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AJ Schulte’s Top-20 offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft

AJ Schulte's Top-20 offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft
Photo Credit: Stephen Mally/Hawkeye Sports

The offensive tackle class for the 2020 NFL Draft is one of the most talented positions across the board in this draft class. With a star-studded group at the top and talent down the board, this offensive tackle class has the makings to be one of the best in recent memory. The 2016 NFL Draft had four tackles selected in the top-16, and I think this 2020 class could produce similar results. With that said, here are my rankings for the top offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Note: These are my personal rankings. These are not Pro Football Network’s official rankings nor should they be confused with Tony Pauline’s grades. 

1. Jedrick Wills, Alabama (Top-10)

Jedrick Wills is a stud offensive tackle. Wills has excellent footwork to mirror pass rushers out wide at all angles. His pass sets are things of beauty, and he can execute just about every set in the books. Wills brings immense power to his game and is one of the cleanest tackles in recent memory. There’s really not a lot of things Wills cannot do as a tackle, and therefore is one of the easiest to project. Any talk about him moving to guard is crazy to me, and Wills is my top offensive tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft.

2. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (Top-10)

Tristan Wirfs is a clear contender for the OT1 spot. As a three-year starter at Iowa, Wirfs started at both left and right tackle and showed off an elite assortment of traits to start in the NFL at either spot. His elite athleticism was confirmed when he set records at the Combine. Wirfs displays quick feet and patience as a pass blocker, and his power in run-blocking can be downright dominating. Wirfs has the upside to be a Pro Bowl and All-Pro-caliber tackle at the next level.

3. Andrew Thomas, Georgia (Top-15)

Andrew Thomas brings an impressive blend of size, length, power, and IQ to the table as an offensive tackle. He’s seen it all and rarely if ever, gets caught up in a blitz. He’s the most pro-ready tackle from an IQ standpoint. Thomas is excellent at sniffing out stunts and blitzes, and his awareness as a tackle is a sight to behold. His footwork is behind both Wills and Wirfs, but Thomas is still in the elite tier of offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft.

4. Mekhi Becton, Louisville (Top-20)

Becton is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-7, 364 pounds. It’s almost a complete surprise to see this mountain move as well as it does, but Becton is incredibly smooth for his size. Good luck getting around his nearly 36-inch arms as well. He does have a lot of mass to move around, so his quickness is somewhat limited on the edge, but his frame made up for that at the college level. I want to see Becton improve as a technician with his hand usage and improve his IQ in pass protection as well. Becton’s combination of size, power, athletic ability, and upside will earn him a very early selection in the upcoming draft.

5. Josh Jones, Houston (Late First-early Second Round)

Josh Jones rounds out my top-5. Jones dominated AAC competition and looked like one of the best offensive tackles at the Senior Bowl, if not the outright best. His background in basketball shows up with his easy movement in space and body control as an athlete. His lower-body quickness is outstanding. There are a few minor technical issues Jones needs to fix, namely his anchor, but Jones has all the upside to be a high-level starter in the NFL.

6. Lucas Niang, TCU (Late First-early Second Round)

Lucas Niang came in a few points behind Josh Jones for the fifth spot (if he tested at the Combine he likely would have), but that doesn’t diminish Niang’s talent in the slightest. His 2018 tape is top-notch, and Niang virtually shut down Nick Bosa and Chase Young last year. The hip injury impacted his passing sets this year and made him look clunkier and less athletic than he really is. If the medicals check out, there is no reason Niang can’t be a mainstay at tackle for the team that drafts him.

7. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (Second Round)

Ezra Cleveland has had a meteoric rise this offseason and capped it off with an impressive performance at the NFL Combine. His excellent athleticism and quickness in his passing sets frustrated opposing speedy pass-rushers trying to beat Cleveland around the arc. He’s more of a positional blocker than true attacker in the run game and will need to improve his play strength, but Cleveland has the upside to thrive in a zone-run scheme and become an effective starter at left tackle in the NFL.

8. Austin Jackson, USC (Late Second-Third Round)

Austin Jackson is a phenomenal person off the field and a pretty talented offensive tackle on the field. Jackson is a “traitsy” tackle, boasting a good combination of size, length, quickness, and athleticism. He’s more flashy than consistent with his technique, but when he clicks, the reps are dominant. An NFL team is going to bank on the traits, and Jackson can be a quality starter at the next level.

9. Ben Bartch, St. John’s (Third Round)

It’s incredibly rare for a D3 prospect to start in the NFL, but Bartch can do so within a few years. His competitive toughness cannot be overstated. Bartch showed up to the Senior Bowl this year and put on a show against players that were supposed to be leagues above him. His tape is full of him putting guys in the dirt and launching them out of frame. He’ll face a difficult transition to the NFL, but continued development of his technique and frame will yield a starting NFL tackle within a couple of seasons.

10. Matthew Peart, UConn (Third Round)

In terms of traits, I’m not sure any tackle on this list exemplifies that more than UConn’s Matthew Peart. Peart boasts impressive length with a mind-boggling 36 5/8″ arms and has plenty of quickness in his footwork. If Peart can translate those traits into greater consistency, he has the upside to be a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle. Get him into an NFL strength program to boost his frame and play strength, and the sky is the limit for Peart. His upside could make him one of the top offensive tackles of the 2020 draft.

11-20

11. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn (Third Round)

12. Saahdiq Charles, LSU (Third Round)

13. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (Third-Fourth Round)

I’m going to be rather against the consensus on this Georgia prospect. I think Wilson boasts the best power of any offensive tackle prospect on this list. However, I really worry about his ability to handle speed on the outside at tackle. I mentioned in my Jedrick Wills article about how DJ Fluker and Brandon Scherff were forced to move inside at the next level due to balance issues and poor lower-body fluidity at tackle, and I think Wilson is the same way. While his size and length will warrant Wilson a look at tackle, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team moves him inside to limit his exposure against speed rushers on the edge.

14. Alex Taylor, South Carolina State (Fourth Round)

Alex Taylor may be a small-school prospect, but he’s got big-league measurements. At the Senior Bowl, Taylor came in with 36 1/8″ arms and a wingspan of 88″, or 7 feet and 3 inches, the same as NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. His physical traits will earn him a high draft selection, but his play strength and build will need to be improved before he becomes a full-time starter in the NFL.

15. Jack Driscoll, Auburn (Fifth Round)

16. Terence Steele, Texas Tech (Fifth Round)

17. Charlie Heck, North Carolina (Fifth-Sixth Round)

Charlie Heck is a huge tackle prospect and has all the makings of being a quality swing tackle at the next level. He’s fluid and quick in his passing sets, and possesses a high football IQ, given that his father is an offensive line coach. Heck isn’t dominant in any given area, but if a team needs quality depth, Heck would be an ideal target on Day 3.

18. Blake Brandel, Oregon State (7th Round-UDFA)

19. Darrin Paulo, Utah (7th Round-UDFA)

20. Drew Richmond, USC (7th Round-UDFA)

Note: There are a few tackles that I project to guard at the next level, as I think they’ll fit better there, hence why they are not ranked on this list. They are:

  • Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
  • Trey Adams, Washington
  • Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas
  • Cameron Clark, Charlotte
  • Justin Herron, Wake Forest
  • Jared Hilbers, Washington
  • Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon 
  • Jon Runyan, Michigan
  • Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson
  • Yasir Durant, Missouri

AJ Schulte is a Draft Analyst for PFN. You can follow him on Twitter @AJDraftScout. 

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