We’re back! The BTSC Big Board crew has returned for a second consecutive season! Between now and April, numerous BTSC draft analysts will give you stats, grades, and in-depth scouting reports for over 300 prospects in this year’s class. Just like last year, we will be doing these rankings by position until the week of the draft, when we finalize the overall rankings and release our all-positions-combined big board.
This week we will be covering this year’s class of offensive tackles. A position that many saw as a major draft need has since become less clear with the Steelers’ re-signing of Chuks Okorafor. And with Dan Moore looking to build off of his rookie season starting at the other tackle spot, it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh’s starters are set at the position for the 2022 season. Regardless, there’s still plenty of talent at OT in this year’s draft that’s worth considering.
The analysis is a collaborative effort of Ryland, myself, K.T. Smith, Jeremy Betz, skyfire322, Itz JustNoah, and NecksNation, while the stats are compiled by SNW via Sports Reference. Proofreading was done by our newest big board contributor, DoomzoneFF.
If you have any thoughts on these offensive line prospects and their potential fit with the Steelers, be sure to share them in the comment section below.
Let’s get to the Big Board!
1. Evan Neal | Alabama 6‘-7“, 360 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 2
Necksnation: Widely projected to be the first overall pick, there’s a lot to like about Evan Neal, but I’m not entirely convinced that he’s worthy of the top selection. At 6’7” and 360 lbs, he has a huge frame that will help him transition well to the NFL. Neal is a true mauler in the run game, and he’s a good pass blocker as well, allowing only 4 sacks across 1073 snaps at tackle over the past two years. Neal’s versatility is impressive, as he played left tackle in 2021, right tackle in 2020, and left guard in 2019. He seems to fit best at RT in the long term, but he is certainly capable of playing on the other side of the line and even occasionally sliding inside to guard. His balance isn’t great, but he does a nice job of getting back on track and holding his block after initially getting beat off the line. He was sometimes beaten by speedy edge rushers, and his mobility could use a little work, but overall he’s a solid athlete who has good straight line speed and short burst. He’s a powerful player and he uses his hands well, which allows him to dominate as a run blocker and at the point of attack. He sometimes struggled a little to pick up on blitzes, but this isn’t a big concern for me, and it’s an area that should improve once he is able to zero in on playing one position for multiple years at a time. Although he’s undeniably a top talent in this class, I’m not as high on him as most. Neal should be a plug and play starter from day one who will have a pretty successful career in the NFL as an above average but not superstar tackle.
Andrew Wilbar: Alabama had four of their starting linemen go pro in 2020, but none of them were as good as offensive tackle Evan Neal. Neal is a behemoth who possesses great power and fantastic athleticism. Longer edge rushers struggle to get around Neal because of the matching length he brings, and speed rushers cannot get around him either, as Neal’s mobility is impressive for a lineman his size. The only time he really struggles is when going against extremely bendy edge rushers. Because he is 6’7”, he sometimes struggles to get low enough to block a pass rusher that can bend and get low coming around the edge. In the Iron Bowl specifically, Neal struggled with the bendy pass rushers Auburn sent on blitzes. Having said that, there is a ton of upside with Neal, and he is almost a lock to be a top-five pick.
2. Ikem Ekwonu | North Carolina State 6‘-4“, 320 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 5
Andrew Wilbar: Ekwonu played extremely well in 2021 at left tackle, but where will he play in the NFL? He is a nasty hitter who will play through the whistle and drive you to the ground, but he lacks the finesse to be an NFL tackle. He does not have great awareness either, as too often he underestimates the speed or quickness of an edge rusher and gives him too much room to work with. Other times he leaves his chest exposed and allows power rushers to either push him back and collapse the pocket or knock him off balance and beat him to the inside. He just uses his athleticism better at guard. At guard, the consequences of being sluggish out of your stance are not as hurtful, and his ability to drive defenders backward will help open more running lanes for a team that wants to run in between the tackles. There is a decent amount of upside here, but will he last at tackle in the NFL? The more I watch, the more I believe he will, but there is still a little risk involved.
3. Charles Cross | Mississippi State 6‘-5“, 290 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 13
Necksnation: With Ikem Ekwonu potentially playing guard in the NFL, Cross might be my pick to end up as the most successful tackle from this draft class. Although he’s slightly undersized, he is an excellent athlete, which gives him a high ceiling. Cross isn’t versatile from a positional standpoint, as he played all but four of his snaps at LT in college, but he’s able to hold up very well in both pass and run sets. In particular, he really thrives in pass protection, allowing only 16 pressures and 2 sacks across 719 pass blocking snaps in 2021. His natural athleticism makes him difficult to get by on the edge, as he is adept at mirroring pass rushers to avoid being beaten by speed. That said, he isn’t the most powerful player, so he is sometimes beaten by bull rushes, but he is athletic enough to catch up to the defender and keep his QB clean. As a run blocker, Cross’s explosive first step immediately helps him take control at the point of attack, where he is able to use his hands and footwork to win the rep. His balance allows him to maintain good leverage throughout a play and hold his blocks for extended periods of time, which could help him out if he is asked to protect a young QB. Although he may not immediately be a star, Cross seems fairly pro ready and should have a highly productive career at the next level and could become a perennial All-Pro after a few years in the league.
4. Trevor Penning | Northern Iowa 6‘-7“, 321 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 28
Ryland B.: Watching Penning’s tape, it’s easy to see why so many people like him. He’s a big lineman with excellent strength and a strong anchor. And more than anything, he has a disposition made for the trenches. He takes out his aggression on defenders, driving through the whistle with plenty of pancakes on tape. He’s a good athlete who can pull and move to the second level with ease, although I’d like to see his lateral mobility and general agility improve. He can be a bit lumbering and can lunge, with his balance not being a major issue but something that he will need to improve. His technique and hand placement are good but can be a little sloppy as well. I see his best fit on the right side rather than the left. Despite some complaints, Penning is definitely one of better lineman in this class, although he doesn’t exactly scream first round pick.
5. Tyler Smith | OT/G | Tulsa 6‘5-324”, lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 30
Andrew Wilbar: Smith is a talented lineman with good athleticism, but his game is incredibly sloppy at this point. He has poor hand placement, he leaves his chest exposed too much, and he really struggles with the long, slender edge rushers who can get low and change directions quickly. At the end of the day, I want to love Smith so badly, yet he lacks the nimbleness to hold up against quicker pass rushers despite his straight-line athleticism. If he can improve his footwork in pass protection, there is still hope for him to develop into a great tackle, but his physicality and run-blocking ability may make him a better fit at guard heading into the NFL.
6. Bernard Raimann | Central Michigan 6‘-7“, 305 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 56
Noah: I think it’s safe to say that Raimann is OT5 which doesn’t seem all that impressive but this is an extremely strong offensive tackle class. He’s athletic and great out of his stance, allowing him to counteract speed rushers and turn them away from the quarterback. He’s got great footwork and uses his lower body strength to propel himself into defenders, and knock them off balance. Raimann plays aggressively and through the whistle on every play. He isn’t the greatest run blocker but he does a good job at getting upfield and taking on linebackers. His hand placement is somewhat inconsistent and his grip strength is lacking. It’s likely that he falls into the second round simply because of the amount of offensive line talent in this draft. If I’m Seattle and he’s still sitting there at 41, I would be extremely excited at the idea of adding him to that roster.
7. Nicholas Petit-Frere | Ohio State 6‘-5“, 315 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 79
Andrew Wilbar: Despite tremendous talent, Petit-Frere struggled at times during the 2021 season, largely due to inconsistent footwork and technique. These issues were worse in 2020 when playing on the right side, and I think this illuminates the fact that he is a better fit at left tackle in the NFL. He is not as strong as his profile may indicate either, as he gets moved off his base and pushed back toward the quarterback too often. He also struggles to contain inside moves. Penn State’s Jesse Luketa made him look absolutely foolish on one specific rep that stood out, but there were other instances that were not quite as obvious as well. Although there may be a lot of issues with his game, he brings enticing upside due to his fluidity and mobility. He is a boom-or-bust option on day two.
8. Daniel Faalele | Minnesota 6‘-9“, 380 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 80
Andrew Wilbar: I was a big fan of Faalele before he decided to return to school for the 2021 season, but some of his issues were exposed on a consistent basis over the past year, both during the season as well as during the week of Senior Bowl practices. Any 6’9”, 380 pound lineman who moves as well as Faalele does is going to draw intrigue, and rightfully so. He is a powerful individual who simply moves defenders in the run game, and it is difficult to move him off his base in pass protection. However, he had serious issues in college with twitchier edge rushers who could get low coming around the edge, and I am not sure how much can be done about that. When you are that size, quick pass rushers who can get low are going to give you fits. I think in Faalele’s scenario, the best thing would be to work on improving his footwork to the absolute best it can get. He cannot change the fact that he is 6’9”, but he can minimize the cons of being that size with better technique. He has the potential to be a dominant right tackle in the NFL, but he is very boom-or-bust.
9. Abraham Lucas | Washington State 6‘-7“, 319 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 88
Ryland B.: Lucas has some definite issues in his game, but he’s an intriguing prospect in this year’s draft. His floor is fairly high thanks to his above-average technique. He plays with quick feet, and good reaction time and hand usage. He’s not an athletic freak but is a good mover with ideal size for the position. But despite his size at over six and a half feet and 319 pounds, he gets driven back far too much. His overall strength and anchoring ability needs a lot of work, and while Lucas will likely hold his own against speed rushers at the next level, bull-rushes will prove a major problem. That being said, Lucas definitely has the frame to gain some strength and an NFL weight room might greatly improve his strength. I see him as a mid-round pick with some starting upside.
10. Dare Rosenthal | Kentucky 6‘-7“, 298 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 103
Andrew Wilbar: Rosenthal weighed in about 30 pounds less than what he was listed at during the season, which makes his evaluation slightly more difficult. He looked like a player with a totally new profile at the combine, and I am not sure whether that should be considered a good thing or not. Rosenthal is a talented lineman who transferred from LSU and quickly became a leader on Kentucky’s offensive line. His lack of presence was felt in the team’s bowl game, as their backup looked quite incompetent compared to what people had been accustomed to seeing from Rosenthal. When watching him on tape, I liked how he always played through the whistle, and I loved his nasty attitude and demeanor. He plays like a bully, but with the amount of weight he lost between the 2021 season and the combine, I am not sure if he is going to be as effective with that style of play. He gets great forward movement as a run blocker, and he does a good job using his long arms to create leverage. His anchor needs a little work, but there are multiple things you can write home about when it comes to Rosenthal’s game. I would say that he is the biggest “wild card” of the offensive tackle class.
11. Rasheed Walker | Penn State 6‘-6“, 320 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 109
Necksnation: A year ago, Walker was projected to go in the top half of the first round, but his stock lowered considerably over the course of this past season. He was almost exclusively a left tackle at Penn State, playing all but two snaps at the position during his final two years of college. Walker certainly did look like a better prospect in 2020, but he was still able to put together some solid performances, including one against Michigan’s pass rushing tandem of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. He has decent size, although he could benefit from gaining some weight between now and the start of the NFL season. He is a good athlete, which tends to be his calling card in pass protection as he frequently relies on his athleticism in favor of his power. As a result, he isn’t the most physical blocker, and although he’s solid in the run game, he could work on playing with more power and intensity. He does a very good job of getting off the line of scrimmage, and he has good burst and agility in general, which he uses to his advantage when moving upfield. Walker is a bit of a boom or bust prospect, and if a team is willing to take a gamble on the player that he looked like a year ago, he could end up being a steal on late day 2/early day 3, but he does have a low floor.
12. Matt Waletzko | North Dakota 6‘-7“, 305 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 116
Andrew Wilbar: Mobility is the first thing that jumps out on tape with Waletzko. He does a good job getting to the second level of the defense, and he is above-average as a blocker downfield. Sometimes I feel as if he has a little too much zeal coming out of his stance, because there are times where he will just overrun blocks; I mean, I am glad he has quickness off the snap, and I am glad he has fantastic mobility, but you don’t want to be overrunning blocks and getting to the second level too soon either. Nonetheless, he keeps his shoulders square, he has good hand placement, and he has some power in his hands. He does not have superior strength, but I think he will get stronger once he gets with a strength and conditioning coach in the NFL. He also has shown an ability to pull, which only increases his value to NFL teams. I do have concerns about his level of competition, as he hardly faced NFL-talent-level players in college. That could be partially why he looked so dominant on tape. Nonetheless, he is a prospect that I would be more than willing to take a chance on if he falls to day three.
13. Kellen Diesch | Arizona State 6‘-7“, 300 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 131
Ryland B.: Diesch is a fairly athletic tackle with a lanky frame. He has long arms but his hand-usage is slow and not choppy. He doesn’t possess great strength and can get driven back, rarely imposing his will in the run game. He’s an adequate mover with quick feet and good mobility. I don’t see much starter potential here, but Diesch has enough athleticism and technique to find a backup role.
14. Andrew Stueber | Michigan 6‘-7“, 338 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 132
Andrew Wilbar: Stueber was a stalwart at offensive tackle for Michigan, and he should be considered one of the most underrated players in this group of offensive tackles. While some project him to move inside to guard, I think his best fit would be as a right tackle in a power running scheme. The only thing that could hinder him from succeeding at tackle is his footwork. His feet can be incredibly slow and out of sync with the rest of his body. However, he gets good leverage as a run defender, and his sturdy frame keeps him from getting tossed around in pass protection. He has the talent to become a starter in time.
15. Spencer Burford | UTSA
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 150
Noah: Burford’s physical traits are the first thing you notice when you turn on the tape. He has good athleticism, displaying the ability to pull as well as get up to the second level. He’s a true mauler in the run game and uses a thick upper body to completely move guys out of the way. He’s ability as a pass protector is alright but not a strength and I would be careful not to throw him into the fire too quickly. This offensive tackle class is extremely deep and while Burford may not be a starting caliber player yet, if he goes to the right situation he could definitely find himself being an impact player somewhere down the line.
16. Braxton Jones | Southern Utah 6‘-7“, 310 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 151
Andrew Wilbar: Jones is a polarizing prospect and one of the most frustrating players to evaluate. There are times he displays pure dominance while other instances he is a complete train-wreck. Braxton had a prime opportunity to display his talents in the Senior Bowl game, but he failed to do so, allowing two sacks and looking discombobulated against stiffer competition. I am afraid this makes the concerns about his level of competition valid. In terms of raw athleticism, Jones has all the tools you look for. He is long, fluid, and powerful, but he does not display his power consistently enough to thrill you when watching him. Jones is a player I so desperately want to love, but he needs to go to a team with an experienced offensive line coach that can develop projects.
17. Max Mitchell | Louisiana 6‘-6“, 297 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 158
Necksnation: In recent years, Louisiana has produced a couple of quality linemen in Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson, and Mitchell could join them as a productive player in the NFL. He is a little on the lighter side, but it’s not a big concern for him as his size is adequate overall. Playing mostly RT, Mitchell only allowed 5 sacks across 1112 pass blocking snaps over the course of three years, and had an outstanding pressure allowed rate of 2.1%. He is rather fluid in pass protection, demonstrating good mobility and footwork, and he is able to mirror defenders with consistency. He occasionally struggles against speed off the edge, but he has the ability to balance himself again and salvage the rep. His power at the point of attack is a strength as well, and it helps him hold up well as a run blocker. Additionally, his length (34 inch arms) and hand technique benefit him out both as a run and pass blocker. He could work on improving his strength, as he isn’t a super physical player and it’s the biggest question mark about his game. Mitchell is strongest in pass protection, and should be able to play either tackle position at the next level. I like his potential as a sleeper and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he developed into a quality starter. The mid to late third round seems like a good spot for him to be selected.
18. Zach Tom | Wake Forest 6‘-5“, 295 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 182
Noah: I talked earlier about Bernard Raimann’s athleticism, and he scored a 96 on the Next Gen Stats athleticism chart. Zach Tom scored a 99 which was the highest among all offensive tackles at the combine. He plays with a solid pad level and uses his lower body strength to keep defenders from getting to the quarterback. He has good grip strength and hand placement that really benefits him against stronger pass rushers. Tom uses his natural strength to his advantage in the run game but there’s definitely a lot to be desired as a run blocker. His size and overall skill set makes him better suited to be a guard at the pro level, but he has experience as a guard and the versatility to do it.
19. Bamidele Olaseni | Utah 6‘-8“, 330 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 193
Ryland B.: Olaseni is a massive tackle who will likely move to guard at the next level. He’s at his best in the run game where he can use his size and strength to his advantage, but he really struggles in space. He’s a slow mover with little agility who was constantly beat around the edge in pass protection and had a few too many misses in the run game. His technique can be sloppy at times as well. Even if he moves to guard, I don’t see Olaseni as having a ton of upside at the NFL level.
20. Vederian Lowe | Illinois 6‘-6“, 320 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 210
Skyfire322: Lowe, a five-year starter, has the physical traits teams like to see; build length, athleticism, and the ability to recover. Lowe also shows above-average strength, especially in run blocking situations. While those are all great to see, he is inconsistent and can be a bit slow, which can hurt in pass protection. For every one good snap, there seem to be two bad snaps. He tends to push instead of engage and gives up on the second level. Lowe’s technical issues are coachable but will need quite some time to develop.
21. Tyler Vrabel | Boston College 6‘-5“, 307 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 211
Ryland B.: Tyler Vrabel, the son of Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, is a technically sound and versatile lineman as expected. He doesn’t have elite size, strength, or athleticism, but he has a powerful upper half and a good initial punch. He has good footwork and hand usage as well. He does have a bit of tendency to put his head down and lunge which will need to be fixed. Vrabel’s lack of a high ceiling will limit his potential, but he has the makings of a well-rounded swing tackle who has what it takes to be a solid starter at some point in his career.
22. Obinna Eze | TCU 6‘-8“, 315 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 238
Andrew Wilbar: Eze is a large individual with outstanding length. One thing I like about Eze is his active hands. He does a good job repositioning his hands as needed, adjusting easily to quick-twitch pass rushers. The biggest concerns I have with Eze come in pass protection. Pad level is obviously a concern when you are dealing with a 6’8” prospect, but has performed relatively well overall as a run-blocker. His issues are stiffness and balance. He is too tight in the hips to get low enough to block the bendier edge rushers, and because of this, he lunges and gets knocked off balance easily. His feet are not not always in sync with his upper body, as one part of him will be moving quicker than the other, and it will cause him to become off-balanced in his pass sets. There is definitely some untapped potential here, but there are a lot of technical issues he needs to clean up.
23. Jean Delance | Florida 6‘-5“, 307 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 261
Skyfire322: Jean Delance could be a potential sleeper on day two. His ability to recognize the blitz, speed, and athleticism make up for his smaller frame. Versatility, quick feet, professionalism, and toughness could also raise his draft stock. That said, Delance can be late off the snap, show hesitation, play high, and has issues against speed rushers. While he can play through the whistle, he also gives up if beaten by the rush. I didn’t know too much about Delance, but after seeing what he can do, he does have the ability to get one of the 53 helmets if coached the right way.
24. Wanya Morris | Oklahoma 6‘-8“, 312 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 262
Andrew Wilbar: Morris succeeds in pass protection by using his incredible length properly; therefore, his best fit would be a team that runs a pass-heavy offense. I feel as if his overall athleticism is a little overrated, but that length covers any minor deficiency he may have in a certain area athletically. My major concern, just like many of the tall tackles on this list, is his ability to get low against the bendier edge rushers. When he gets out of his stance quick enough, he can usually contain them, but if he gets beat off the snap, he is going to be in trouble. Morris has starting upside, but he never lived up to his five-star potential in college. A team in need of depth at tackle may give him a hard look on day three.
25. Myron Cunningham | Arkansas 6‘-6“, 325 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 264
Andrew Wilbar: Cunningham is a powerful lineman who brings ideal size at the offensive tackle position. He doesn’t have the quickness to counter spin moves by defenders, but he holds up well against the powerful edge rushers who win with power, as his strength generally matches or exceeds theirs. As a run defender, Cunningham does not do a great job of getting to the second level, although his power and length allow him to edge rushers to the outside. If Cunningham can keep his pad level low enough, he may be a guy who slides inside to guard at the next level.
26. Christian Jones | Texas 6‘-6“, 327 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 265
Noah: Jones has a very thick frame and a lot of upper body strength. He has the ability to put guys on the ground and his grip strength is very solid. He should be a better run blocker than he is, but he plays with very inconsistent pad level. On certain plays he shoves guys out of the way but on others he doesn’t have much of an impact. He has good upside if he can be more consistent. Jones lined up at LT this season for the Longhorns, but I think he projects better as a right tackle. I just don’t know if he’s someone you trust to go be on an island while protecting your quarterback’s blindside.
27. Austin Deculus | T/G | LSU 6‘-7“, 325 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 266
Ryland B.: Deculus is a versatile and experienced lineman from LSU. He has good size and strength but isn’t the greatest athlete. He has good drive in the run game although he can lean forward a bit too much, and his footwork can be a bit sloppy and slow at times. He plays with a wide base and has limited lateral mobility, not having much agility as a pass protector. Deculus’ lacking athleticism is concerning, but his versatility and strength will likely resort in him being a solid NFL backup.
BEST OF THE REST
28. Luke Tuneta | Virginia Tech 6‘-9“, 322 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 335
Andrew Wilbar: Tuneta is an instinctual lineman with a high IQ. If he can go to a team with a zone blocking scheme, he could develop into a solid swing tackle.
29. George Moore | Oregon 6‘-7“, 308 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 372
Ryland B.: Moore has decent size, but beyond that there’s not a ton of upside in his scouting profile. He has poor technique, a weak base, and was often getting pushed back or simply ran around by defenders. He does show good effort and had some good reps on tape when assisted with a double-team. But his lack of promising strength or athleticism severely limits his NFL potential.
30. Devin Cochran | Georgia Tech 6‘-7“, 314 lbs
Andrew’s Overall Ranking: 387
Andrew Wilbar: Cochran is a technically sound lineman who displays great toughness at the point of attack. Athletic limitations will likely limit him to a backup role in the NFL.
After reading about these prospects, which names sound most intriguing to you? Who would be the best value pick at this position? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things NFL Draft!