2021 NFL Draft OL Big Board


(Image credit: University of Oregon Athletics)


Written by: Joseph Yun

Twitter: 2Yoon2ZeroBlitz


The 2021 NFL Draft period is steadily advancing on us as we delve deeper into the month of April. Big boards and team plans are being finalized for that party in Cleveland as we read this. Welcome to the 2021 edition of the positional big boards!


The offensive line class is chock full of talent across the three positions but none more so than at tackle. Which tackles will earn the right to go second off the board? Which ones will be drafted and succeed relative to their draft slot? How many guards and centers will fortify the league’s interior for years to come? Is there an unheralded impact prospect that will see a massive payday in the future?


If you missed the previous articles in this year’s series, they can be found linked below


Quarterback

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End


Note: All RAS scores were courtesy of relativeathleticscores.com and @MathBomb


OT


1. Penei Sewell Oregon


- Sewell has been the OT1 by a large margin for well over a year now and nothing has changed the thinking. He opted out of his junior season after the Pac-12 made several gaffes in their decision making during the fall. The Duck junior tested well at his Pro Day after a long layoff but there will be some detractors that will claim he doesn’t have arm length. He’s an athlete at the position and is very physical with defenders. Very well coached under Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal and OL coach Alex Mirabal. He will be a bona fide franchise left tackle type for years to come for whoever ends up selecting him in the top ten. There’s a chance that he falls out due to the glut of quarterbacks that are projected to go ahead of him. A small chance but a chance nonetheless.


Draft Projection: Top Ten


RAS: 8.98


Player Comp: Orlando Pace


Blitzalytics Grade: 8.08


2. Rashawn Slater Northwestern


- The former Northwestern standout initially opted out when the Big Ten decided to delay the 2020 season. He’s a versatile lineman in that he has played all three spots with success. Very well schooled in the fundamentals as a blocker. Slater is a bit on the smaller side at 6’4 sub 310 for a tackle but it shouldn’t be a hindrance. If it is, he can always move inside to guard and thrive. He tested very well at Northwestern’s Pro Day as the RAS indicates. The scout’s comparison to veteran center Rodney Hudson is very apt due to versatility and athleticism that matches up. He’s had a tremendous rise up the boards in 2020 and should be the second tackle off the board within the top 15.


Draft Projection: Top 15


RAS: 9.71


Player Comp: Rodney Hudson


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.52


3. Christian Darrisaw Virginia Tech


- Darrisaw was the clubhouse leader for OT2 until Slater came around the bend to take the title by a nose. He’s a very talented prospect that should see him drafted within the top 20 of the first round. The former Hokie is very experienced as a franchise tackle and has seen some things in the ACC where some of the best EDGE rushers reside. He has started since his freshman season, which is an incredible feat getting ready for game days against Bud Foster’s lunch pail crew. He had a great 2020 to build off a surging 2019 that saw garner high praise. Let’s hope that he has a fruitful career like his comparison, Andrew Whitworth.


Draft Projection: Top 20


RAS: N/A


Player Comp: Andrew Whitworth


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.91


4. Jalen Mayfield Michigan


- Mayfield began the 2020 campaign as a top five tackle after a standout 2019 and has stayed there. He isn’t the best athlete thus the low RAS score. However, he is a relatively inexperienced talent due to being a two year starter so he still has room to grow and improve. He is projected to go during the latter stages of the first and early parts of the second round. Right now as it stands, he could be a standout right tackle in a league increasing in importance of the position. Could the Steelers (who desperately need offensive line help) take a look?


Draft Projection: First to Second Round


RAS: 4.87


Player Comp: Taylor Moton


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.89


5. Teven Jenkins Oklahoma State


- Jenkins was the starter at left tackle for the past couple of seasons but he has positional versatility as he has experience at guard and both tackle spots during his college career. His play merited an invitation to the Senior Bowl. There are some concerns that the Air Raid blocking concepts may not translate to the more pro style ones. He’s a brute force road grader when he has to be but more polished technique wise. It has been a steady rise up the boards to the point that he could be considered a top five tackle and first round lock. At worst, he’ll be taken in the second round pending any medical questions. As the RAS score indicates, he tested well above average the metrics. He’s a good enough athlete for both tackle spots but profiles more towards right tackle in the pros.


Draft Projection: First to Second Round


RAS: 9.74


Player Comp: Cam Robinson


Blitzalytics Grade: N/A


6. Samuel Cosmi Texas


- Cosmi showed out at the Longhorns’ Pro Day, running a sub 4.9 40 and looking good during the agility drills. He’s got arms like a tarantula so defenders will have some troubles getting by him without the power. The Texas tackle has years of experience at both tackle spots so versatility is a huge plus. He will likely start off at right tackle before making the possible conversion to the left side. He’s been frequently bandied about as a first round selection (with good reason) but I think he slips a tiny smidge into the second round but no further. The RAS score is among the elite historically. Physically, he reminds of longtime Cowboys veteran standout Tyron Smith.


Draft Projection: First to Second Round


RAS: 9.99


Player Comp: Tyron Smith


Blitzalytics Grade: N/A


7. Liam Eichenberg Notre Dame


- A technically proficient tackle prospect from Notre Dame. Eichenberg is a tad undersized at 305 but that may be by design to cover for his lack of preferred athleticism. The former Irish left tackle is smooth and fluid in everything he does, including reaching the second level and in the pocket. He’s one of the more fundamentally sound tackles in the class. LE should be a Day 2 selection with some starter at left tackle on opening day upside. There’s a chance that some team will take late Day 1 as well. The RAS score shows that he isn’t too terrible an athlete either.


Draft Projection: Second to Third Round


RAS: 8.55


Player Comp: Lane Johnson


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.45


8. Dillon Radunz North Dakota State


- Radunz is one of the more undersized tackle prospects that gained some weight after playing at a listed sub 300 pounds prior to the one off 2020 Trey Lance showcase. He’s a good athlete that played left tackle exclusively for the FCS powerhouse Bison. After being hyped up as a first round prospect for a couple of years, he slips into Day 2 due to the great number of guys ahead of him. Some team will need to get him to gain a few more pounds than the 304 he’s been measured in at. The mean streak and physical attitude is prevalent in his tape. He’s a take no prisoners type of mauler. Left tackle is his future but the transition to right will be seamless. Athlete as the RAS score shows. Physically he profiles in a similar manner to former Florida tackle D.J. Humphries.


Draft Projection: Second to Third Round


RAS: 9.28


Player Comp: D.J. Humphries


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.83


9. Brady Christensen BYU


- The blind side protector for Zach Wilson to produce the fireworks, you ask? That’s Christensen. He’s not the most athletic on film but blew projections out of the water at the BYU Pro Day, scoring high on the RAS scale. Christensen has the hands of a boxer and uses it well. A great technical blocker with very good spatial awareness and the chops to go after guys. He’s very physical and looks to punish unsuspecting defenders. The football IQ is a plus plus part of his game. His overall analysis warrants a top ten position ranking. With some time to develop further, he could be a serviceable right tackle that will be drafted in the early stages of Day 3.


Draft Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round


RAS: 9.84


Player Comp: David Quessenberry


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.05


10. Spencer Brown Northern Iowa


- Brown has had an outstanding draft process after not having a 2020 season after FCS postponed their season to the spring of 2021. He’s an athletic freak that had a good outing in Mobile, cementing his status as an early Day 3 selection. The RAS score is among the best of the best in history. He’s a big guy who can flat out move. A guy who has length for days on end and lateral agility in the pocket along with a road grader’s mentality. He compares well physically and stylistically to former first round selection Eric Fisher. With the offseason process in hand, he should be at worst a fifth round pick but will likely be a fourth round selection.


Draft Projection: Fourth Round


RAS: 10.00


Player Comp: Eric Fisher


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.47


11. Alex Leatherwood Alabama


- Leatherwood is a divisive prospect for sure. The former five star recruit has been standout for the Crimson Tide and is the latest much ballyhooed tackle prospect. He’s very experienced against elite top tier competition and succeeded against nearly all of them. Technique wise, he leaves a bit to be desired, relying on pure natural talent to get by. He’s not the best against the bendy EDGE rushers so a move to guard to better use his size? The experience at a big time program will get him drafted earlier than his true talent would merit most likely. His lower half needs a lot of work so some time as a backup will do him some good in the long run.


Draft Projection: Second Round


RAS: 9.68


Player Comp: Tyrell Crosby


Blitzalytics Grade: 6.51


12. James Hudson III Cincinnati


- Hudson III is an intriguing and rising prospect as he only has one year of starting experience as a tackle. The poor RAS score belies a prospect who doesn’t quite trust himself yet as an offensive tackle. Hudson transferred to Cincinnati from Michigan. He’s so raw that a Day 2 selection may be out of the cards at this point but all it takes is one team to fall in love. Beginning his career as a developmental swing tackle type is right for him.


Draft Projection: Fifth Round


RAS: 3.82


Player Comp: Shon Coleman


13. Alaric Jackson Iowa


- Remember that fresh faced kid rookie who started at right tackle for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers? Tristan something or other. Yeah, Jackson was good enough at left tackle for Iowa to keep Wirfs at right so that’s saying a mouthful. Jackson is a decent athlete despite the poor RAS score. He has vast sums of experience as a four year starter who has gone against some of the best of the best. A brutish road grader who depends on size to overwhelm his opponents rather than athleticism. The poor athletic showing will downgrade him from starter to a swing role on a team. Still, one could make a decent living doing that. Jackson will likely project into the latter stages of Day 3.


Draft Projection: Fifth to Sixth Round


RAS: 3.24


Player Comp: Brandon Scherff


Blitzalytics Grade: 6.85


14. Jackson Carman Clemson


- Carman was the starting left tackle for the perennial playoff contenders for two seasons. He’s one of the heavier tackles in the class, coming in at an estimated 335 to 345 pounds. The big man moves rather well for a dude his size. He will have some issues with mirroring faster and smaller EDGE rushers, however. Perhaps a move to the interior is in the offing? He elected to not work out at the Clemson Pro Day for whatever reason. Still, the versatility should get him drafted early on Day 3 depending on what happens to the tackle class above him. He compares size wise to James Brewer and former Lions draft pick Corey Robinson.


Draft Projection: Fourth Round


RAS: N/A


Player Comp: James Brewer / Corey Robinson


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.64


15. Walker Little Stanford


- Little has had a really long layoff as he was injured early in 2019 and decided to opt out for the 2020 season. When healthy and active, he was garnering first round hype until the injuries happened. He has all the physical tools to make it in the league at left tackle but the medical will scare teams off. The former Cardinal tackle primarily played on the left side during his career. Who knows how much of his athleticism was sapped due to the knee injury? He’s more of a finesse technician type instead of the brutal road graders in the class. IQ is among the highest in the class at the position. With all that said, the medical and long layoff work in concert to knock him down into late Day 3 but with the right setup, he can outstay his counterparts and parlay it into a career. The Pro Day showed that he still has some juice left so there’s that.


Draft Projection: Sixth Round


RAS: 8.90


Player Comp: Andrus Peat


Blitzalytics Grade: 6.26


OG


1. Wyatt Davis Ohio State


- Davis is the best pure guard in the class bar none. He’s a likely day one rookie starter straight out of the box. He’s all about the physicality and impressing his power upon his foes. A powerful road grading guard who has some difficulties against quicker interior linemen. Lateral agility is a question mark so there’s something to work on. He has some of the best hands for an offensive lineman in this class so it’s game, set, match when the hands get engaged. He’ll likely slip into the second round due to teams needs elsewhere and the talented tackle class pushing him down. He’s a guard only so the versatility isn’t there.


Draft Projection: Second Round


RAS: N/A


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.09


2. Alijah Vera-Tucker USC


- ATHLETE. AVT can move like a bat out of you know where and he’s getting some serious first round buzz because of it. He played both tackle and guard at USC but fits better as a guard so I’m listing him there. If on pure tackle rankings, I would have given him consideration for OT4 or higher. Teams will love his athleticism and versatility. He should go in the first round but will likely take a small slip to the early second. He compares favorably to Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan.


Draft Projection: First to Second Round


RAS: 9.03


Player Comp: Taylor Lewan


Bltizalytics Grade: 7.3


3. Trey Smith Tennessee


- The former five star recruit that signed with Tennessee when the program was continuing its long slumber is finally in the draft. He has done little to downplay his future earnings as a pro. However, there’s a heart issue that teams will have to monitor going forward even if it’s seemingly in the past. Smith is a big physical road grading type of guard who excels in small spaces. He does have experience at left tackle so versatility is a plus even if he won’t play the position in the league. Guard is in his future as expected. He did enough during the 2020 season and past seasons to earn himself a Senior Bowl invitation. He won’t have to wait long on the second day to hear his name called due to the talent inside and the pedigree he brings. He compares physically to Tampa Bay left tackle Donovan Smith.


Draft Projection: Second to Third Round


RAS: 9.91


Player Comp: Donovan Smith


Blitzalytics Grade: N/A


4. Quinn Meinerz Wisconsin-Whitewater


- Meinerz has been the offensive lineman that has a bunch of people left with tongues wagging after the small school prospect. His play for UW-W earned him a Senior Bowl invite where he was arguably the best offensive lineman there. An athlete in every sense of the word and the RAS backs it up. He didn’t have a senior year due to the pandemic but has shown little rust effects from the layoff. He could sneak into Day 2 based on the hype and talent but ultimately a fourth round selection to his credit. Could he be the next Ben Bartch and Ali Marpet to make a name for himself in the league?


Draft Projection: Third to Fourth Round


RAS: 9.98


Player Comp: Ali Marpet


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.86


5. Robert Hainsey Notre Dame


- Hainsey was the starter at right tackle for Notre Dame but he projects better as a guard for the pros. He has a lot of experience at tackle but not a lot at guard so it’s a bit of projection. A smart team will see him as a top level guard prospect and will draft him early on Day 3 as such. The versatility will help him in that regard.


Draft Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round


RAS: 8.06


Blitzalytics Grade: N/A


6. Ben Cleveland Georgia


- Cleveland is a typical pro style guard who gets by on more guile and wit than athleticism. Football IQ is a plus plus. He’s generally in the right picture despite a limited athletic base. The RAS score was surprising when I first saw it but it may be that he’s underrated athletically. He should go in the early stages of Day 3 based on his college pedigree. Projects as a backup guard who could start with some development time.


Draft Projection: Fourth to Fifth Round


RAS: 9.63


Blitzalytics Grade: N/A


7. David Moore Grambling


- Moore’s strong play for the legendary HCBU power Tigers did earn him a Senior Bowl invite where he was capable. He’s a great athlete who features a lot of power in his game. Country strong is a term invented for him. Dude just overpowers defenders when he has to. Moore is smaller for a guard but he uses his frame well to move around. Definitely a riser up the boards that could go earlier than his projection. He will be a pure guard at the next level.


Draft Projection: Fifth to Sixth Round


RAS: 6.81


Player Comp: Brandon Brooks


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.47


8. Aaron Banks Notre Dame


- Another talented offensive lineman from Notre Dame? Yep. Banks was the unheralded one that started a ton in college so he’s seen a lot. Despite his size, he's fast and lateral agile enough to seek out targets at the second level with regularity. Versatile enough to play tackle in a pinch but only in emergency situations as the tackle athleticism isn’t there. He can be got by quicker defenders so he’ll likely settle in as a guard only prospect on Day 3. Developmental prospect that could start by his second year if things go right. While Banks isn’t in Joel Bitonio’s class athletically speaking, he can be just as versatile for the right team.


Draft Projection: Fifth Round


RAS: 7.20


Player Comp: Joel Bitonio


Blitzalytics Grade: 7.96


9. Deonte Brown Alabama


- Brown is a big dude. Let’s just say that. He has lost some weight over the offseason to weigh in at a svelte 344 during the process. He’s a monster when he engages his hands on the defender but athletically, it’s not ideal. The RAS score matches the tape as he’s a tad slower to react against the quicker pass rushers. The Tide guard is a force to be reckoned with in the run game and he’s light on his feet all things considered. A team that drafts him on Day 3 will have to work with the prospect to maintain a rigorous strength and conditioning program. He’ll likely need a redshirt year to lose the weight to be more functional. Think Andre Smith but bigger.