Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, also known as the “Underwear Olympics,” it was widely considered that the wide receiver group was the strongest positional group for the 2020 NFL Draft. However, the offensive tackles had something to say about that.
Players such as Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs were sensational in Indianapolis, and their draft stock is on the rise. In a league where protecting the quarterback is paramount, the value of the offensive tackle position is as important as ever. Due to this, there will be at least six offensive tackles taken in Round One of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Not only are the offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft insanely talented, but they also are much cheaper than the options available to fill the need via free agency. Over the weekend, Pro Football Network’s own Tony Pauline was told per sources that “no other franchise interested in (Jack) Conklin is willing to pay him the same money the Jets are ready to offer.”
Rumors also surfaced that Houston Texans’ left tackle Laremy Tunsil is seeking a contract extension that will pay him $18-20 million annually. In addition to the options in free agency being very expensive, they are also limited. Outside of Anthony Castonzo, Bryan Bulaga and the aforementioned Conklin are possibly the only upper-echelon offensive tackles available. Due to this, the selections of offensive tackles will be fast and furious on day one of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Looking into my crystal ball
When I look into my crystal ball, not only do I see at least six round one offensive tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft, I see at least five going within the top-20 selections. To put those numbers into context, it is likely that 25% of the top-20 selections of the 2020 NFL Draft will be an offensive tackle. I cannot say the same for any other positional group, even the wide receivers.
The run of offensive tackles could start as soon as the fourth pick, which is currently held by the New York Giants. Not only is it a big need for the “G-Men,” but it would also be a staple Dave Gettleman draft pick. Gettleman commonly selects big, strong trench players, so if the Giants turn in the card with the name Tristian Wirfs or Mekhi Becton, it would not be a surprise.
Outside of the Giants, there are many teams in desperate need of offensive tackles, which includes the likes of the Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Minnesota Vikings. Luckily enough for these offensive tackle needy teams, there are six round one offensive tackles worth a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs (6’5 1/8″, 315 pounds)
Out of all of the top-rated offensive tackle prospects, no player looks the part more than Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. His arm length, 36 1/8″, is second of all draft-eligible tackles, only behind Connecticut’s Matt Peart. He doesn’t possess the elite athleticism as Wirfs does, but he is a more than adequate athlete. Thomas is durable, as his 41 career starts at Georgia would indicate. He plays with a great balance of strength and length, which allows him to keep edge rushers at bay. When the dust settles, Thomas should hear his name called in the range of the 10th-18th pick in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa Hawkeyes (6’4 7/8″, 320 pounds)
Wirfs was one of the biggest winners of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He tested off the charts, including a positional record-setting 36.5″ vertical, and an impressive 4.85 40-yard dash. When you take into consideration Wirfs’ strength and athleticism, he is a lock to be a top-10 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. His ceiling will be to the New York Giants with the fourth pick, and his floor will be the Cleveland Browns with the 10th pick.
Mekhi Becton, Louisville Cardinals (6’7″, 364 pounds)
Becton was perhaps the biggest winner from the offensive tackle position in Indianapolis last week. He ran a jaw-dropping 5.10 40-yard dash, which is outrageous given his size. In fact, it’s the fastest ever 40-yard dash time for a player 350 pounds or over. He is a nasty, physical player who is built for today’s NFL. After an impressive combine performance, there is no way Becton isn’t a top-10 selection in the 2020 draft.
Give the clip below a quick view, to see the impressive 40-yard dash by the mammoth offensive tackle:
— JDF Sports (@JDFSports) February 28, 2020
Jedrick Wills, Alabama Crimson Tide (6’4 2/8″, 312 pounds)
Prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, Jedrick Wills was the highest-rated offensive lineman on most draft analysts’ big boards and was the first offensive tackle selected in most mock drafts. He produced good measurables in Indianapolis, which should cement his status to be a top-15 pick in the 2020 draft. Wills showcased great movement skills and is known for the nasty temperament that he brings to the table. He is a big, strong prospect with a bit of a mean streak and enjoys a physical brand of football. One interesting thing to note: information surfaced that some NFL teams saw Wills as an offensive guard at the next level.
Josh Jones, Houston Cougars (6’5″, 319 pounds)
No player would benefit more from an early run on offensive tackles than Houston’s Josh Jones. As it stands now, Jones is a likely top-20 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, an early run at the position could lead to Jones’ name being called much earlier. He excels in pass protection, utilizing his quick feet and frame to shield defenders. Jones made his money after a strong Senior Bowl showing but further helped his cause at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.
Austin Jackson, USC Trojans (6’4 7/8″, 322 pounds)
Before the NFL Combine, Austin Jackson was regarded as an early round-two draft selection, but an impressive performance at Lucas Oil Stadium has his 2020 draft stock sky-rocketing. Not only did Jackson look the part, but he also displayed the athletic profile and measurables that NFL teams are searching for when it comes to the left tackle position. His 1.73 10-yard split was very impressive. On day one of the 2020 draft, it is likely that Jackson will hear his name called in the range of picks 20-25. My prediction is that he will be the last round one offensive tackle in 2020.
2020 NFL Draft: Neal Driscoll’s Offensive Tackle Rankings
|1||Andrew Thomas||OT||Georgia||JR||6″5||320 lbs.|
|2||Tristan Wirfs||OT||Iowa||JR||6″5||320 lbs.|
|3||Mekhi Becton||OT||Louisville||JR||6″7||355 lbs.|
|4||Jedrick Wills||OT||Alabama||JR||6″5||315 lbs.|
|5||Josh Jones||OT||Houston||SR||6″7||311 lbs.|
|6||Austin Jackson||OT||USC||JR||6″6||306 lbs.|
|7||Lucas Niang||OT||TCU||SR||6″7||328 lbs.|
|8||Isaiah Wilson||OT||Georgia||JR||6″7||340 lbs.|
|9||Prince Tega Wanogho||OT||Auburn||SR||6″7||308 lbs.|
|10||Ezra Cleveland||OT||Boise State||JR||6″6||310 lbs.|
|11||Ben Bartch||OT||St. John||SR||6″6||305 lbs.|
|12||Saahdiq Charles||OT||LSU||JR||6″4||305 lbs.|
|13||Matt Peart||OT||Connecticut||SR||6″7||302 lbs.|
|14||Jack Driscoll||OT||Auburn||SR||6″5||300 lbs.|
|15||Hakeem Adeniji||OT||Kansas||SR||6″5||310 lbs.|
|16||Trey Adams||OT||Washington||SR||6″8||316 lbs.|
|17||Tyre Phillips||OT||Mississippi State||SR||6″5||345 lbs.|
|18||Colton McKivitz||OT||West Virginia||SR||6″7||310 lbs.|
|19||Jon Runyan, Jr.||OT||Michigan||SR||6″5||310 lbs.|
|20||Zach Robertson||OT||Arizona State||SR||6″5||335 lbs.|
|21||Drew Richmond||OT||USC||SR||6″5||316 lbs.|
|22||Yasir Durant||OT||Missouri||SR||6″7||330 lbs.|
|23||Calvin Throckmorton||OT||Oregon||SR||6″5||316 lbs.|
|24||Scott Frantz||OT||Kansas State||SR||6″5||297 lbs.|
|25||Terence Steele||OT||Texas Tech||SR||6″6||304 lbs.|
|26||Matt Womack||OT||Alabama||SR||6″7||325 lbs.|
|27||Charlie Heck||OT||UNC||SR||6″8||310 lbs.|
|28||Colton Jackson||OT||Arkansas||SR||6″5||310 lbs.|
|29||Devery Hamilton||OT||Stanford||SR||6″7||287 lbs.|
|30||Victor Johnson||OT||Appalachian State||SR||6″5||295 lbs.|
|31||Gewhite Stallworth||OT||Louisiana Tech||SR||6″8||322 lbs.|
|32||Cole Chewins||OT||Michigan State||SR||6″8||295 lbs.|
|33||Marcus Norman||OT||South Florida||SR||6″6||316 lbs.|
|34||Brady Aiello||OT||Oregon||SR||6″7||310 lbs.|
|35||Cameron Clark||OT||Charlotte||SR||6″5||280 lbs.|
|36||Justin Herron||OT||Wake Forest||SR||6″5||290 lbs.|
|37||Alex Taylor||OT||South Carolina State||SR||6″9||305 lbs.|
|38||Kamaal Seymour||OT||Rutgers||SR||6″6||309 lbs.|
|39||Luke Juriga||OT||Western Michigan||SR||6″4||295 lbs.|
|40||Blake Brandel||OT||Oregon State||SR||6″7||303 lbs.|
|41||Evin Ksiezarczyk||OT||Buffalo||SR||6″6||315 lbs.|
|42||Brandon Walton||OT||Florida Atlantic||SR||6″5||300 lbs.|
|43||Jake Benzinger||OT||Wake Forest||SR||6″7||295 lbs.|
|44||Branden Bowen||OT||Ohio State||SR||6″7||312 lbs.|