees and playing underneath the defender at the point of attack in pass protection, then using his reach to lock onto the defensive lineman before neutralizing him for the rest of the play with his good upper body strength (23 reps on bench). Reiff’s hand use at the point of attack is polished and is exactly what you look for with the way that he fires his hands quickly inside the defender off the snap to attempt to gain control. His footwork in his kick slide will still need some slight refining, to work on consistently staying square in his recovery, however the combination of size and athleticism that he offers is excellent. He could stand to continue to get stronger in the lower half to help anchor at the point of attack against stronger bull rushers at the next level. Although he’ll occasionally get over-extended by bending at the waist against shorter speed rushers who take advantage of occasional cutback lanes he leaves open inside, Reiff typically does a good job of keeping his feet underneath him and recovers well to cut them off before they can reach the quarterback; with more experience and coaching at the next level, he should continue to develop and improve quickly. In the run game, Riley comes off the ball quickly and drives into the defender with good leverage, displaying a consistent ability to stand the defensive lineman up and wall him off with proper positioning. He’s capable of driving the defender backwards, however he needs to continue to improve his functional strength and grip to lock onto the defensive lineman, sustain his block, and push him out of the hole. With his big frame, he is capable of clearing a wide running lane and was very effective on reach blocks in Iowa’s zone blocking scheme, in which his quick feet give him a great advantage. With how nimble he is, Reiff excels at sliding to the second level to take out the linebacker and is more than capable of moving in the open field, breaking down to redirect, and hitting a moving target in space. He’s not exactly a mauler inside, and is more of a finesse offensive lineman, however he has the traits needed to develop into a drive blocker at the next level. Although not as polished as Bryan Bulaga was when he entered the league in 2010, Riley Reiff offers better upside and a higher ceiling than Bulaga did. For the team that drafts him, Reiff will be an immediate contributor capable of holding down the fort at left tackle.
3. Jonathan Martin – Stanford – 6-5 – 312:
The blind-side protector for quarterback Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin leaves Stanford after having been an elite three-year starter for the Cardinal. Having started 37 games at left tackle, Martin offers the experience and durability that you look for in a top prospect. Jonathan owns great versatility, having also lined up frequently on the right side of the line in Stanford’s run-heavy Hulk formation. With an impressive blend of size, strength, and raw athleticism, Martin proved over the course of his career to be one of the most reliable pass blockers in college football. In pass protection, he displays an excellent ability to quickly transition into his pass set, sit down in a chair, and anchor right off the snap. Jonathan possesses very good flexibility in the lower half, showing the consistent ability to bend at the knees that is needed to be successful at the next level. As a pass blocker, Martin owns enough strength in the lower body needed to withstand a bull rush off the ball before sinking back into his pass set to reset before re-engaging the defender. He’s a proven, dependable anchor who doesn’t own elite strength, but understands how to use his flexibility to his advantage. A polished prospect with the technique and fundamentals needed to start immediately at the next level, Jonathan consistently plays low at the point of attack with a smooth kick slide and outstanding leverage, and uses his long arms (34 inches) to his advantage as he extends out to gain control of the defender. Martin does now own ideal strength in the upper body (20 reps on bench), but rather makes up for it with his nimble feet and terrific agility as a pass blocker. He shows the quickness and fluidity needed to mirror speed pass rushers off the edge and has a very natural ability to shift his weight while shuffling his feet in pass protection. Between his light feet, flexibility, and core strength to anchor at the point of attack, Martin will never be a dominant offensive tackle, however he offers everything needed to be an extremely effective blocker who is very difficult to beat. However, I would like to see him continue to get stronger while filling out his frame, as he has room to continue to add weight and bulk up. A polished run blocker as well, Jonathan is a fantastic zone-blocking prospect who displays an innate understanding of angles, positioning, and leverage. Off the ball, he quickly engages the defender low at the point of attack to gain leverage while locking on before turning and either walling off or pushing the defensive lineman out of the play to open up a running lane inside. With his nimble feet and agility, he offers the mobility needed to pull outside as a lead blocker, pull through on traps, as well as slide to the second level to effectively take out the linebacker. Jonathan Martin is a complete prospect at the offensive tackle position. He will not be one to physically dominate opponents at the next level, as he lacks the strength and elite athletic tools to do so. However, he’s as reliable and dependable of a player as there is at this position, and with the experience that he has blocking for a future franchise quarterback in Luck, I believe that he has everything needed to translate that success to the NFL. He could play left or right tackle for the team that drafts him.
4. Cordy Glenn – Georgia – 6-5 – 348:
One of the most intriguing offensive linemen in this year’s draft, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn enters the NFL with some of the best versatility of any player available for selection this spring. With experience playing up and down the offensive line, Cordy projects favorably to both tackle and guard thanks to his experience, massive size, and natural athleticism. After signing with Georgia out of high school as a highly-recruited prep, Glenn was thrown into the mix as a true freshman, starting seven games at left guard and three games at right guard in 2008; as a sophomore in 2009, he started the season opener against Oklahoma State at right guard before moving to left tackle for the next four games and then kicking inside to left guard to start the final eight games there; he went on to start all 13 games as a junior at left guard and then finished his career at left tackle where he started all 13 games as a senior. He leaves Georgia with 49-career starts, second-most by any offensive lineman to play for the Bulldogs. A team leader who was elected captain in 2011, Cordy offers the type of leadership and work ethic that scouts and coaches covet in a player. The biggest player in attendance at the Senior Bowl, Glenn possesses the type of size and strength that is hard to find; however, when you combine that with his natural athleticism and quick feet, he’s the type of rare prospect that presents very high upside at the next level. In 2011, Cordy began the season slowly as he was getting accustomed to the left tackle position. Later on towards the end of the season, you could tell that he was improving from week-to-week, displaying the type of polished technique and fundamentals that he didn’t exhibit at the beginning of the season. This is a promising sign, as it shows that he is a coachable player who can develop quickly and can make an impact early in his career for the team that drafts him. In the run game, Glenn displays good hand placement at the point of attack with a strong grip, and when you add his big size to swallow up defenders as well as the power and strength to drive them off the ball, he presents the type of tools that you typically see in a player who has the potential to dominate in this area in the NFL; while he’s not a full-on road grader right now, he has the skillset to develop into a mauler in the right offensive system at the next level. Although
blocking out on the move is not one of the strongest points of his game, he offers the agility to pull through and kick a defender out or
to get to the second level to take on a linebacker; with the amount of games he’s played at both tackle and guard, he has plenty of
experience pulling and blocking in open space. As a pass blocker, Cordy excels playing inside, as it allows for him to use his great
strength to anchor at the point of attack and stonewall defenders at the line of scrimmage. Out on the edge at tackle, his lateral agility
limits how good he can be in blocking speed pass rushers. However, with 35-inch arms, he has the wingspan to extend out and gain
control of the defender off the snap, which helps him to wash the pass rusher right out of the play. Cordy Glenn is a very intriguing talent with the type of physical tools and skillset needed to start immediately at the next level. With his versatility, he could project to four-of-the-five offensive line positions, however in my opinion he will project best inside at guard in the NFL where he has the upside to develop into one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL.
5. Mike Adams – Ohio State – 6-7 – 323:
One of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school, Mike Adams had a rocky, up-and-down career with the Buckeyes, never quite living up to the steep expectations but finishing his career as a reliable and dependable blindside protector. A two-year starter with 25 career starts for Ohio State, Adams shared the Buckeyes’ Jim Parker Award as the team’s most valuable offensive lineman with center Mike Brewster in 2011. Owning a fabulous combination of size, strength, and athleticism for the position, Mike has an ideal frame with the long arms (33 inches), wingspan (81 inches), and length that scouts look closely for at the position. A polished prospect with the refined technique and fundamentals needed to contribute immediately at the next level, Adams has an NFL ready skillset with flexible, fluid athleticism as well as developed tools that will be required of him in order to compete for a starting job as a rookie. In pass protection, Mike does a fantastic job of sitting down in his pass set right off the snap, not allowing for himself to play too tall despite his huge size; his flexibility is rather impressive for how tall he is, as he manages to bend at the knees and sink his hips to get underneath the defensive end and gain leverage before locking on and using his upper body strength to take him out of the play. There are a few times when he will play too high at the point of attack, however this is something that can be ironed out with his position coach at the next level. Mike’s wide frame is valuable for him, as he has the ability to stretch out with good balance and make it very difficult for defenders to get around him. His hand use is good, but is still improving, however I do like that he has shown the ability to provide a strong punch at the point of contact off the ball. With his balance, he does a fine job of sinking back into his pass set with the lower body strength to anchor against bullrushing defensive ends. Adams’ long arms are among his greatest assets, as they allow for him to extend out off the snap to catch the pass rushing end while protecting the edge. With fantastic agility for a player of his size, Mike has the range to consistently protect the corner as well as the lateral agility and short-area quickness needed to rebound and come back inside when the end redirects; between his fluid athleticism, flexibility to bend, and his quick feet, Mike has the makings of being an elite player at the position and could have a better pro career than college career when everything is said and done. Mike Adams has the physical tools and skillset to develop into a Pro Bowl left tackle for a team for the next decade. However, he must prove that he can keep his head on straight, show that he is motivated and dedicated, as well as continue to develop and learn the nuances of the position in order to reach his potential.
The Next 5:
6. Bobby Massie – Ole Miss – 6-6 – 316
7. Zebrie Sanders – Florida State – 6-5 – 308
8. Brandon Mosley – Auburn – 6-5 – 314
9. Jeff Allen – Illinois – 6-4 – 306
10. Levy Adcock – Oklahoma State – 6-5 – 320
Overrated: Mike Adams
Underrated: Bobby Massie
Small School Sleeper: Tom Compton – South Dakota – 6-5 – 314:
One of the top small-school players in this year’s draft who has the tools and measurables that you look for at the offensive tackle
position, Tom Compton enters the NFL with fine upside as a developmental prospect. A four-year starter for South Dakota with 43
career starts, Compton has great experience and also has matched up with FBS talent around the country, having played against Air
Force, Wisconsin, Central Florida, and Minnesota in the last two years with the Coyotes. Owning ideal size for a tackle with the long
arms (34 inches) that you desire out of the position, Tom uses his long arms very well, displaying a strong, consistent ability to extend out and keep the defender at bay. Instinctive and quick off the ball with great recognition of incoming blitzes, Compton executes his blocks on a consistent basis and was a very efficient player at South Dakota. A polished player in pass protection, Compton offers the technique and fundamentals that you look for, and does a fine job of staying square with his wide base. He also offers great strength in the lower body (reported 700 pound squat), which allows for him to consistently anchor at the point of attack. Displaying refined and developed footwork to mirror pass rushers out on the edge, Tom is a better short-area athlete than a rangy one, as he will be susceptible to being beaten off the edge with some stiffness in his hips and average recovery quickness against speed pass rushers; however, when this happens, he does a fine job of instinctively breaking out of his kick slide and attempting to run the defender out of the play. He doesn’t possess the lateral agility needed to remain at left tackle; however, moving over to the right side or kicking inside to guard shouldn’t be a problem for him. Tom does a strong job of keeping his feet moving through contact when driving the defender off the ball in the run game. He possesses good, but not great upper body strength (20 reps on bench) to lock on and neutralize the defender for the rest of the play. He’s a better player when playing in small areas, however there were times at South Dakota when the Coyotes lined him up in the backfield as a fullback, which gave him an opportunity to show that he can block in the open field and hit a moving target. In addition, he’s displayed the ability to climb to the second level to effectively block the linebacker. With his short area quickness, he really does a good job of reach blocking and sealing the edge on runs outside to the right in the run game; he’s a high football IQ player who takes good angles. One thing that I would like to see Tom develop is more of a killer instinct and a fiery, tenacious attitude as a blocker, as he tends to be more of a finesse offensive lineman than an overly aggressive one. Although the transition from the FCS to the NFL will certainly take him some time to adjust to, Compton is a player who I believe has what it takes to make the jump. When faced with superior opponents in college, he did not struggle whatsoever and looked like he was meant to be there at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Having started 43 games for South Dakota, Tom proved to be a durable player throughout his career and does not have any known injury concerns as he enters the next level.