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Top offensive linemen at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl

The draft starts in Mobile every year, and it’s that time of year. Who are the top Senior Bowl offensive linemen to keep an eye on this year?

Top offensive lineman at the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 11: Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (70) during the CFP National Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 11, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the 2020 NFL Draft, all but two Senior Bowl offensive linemen were drafted, and the two that went undrafted ended up finishing out their rookie years on an NFL roster. This year, the offensive linemen in the Senior Bowl are arguably the most talented position group at the event in Mobile, AL. Who are my picks for the top offensive linemen in the Senior Bowl?

The Senior Bowl has produced some quality offensive linemen in its history. From legends like Larry Allen and Forrest Gregg to more recent stars like Terron Armstead and Rodney Hudson — these are offensive linemen who have turned the Senior Bowl into a fruitful NFL career.

Ranking the top offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl — National Team

Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

Creed Humphrey entered the season with some high expectations and delivered on many of them. Humphrey is a rare plug-and-play center. He isn’t the most athletic lineman in the world, but his football IQ is top-notch, and the wrestling background is evident on tape. As a result, he’s a truly elite center prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Nonetheless, Humphrey will have some battles at the Senior Bowl. Humphrey against a powerful nose tackle like USC’s Marlon Tuipulotu would be a clash of the titans.

Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa

Out of all of the Senior Bowl offensive linemen, Spencer Brown is my pick for the biggest riser.

Many analysts have compared him to Lane Johnson. At a whopping 6’9″ and 321 pounds, Brown has rare athleticism seen from FCS tackles. A former tight end, his agility and quickness are at a different level than the FCS opponents he lines up against. His nastiness and toughness as a blocker are even more endearing.

Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame

Every year under Brian Kelly, Notre Dame’s left tackle has become a first-round pick. Liam Eichenberg has a shot to keep that streak going. An Outland Trophy finalist, Eichenberg was a stalwart anchor for the Irish this season. Eichenberg isn’t an elite athlete, so how he responds to some of the explosive pass rushers at the Senior Bowl will be interesting to see. Eichenberg struggled in Notre Dame’s last two games, so he needs a good rebound performance down in Mobile.

Although, he does rely too much on his two-hand punch. How he responds to the coaches at the Senior Bowl as they encourage independent hand usage will be something to monitor.

Honorable Mention: Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State

Dillion Radunz is at an odd place with his draft stock. He entered the season ranking fairly high but slipped down draft boards despite not playing at all this season. Despite his initial draft stock, other tackles have taken his place on top of draft boards.

He has more than a few question marks to answer about his game, namely his pad level and play against speed rushers. How he responds to the speed and play of these Senior Bowl edge rushers will determine if he recovers his stock.

Honorable Mention: Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Watching Quinn Meinerz play against Division 3 players was an absolute treat. Meinerz was the best player on the field in every game I watched of his. He was bullying defensive linemen and linebackers, driving his opposition into the dirt. Wisconsin-Whitewater ran to his side of the field so often because he won nearly every single rep. Absolute dominance, which is what needs to be seen by these small-school guys.

Nonetheless, Meinerz will have much to prove despite his body of work. Much like Radunz and Brown, Meinerz will have to respond to the different speeds of these high-caliber defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl. Ben Bartch was much of the same way last year. Meinerz will be the Ali Marpet of these Senior Bowl offensive linemen.

Ranking the top offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl — American Team

The Alabama juggernaut: Alex Leatherwood, Landon Dickerson, Deonte Brown

This might be the most talented group within the most talented position group. Alabama earned the Joe Moore Award for the best offensive line in college football this season, and these three were (quite literally) a massive reason for it. I love all three of these guys. It was too tough to narrow down the list of all the top Senior Bowl offensive linemen while giving these guys their credit, so I combined all of them into one.

Unfortunately, Landon Dickerson will not be playing in the Senior Bowl. However, the Rimington Trophy winner is one of the best offensive linemen in the draft, and as a result, deserves to be drafted high.

Alex Leatherwood won the Outland Trophy for his body of work as well. His play strength, anchor, toughness, and football IQ stand out on film. He’s also a good athlete in his own right, with a rumored 4.8 40-yard dash time, putting him in elite company. His pass protection chops will likely stand out in the Senior Bowl drills. Leatherwood, in my mind, is a first-round caliber player.

If you had to imagine an offensive lineman whose nickname is “Cornbread,” Deonte Brown is exactly who you would imagine. He is a mountain of a man at 6’3″ and 350 pounds and is just as immovable. I love the balance, toughness, and outright dominance he plays with. In fact, Brown wants to punch opposing linemen in the face and bury them on every rep. If he can iron out some of his fundamentals in pass protection, Brown has Pro Bowl upside.

Trey Smith, Tennessee

Bully ball is the name of Trey Smith’s game. Watching him just wreck opposing defensive linemen is a true joy to watch for offensive line guys like me. Smith is one of the most powerful and talented offensive linemen I’ve ever scouted and would fit on any teams that need a plug-and-play guard. He’s a true game-changing guard up front, much like the best of them are. I see many similarities between him and Kelechi Osemele.

However, the concern for Trey Smith is his medicals. The past blood clots issue will need to be double-checked by NFL team doctors. If his medicals check out okay, Smith has the talent and ability to be a top-50 pick. His showing at the Senior Bowl will be an absolute treat.

Royce Newman, Ole Miss

A versatile offensive lineman, Royce Newman played at left guard last season before kicking over to right tackle this season. Where Newman stands out most is his athletic ability. He possesses good explosiveness and short-area quickness, and good athleticism in space. It was evident that he experienced struggles adjusting to right tackle, namely with his footwork. Yet, his made athletic frame made up for it.

Newman is more than a little raw technically. His footwork, pad level, and use of hands have to improve at the next level. Improving on these will help mitigate his issues dealing with lengthy pass rushers and those with NFL-type explosiveness. However, he has the tools to compete at a high level inside and outside.

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