NFL Combine: Offensive Tackles – What Do They Need To Prove?

    Who are the best offensive tackles going into the NFL Combine, and what do they need to prove in Indianapolis?

    February 14, 2016

    Who are the best offensive tackles going into the NFL Combine, and what do they need to prove in Indianapolis?


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    1. Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Top Five Overall

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Can he look the part of a No. 1 overall pick? The elite athleticism is there, the talent is undeniable, and the skill set is in place to be a franchise left tackle at the highest of levels, so his time in Indianapolis has to focus on his greatness. His day has to be the Laremy Tunsil show.

    – Can his frame take more weight? He’s going to check in at just over 300 pounds, but ideally he’s a tight 315.

    – Does he have the pop and the power to be a blaster? He’s a killer of a technician for the ground game, but will he be able to show off that he can line up and destroy a huge NFL lineman? It’s nitpicking.

    2. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: First Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Can he look close to Laremy Tunsil’s category? They have similar size and many of the same traits, and he can be in the same area code athletically, he’ll do what the scouts are looking for.

    – The bench is big. It’s not a true representative of a tackle’s strength and power, but he’ll get knocked if he doesn’t show off the pop.

    – The quickness and feet are undeniable – and now he has to show them off. It’s not right to call him a finesse blocker, but that’s his forte in pass protection. That’s okay, but he has to look smooth.

    3. Jack Conklin, Michigan State

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: First Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Does he really have first round athleticism and skills? He’s the type of blocker every coach loves to have, but is the raw ability in place to be the type of left tackle worthy of the high pick? The tools have to match the heart.

    – The one thing everyone wants to see? How quick is he through the short drills? He doesn’t have to dominate, but he can’t be lumbering.

    – He’s a right tackle at the next level. It’s going to take something great to think about moving him to the left side. The Combine has to help change that.

    4. Taylor Decker, Ohio State

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: First Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Really, really tall with a great NFL pass blocking body, can he move well enough? He’s an NFL right tackle, but can he be the type of athlete who’s good enough to be tried out on the left side?

    – Can he bend? The frame is great for pass protection, and he has the fight to go along with it, but can he still be effective if he’s not so high up in his stance? Flexibility is the key.

    – The athleticism might be just okay, but not worthy of an elite draft pick. He’s a first rounder, but to be a top 20-caliber must-have, he needs to show off something special. There’s a chance there could be a big gap looks-wise between the stars – Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley – and Decker.

    5. Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Third Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – While he’s a longtime left tackle for the Red Raiders, is he good enough on the outside for the NFL? The size is there to be kicked inside, but he looks quick enough work as a tackle – that has to come through in Indy.

    – Can he be powerful enough? The mass is there, but he’s not really built like a guard. The raw strength will be noted to see just how versatile he might really be.

    – How much technique work does he need? The sky’s the limit in terms of the combination of athleticism and experience, but did working at Texas Tech help or hurt him?

    6. Jason Spriggs, Indiana

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Second Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Can he overcome his lack of bulk? He’s a better football player than a true technician, but more than anything else, he has to show enough athleticism to make his 300-pound frame okay.

    – Is he really going to be a tackle? He needs a lot of technique work and almost needs to breakdown some of his mechanics and start over. As long as he’s quick and athletic, he should be fine.

    – Is he just a zone-blocking tackle or could he be used as a guard? He might be a system guy – he has to show that he’s good enough for any style.

    8. Jerald Hawkins, LSU

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Second Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Is he really ready yet? There’s a ton of talent there, but he’s an upside pick who has to go on in the first 50 picks on potential. How good is he going to look?

    – A big bench would be a really big deal. He’s an athlete, but he’s not considered a blaster who can bury his guy. He’s going to need time in the weight room, but a great job in the strength drills would do wonders.

    – Does he look the part? He has the length and he can add some good weight, but he doesn’t have the exact right body. It doesn’t matter as long as the tools are there.

    8. Shon Coleman, Auburn

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Second Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Just how good of an athlete is he? He might project to be a guard in the right system, but he doesn’t seem like a left tackle. He has to show otherwise.

    – He’s a pounder, but is he a pass protector? He’s got to be quick and he has to look the part in the agility drills, but if he kills it on the bench, that would be just fine, too. He might be considered more of a versatile option.

    – Old, this might be it. He’s not going to get a ton of time to grow into whatever he’s supposed to become. The medical exams will be important – he’s one of the most inspirational stories in the draft after fighting through leukemia six years ago.

    9. Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Third Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Really, really big with the type of body the NFL wants. Now he has to show he can use it on the move. At the moment, with his bulk, he’s a guard. A great workout could change that and put him on the right side.

    – He needs a ton of work considering his inconsistent 2015, but a lot of his issues could be pushed aside if his feet look good. He needs to show everyone the tools to work with.

    – The interview process has to go well. He’s going to need time and seasoning, and he’s going to need to show the GMs he’s worth the effort. He’s a killer, and that has to come through.

    10. Kyle Murphy, Stanford

    Pre-Combine Draft Projection: Third Round

    What He Needs To Prove

    – Does he have the raw athleticism to make up for his lack of size? He’s not bulky enough to be a guard in most schemes, but he might not be an NFL left tackle.

    – The bench is vital. He has to be a stronger, more powerful run blocker, but if he can crank out a big session in the weight room, it would answer a few of questions.

    – The short drills mean everything. He has to be quick, quick, quick. If he’s just mediocre through the cones, no one will quite know what to do with him.

    Other Offensive Tackles Invited To The Combine (alphabetically)

    Vadal Alexander, LSU (counted as a guard)
    Willie Beavers, Western Michigan
    Caleb Benenoch, UCLA
    Fahn Cooper, Ole Miss
    Joe Dahl, Washington State

    Spencer Drango, Baylor (counted as a guard)
    Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati
    Joe Haeg, North Dakota State
    Dominick Jackson, Alabama
    Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
    Denver Kirkland, Arkansas (counted as a guard)
    Alex Lewis, Nebraska
    Tyler Marz, Wisconsin
    Stephane Nembot, Colorado
    Rees Odhiambo, Boise State
    Dominique Robertson, West Georgia
    Brandon Shell, South Carolina
    Pearce Slater, San Diego State
    John Theus, Georgia
    Joe Thuney, NC State
    Cole Toner, Harvard
    Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU
    Cody Whitehair, Kansas State (counted as a guard)
    Avery Young, Auburn

    MORE: Ranking Quarterbacks Ahead Of NFL Combine

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