Loaded Offensive Tackle Class – 2015 NFL Draft

by Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

While the 2015 NFL Draft scouting season is just barely under way, lets take a look at this potentially loaded offensive tackle class. I’ll get several more looks at all these guys but these games, just as the ones at the end of the year, are a very important part of their final grade which comes out next spring. These “rankings” are flexible, as there are too many unknowns to put a credible number next to their names.

1 – Brandon Scherff – Iowa – 6’5/320

Scherff has been the most dominant offensive lineman I’ve seen this year, all positions considered. His consistent power presence alone is enough to warrant first round consideration. Throw in the fact that he was a 5 sport athlete in high school (including football of course where he played quarterback!) and he hold strength records in the weight room, there is almost nothing to look down on. Scherff could have been a top 10 pick in 2014, but his decision to come back for his senior season could put him in to top overall pick consideration for 2015. Scherff’s feet appear to get stuck to ground when blocking the far edge, the one component of his game I would say needs the most work. His violent style can only go so far if he struggles to handle the speed of NFL pass rushers.

I look forward to some of the stiffer competition coming his way at the end of the year and hopefully at the Senior Bowl. The one component missing within my film study of him will be NFL caliber pass rushers lining up across from him. Not until November 28 (vs. Nebraska) will Scherff be matched up against a quality prospect. I wouldn’t say that hurts his grade, but the level of competition has to be considered.

2 – Cedric Ogbuehi – Texas A&M – 6’5/305*

In year number three as a starter, Ogbuehi is now playing his third position (other two being RG and RT). It appears A&M will ship off their third straight first round left tackle to the league, with Ogbuehi possibly being the best one. The grading process is young, but he appears to be neck and neck with Scherff but for opposite reasons. Ogbuehi uses athleticism and body control to consistently beat his man. He doesn’t have the power base that Scherff does, but there are a few ways left tackles can get the job done. His lower body strength is there, but last season I noted that he needed to improve his ‘hands’ game. He wasn’t controlling defensive linemen the way I thought he needed to. Fast forward to 2014, and that part of his game has improved.

Ogbuehi could very well be number one on this list well before the season ends, I simply need to see him a few more times. The lack of aggression could be something that slightly holds him back, but I’m confident in saying he will be a top 10-15 pick next spring. He will get plenty of opportunities to put his game on display in the SEC, especially against Mississippi State (Oct 4) and Missouri (Nov 15).

3 – Andrus Peat – Stanford – 6’7/316*

If size is one thing you look for in a left tackle prospect, Peat may be one of the more impressive prospects in the nation. Peat is a well-put-together mountain of a man, standing high with a well-proportioned frame and long arms. Simply running around him is a task for any defender because it takes so long! Peat is more than a body though. He delivers a violent pop at the point of attack with a sturdy base beneath him. He maintains a power presence in space as well as within the tackle box. Peat can handle anything sent his way, whether it be speed or strength based. He didn’t get a lot of looks head up against USC’s Leonard Williams (a top 10 prospect), but when he did, I loved the approach. He was quick off the snap but powerful once engaged. He isn’t a guy that gets pushed back by anyone. Peat has an upside to him that no other offensive tackle in this class does.

That ability to handle the balance of power and speed will be tested against Notre Dame on October 4. Also I look forward to the personnel matchups that present him with a task when they face off against Oregon (Nov 1) and Utah (Nov 15).

4 – Tyler Marz – Wisconsin – 6’5/321*

This is a name I haven’t seen anywhere but he is at the very least worth a mention here. I’ve seen Marz twice and he plays like the best left tackle the Badgers have had since Joe Thomas. In their opening matchup against LSU, Marz appeared to be the only offensive lineman not overwhelmed by the speed of the Tigers’ defense. He was just simply ‘smooth’ throughout, consistently winning the one on one battles on the edge and inside. Marz could use, and likely will, another year in Madison to refine his technique and gain some more weight room strength. But I’ll keep an eye on him every time I scout the Wisconsin offense. His name will be heard in the coming months.

I hope to see him face off against Nebraska’s Randy Gregory on November 15. Otherwise the edge talent he’ll see for the rest of the year will be sub-average.

5 – La’el Collins – LSU – 6’5/321

Some consider Collins to be a RT, possibly even LG/RG, prospect but he was a guy that caught my eye on a few occasions in 2013. I’ve seen him twice this year and while he does leave a little to be desired from a footwork perspective, I still think he is a top 20 overall prospect that can play LT in the league. His power at the point of attack will receive one of the highest grades of any lineman in the class. Teams that want a more physical approach out there will like Collins a lot. He has handled the speed of the SEC just fine as a pass blocker. His slight issues there are a result of technique and mechanics rather than ability. That can be worked with. His impact as a run blocker is felt every week and at very worst, he could be a very good G or RT in the NFL.

Matchups against Florida (Oct 11), Arkansas (Nov 15), and Texas A&M (Nov 27) will present on-tape challenges for Collins in all areas of offensive line play. I don’t see a top 10 guy here, but one of those linemen you find available after the first half of round 1 that ends up starting for a decade.

Other players I like so far:

Tyrus Thompson – Oklahoma – 6’5/336
Ty Sambrallo – Colorado State – 6’5/315
Jake Fisher – Oregon – 6’6/300

And the name that has been underwhelming to this point:

Cameron Erving – Florida State – 6’6/308

Erving’s path to first round caliber left tackle hasn’t been a direct one. He played defensive tackle for a couple seasons, most notably in 2011 where he participated in every game, starring as one of the team’s top run stuffers He made the move to left tackle in 2012 and has been molded in to a quality blocker. My issues with him are consistency based, which could be overlooked by some considering how long it can take for a player to get comfortable at that spot. Erving plays the position like a defensive lineman. He plays low, almost too low, and gets too top heavy and will often lose balance against stiffer competition. He tends to get very “grabby” as well, making him prone to the holding penalties. The athletic ability is there, but it completely disappeared when facing off against Clemson’s Vic Beasley this year. He was routinely beat to the edge by the Tigers’ future first rounder. I’ve always felt Erving would make a better guard at the next level, and that game tape reinforced that notion.

With Notre Dame (Oct 18) and Miami (Nov 15) still on the schedule, perhaps Erving could change my mind about his potential as a left tackle prospect. He will need better performances than what I’ve seen to this point.

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