- Cam Robinson – Alabama (6-6, 325) OT West Monroe, Louisiana. Soph: This guy is just head and shoulders above the rest and he isn’t even where he can be yet. Robinson was the top rated Offensive Tackle recruit in the country last season and then proved it on the field from day one. I will almost be surprised if Robinson is not the first player picked in the draft after the 2016 season. Robinson is still a kid, but I wouldn’t expect him to grow very much more. He will, however, continue to improve on his footwork and his strength. He started in the Alabama Spring Game in 2014 and gave up a sack on his very first play, but improved drastically from that moment on. Offensive Tackles are rarely exciting players, but Robinson is exciting in that he could be one of the best to ever play this position as he grows and matures.
- Denver Kirkland – Arkansas (6-5, 335) OG Miami, Florida. Jr: Kirkland is a human road grader. Going into his third season as a starter, Kirkland is probably the top Offensive Guard in the country playing on one of the top Offensive Lines in the country. Kirkland allowed just one sack in 2014 and the Razorbacks allowed just 14 total on the season which led the SEC. The Razorbacks were also the only major college with 2 1,000 yard rushers with Alex Collins and Jonathon Williams. Kirkland is a man mountain that can move for a guy his size. He just manhandles most defensive linemen he goes up against and has the size and the strength to wear down most any defensive lineman. Kirkland moved to Left Tackle for his junior season and has played well times, but to me he is a Guard playing Tackle. Playing Offensive Tackle just proves his talent and flexibility which increases his value to future NFL teams.
- Kyle Murphy – Stanford (6-7, 300) OT San Clemente, California. Sr: Excellent Right Tackle moves to Left Tackle to replace Andrus Peat who left a year early for the NFL. Murphy was the 4th rated Offensive Tackle in the nation coming out of high school and he does have the physical talent to deserve that ranking. Some services had him as a 5 star recruit coming into Stanford. Murphy, Peat and Garnett all played as true freshmen and they all have been multi-year starters. Murphy is a big, physical tackle that can move extremely well.
- Jack Conklin – Michigan State (6-6, 305) OT Plainwell, Michigan. Jr: Conklin was unrated coming out of high school and started every game as a redshirt freshman in 2013. This past season, Conklin was the starting Left Tackle on the Michigan State Spartans Offensive Line which is one of the better ones in the entire country and not just the Big 10. Conklin only made 2nd team all Big 10 while making some All American teams. I don’t feel he got as much attention as he deserved for a great 2014 season. Conklin is excellent as a run blocker and maybe even better in the passing game. Conklin played very well against one of the top Defensive Ends in the country in Shawn Oakman of Baylor. I really like Conklin and think he’s one of the better Offensive Tackles in the country behind Cam Robinson of Alabama.
- John Theus – Georgia (6-6, 315) OT Jacksonville, Florida. Sr: Theus was rated as the 5th best Offensive Tackle prospect in the 2012 recruiting class behind D.J. Humphries, Andrus Peat, Arik Armstead and Kyle Murphy. All of those guys have turned out well and Theus has been as good as any of them. The Bulldogs have one of the top rushing offenses in he nation led by guys like Theus and Center David Andrews. Theus is back for his senior season and is
expected to lead an Offensive Line that will clear holes for outstanding sophomore Running Back Nick Chubb and the other top Running Backs like Sony Michel. Theus was honorable mention All SEC and I think the people that picked that team were nuts. Theus is clearly a good player if you watch the film and see the holes he opens. He will be a 4 year starter in one of the best offenses in the SEC and the country and he’s Honorable Mention? Yeah.
- Taylor Decker – Ohio State (6-7, 315) OT Vandalia, Ohio. Sr: Started every game at Ohio State at Right Tackle in 2013, but moved to the Left side in 2014 because he was the only returning starter for the Buckeyes up front. The Buckeyes struggled early on with the new Quarterback, new Running Back and 4 new starters up front, but they held it together and came out as national champions in 2014. Decker played basketball in high school and drew recruiting interest from smaller colleges in basketball which shows his athletic ability. In football, he was regarded as a 3 star Offensive Tackle and chose the Buckeyes and has never looked back.
- Vadal Alexander – LSU (6-6, 320) OG Buford, Georgia. Sr: LSU always has a more than solid running game and last year was no different. Left Tackle La’el Collins used up his eligibility last year and he had teamed up with Alexander to form a tough left side to the Tiger Offensive Line. As a freshman, Alexander played Right Tackle, but moved to Offensive Guard in 2013 and has been there for the last 2 seasons. There is a possibility that Alexander moves back to Tackle for his senior season. Alexander just overpowers defenders with his size and strength.
- Joshua Garnett – Stanford (6-5, 325) OT Puyallup, Washington. Sr: The entire Stanford Offensive Line is very physical and in great shape. Hats off to the coaches that recruited these guys and the Strength and conditioning coaches that have worked well with them. Garnett came in the same season as Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy. Garnett was the top rated player in the state of Washington and the #3 rated Offensive Guard in the entire country and has very much lived up to that billing. Like several other Offensive Linemen on this list, Garnett is an impressive physical specimen that also backs it up with his play on the field and these Stanford guys rarely get into trouble off of the field and are outstanding students and citizens which boosts their standings with NFL scouts. Denver Kirkland or Joshua Garnett should be the top Guard picked in the 2016 NFL Draft if all goes as planned and neither is injured. Garnett is just a mauler in the run game. Murphy at Left Tackle teamed with Garnett and Graham Shuler at Center should form a really solid Left side of the Offensive Line.
- Jack Allen – Michigan State (6-2, 300) C Hinsdale, Illinois. Sr: Allen was All American last season at Center for the Michigan State Spartans. Allen will be in his fourth season as a starter up front for the Spartans at either Center or Guard and was an All Big 10 selection a year ago. Jack Allen did not allow a sack all season which included a game against national champion Ohio State and runner up Oregon. Allen led the Michigan State offense to it’s best performance in the history of Spartan football and he has been on the Academic honor rolls since his first season as a starter in 2012. Good, smart, reliable football player and the kind of player that every college football team needs up front.
- Laremy Tunsil – Ole Miss (6-5, 305) OT Lake City, Florida. Jr: Tunsil was the top Offensive Tackle recruit in the country in 2013. The Ole Miss Rebels landed a super class in 2013 led by Robert Nkemdiche, Tunsil, and Laquon Treadwell were the tops at their positions in the nation. The Rebels also signed #3 rated Offensive Tackle Austin Golson. Both Tunsil and Golson started as true freshmen and excelled, but Golson has since transferred to Auburn. Tunsil was dominating even as a true freshman and only gave up 1 sack in 2013. Tunsil is an impressive looking kid, but he did struggle with injury in 2014 and went down in the Peach Bowl loss to TCU with a broken fibula. What could have been the best season in Ole Miss football history was ruined somewhat with several serious injuries. If Tunsil comes back in full form in 2015, look for another All-SEC season out of him and he could be a possible top 5 pick if he decides to leave for the NFL. Could have been rated higher on my list without the injury or any idea of when he might return. He also missed playing time in 2014 with a bicep injury, so he must prove his ability to fight through injury to be at the top of this list or any other. But, he is a fantastic player.
- Roderick Johnson – Florida State (6-7, 330) OT Florrisant, Missouri. Soph: In 2014, Johnson was the back up at Left Tackle to Cam Erving in 2014, but moved into the starting lineup when Erving moved inside to take over at Center. The Seminole Offensive Line seemed to really improve after that move. Johnson was a true freshman and a highly regarded Offensive Tackle out of Missouri. Florida State brought in 7 Offensive Linemen in the class of 2014 and
Roderick Johnson was the star. Johnson is extremely athletic with great feet and the strength to excel in run blocking.
- Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh (6-6, 305) OT Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jr: Offensive Linemen don’t have to have a spare tire around their mid section to be good. Bisnowaty is an impressive looking specimen that has less fat than some of the other Offensive Linemen. He moves really well for a guy over 300 pounds and was good enough last season to keep Pittsburgh’s other top Offensive Tackle TJ Clemmings to remain on the Right side. Pittsburgh had one of the top 20 rushing offenses in college football in 2014 with Clemmings and Bisnowaty being large factors there. Bisnowaty was a 4 star recruit coming out of high school and the 30th ranked Tackle. He has moved way up in the rankings with NFL scouts, but is not where I feel he should be as of yet. Like so many others, I am anxious to see what this guy does in the NFL Combine when he decides to come out.
- Viane Talamaivao – USC (6-3, 330) OG Moreno Valley, California. Soph: The Trojans started 3 true freshmen in their Offensive Line in 2014 and all of them are exceptionally good. Plus, they had a redshirt freshman and a sophomore in their rotation. Extremely young line that came together really well as the season moved along. This youth bodes well for the future of the Trojans offense over the next couple of years along with the other talent they are bringing in. Talamaivao, like Damien Mama at the other Guard position are bulldozer types of blockers that can just maul Defensive Tackles and open holes for whoever is playing Tailback for the Trojans. Trojan Quarterback Cody Kessler threw 452 passes in 2014 and the Trojan Offensive Line was one of the better ones in the country
- Dan Skipper – Arkansas (6-10, 325) OT Arvada, Colorado. Jr: Arkansas has one of the best Offensive Lines in the country and Dan Skipper is a mountain of a man and it’s fitting that he comes from Colorado. He started at Left Guard opposite of excellent Denver Kirkland as a true freshman and he moved to Left Tackle in the Spring of 2014. Some will look at his length and say he belongs on the basketball court. But, he is not a clumsy big guy and actually has really good feet and especially for a huge man. Skipper is as good in pass protection as he is in the run game and he’s still a growing lad.
- Dan Feeney – Indiana (6-4, 305) OG Orland Park, Illinois. Jr: The Indiana Offensive Line opened holes for 2,000 yard rusher Tevin Coleman in 2014 when defenses knew that the Hoosiers were not going to throw the ball. SEC Running Backs love to say that they wish they had run against Big 10 defenses, but Indiana didn’t win a game in the Big 10 and they beat SEC East Champion Missouri and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon had no problems with SEC defenses. Watch Feeney’s film against any competition including Missouri and Ohio State, the guy is good and drives defenders off the ball. As a fan of the monsters up front, Feeney was one of my favorites in 2014.
Some others to keep an eye on:
Max Tuerk – USC
Spencer Drango – Baylor
Matt Rotherham – Pittsburgh
Shon Coleman – Auburn
Tyler Marz – Wisconsin
Damien Mama – USC
Christian Westerman – Arizona State
Toa Lobendahm – USC
Zach Banner – USC
Isaiah Battle – Clemson
Bryan Chamberlain – Georgia Tech
Trey Braun – Georgia Tech
Austin Blythe – Iowa
Jordan Swindle – Kentucky