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I’ve been with Pewter Report for 2.5 weeks now, and one thing I’ve learned in a very short amount of time is that Bucs fans want the offensive line addressed in Round 1, and not a moment later. If the value is there, it’s really difficult to disagree with that perspective.

I’ve scouted ten tackles so far in this class, and by the time the draft has arrived I’ll have looked at almost every game of the following players’ final collegiate season, and several games from earlier in their careers too. You’re going to know these offensive tackle options inside and out, so whenever the team drafts one, you’ll know what to expect.

This tackle class has the potential to be incredible, but there are few positions that require more coaching and refinement in the NFL than this one. Because collegiate offenses are often run-heavy or don’t require pro-style pass sets for their arial attack to operate, projecting tackles to success in the NFL usually requires a healthy amount of risk. Add to that the fact that many of them are going from rarely facing a quality edge pass rusher to facing outstanding talents every week, and it’s a tough position to play well in the NFL without a few years of experience.

To me, OT1 on this list is in a tier of his own, followed by a glut at 2-5 that is going to take me all draft season to really sort out. Is Tristan Wirfs going to measure more like a guard at the Combine? Am I willing to overlook Josh Jones’ lack of facing elite competition on tape, or Mekhi Becton’s unusually low number of true pass sets to put them higher than a more battled-tested, lower ceiling player in Andrew Thomas?

Time will tell. For now, here’s my Pre-Combine ranking of the ten offensive tackles I’ve scouted thus far.

10. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
There are a lot of tools here, but the inconsistency is extremely real. Wanogho has all the physical traits and is a good raw athlete, but he is very much still figuring out how to use all of his gifts functionally as an offensive tackle. He gets a late start on some of his pass sets and can fall behind speed rushers while defending the edge. I’m going to keep studying him, but early impressions are that he’ll need a year or two to develop and a really good offensive line coach before he’s going to see the field in the NFL.

9. Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I’m not sure I get the allure with Jackson in his current projection as a consensus top 40-50 player in the class. His body needs work, he short sets far too often and doesn’t have the power or athleticism to suggest a high ceiling even if those things come along. Jackson is also often a beat late off the snap, causing speed rushers to blow by him and forcing him to abandon proper footwork early in the rep. In the run game he struggles to sustain blocks and consistently was beaten through his gap on zone runs.

Jackson has excellent length and there are flashes of play that are intriguing, but he benefited from playing a lot of fronts that didn’t always have a defender rushing on his outside hip. In games against quality pass rush competition in Bradlee Anae and A.J. Epenesa, Jackson struggled mightily. He’s not as far away as Wanogho, but he’s still going to need time.

8. Saahdiq Charles, LSU
Depending on how bad the character reports on Charles are, he could end up a Round 3 selection or go undrafted. If the latter occurs, it certainly won’t be because of talent, as Charles’ athleticism and flexibility are among the best in the class. After three years as a starter I really hoped he would be more consistent on tape, but Charles still wins on strength and mobility more than hand technique and footwork. He’s a little bit of a project and therefore a big risk even outside of the character concerns, but his high-end flashes at the position are pretty jaw-dropping too.

7. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Wilson was such a pleasant surprise on tape. Sure, there are some limitations to his game, but his size, length and power make up for a lot. That will obviously be tough to replicate in the NFL where everyone is bigger and stronger, but Wilson is a mammoth tackle at 6-6, 340. Like Becton, Wilson also moves surprisingly well for his size, showing clean and explosive pass sets and above-average ability to re-direct. He’s careful with his strikes too, showing some nuance in the way he attacks defenders’ hands and reads their pass rush plan.

Where Wilson can fall short is against top-tier speed rushers, as they’ll push him into oversets and open up counters inside. K’Lavon Chaisson cooked him with three inside spins in their matchup this past season. Wilson is also inconsistent with his footwork, at times not gaining enough ground on his first step and failing to establish a half-man relationship with the edge defender. That’ll screw you up fast against the speed he’ll face in the NFL.

He may always have some athletic limitations in pass pro and he needs to clean up some things technically in the run game, but I think he can be an early starting right tackle in the NFL despite just two years of on-field college football experience. More tape study needs to be done here too, as I’ve only studied three games so far (Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina).

6. Lucas Niang, TCU
2019 Niang is not as good as 2018 Niang, and I’m not sure what to make of that just yet. I’m sure that the backpedaling pass sets were a thing he was being told to do in TCU’s offense this past season, but they were a far cry from his beautiful vertical sets in 2018, which he used to shut down Chase Young and Nick Bosa.

Niang is smart, competes hard every snap and has enough physical and athletic tools to be scheme diverse and effective in both the run and pass game. The big questions are the development of his pass set, his ability to play with consistent leverage and a propensity to fall off blocks at all levels at times. Niang at his best is a starting caliber right tackle, but he might need to get into better shape and improve his footwork before sitting atop a depth chart in the NFL.

5. Josh Jones, Houston
To me the top five offensive tackles in this class are extremely obvious, with Jones checking in as my fifth (for now). I don’t think the Houston senior is an elite athlete, but he certainly checks the box in that area while also showing the body control and flexibility that I covet even more at the position.

Jones tape can get kinda of boring because he just doesn’t get beat. Granted, he was rarely tested by Houston’s opponents, but his consistency and physicality as a pass protector stood out against everyone, especially Oklahoma. He was also by far the best offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, dominating most 1v1 matchups and playing lights out in the team periods.

I’m a really big fan of Jones, but two things hold me back from ranking him second or third on this list: 1. Houston’s offense often had him doing some pretty wonky backpedal pass sets, which won’t work in the NFL. And while Jones’ has examples of really pretty pass sets and footwork too, there is some consistency missing there. 2. Jones really didn’t face a lot of NFL-caliber pass rushers this past season, which isn’t his fault at all, but I’m gonna need to look at almost every one of his games before finalizing his grade in order to see him against various types of rushers, fronts and games up front. Right now, I’m only three games in (Washington State, Oklahoma, Cincinnati).

4. Mekhi Becton, Louisville
As long as we’re all comfortable admitting that Mekhi Becton is a big projection to the NFL given the simplistic passing attack he operated in at Louisville as well as the zone-heavy run game, I’ll get on board with the risk takers. Becton may not have taken many true pass sets at Louisville, but the ones he has taken are cash money.

Not only is Becton nimble and smooth on his feet despite being massive, his attention to detail to frame up rushers and establish half-man off the snap is really sound. He’ll be susceptible to speed-counters early on, but his length and athleticism are going to make him a nightmare to corner on, which will eventually lead to him sitting on inside moves. There’s a definite risk with Becton, especially if he lands in a downfield passing attack (like Tampa Bay’s), but I’m putting my chips down on him figuring it out.

P.S. Becton’s grading is almost neck-and-neck with Thomas and Wirfs, but I need to see his testing and get some more All-22 tape of him before I’m ready to make that jump.

3. Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Thomas enjoyed a terrific career at Georgia, but concerns about his process have bumped him down my board a little bit. He’s big, tough and can create movement in the run game, but inconsistencies in his game arose due to playing too high (low man wins!) and not having the feet to match elite speed and bend up the arc. Thomas may need some help against certain matchups in the NFL, but his technique and strength will help him contribute early on. My full scouting report on Thomas is here.

2. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
I think Wirfs is one of the hardest players in this class to figure out. I want to like him so badly, because his football character, work ethic, frame, athleticism and power all seem absolutely elite for the position. And he hails from Iowa, a program known for their development of NFL-caliber offensive linemen.

But Wirfs’ tape is underwhelming compared to expectations, especially when you consider there is a good chance he’s the top offensive lineman off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft. Wirfs high-end flashes are outstanding, but his footwork in pass protection is wildly inconsistent, from short sets to oversets to almost crossing his feet at times. Wirfs needs to learn to play at full speed and explosiveness all the time, in all of his movements. He’s not aggressive enough in the run or pass game to consistently maximize all his tools, but maybe that confidence hasn’t clicked into his game yet? I don’t know.

He’s a guy that is really hard for me to bet against despite the concerns. I just think he’s going to figure out the technique issues and eventually reach his peak at the next level, but the landing spot and coaching staff he ends up with will be key. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Wirfs’ best football comes at offensive guard, where he can forget the greater attention to detail that offensive tackle requires in regards to footwork and not be as concerned with his lack of elite length on the edge. I think he’ll eventually be the second-best offensive lineman in the draft, but he is a riskier selection than most draft projections would indicate.

1. Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Not only do I believe Jedrick Wills is the clear-cut top offensive tackle in the class, I also believe he’s one of the best overall players in the class as well. Wills possesses all the important traits a top-tier tackle prospect should, as an elite athlete with special footwork and the nastiness and power to finish in all phases of the game. He’s also been battle-tested against the top competition in the country and was still dominant, especially in his 2019 tape. It doesn’t hurt that Alabama’s offense asked him to do a ton of stuff that NFL offenses will ask of him too, from varying his pass sets to a versatile rushing scheme.

Most offensive tackles at the college level aren’t easy to project to the NFL. Wills is. The junior’s lack of elite length is likely the only thing giving teams pause from making him the first offensive lineman off the board in April, and his tape provided ample evidence of the work he can do against quality competition despite shorter arms than most tackles.

Still Need To Watch: Ezra Cleveland, Boise State | Jack Driscoll, Auburn | Ben Bartch, St. Johns | Trey Adams, Washington | Matt Peart, UCONN | Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson | Alex Taylor, South Carolina State

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

Even if the Bucs address OT in free agency I would hope the Bucs take a shot with Charles or even Wilson.

To me the Bucs coaching staff may not like starting rookies on the OL, but having rookies developing and learning a few years before the step into the lineup is very appealing from my view. First because of depth and second because of salary cap ramifications by having young players in the wings on cheap rookie deals.

awwdembucs
1 year ago

Sigh Conklin RT.

awwdembucs
1 year ago

Has this site been hacked?

fredster
1 year ago

O line been an issue for long time and no depth. I’d explore Conklin and still target another OT early for depth or future starter.

BucRy
1 year ago

I like the idea of getting Conklin at RT. We could then hold off on reaching for the 4th or 5th best offensive tackle in the draft at 14. At least 3 of them will get drafted before us, so I’d rather maximize our value at 14 and get one of the top defensive players with our pick. We definitely should still draft an offensive linemen with our later picks.

geno711
1 year ago

Jon, I think we agree on offensive lineman and esp. tackles more than anything. Glad to see your rating of Wills as the absolute no doubt #1 and Austin Jackson moved all the way down to #9. Conklin would be an upgrade but I just do not think he is special either so I would not spend the money on him. I would spend are salary cap dollars elsewhere – our defensive guys and hope to get a tackle this year in the draft. Best class of tackles in last 20 years. It was smart to not reach for offensive… Read more »

BigSombrero
1 year ago

I’m a Lucas Niang guy. He’s the right player at the right spot in the 3rd round. Played in the south so heat shouldn’t be a factor and his size is elite.

e
e
1 year ago

Natane Muti an interesting OG option as well?

seat26
1 year ago

Draft Offensive lineman often and early. Just like we did the secondary. It will pay off with quality starters and quality back-ups.

Alldaway 2.0
1 year ago

I guess the double dip of DBs worked last year so double dipping on OTs would be an interesting strategy. Bucs do have an extra fourth rounder to work with so anything is possible.

BDOG
1 year ago

Drafting OL in 2020 draft is NOT getting BUCS to playoffs, especially at #14! OL pic will not get us to playoffs. Bring back Doty, and keep developing OL talent. We need to draft dominant DL, (see SF 49ers). Praying KINLAW still available at #14, but likely not, bc will be gone. BUCS losing bc Winston turnovers, and Defense cant stop anyone! BA knows D most important, so hope we keep drafting Defense. 1st RD-J KINLAW, 2nd RD-R BLACKLOCK, 3rd RD-J ELLIOTT.

Spitfire
1 year ago

It’s that attitude that leaves you without an Oline. You can’t never draft Oline. Developing Oline comes from Drafting good ones and developing them. With a better Oline, everything gets better on Offense. Drafted Olineman may not be Pro Bowlers game one, but if they are ready to start, it very well could be what gets us to the playoffs. Drafting a Dlineman this year to sit behind Barrett JPP Vea and Suh won’t get us there by itself either.

Wausa
1 year ago

I do not understand the love for Wirfs. He is on the ground a lot and seems to whiff on numerous blocks. Watch his tape against Michigan. He looks awful in that game. Becton is a far superior prospect from what I have seen.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

I agree with Bruce Arians regarding drafting offensive lineman, even if most Bucs fans and media members do not understand that there is no “PLUG AND PLAY” options. Drafting an offensive lineman in the first few rounds benefits the NEXT coach (if they’re lucky). Linemen have to be developed in live action with pads, not shorts and shells. Under the current CBA and the proposed new CBA, there isn’t enough contact to get rookies up to speed in OTAs, mini-camps, training camp, and the preseason. Drafting any offensive lineman and expecting them to hold down the tackle spot in today’s… Read more »

geno711
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Fair enough point. I do think it takes most offensive lineman some time. However, not all offensive lineman take time to develop and this year has some special talent there. New Orleans has seemed to hit with drafting offensive lineman early though. Erik McCoy 2019 immediate starter, Ryan Ramczyk 2017 immediate starter. They have a pro-bowl offensive line and 4 of their 5 starters were drafted by the team. Last year was a bad class for offensive line but Nelson, McGlinchey, Kolton Miller, Frank Ragnow, Connor Williams and Brian O’Neill were all picked in 2018 early and seem like better… Read more »

fanofdabucs
1 year ago

Andrew Thomas and Willis are my top 2 OTs.

Thomas is a plug and play RT who loves to run block. Something we haven’t had at RT in a long time. Sure he needs polish is pass pro, but has the talent to be a solid pass protector.

If those two guys are gone at 14, then I hope the Bucs shift their focus to the DL and go BPA or trade down if there is an opportunity.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

@Wausa I’ve been saying the same thing about Wirfs. He’s always off balance and/or on the ground, and that’s against inferior competition with very few pass sets. In the NFL, they wll eat his lunch. The other argument for Wirfs is his great size, which is funny considering he is EXACTLY the same size as Caleb Benenoch coming out of UCLA. When I watch college tape of Wirfs, I see Benenoch 2.0. Way tooooo risky to spend #14 on him. I hope Bruce Arians steers Jason Licht away from this future project with high bust potential. There will be some… Read more »

Wausa
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

:

I agree. Knowing the Bucs have a desperate need at RT I have watched Wirfs with the hope of seeing a dominant tackle. Unfortunately, he has a lot of disappointing tape.
Becton looks like the most dominant of all the top tackles, but I doubt he makes it to the Bucs selection.
I think there is a strong chance the Bucs go defense and wait until round two to address RT if Willis and Becton are gone when the Bucs first round selection is made.

surferdudes
1 year ago

Q. Nelson, rookie pro bowl guard, and all pro. First 2 years pro bowler. So much for using a 1st round pick on an O linemen, and it not working out. Charles from LSU, what his off field problems? Maybe worth a 3rd round pick.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

@surferdudes Nice call on Q. Nelson. So I guess you’re reasoning that all players drafted in the first round on the line are just as good as Nelson? Lets take a look at last year’s highly regarded class. Which of these 1st round offensive linemen went to the Pro Bowl in their first year? Jonah Williams? Andre Dillard? Tytus Howard? Caleb McGary? Chris Lindstrom? Garrett Bradbury? Only 2 of 6 played in all 16 games last year: McGary and Bradbury. None of the 6 made the pro bowl. Two missed the entire season with injuries at the start of camp… Read more »

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Lets look at 2018 draft class of linemen where Nelson was drafted…

Nelson? Pro bowler
Mike McGlinchey? No
Colton Miller? No
Frank Ragnow? No
Billy Price? No
Isaiah Wynn? No

geno711
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Nelson, McGlinchey, Kolton Miller, Frank Ragnow, Connor Williams and Brian O’Neill were all picked in 2018 early and seem like better offensive line picks than the Running back picks that year: Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, Keryyon Johnson, Derrius Guice, etc. You are shouting for running backs. Very high odds that all those offensive lineman will be playing for the next 5 years. Not true for the running backs. I am ok with picking a running back if it is value. Not seeing the value of a running back in the 1st round this year at the 14th pick. My non… Read more »

BigSombrero
1 year ago

2017 first round offensive linemen drafted with a pro bowl appearance in their first year… Garrett Bolles? No Ryab Ramczyk? No 2016 first round OL w/ a probowl as of yet… Ronnie Stanley? No Jack Conklin? No Taylor Decker? No Laremy Tunsil? No Ryan Kelly? No Josh Garnett? No Germain Ifedi? No ………………………. So thats the last 4 years and 1 out of 21 that made a pro bowl in their first year. The players drafted in 2016 have gotten better and some were named to the pro bowl in subsequent years. Ryan Kelly, Ronnie Stanley, and Laremy Tunsil eventually… Read more »

BigSombrero
1 year ago

One last quick point about ALL PRO selections Q. Nelson and R. Stanley.

They were the first drafted lineman in the class. They were the safest, surest most complete players with the least questions. They had size, feet, tenacity, etc, etc.

Will the Bucs catapult into the top 6 to draft Wills? Is he on par with Nelson and Stanley?

The answer to that should be an obvious “no”.

But I digress, keep on beating the drum for a right guard or right tackle in round 1.

Spitfire
1 year ago

You wanna keep getting value late round Olineman, then you end up with guys like Smith and Dotson, who are good enough and/or hard working enough to start over other late round draft picks but never give you a great line. Guys like Marpet are a diamond in the rough but far from common. If all Olineman take time to develops into pros then in the end when they finally make it to the starting lineup you are left with the talent and I’d rather have better talent waiting to come in than Day 3 or Undrafted talent. Continuing to… Read more »

Spitfire
1 year ago

Also, there are plenty of Dlinemen prospects that got drafted and couldn’t start year one and never panned our either. Switching focus to Dline doesn’t guarantee a better prospect or starter or playoffs.

Horse
1 year ago

Jon, that you did putting out OL info.
I think we trade down a few spots and do a BPA.

SenileSenior
1 year ago

OL and DL are my top priorities. However I tend to agree with Big Sombrero here.

First round Javon Kinlaw DT is my target. Otherwise K’Lavon Chaisson Edge, Xavier McKinney DB or Yetur Gross-Matos Edge in that order.

Second round we should grab Isaiah Wilson OT.

Third round we should go for a RB. In the fourth we should get another OL then a WR.

Use any lower picks for maneuvering in the draft as necessary.

SenileSenior
1 year ago

Bruce Arians has said he sees drafting OL as being for the next HC. He probably won’t mind doing it here as he is supposed to be grooming at least three of his staff as potential replacements when he steps down.

Surely he is not that short-sighted and selfish.

In BA I Trust!

awwdembucs
1 year ago

Every O linemen drafted in the 1st round. Probably want be a pro bowler the 1st year. But the right side of the Bucs needs to be addressed!

BigSombrero
1 year ago

@Spitfire I’ll try not to use BA’s quote any more. I will use his previous actions though. He redshirted DJ Humphries for his rookie year and declared him inactive all 16 weeks – coaches decision. DJ was his last 1st round selection. Prior to that it was Jonathan Cooper I think. He’s been burned bad by first round linemen. I just don’t see him pulling that trigger. I really dont think Tampa needs an overhaul. I think they need 1 veteran at RT, whether its Dotson or someone else. There will be about 6 decent tackles available (Conklin, RFA Feller,… Read more »

seat26
1 year ago

They will draft both OL and DL probably 1st and 2nd round. In either order. Not making the offensive line a priority would be a big mistake. Dotson is hanging by a thread. He had a good run, but he is done. Smith is at best average, his strongest suit being that he rarely misses snaps and stays relatively healthy. Our depth is weak. Because of the Suh situation and the possibility of Nassib or JPP or both moving on, they obviously will likely have to get a fresh body in the draft. I predict they will pick up a… Read more »

revfish
1 year ago

Good work Jon!

I would like a quarterback on day two, but if Charles drops as you say is a possibility, it seems like a no lose situation to take him in the fourth or fifth round.

Outside of Thomas, I take any of the top five. For Jones out of Houston you may wanna trade down a few spots.

Hockey Duckie
1 year ago

Geno711 wrote: “Best class of tackles in last 20 years. It was smart to not reach for offensive lineman last draft year because it was not a good class for offensive lineman. It would be smart to draft offensive lineman this year because it is a good class. Hopefully, we do not miss out.” The Bucs had a shot at OG/OT Risner (LG for Den), C/G Jenkins (G for GB), and C McCoy (C for NO). In fact, Risner played RT in college. So he could have played RG in 2019 and moved to RT in 2020. Risner posted a… Read more »

Spitfire
1 year ago

Haha, I wasn’t saying don’t use his quotes, just that you’ve mentioned that one a few times. I’m not saying that’s not his philosophy, I’m just saying if every coach thought that then no coach would ever draft Olineman and you are left with a sub par line. We have neglected it for so long now. We need to start drafting Olineman high and often so we aren’t working from behind like we are. Doesn’t mean Arians won’t stand by his theory, I just hope he doesn’t because it’s short sighted.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Bucs Superbowl winning team had Kenyatta Walker, the last lineman the Bucs drafted in the first round. Hopefully the Bucs will draft another perennial all pro superstar like Walker to lead the Bucs to another Superbowl this year!! He was a big reason the team finally averaged 21 points per game (including defensive scores), good for 18th in the league.

Just joking with you.

Obviously most Bucs fans hated that pick and were happy when his run was over.

GoldsonAges
1 year ago

Josh Jones is at worst the 2nd best OT in this class. Would love to get Jones in the 1st he is gonna be a good one.

Also, Ramczyk may not have made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but he was the highest graded tackle since Joe Thomas his 1st two seasons so if you’re trying to say he isn’t a good player because he missed the Pro Bowl as a rookie you are off the mark

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