clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Top 5 Offensive Tackles in the 2016 NFL Draft

New, comments

Let's talk about protection...

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

People have been harping on the importance of adding youth to the offensive line for what seems like years now. Even after the addition of a young guard, Brandon Brooks, through free agency, many are still clamoring for the Eagles to invest premium picks into their offensive line. Frankly, it makes little sense. Taking a guard with a top ten pick where there are no doubt going to be more game changing players would be irresponsible. As for taking a tackle, there is only a slight chance the Eagles will have a shot at drafting the best tackle in the class and even then, it is a strange use of recourses.

The Eagles have their top two tackle spots locked up right now by young star, Lane Johnson and a future Hall of Famer in Jason Peters. Drafting a tackle top ten only to sit him for a year would be asinine when this team is in desperate need of impact players right now. This tackle class has some intriguing players at the top, but the drop off after the top three is pretty stark in terms of pro ready talent. So, if the Eagles were to (stupidly) invest a premium pick in a tackle, let's hope they make the right choice.

  1. Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss: The crème de la crème of this entire class is Laremy Tunsil. The Ole Miss tackle has immense size, strength and outstanding movement skills to match. He plays with an incredible mean streak and packs a major punch. While there are good offensive tackles, it is rare to find one who are so good that they can have a noticeable impact on a game. Tunsil is one of the rare few where his domination pops off the screen and he can transform an offense with his presence. If he is somehow available at eight, the Eagles should not think twice about picking him (Unless a certain Ohio State running back is there).

  2. Jason Spriggs, Indiana: Spriggs has been a favorite of mine for a while. After he absolutely blew up at the combine, he cemented himself in my heart. The 6-8, 305 pound tackle has immense athletic ability to pair with his gigantic frame. He is also very strong and has a mean streak to complement, but he has some rawness technically. His punch can be all over the place, which mitigates his natural strength and his height impacts his pad level. These are fixable issues, but it is important to recognize that despite having such high upside, Spriggs still has a ways to go.

  3. Taylor Decker, Ohio State: Taylor Decker has come a long way since getting his ass whooped as a freshman by some dude named Khalil Mack. Decker has turned himself into one of the most pro ready players in this class. Decker has good movement skills, but even better size and strength. He plays with a serious chip on his shoulder and loves to knock the crap out of defenders. His biggest weakness is as a run blocker, as he often has issues locating the right blocks in space. There is a clear ability to do it, but there is some mental rawness that needs honing. Decker is still an outstanding pass protector and I think he is the last of the first round talents at offensive tackle.

  4. Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: Stanley has been on the talk of the class for quite a while, but this passed season has raised some major red flags in his game. For one, he lacks a mean streak and because of his lack of natural strength, he is not exactly a tone setter. He has issues with powerful defenders, which is definitely a worry coming into the NFL. On top of all of that, he tested poorly at the combine. Initially, the tough was that Stanley was a top notch athlete, but my concern now is that he was playing light at Notre Dame and once he had to gain weight for the combine, he lost those movement skills. Stanley is a very cerebral player who plays with outstanding technique and awareness. He has quick feet and always seems to beat defenders to a spot to make a block. It is a concern to see how his strength and athletic ability translate to the NFL, but he has the refinement of an NFL tackle, he just needs to improve his physical tools.

  5. Jack Conklin, Michigan State: Out of what seems like nowhere, people are talking about Jack Conklin like he's the second coming of Jon Runyan. The Michigan State tackle has immense size and is a good athlete, so he definitely passes the eye test, but that is where my major compliments end. Conklin may come off as Tarzan, but he doesn't play like it. He is a strong player with a mean streak, but his poor technique both above and below the waste totally mitigate the impact of his athletic ability. His leverage, hand placement, footwork and awareness are all inconsistent at best and it's concerning. Of course, he has flashes of brilliance where people can be enamored with his upside, but they are too few and far between for me to be comfortable with him.