clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2021 NFL Draft: BTSC Steelers Big Board, Offensive Tackles

Ranking and analyzing the top 27 offensive tackles in the 2021 NFL Draft.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Oregon at USC Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a year when the first pick in the draft had a shortened season due to injury and the best player in the league was nearly killed in the Super Bowl, the NFL should be thankful for this tackle class. The league has lacked offensive line talent for years, specifically at tackle. Thankfully for the NFL, this may be the best tackle class in the past decade, as I have fourteen tackles with round three grades or higher.

The offensive line was one of the biggest issues for the Steelers in 2020, and much of that was due to the performance of the tackles. Zach Banner’s season came to an end early, and Chukwuma Okorafor was unable to do much of anything positive in the second half of the season. On the left side, Alejandro Villanueva began the season looking like a potential Pro-Bowler, but he looked like a shell of his former self as the season progressed.

Considering that Okorafor is the only tackle currently under contract, this is a major need for the Steelers. While it seems likely that Zach Banner will be re-signed, both Matt Feiler and Villanueva will likely have other suitors. The Steelers have done a great job of finding good value at offensive tackle, but unless they want to go into the season with Okorafor and Banner as their only tackles, they may want to consider using serious capital on one of these talented prospects.

These big boards are created for both information and discussion purposes. DropTheHammer, who was excellent at starting great discussions in the comments, released his first big board of the season a couple days ago. This board is not Steelers inclusive, and the grading system is more generic, but we hope to bring you insightful content that will spark good conversation through these boards.

The main rankings are steelerfan11’s, while the analysis is a collaborative effort. SNW’s consensus rankings are an average of where the prospects appeared on big boards (ranking all positions) from other draft websites to see where the prospects stack up elsewhere. The websites, in order, are CBS Sports, Drafttek, ESPN, Mock Draft Database, and Tankathon.

And in case you missed them, make sure to check out the first six installments of the board: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers (Part 1), Wide Receivers (Part 2), Tight Ends, and Interior Offensive Line.

Ever since we began these collaborative rankings, we have opened it up to the BTSC community. This week, we would like to welcome Itz JustNoah, who is going to be contributing analysis as well. If you would like to jump in and join us in giving analysis for these prospects, be sure to let us know in the comment section.

Let’s get to the rankings!

1. Penei Sewell — Jr, #58, 6’5”, 330 lbs, — Oregon
#1 overall graded player
Consensus ranking: 2 (2, 2, 3, 2, 2)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: (14 games)

steelerfan11: It has been a long time since there has been a tackle prospect as good as Sewell. He can play on either side of the line, but I fully expect him to be put at left tackle from day one for whichever team that drafts him. He has good lateral mobility and is very nimble on his feet. He is comfortable in his stance and gets good leverage as a run-blocker. Hand usage, power, and pad level are all spectacular as well, making him a generational talent at the most important position outside of quarterback. He is a high-level run blocker and pass protector, and there are no major flaws in his game.

Itz JustNoah: With the potential to be a perennial all-pro from the day he comes into the league, Sewell is the best offensive line prospect in a long, long time. He has good natural mobility and a ton of power at the point of attack. He’s great in pass protection but his run blocking is his real strength. He knows how to use his hands and feet effectively to allow runners to get to the outside . Whoever drafts him would be wise to utilize runs to the left. I fully expect him to be a Pro-Bowler as a rookie no matter which team he ends up on.

Ryland B.: I watched Sewell a lot while he was at Oregon, and in my opinion, he absolutely lives up to the hype. Blessed with great athleticism and size, Sewell is a mauler in the run game and smooth in pass protection. He’s the Trevor Lawrence of offensive tackles, as ever since his freshman season we knew he would be special and he didn’t disappoint. Besides a few technical critiques here and there he’s incredibly polished overall, and likely has the versatility to excel at guard if needed. I’ve seen Sewell’s draft stock fall on some boards, likely due to him sitting out the 2020 season, but it likely didn’t do the same on real NFL boards. If Sewell somehow does fall out of the top 10 in the draft, the Steelers should strongly consider moving up to draft a generational talent on the offensive line. However, there’s hardly a chance that will actually happen.

2. Rashawn Slater — Sr, #70, 6’4’’, 314 lbs, — Northwestern
Top 10 grade
Consensus ranking: 12 (11, 14, 8, 13, 12)
2020 season stats: (11 games)

steelerfan11: Slater may not be quite as athletically gifted as Sewell, but his tape was as good as any tackle in this class outside of Sewell, specifically his 2019 tape against Chase Young. That game was maybe the best single-game tape of any lineman in this class. He does tend to play a little too far back in his stance occasionally, allowing the defender to win the battle for leverage. His length may be an issue for some, but I think he will be just fine at tackle. Obviously, a team drafting Slater inside the top 15 is not drafting him to be a guard or center, but if things do not work out at tackle, he has the versatility to play any spot on the line. I wouldn’t go as far as some reports are saying about the NFL being higher on Slater than Sewell, but Slater has a chance to be a really good tackle for a long time.

Itz JustNoah: The first thing you notice when looking at Slater’s tape is his hand technique. On every play, his hands are exactly where they need to be to win those physical battles in the trenches. His footwork is smooth and he plays with a great level of physicality. As a Junior, he had to go up against Ohio State and Chase Young. He was 1-on-1 with Young 12 different times over the course of the game and he won every single time. His size and length could potentially limit him against stronger edge rushers but I doubt it will affect him much. Personally I think he will be best as a tackle but he does have the versatility to play inside if need be.

3. Christian Darrisaw — Jr, #77, 6’5’’, 314 lbs, — Virginia Tech
Top 15 grade
Consensus ranking: 20 (14, 18, 24, 16, 16)
2020 season stats: (9 games)

steelerfan11: It is still too early to know whether Darrisaw will be gone by pick 24 or not, but if he falls to the Steelers, we should be running to the podium. Darrisaw was very consistent for the Hokies at left tackle in 2019 but did not get much buzz in the draft community until this season. Darrisaw has the size, length, and athleticism that you want in your left tackle, and his tape backs up the physical traits. He is a fluid mover who mirrors well in pass protection and maintains a good pad level as a run blocker, and his outstanding ability to pull is something that very few tackles in this class can offer. I have fallen in love with Darrisaw’s game and will be thrilled if he were to somehow fall to 24.

Itz JustNoah: Darrisaw is, in my eyes, the next best tackle behind Sewell. Slater’s tape is great but Darrisaw is just so strong and his physicality is unmatched. He’s extremely powerful as a runblocker and he holds his block well in pass protection. He uses raw strength to move defenders out of the way with ease to create holes for runners and a clean pocket for whoever’s throwing the ball. He has the potential to be a franchise left tackle for whoever drafts him. I would be elated if he falls to the Steelers at 24 and Colbert would be foolish to not take him.

Ryland B.: As someone who doesn’t enjoy watching offensive linemen tape as much as the other positions, I’ll say this, Christian Darrisaw’s tape is a lot of fun to watch. He’s extremely mobile and a smooth athlete, and has excellent strength as well. He’s good technically, showing good hand placement and pad level, and from what I saw he picks up stunts well. Some prospects are good athletes but it doesn’t show up on gameday, but Darrisaw often looks like the best athlete on the field. You know it’s a strong class when a player like Darrisaw is ranked third at his position, and like the others have said, if he falls to #24 the Steelers should run to the podium.

4. Samuel Cosmi — Jr, #52, 6’7”, 309 lbs, — Texas
Top 25 grade
Consensus ranking: 43 (32, 24, 84, 25, 28)
2020 season stats: (8 games)

steelerfan11: Cosmi is not a sure thing at tackle, but I liked what I saw from him in both 2019 and 2020 when he was at left tackle. Generally, raw tackles will start out at right tackle if they play at all their rookie season, but I think Cosmi’s natural fit is on the left side. He depends on his superb athleticism too often, but all of Cosmi’s technical issues are fixable. When he leaves his chest exposed and a defender can land a punch, he loses balance but can usually save himself with his length. His kick-slide needs to become smoother, but that will come with improved footwork and hip angles. His pad level also needs to be lower on a more consistent basis, but that got much better in 2020. Cosmi does a good job of getting to the second level of the defense as a run-blocker, and he has the length and mobility to be a dominant pass blocker. If he can add a good 15 pounds to his frame, he could develop into one of the top blindside protectors in the game.

Ryland B.: Cosmi has a similar level of athleticism to Christian Darrisaw, but he isn’t quite as polished. I do think he plays a little more aggressively than Darrisaw, though, with great drive and consistently playing to the whistle. He can play a bit high and reaches on a lot of his blocks, but his mobility and athleticism cover up his flaws most of the time. Cosmi is very mobile, and watching him reach the second level is a lot of fun. He’s a mismatch against linebackers and he knows it, and there were some great pancakes on tape. Overall, the consensus that Cosmi is a good but still raw prospect is spot on. I think he’s polished enough to start at some point as a rookie, but he’ll need to clean up his technique errors and mental lapses if he wants to reach his Pro Bowl potential.

5. Jalen Mayfield — So, #73, 6’5”, 320 lbs, — Michigan
Late 1st round grade
Consensus ranking: 32 (29, 44, 26, 32, 29)
2020 season stats: (2 games)

steelerfan11: Another example of Ed Warriner’s excellent coaching, Mayfield was very raw when arriving at Michigan, losing frequently to quicker edge rushers that had a quicker first step than he had and getting overpowered by more powerful pass rushers. After several years under good coaching, Mayfield has taken amazing strides in his game and has become much more refined. He knows how to move defenders in the run game, and his strong lower body helps him anchor well. His footwork is somewhat slow and sloppy at times, and I would like to see him get out of his stance a bit quicker, but Mayfield has a high floor due to his versatility to play both tackle and guard. His ceiling will likely depend on whether he can slide over to the left side in the NFL. I think he has the athleticism to do it, but it is hard to tell if the left side would be a better fit or not.

Itz JustNoah: With only 15 starts under his belt, Mayfield is extremely raw but his talent is undeniable. On tape, he shows an incredible display of power as a run blocker. His footwork is often sloppy and limits his movement in pass protection, allowing speed rushers to move past him with relative ease. His natural athleticism will help him succeed without the proper mechanics at first, but at some point that won’t be enough. A young team that is still in the rebuilding stage and in need of a right tackle would suit Mayfield best as it still gives him time to fully develop.

6. Walker Little — Sr, #72, 6’7”, 313 — Stanford
Early 2nd round grade
Consensus ranking: 88 (120, 87, 85, 81, 66)
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: (1 games)

steelerfan11: Before Walker Little opted out of the 2020 season, I thought that he had a chance of being a top 15 pick. He has all the traits that you want in a blindside pass-blocker. The former five-star recruit was a very fluid mover, and his ability to mirror well in pass protection made him look the part of a franchise tackle. Hand usage was good, and he was very good instinctively. The only problem is that we have not seen him play in two years. Little had a knee injury at the beginning of the 2019 season and then opted out this season. I really would like to see how well he moves and performs post-injury, and that will be difficult to do considering that there is not a combine to evaluate him at either. I absolutely love the upside that Little brings, and he could be the steal of the draft, but he is anything but a sure thing. I must say that the more I watch of him from 2018, the more I would welcome the idea of the Steelers grabbing him if he is available in round two.

Ryland B.: Little is an interesting prospect in this draft. I really have no idea where he’ll go in this draft, and even less of an idea of how well he’ll do in the NFL. Let’s start with the good. Little is a massive human with excellent athleticism and pretty good power. Technically he’s pretty strong and he is a very mobile and aware blocker. The bad is that he can be very inconsistent, and he’s essentially missed both the 2019 and 2020 seasons (the first due to injury, the second as an opt-out). In the end, you’re looking at an inconsistent lineman who has hardly played for two years. The upside is certainly there, but is it worth a high pick?

7. Dillon Radunz — Sr, #75, 6’6’’, 299 lbs, — North Dakota State
Mid 2nd round grade
Consensus ranking: 64 (67, 84, 56, 57, 55)
2020 season stats: (1 games)
2019 season stats: (16 games)

steelerfan11: Radunz suffered a noteworthy knee injury in 2017, and when you watch tape from 2018 and even the early portions of 2019, you can tell that he was still working his way back. His stance was awkward, his footwork was shaky, and he struggled to get leverage on his opponent as a run-blocker. It just seemed as if the knee was not healthy, causing his play to be rather inconsistent. He got much better as the season went on in 2019, however, becoming much more consistent fundamentally. I like Radunz’s game but don’t love it. He plays with a good pad level and good balance, and he is impressive as a run-blocker once he locks on to his opponent. He is barely 300 pounds, so adding some weight would be ideal for the next level. He may not have the upside of a Cosmi or Darrisaw, but Radunz’s performance at the Senior may have gotten him into the late round one discussion.

Ryland B.: Coming from a smaller school in NDSU, Radunz flew under the radar for a while, but began to pop up on draft radar as his teammate Trey Lance began to get more hype and Radunz showed up on the tape. He’s not a freak athlete like Cosmi or Darrisaw, but he’s still a fairly good one with good mobility and strength. He’s a little undersized for the position, an issue I think will pop up more in the NFL than it did at the FCS level. I think he has the frame to bulk up, though. He’s solid in pass protection but shined best in run blocking, showing excellent power and drive. Radunz had a strong Senior Bowl and showed the versatility to play at guard as well. Radunz’s smaller size and school are legitimate concerns, but as for now the NDSU linemen has established himself as a fringe first round candidate at offensive tackle.

8. Alex Leatherwood — Sr, #70, 6’6”, 312 lbs, — Alabama
Mid 2nd round grade
Consensus ranking: 47 (45, 38, NA, 33, 30)
2020 season stats: (13 games)

steelerfan11: Leatherwood could have entered the draft last year, but he decided to return for his senior year. He is a solid downfield blocker in the run game, and he has an aggressive first step out of his stance. When he gets his hands on a defender, it is rare that the defender overpowers him. And for a man his size, his footwork and mobility are decent as well. Bendy edge rushers will take advantage of Leatherwood’s stiffness, and that will have to improve for him to succeed at tackle. He also lunges more than one would like to see, but that can be fixed in short order with good coaching. Overall, Leatherwood is an experienced tackle who seems to have a solid floor at both tackle and guard.

ItzJustNoah: Leatherwood is a mammoth of a man. He is listed at 312, I think he’s probably a bit more than that but not in a bad way. He’s very balanced, providing power as a pass protector and a run blocker. He’s very strong and he easily keeps his balance against stronger guys. I was very impressed, when looking at his tape, by his footwork especially for a guy his size. Despite that though, his mobility is not very fluid and speed rushers will beat him.

Ryland B.: Leatherwood is a name I see a lot on Steelers mock drafts. And there’s a good reason why. He was a standout starter on college football’s best offensive line, and a national champion as well. He’s a good run blocker who plays with good power and aggressiveness. I think he is a better athlete than most give him credit for, as he has good footwork and mobility. As steelerfan11 points out though, he can be very stiff. Leatherwood has the versatility to play guard, too, a position The Draft Network thinks he should move to in the NFL. Overall, I’m not as sold on Leatherwood in the first as some others are, but I think he would be a solid pick at #24 for Pittsburgh.

9. Liam Eichenberg — Sr, #74, 6’6”, 302 lbs, — Notre Dame
Mid 2nd round grade
Consensus ranking: 63 (105, 77, 46, 45, 43)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

steelerfan11: Eichenberg is an experienced tackle for the Irish who should be able to start day one. However, his upside is definitely limited. He is not an excellent athlete, nor is he some 330 pound mauler. He is a dependable player who seemed to improve as a player each season. One issue earlier on in his career was a lot of holding and false start penalties. Literally every time I watched Notre Dame play, he would get called for at least a couple penalties in a game. Maybe it was just me watching at a bad time, but nonetheless, that seemed to get better this year. He is a good run-blocker who has the ability to get to the second level, but he was never overly impressive as a pass blocker. He got the job done for the most part in 2020, but his 2019 season was more inconsistent in that department. I would not be totally against taking him if he is available at pick 55 for the Steelers, but it is not a pick that I would fall in love with.

Ryland B.: The highest rated member of a very good Notre Dame offensive line last year, Eichenberg has been projected all the way from the first to the third round in some mock drafts. A very good run blocker, Eichenberg plays tough while showing decent strength. In pass protection, his lack of athleticism shows, but he is still solid overall. Speed rushers give him fits though and cause him to lunge too often. Eichenberg is a good high floor/low ceiling prospect who will probably be a starter at the NFL level, although I’m not sure if he has Pro Bowl potential.

10. Teven Jenkins — Sr, #73, 6’6’’, 320 lbs — Oklahoma State
Late 2nd round grade
Consensus ranking: 61 (109, 96, 33, 37, 32)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

steelerfan11: Jenkins is a tough-nosed lineman who plays with a nasty streak in him. He is physical at the point of attack and is a very good run-blocker once he lays his hands on an opponent. Jenkins will need to learn to be quicker off the snap more consistently, as he does not have the speed or athleticism to stop speedy edge rushers if he does not get out of his stance quick enough. His footwork is somewhat lethargic at times as well, but Jenkins’ floor is made high by his ability to play either tackle or guard. Personally, I see him as a better fit at guard because of his lack of athleticism and elite pass-blocking traits, but the attitude he plays with is exactly what you want in a lineman. If he can improve on the footwork and quickness off the snap, he could make it at tackle as well.

Ryland B.: Another name that comes up a lot at #24 in mock drafts, Jenkins is a powerful run-blocker at the tackle position who is still improving at the pass-blocking aspect of his position. I wasn’t all that impressed at first but he grew on me the more I watched. Jenkins really has that mauler mentality and plays with great power and drive. Put a guy in front of him and Jenkins will move him out of the way. This overaggressive style of play can get Jenkins in trouble at times, especially when paired with his lack of athleticism and technique. Overall I like Jenkins, as tough, aggressive linemen are something the Steelers really need more of on their roster. Still, there are a lot of issues that are hard to ignore, and Jenkins certainly needs to develop.

11. James Hudson — Jr, #55, 6’5”, 310 lbs — Cincinnati
Early 3rd round grade
Consensus ranking: 111 (115, 180, 40, 110, NA)
2020 season stats: (10 games)

Ryland B.: Hudson is an athletic, raw prospect at offensive tackle coming out of Cincinnati. It’s easy to see why people like him so much on tape, as he’s big, powerful, and a fluid athlete. He plays with good aggressiveness and drive, his mobility really shines on some reps. There are some pretty glaring issues though, as Hudson’s technique can be all over the place. Sometimes he plays too high, and he can sometimes reach too much instead of mirroring. He seems to be a bit grabby at times too. Hudson certainly has the potential to fix all of these issues and be a very good starter in the NFL, but don’t expect him to start day one.

12. Jackson Carman — Jr, #79, 6’5”, 335 lbs — Clemson
Early 3rd round grade
Consensus ranking: 62 (37, 71, NA, 66, 74)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

steelerfan11: Carman may have the highest upside of any tackle after Penei Sewell, but inconsistency has been the story of his collegiate career. Carman was playing at about 345 pounds at Clemson, which allowed him to be an absolute mauler in the run game. That size became a double-edged sword, however, as he was often unable to win battles against speedy edge rushers one-on-one. His first step is slower than what you would like in a blindside protector, and his pad level could use a little work in the run game. He has every tool you could ever want, but I really think he needs to drop 10-15 pounds if he is going to reach that potential at tackle. If not, I think that a move to guard at the next level is inevitable.

13. D’Ante Smith — Sr, #67, 6’4”, 274 lbs, — East Carolina
Late 3rd round grade
Consensus ranking: 227 (NA, 333, NA, 121, NA)
2020 season stats: (1 games)
2019 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: The first thing that stands out about Smith is his weight, listed at 274 pounds on most sites. While I think he plays a lot bigger than his listed weight, he’s severely undersized for the position. However, he showed up 20 pounds heavier for the Senior Bowl and played pretty well from what I saw, which is a good sign. On tape, Smith is a mauler who plays with a nasty streak and will block to the whistle. He has good drive and power and a strong initial punch. In pass pro he was solid and showed off some good athleticism. He’s not as technically strong or polished as some of the others in this class, and his smaller school and size could be an issue, but I think Smith is a pretty good prospect. While trying to find some info on Smith online I came across this interview from The Draft Network with him, which is certainly worth a read.

14. Spencer Brown — Sr, #76, 6’9’’, 321 lbs, — Northern Illinois
Late 3rd round grade
Consensus ranking: 114 (127, 148, 73, 107, NA)
2020 season stats: (15 games)

steelerfan11: Brown has good athleticism and rare length, but he does not use his length well. His body is out of control at times, as he is either lunging or playing too far back in his stance too often. He has powerful hands and knows how to move defenders in the run game, but his length makes it difficult for him to get his pads low enough to be consistently effective as a run blocker. He is very inconsistent and unbalanced, but he could provide a team with left and right tackle versatility if he can get some of the technical issues in his game fixed.

15. Brady Christiansen — Jr, #67, 6’6’’, 300 lbs — BYU
Early 4th round grade
Consensus ranking: (137, 195, NA, 112, NA)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: In my opinion Christiansen is somewhat underrated as a prospect, but there are some valid issues that hurt his draft stock. Trusted with protecting top quarterback prospect Zach Wilson at BYU, Christiansen was excellent as a pass protector. He’s a smart, physical player with decent size and strength. He’s also a good run blocker who plays powerfully and with good technique. Where Christiansen is lacking is in his athleticism, as he’s not that mobile and had some trouble with agile, athletic pass-rushers. He also went on a mission trip while in college which makes him older than most of the prospects in this draft, which might have aided in his college success, as well as taking away a couple years from his NFL career. It’s worth noting he’s pretty popular with the folks at PFF, but who knows how those grades will translate at the next level. Christiansen doesn’t have a very high ceiling, but his floor is high enough to be a solid starter early on in his NFL career.

16. Carson Green — Sr, #54, 6’6”, 320 lbs, — Texas A&M
Mid 5th round grade
Consensus ranking: 280 (NA, 362, 198, NA, NA)
2020 season stats: (9 games)

steelerfan11: Green was one of the more unheralded standouts at the Senior Bowl. There is no denying that his hand usage needs to improve and that he needs to get a little stronger, but he brings a lot of upside as a right tackle in the NFL. His footwork is not the neatest, but he is very tough, physical, and relentless as a blocker. Since he is not the most gifted athlete, some project him as a guard, but I liked what I saw from him at the Senior Bowl, and his tape against Alabama was impressive from both pass-blocking and run-blocking perspectives. If he is given time to develop and add functional strength, I think he could have a career similar to what Matt Feiler has had with the Steelers.

17. Robert Hainsey — Sr, #72, 6’5”, 290 lbs, — Notre Dame
Mid 5th round grade
Consensus ranking: 211 (NA, 228, 193, NA, NA)
2020 season stats: (12 games)

Ryland B.: Yet another linemen prospect from South Bend, Hainsey fits the description of most of the Notre Dame linemen we’ve profiled this year. He’s an experienced, smart, technically sound lineman with solid strength and size. He’s somewhat below average athletically, but adequate enough in pass protection and a physical run-blocker. Hainsey doesn’t seem to have NFL starter potential, but he played for a long time at a high level in college, so he’ll likely be a very solid backup somewhere.

18. Josh Ball — Sr, #79, 6’8”, 309 lbs, — Marshall
Mid 5th round grade
Consensus ranking: 197 (NA, NA, 181, 213, NA)
2020 season stats: (8 games)

steelerfan11: For a tackle who stands at 6’8, Ball has impressive body control and fluidity when moving laterally. While Ball anchors well as a pass-protector, he is still a raw and inconsistent run-blocker. For a man that tall, he does a decent job of getting low, but he has the room to add more weight, which would help him be more effective as a run-blocker. His solid footwork combined with quickness out of his stance make him effective against bendy rushers. One red flag is that he was dismissed at Florida State, and the reasons are not exactly known. If he does well in his virtual interviews, his stock could rise considering the potential he brings as a future left tackle.

20. Jaylon Moore — Sr, #76, 6’5” 315 lbs, — Western Michigan
Mid 5th round grade
Consensus ranking: 489 (NA, 489, NA, NA, NA)
2020 season stats: (5 games)

steelerfan11: In some ways, I like Moore’s tape better than I liked Chukwuma Okorafor’s, the last big-time tackle from Western Michigan. Moore’s stock is much lower than Okorafor’s was, but part of it could be due to the outstanding depth of this class. He is very fluid in pass protection, and he is an aggressive run-blocker. His athleticism allows him to overpower defenders in the run game, but he does not always finish his blocks. He also lunges too often, creating balance problems in pass protection. There is a lot of potential here, which is why I think he is worth a day three pick as a developmental starter down the line.

19. Adrian Ealy — Jr, #59, 6’6”, 327 lbs — Oklahoma
Late 5th round grade
Consensus ranking: 181 (NA, 187, 141, 216, NA)
2020 season stats: (11 games)

Ryland B.: One of the bigger names out of the late round offensive linemen this year, Ealy was a very solid offensive tackle during his time at Oklahoma. He possesses decent athleticism and really good size and length. He isn’t the strongest technically and often plays high and with a poor pad level. Hand placement isn’t great either and he can reach at times. His overall size makes him hard to go around, though. Ealy is a solid late-round prospect to be a starter farther down the road.

21. Calvin Ashley — So, #70, 6’7”, 330 lbs, — Florida A&M
6th round grade
Consensus ranking: NA
2020 season stats: (0 games)

Ryland B.: Ashley is a big offensive tackle who transferred from Auburn to Florida A&M to finish off his college career. I couldn’t find any film from his time at Florida A&M, but from what I saw at Auburn he’s a large, mauling offensive lineman with solid athleticism for someone his size. He was rather powerful in the run game and could easily move guys out of the way. In pass protection he shined when he could land a good initial punch, but he struggled with faster defenders and seemed to sometimes have a hard time blocking speed rushers running the arc. He seemed to be a little slow getting off the ball at times as well. Ashley is a solid prospect with the physical traits to really improve, but there’s still a lot of ways he could develop.

22. Landon Young — Sr, #67, 6’7”, 321 lbs, — Kentucky
6th round grade
Consensus ranking: 216 (NA, 225, NA, 207, NA)
2020 season stats: (11 games)

steelerfan11: Although Young has had some significant injuries, the former five-star recruit has a skill set that can be really exciting. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and is not afraid to do the dirty work as a run-blocker. He has good power and decent upper body strength, and he plays a tough brand of football that physical teams will fall in love with. Unfortunately, he plays a bit tight, and he does not always have a great first step out of his stance. He is worth a late-round flier, but the injury risk and technical issues make him nothing more than a project at this point.

23. Drew Himmelman — Sr, #, 6’9’’, 315 lbs — Illinois State
6th round grade
Consensus ranking: NA
2020 season stats: (0 games)
2019 season stats: (15 games)

Ryland B.: A massive individual, Himmelman is a towering offensive tackle with rare athleticism for someone his size. Formerly a tight end, Himmelman made the switch to tackle and became one of the best in the FCS. He has good strength and power, and looked really good as a run blocker. In pass protection he wasn’t quite as impressive, as while he has good athleticism his height made it so rushers could get under him pretty consistently. Playing at the FCS level is a concern as well. Himmelman is a good small school prospect overall, though.

24. Alaric Jackson — Sr, #77, 6’6”, 315 lbs — Iowa
6th round grade
Consensus ranking: (88, 174, NA, 151, NA)
2020 season stats: (8 games)

steelerfan11: A four-year starter at left tackle, Jackson had a nice collegiate career for a school that does a great job of pumping out NFL caliber linemen. However, there was not much improvement in his game from 2019 to 2020, which may mean that he has reached his potential as a prospect. He does not land his punches well, and his pass set is not very good at this point at all. Too many times I saw him getting pushed back into his quarterback, which is never a good thing. He may become a solid backup, but that is his ceiling.

25. Tommy Doyle — Sr, #54, 6’8’’, 326 lbs — Miami (OH)
7th round/UDFA grade
Consensus ranking: 234 (NA, 176, NA, 292, NA)
2020 season stats: (3 games)
2019 season stats: (13 games)

Ryland B.: From Ben Roethlisberger’s alma mater, Doyle could be an interesting late round prospect for the Steelers. He’s another lineman with really great size, but good athleticism and strength to match. I really liked him in the run game, as his strength and size really shine and he plays with good drive and impressive pad level for someone his height. Like many other later round OT’s, Doyle is solid in pass blocking, but often struggled against more athletic rushers. The Steelers love their MAC players, and Doyle is another really solid prospect who could definitely hear his name called by Pittsburgh on day 3.

26. Cordell Volson — Sr, #67, 6’7” 310 lbs, — North Dakota State
7th round/UDFA grade
Consensus ranking: NA
2020 season stats: (2 games)
2019 season stats: (16 games)

steelerfan11: Dillon Radunz got all the attention for the Bison, but the tackle on the other side of the line was not too bad either. Volston is a physical run-blocker that plays through the whistle, and he has the athleticism to develop into a decent pass-blocker. He has good hand usage and displays a decent pad level, but he lacks the lateral mobility needed to be a blindside protector at the next level. Overall, Volston may be able to develop into a solid right tackle, but his pass-blocking needs to improve.

27. Cole Van Lanen — Sr, #71, 6’5”, 312 lbs, — Wisconsin
7th round/UDFA grade
Consensus ranking: 258 (NA, 271, NA, 244, NA)
2020 season stats: (5 games)

Ryland B.: Van Lanen is a very interesting prospect at tackle for Wisconsin. Despite his seemingly good length, he looks very compactly built and plays that way as well. He’s very good in the run game, and once he gets a head of steam he’s hard to stop when pulling or getting to the second level. That works against him as well though as he’s not the most quick or agile prospect. He’s solid in the pass game but lacks the ideal skill set for it — I think he’s a candidate to move to guard in the NFL. Apparently PFF really liked his 2018 season, but it’s interesting how the article notes how he got “demolished” by Chase Young. Again, Van Lanen is a good lineman, but I’m not sure if he has the athleticism and build to be a tackle on the next level.

Notable prospects who decided to return to school for 2021:

Washington State OT Abraham Lucas

Minnesota OT Daniel Faalele

LSU OT Austin Deculus

Penn State OT Rasheed Walker

When should the Steelers Draft an Offensive Tackle?

steelerfan11: Many will disagree with this take, but I believe that the biggest need for the Steelers is offensive tackle. I realize that we do not currently have a capable center on the roster, but I believe that center can be more easily replaced with a mid-round pick. There is no denying the depth of this tackle class, but the first round prospects seem to be more complete in terms of having both a high floor and high ceiling. The X-factor in this class is Walker Little. I have been a huge supporter of taking a tackle in round one, but if Christian Darrisaw is off the board, I would really like to see us trade down. We could still get a Jalen Mayfield or Sam Cosmi, and the extra picks will go a long way to filling other needs in the middle rounds. However, if Walker Little can display the same mobility and fluidity that he did before his 2019 injury, I will have a much more open mind to drafting a different position in round one.

This past Saturday, I called into the Dari and Mel Show and asked Kiper what he thought we should do at tackle, and Walker Little’s name was mentioned. He has him going to the Chiefs in the first round of his latest mock draft, but he is one of only a few that have Little going in the first. I think the risk of not having tape on him in two years will push him to day two, but he could end up being the steal of the draft. In his freshman season, he allowed zero sacks and only one quarterback pressure. He was still solid in 2018, although he began to let quicker pass rushers get around the edge as the season progressed. He played well at the beginning of the 2019 season up until injury, but we have not seen him play since then.

At the end of the day, Darrisaw is a no-brainer if available. If he is gone, I would almost definitely trade back to accumulate much-needed draft capital and take either Samuel Cosmi or Jalen Mayfield. If there is a better value at a different position, however, I would wait until round two or three and consider taking Walker Little. I like the upside of some of the late-round prospects such as Jaylon Moore, Calvin Ashley, Josh Ball, and Carson Green, but we have to address this need with something more than a project. The only position more important than left tackle is quarterback, and it is important that the Steelers address it early.

Ryland B.: I’ll preface this by saying I don’t think the Steelers see offensive tackle as big of a need as the fans do. Sure, there’s no question they’ll take one at some point in the draft, but it doesn’t have to be in the first round, and they might even wait until day 3. Pittsburgh seems to be almost guaranteed to re-sign Zach Banner, and it looks like they have plans at starting him, presumably at right tackle. I’m not sure if the team is as confident in Chuks Okorafor, but I think they wouldn’t be too worried if they had to start him as well, and he’s a natural fit on the left side. Pending free agents Alejandro Villenueva and Matt Feiler can’t be left out of the equation either, as while it isn’t guaranteed that either of them will re-sign, one potentially could and bring some starter ability as well. That leaves the Steelers with two, possibly three starting-quality tackles — and while none of them are great options and will need to be replaced sometime in the near future, it makes the position less of an immediate need.

The top four tackles, Sewell, Slater, Darrisaw, and Cosmi are probably the only tackles I see as a good value pick at the Steelers’ first round selection. There’s some good options in the early rounds besides those four, but I think the value would be better if the team waited until the second or traded back in the first to select them. All of that to say, if the tackle the Steelers want isn’t there early on, Pittsburgh has enough stability at the position to wait to draft one in the later rounds instead of reaching in the first or second.


When should the Steelers draft an offensive tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Round 1
    (68 votes)
  • 53%
    Rounds 2-3
    (83 votes)
  • 3%
    Rounds 4-5
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Rounds 6-7
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    UDFA/Don’t draft an offensive tackle
    (0 votes)
156 votes total Vote Now

What I love about this tackle class is that there are so many different styles and levels of potential. If a team is in need of a right tackle, Teven Jenkins and Jalen Mayfield provide decent value either late on day one or early on day two. If a team wants a high upside left tackle, Samuel Cosmi or Walker Little may interest them. If they want a safer option with a lower ceiling, Dillon Radunz and Liam Eichenberg could be their answer.

There are so many ways the Steelers could go at tackle, and there may not be a right or wrong answer as to how they should approach it, but we have not seen a tackle class this good in a while. Despite what happens in free agency, the Steelers will be doing their due diligence on these tackles, and it will be interesting to see which route they take.

Let me reiterate that we will be thrilled if any of you want to help us out with the board going forward as we move to the defensive side of the ball. Just let us know in the comment section if you are interested.

There are our thoughts on these prospects, but which ones do you like and why? Which ones make the most sense for our beloved Steelers? Are there any sleepers that interest you in this group? Be sure to give your thoughts on these prospects in the comment section below!