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2018 NFL Draft: OL Big Board

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NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson. Best Guard in the nation
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the series of the positional big boards that will go on a weekly basis. Today we will be taking a look at the offensive line class that is a little top heavy at certain spots but could have some gems late.

Tackles

1. Mike McGlinchey 6’7 309 RS Senior Notre Dame

- The top tackle prospect and it isn’t particularly close either. He’s a mountain of a man that excelled at the Combine as expected. Experienced as a RS Senior with playing both tackle positions. Fundamentally sound. His struggles in 2017 were a bit of a mystery but he has solidified his top 10 stock during the offseason process.

2. Connor Williams 6’5 296 Junior Texas

- Williams, when healthy, is one of the best tackle prospects in the class. The health is a huge issue as he has missed multiple games during the past two seasons due to injury. Teams certainly did their homework at the Combine during his medical. The anchor for the Longhorns for a couple of years when he was on the field. A franchise left tackle type.

3. Desmond Harrison 6’6 292 Senior West Georgia

- Harrison was a breakout star during the Combine and delivered on the hype. He’s a road grading type of tackle that finishes his block through the echo of the whistle. Everything that I’ve seen of him shows signs that he can stick at left tackle with some refinements. He’s a punishing run blocker and above average pass blocker. Didn’t get beat too often in pass protection. Teams probably grilled him during the interviews about the dismissal from Texas.

4. Tyrell Crosby 6’4 319 Senior Oregon

- Crosby had an excellent 2017 season to rise up the boards to merit consideration as a top 5 tackle in the class. From the games that I watched, the lateral agility and ability to anchor down as a pass blocker is a huge plus. He mirrors the defender very easily and doesn’t allow much to get by him. At the Combine, Crosby finished with the sixth best 40 yard time for offensive linemen. 17 bench press reps isn’t ideal for a guy his size. He placed in top five overall in terms of arm length so he does not have to move to guard due to short arms. The 10 yard split is important for linemen because it measures explosion off the ball. The 1.86 is a solid number which placed him in the top 10. He looked good during the mirror drill, showing off excellent footwork and above average ability to stay with the “rabbit” (another OL playing the role of a DL). Quick feet.

Guards

1. Quenton Nelson 6’5 325 RS Junior Notre Dame

- Nelson is the country’s best guard prospect, no questions asked. He’s a brick wall and defenders rarely beat him. Footwork excellent. IQ is a plus.

2. Will Hernandez 6’2 348 Senior UTEP

- The second best guard prospect this year is no slouch himself. He dominated the Senior Bowl and could have argued that he was the best offensive lineman on either side if not for the next guy on the list. He’s that good. Didn’t hurt his stock at the Combine. Should be an early pick.

3. Isaiah Wynn 6’2 300 Senior Georgia

- Wynn could’ve been the best prospect in Mobile, regardless of position. He dominated every rep in practice and in the game. Has played both guard and tackle but projects as a dominant guard at the next level. Can play tackle in a pinch. I grade him as the most polished of the guards as he’s experienced more dominant pass rushers plus the versatility helps.

4. Braden Smith 6’6 315 Senior Auburn

- Smith had a solid Combine by all accounts. He has nice lateral agility. Played in a less than ideal system at Auburn so bad habits will have coached out of him by the pro team that drafts him. The Titans reportedly interviewed him in Indy so that made me go back and watch Auburn further. I liked what I saw. He’s a road grader type. Some of Kerryon Johnson’s bigger plays came behind him.

5. Martinas Rankin 6’5 315 RS Senior Mississippi State

- Rankin is one of the more underrated line prospects in the country. He doesn’t get a lot of hype as others but he does the job very well. Athleticism is a plus. Footwork is above average. Mirrors and guides the defender away like its nothing. Rarely gets beat in leverage.

Center

1. James Daniels 6’4 295 Junior Iowa

- Daniels has been a mock draft darling in the offseason as he’s been a fast riser up the boards. He can also play guard but is primarily listed as a center. He looked really fluid during the drill portion of the Combine, showing good lateral agility and footwork. The best center prospect in the nation. Seriously, the footwork was that good.

2. Billy Price 6’3 312 RS Senior Ohio State

- Price had a standout career for the Buckeyes but unfortunately could not participate in the Combine drills after suffering a torn pec at the bench press part. Still, the tape doesn’t lie. He’s among the best centers. The injury knocks him down a peg behind Daniels.