Top Offensive Tackles to Watch 2016

1. Cam Robinson – Alabama: There’s no doubt that this guy is the top Offensive Tackle in America and there’s little doubt he leaves Alabama after the 2016 season. In the recruiting does matter section of this blog, Robinson was the top Offensive lineman in his class and he started immediately and proved he belonged there. He was the top recruit and after this season he will be the first Offensive Lineman drafted.

Robinson is 6-6, 325 without a lot of fat on him. For his size, Robinson can move. Watch his film, this guy is one of the better Offensive Tackles to come around in a while, probably. He allowed one

sack last season and that was in the opening game against Wisconsin. He did not allow a sack against a really good Clemson defense which is an impressive stat since Notre Dame Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley had his problems with Clemson and he’s a sure thing 1st round pick in this NFL Draft. Robinson is a native of West Monroe, Louisiana and the Tide stole a great one from the LSU Tigers.

Robinson just burst my bubble by getting arrested in his home town recently, but as far as talent goes he is still up there.

2. Mitch Hyatt – Clemson: Hyatt is an outstanding talent. Stinking NFL is just going to have to wait on Hyatt because he’s just going to be a sophomore in 2016. College football gets to enjoy him for a while. Just like Robinson, Mitch Hyatt came in and started immediately. They are just that good. Hyatt is 6-5, 295 which is not a freakish size for this day and age. He’s just a large framed kid that is still a teenager and a bright, bright future. Clemson’s recruiting class of Offensive Tackles Mitch Hyatt, Jake Fruhmorgan, Noah Green and Zach Giella in 2015 was second to nobody. I have not seen the game, but supposedly as a sophomore in high school, Hyatt dominated the nation’s number one recruit that season in Robert Nkemdiche. Coming out of North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee,

Georgia Hyatt was the 2nd ranked Offensive Tackle prospect in the country behind only Martez Ivey who signed with Florida and has moved to Guard.

Hyatt moves well laterally and is a great pass blocker, plus he’s an outstanding run blocker. The Clemson offense has Quarterback Deshaun Watson and Running Back Wayne Gallman who are outstanding, but they also have an outstanding nucleus of Offensive Linemen. They lost 2 Offensive Linemen from last year’s team, but they return Hyatt, Center Jay Guillermo and Guard Tyrone Crowder. Jake Fruhmorgan should fill the vacant Right Tackle spot.

3. Roderick Johnson – Florida State: You have to admire an 18 year old kid that can come in and play one of the harder positions in football, Left Tackle, and the Offensive Line actually improves with your presence. That’s exactly what happened with Roderick Johnson in 2014 at Florida State. The Seminoles were struggling up front until they moved Left Tackle Cameron Erving to Center and placed true freshman Roderick Johnson from Florissant, Missouri at Left Tackle. The Offensive Line started to click and play well again. Johnson was the #1 recruit in Missouri and the 7th rated Offensive Tackle in his class

Johnson is a mountain of a man at 6-7, 330 and how a guy that size moves so well is mind blowing.

Expect Johnson to declare for the NFL Draft next season and be the 2nd Offensive Tackle taken after Cam Robinson.

4. Adam Bisnowaty – Pittsburgh: There has been little talk about Bisnowaty, but he’s been one of my favorites over the past few seasons. Bisnowaty is 6-6, 300 and looks somewhat like a bodybuilder. The guy has very little fat and is also a very efficient run blocker. He was All ACC last season and also Academic All ACC so he’s a smart guy as well as a good football player and those guys tend to stay out of trouble which is another check mark in his favor.

Bisnowaty has gotten little respect and that goes back to the recruiting class of 2012 when he was the 30th rated Offensive Tackle in that class. He elected to return for his senior season and that was the right decision in my opinion. There’s always that chance of injury, but he could play his way into

higher consideration in the Draft.

The Panthers have had a really good running game over the past few seasons. James Conner was sensational as a sophomore in 2014, but he was injured in the first game of 2015. When Conner went down, big freshman Qadree Ollison took over and ran for 1,121 yards. Also, Quarterback Nate Peterman transferred in to Pittsburgh from Tennessee where he was awful, and he looked much better. All of this was possible because of guys like Bisnowaty up front.

5. Chad Wheeler – USC: A 6-7, 280 Left Tackle from Santa Monica that will be a 4 year starter this season. There are a number of reasons why I think Wheeler belongs here, but I almost didn’t rank him because of off the field issues before the Trojans last bowl game when Wheeler did not play.

Wheeler is long and lean with excellent athletic ability which allows him to perform well in pass blocking. He seems to do pretty well against even the quicker Defensive Ends because he isn’t 330 pounds or more. He’s obviously quick to the outside in a screen play or if the Trojans were to resurrect the student body left play, just like old times.

Rated 141st best Offensive Tackle in the country in the 2012 recruiting class and he has done plenty to prove those ratings wrong.

Wheeler had concussion issues last season and if he can avoid injuries he could have a great season.

6. Casey Tucker – Stanford: Junior right tackle should move to left side to replace Kyle Murphy and he will be Stanford’s only returning starter up front which is not a good thing for Christian McCaffrey. But, Tucker is a quality Offensive Tackle at 6-6, 300 and he will be coming into his junior season. Having watched plenty of his game tape, Tucker is a very physical Offensive Lineman that seems to enjoy crushing people in front of him. He’s got the size, the feet and the desire to be very, very good. A lot of teams prefer to one to one side or the other, but Stanford did well running to either side and Tucker just destroyed opponents in run blocking. He’s also a very efficient pass blocker and stays busy looking for somebody else to block when necessary.

The Cardinal recruits talent in the Offensive Line, but Line coach Mike Bloomgren just seems to have a knack for developing talent up front.

7. Jon Heck – North Carolina: Father is the OL coach for the Kansas City Chiefs so he’s been

coached his entire life. He’s big, strong and is athletic enough and he does know how to play. At 6-7, 300, he takes after his father Andy who played at Notre Dame and then the NFL. Heck will be a 4 year starter at Right Tackle for the Tar Heels. Because of the emergence of Bentley Spain North Carolina was able to have some stability in their Offensive Line and leave Heck on the Right Side. Heck is one of those guys that is the complete package with the great size, particularly being 6-7, and with great feet and quickness. The Tar Heels have the Offensive Line, the great skill position players to have a really good offense again this season. They won the ACC Coastal last season and they should be in the thick of the battle again this season.

8. Mike McGlinchey – Notre Dame: Typical of a Notre Dame linemen with the huge body at 6-8, 310. He is yet another that moves well for his size and he seems to be equally good in run or pass protection. He’s been a fixture at Right Tackle, but will he move to Left Tackle for his final season? McGlinchey is a team player and a leader and he will be one of the top Offensive Tackles in the country in 2016.McGlinchey was not rated all that highly coming out of high school, but he has developed really well at Notre Dame. He also played some Tight End when he was younger which helps explain his quickness. He’s kind of similar to former Notre Dame Tight End/Tackle Andy Heck

in his athleticism.

He’s a first cousin with Atlanta Falcon Quarterback Matt Ryan who played college football at Boston College.

9. Dan Skipper – Arkansas: Skipper is a giant of a man standing 6 foot 10 inches. He’s played all over the field starting at Offensive Guard as a true freshman and then moving to Left Tackle as a sophomore before being moved to Right Tackle as a junior.

Even though he is nearly 7 foot tall, he is not that heavy at 330 pounds. He moves well enough from side to side to handle most Defensive Ends. Where he has trouble is against a smaller, quicker End or a Linebacker coming off the edge. But, in all fairness, nearly every Offensive Tackle has that same issue. Taller isn’t necessarily always better, unless the guy has the athletic ability and the work ethic to live up to his potential and Dan Skipper has that. Keep an eye on him this season.

The 6-10, 330 Skipper could have an outstanding NFL career after this season.

10. Conor McDermott – UCLA:Years ago, Phil Pozderac at 6-9 and playing Tackle for Notre Dame and then the Dallas Cowboys was like a freak of nature. This year there are several guys in that height range including UCLA’s Conor McDermott. A 6-9, 310 Offensive Tackle should no longer be a surprise in this day and age. McDermott played Left Tackle for the Bruins in 2015 and led a much improved Offensive Line that only gave up 14 sacks all season. He could have left for the NFL, but he decided to return for his last season which was probably smart because he was a bit inconsistent last season. Last year, he just didn’t give up many sacks and even against much smaller and quicker players. But, he did have some issues in the run game. If he can work out all of the kinks, this guy could be a great one down the road. He’s already a really good player.

11. Zach Banner – USC: An absolute monster of a man at 6-9, 360 rated as the 15th best OT coming out of Lakewood, Washington. In spite of the gigantic size, Banner still moves pretty well. He can

pass block efficiently even at that incredible size and he is a good run blocker. The Trojan coaching staff even had him pulling at times and he handled everything pretty well.  USC had so many injuries in 2015, but Banner kept plugging away impressively., Banner is tough for a lot of good Defensive Ends to even get around.Others might rate him much higher than I because of his immense size.We will see how good Banner and the other Offensive Linemen are in game one against the Alabama Crimson Tide. There’s absolutely no reason for a team with the kind of talent that USC has right now to finish 8-6 on the season and be average.

12. Dimitric Camiel – Indiana: The Hoosiers have had a really good Offensive Line the past couple of seasons. They lost excellent Left Tackle Jason Spriggs to graduation, but Camiel returns at Right Tackle. He will play next to Dan Feeney who is one of the top Offensive Guards in the country. Camiel is a very aggressive run blocker and is listed at 6-7, 310. Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson was a former Offensive Lineman and a former OL coach at Oklahoma and other schools. He knows what he is doing with his Offensive Line and guys like Feeney, Spriggs and Camiel are the result. I can only assume that Camiel was kept on the right side of the Offensive Line to continue to team up with Feeney because their Offensive Line works so well together.

13. JJ Dielman – Utah: Dielman is a 3 year starter at Right Tackle for the Utes. He is 6-5, 300, a good run blocker and an adequate pass blocker. He is back for his senior season for an Offense that will have a lot of holes to fill before next season. I would not consider Dielman elite, but he is consistent and he has really good quickness.

14. Connor Williams – Texas: Williams was not highly rated coming out of high school, but that

proves again that recruiting can be a guessing game at times. Williams was an early enrollee and he started in the Spring of last year and then moved right into the starting lineup at Left Tackle. The Longhorns have had Offensive Line problems for quite some time, but Williams looks like an answer to the problems. Williams is not going to blow you away with his size, he’s a more modest 6-5, 285 but he’s also not slowed down by extra body weight.

15. Tyrell Crosby – Oregon: Oregon often has a good Left Tackle and last year’s good one, Tyler Johnstone, has used up his eligibility. Crosby started at Left Tackle briefly in 2014 because of injuries to starters, but he started all of 2015 at Right Tackle. Now, Crosby is back at Left Tackle and looking to dominate. The Henderson, Nevada native is 6-5, 310 and an impressive athlete and yet another reason to believe that 2014 recruiting class may have been the best ever.

16. Orlando Brown – Oklahoma: Brown is yet another monster man at 6-8, 345. The Sooners lost nearly all of their Offensive Linemen from the 2014 season and Brown stepped up and started as a freshman at Left Tackle.Not only did he start, but he performed well enough in protection of Quarterback Baker Mayfield and in the run game with Running Backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.

Even though he is as big as a trailer house, Brown still moves pretty well for his size. He is not going to win any footraces but he doesn’t exactly need to. Brown will do nothing but continue to improve and get better at Left Tackle for the Sooners.

Brown could move himself into one of the top spots with a good season. The future is almost unlimited for this giant of a man.

David Sharpe – Florida: Sharpe established himself as the starting Left Tackle last season. At the beginning of the year, he split time with highly touted true freshman Martez Ivy before the coaches moved Ivey inside to Guard and Sharpe was the full time starter. He  is a big man  at 6-6, 355 and surprisingly, he can move pretty well when motivated. He is a monster run blocker from his size

mostly. He’s not a bad pass blocker either and can move fairly well laterally and contain a much smaller defender. Sharpe has some work to do, but the talent and ability is obviously there and he can be about as good as he wants to be.

Frederick Johnson – Florida: Very new to football, he only started playing his senior season of high school. Although he is rough, Johnson has already shown a lot of ability at Right Tackle for the Gators. Johnson is 6-5, 305 and he is still developing. Johnson is slated to start at Right Tackle for the Gators and I really like this guy’s long term potential. Highly recruited David Sharpe is starting on the left side and he is improving as well.

Jonah Pirsig – Minnesota:  Another giant at 6-9, 315, but the Tight End that often plays next to him is 6-10, 270. He was only an Honorable Mention All Big 10 in 2015, but he was the best Offensive Lineman at Minnesota and he’s really consistent.

David Bright – Stanford: Bright was used as a blocking Tight End the past couple of seasons. But, now, the 6-5, 295 senior moves into the Right Tackle position replacing Casey Tucker who moved to the Left Tackle spot. Bright was quick enough at 295 to play off the line of scrimmage and get to the defensive players, so he is very athletic. Stanford Offensive Line coach Mike Bloomgren is every bit as intelligent as the players he coaches and he knows how to get the most out of them and I believe that Bright will be a good Right Tackle this season.

Jake Fruhmorgan – Clemson: He started 1 game as a true freshman in relief of injured Right Tackle Joe Gore, and he will start there this season. With Mitch Hyatt at the other Tackle position, Clemson

will have maybe the best two young Tackles in the country. Fruhmorgan is about 6-6, 285 and a good athlete.

Paris Palmer – Penn State: Junior College transfer that started at Left Tackle all last season. 6-7, 305 from Plymouth, North Carolina by way of Lackawanna College. The position with the most problems for the Penn State Nittany Lions with their loss of scholarships was the Offensive Line and they are still struggling to over come those deficiencies.

Palmer tends to have problems with quick Defensive Ends and needs a little work on his feet. But, Palmer is going into his senior season and this opinion is based on his potential which is still enormous.

During the Spring, Palmer moved over to Right Tackle and he may or may not start.

Jamarco Jones – Ohio State: Jones backed up Taylor Decker for the past two seasons getting playing time when games were out of hand. Decker was recently a 1st round draft pick which opened the door for Jamarco Jones to take over at Left Tackle. The 6-5, 310 Jones is a product of Chicago De La Salle High School and a former 4 star and top 100 national recruit. His Offensive Line coach says that Jones is ready and so does Taylor Decker. Since Decker is 6-8, 315 I believe I will take his word on that.

Trevor Darling – Miami: The Hurricanes are under new management and return everybody in the Offensive Line. 6-4, 315 Darling started at Right Tackle before moving to the Left side before the

2015 season started and he won the job and started every game there. He started several games as a true freshman in 2014 just like some of the other Miami Offensive Linemen. He recently got into some trouble and hopefully that does not keep him from improvement.

He was a standout at Miami Central High School and just the kind of player that the Hurricanes need to keep at home if they are going to return to elite status.

Seems like Darling is much better in run blocking and he looks more like an Offensive Guard playing Tackle. But, he is really good in the running game. As a pass blocker, he seems to hop a bit much and can be caught off balance. But, he’s a good athlete for his size.

Bentley Spain – North Carolina: The Tar Heel Offensive Line and the Offense in general had an incredible season in 2015. Spain was a key reserve as a true freshman in 2014 and moved into the starting role at Left Tackle this past year as a sophomore. Spain was one of the best linemen on an outstanding Offensive Line and the 6-6, 300 Spain could be better this season.Teaming up with Jon Heck, these two make one of the better Offensive Tackle tandems in the country.

Gerhard De Beer – Arizona: South African track athlete that came out for football a couple of years with no knowledge of the game at all. He is a talented athlete that bears watching. He is 6-7, 310 or so and extremely rough around the edges. He played rugby in South Africa and he came to America to compete in the discus. If he starts, he’s not going to be All American. Nor, will he be All Pac 12,

probably. But, he has some potential and he deserves to be watched.

Evan Goodman – Arizona State: Goodman started at Left Tackle next to Christian Westerman where they have had some offensive success over the past couple of seasons. Goodman is 6-4, 310.

John Lisella II – Colorado: played RT as a true freshman and started. Moves to the Left Tackl position. I still believe the Colorado coaches can get it done, but it’s going to take quite a while. It’s a major undertaking.

Geron Christian – Louisville: He started as a true freshman at right tackle and he’s huge but he could not handle any speed rushers when I saw him. He is a huge kid with huge upside.

Damian Prince – Maryland: The highly recruited Prince redshirted as a true freshman and started some games in 2015. Prince is 6-3, 325 and a rising star, but he could move inside to Offensive Guard. As a redshirt freshman, Prince started at Right Tackle and he definitely has the ability to improve.

Sunny Odogwu – Miami: Odogwu was out of action in new Miami coach Mark Richt’s first spring and Tyree St Louis was his replacement. St Louis has a bright future ahead of him, but Odogwu is

like a man out of a Nigerian nightmare. That works here because Odogwu is Nigerian. He’s 6-8, 320 and going into his junior season he has a shot at being big time.

Eric Magnuson – Michigan: Magnuson is about 6-6, 295 and he returns at Right Tackle for the Wolverines. In my view, Magnuson has been the weakest of the 5 starters up front for the Wolverines, but I still have hopes he continues to improve.

Toby Weathersby – LSU:  A former 4 star recruit out of Texas, Weathersby redshirted as a true freshman and he is slated to start at Right Tackle in 2016 for the Tigers. Weathersby is talented and probably a future All SEC and All American.

Jonathan McLaughlin – Virginia Tech: McLaughlin will be a 4 year starter this season. Most of those starts have been at Left Tackle, but he played on the right side as well. The Hokies have not been that impressive in recent years, but their Offensive Line is going to be really good in 2016.

Trey Adams – Washington: I love the potential of this guy. He came in fairly light at 6-8, 270. But, in the off season he put on about 40 pounds and is over 300 pounds and right at 310. He started at Left Tackle for the Huskies which is the most important position up front and you need a good one or your Quarterback is going to get drilled. He held his own against 1st round NFL Draft pick DeForest Buckner of Oregon in a close loss to the Ducks.

The sky is the limit for this talented youngster.

Kaleb McGary – Washington: Trey Adams plays at Left Tackle for the Huskies and McGary is on the Right Side. Like Adams, McGary is also a giant at 6-7, 305.Washington could be a team to watch in the future and it does begin up front in the trenches.

Brian O’Neil – Pittsburgh: Redshirt freshman from Delaware. Came to Pitt as a 6-5, 235 Tight End and is now a 6-5, 300 Offensive Tackle. The Panthers have a really good Offensive Line and they are just a couple of players away from being a really good offensive team. O’Neil looks like a future star at Offensive Tackle.

Nick Gates – Nebraska: started at right tackle last year and should start at LT this time around. The Huskers lost most of their Offensive Line from the 2015 season and will count on the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman standout.

Gates is 6-5, 290 and going into his sophomore season with a chance on being really good. He is big enough and strong enough while maintaining excellent quickness.

Darrius James – Auburn: Transfer from Texas that was a wash out. But, a change of scenery may do wonders for him and there is playing time available at Auburn. He’s a former 5 star recruit so it’s hard to give up on him.

Greg Little – Ole Miss: Little  was the top ranked Offensive Tackle prospect in the country out of Allen, Texas and he signed with Ole Miss. It will be interesting to see if he can step right in for departed Laremy Tunsil.

This list is subject to change throughout the season as new players emerge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *