The most important position in football is arguably the quarterback, but one could argue that the offensive line is a close second. Andrew Luck is proof that a quarterback’s talent can only carry a team so far before injury steps in. It is extremely early in the draft process for this year, but here I will list eight prospects to keep an eye on for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Connor Williams, Tackle, Texas #55
Williams is a top-tier left tackle at Texas, and at 6’5 2902 pounds he has a thick, but a surprisingly lean frame. Williams shows surprising power for a tackle that plays under 300 pounds, and he loves to punish defenders. A certain amount of mean is a great trait for an offensive lineman, and Connor Williams appears to have that figured out.
Mike McGlichney, Tackle, Notre Dame #68
Mike McGlichney is a tall, long tackle who is almost always in position. McGlichney is more of a technician than the athletic specimen. However, due to the college game, his pass set occasionally resembles a back pedal, which causes concern with his ability to handle power.
Billy Price, Guard, Ohio State #54
Price is a guard at Ohio State and he displays the mean style of play that scouts look for. He has good hand placement and battles to maintain his hand position. Price can generate good movement in the run game, but there will never be too much push in the trenches.
Mason Cole, Center, Michigan #52
Mason Cole is a tall center at 6’5, but he has a good anchor for his height. Cole will have to fight to maintain leverage in the NFL, because at 6’5” Cole will always have a high pad level for a center. Cole does a good job of getting to the 2nd level of defenses, so maybe he could move to guard if he struggles with pad height.
Mitch Hyatt, Tackle, Clemson #75
Hyatt is a smooth mover, and when his feet are good he rarely gets beat. However, all too often Hyatt’s feet are far too inconsistent for a top tackle; he will need to fix that this coming season. I would like to see Hyatt above 300 pounds at least, just so he can handle NFL defensive lineman easier.
Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame #56
Nelson is the definition of a mean offensive lineman; he is always looking to bury defenders. On occasion, Nelson locks in on a defender instead of playing assignment, especially in pass protection. At 330 pounds Nelson has no problem dropping his weight in pass protection, and when he does there is no moving him.
Alec Eberle, Center, FSU #54
Eberle is a solid athlete, with the ability to climb to the second level of the defense. However, Eberle occasionally takes a bad angle, which neutralizes his athleticism. Eberle flashes the ability to move defenders, but he isn’t always asked to block one on one, so it isn’t consistent in his tape.
Frank Ragnow, Center, Arkansas #72
Frank Ragnow is a massive center with the strength in his punch to raise defenders pad levels on contact. Ragnow has a good anchor, but it looks a bit unconventional. Ragnow is a large center, but when asked to get to the second level, he needs to work on taking better angles so defenders don’t run around him.