-This is once again a strong Senior Bowl class of offensive tackles, headlined by Josh Jones, Trey Adams, and Prince Tega Wanogho who could all go in the top 2 rounds. Jones in particular is making a strong case to go in the 2nd half of the first round. He was a 4 year starter at Houston, and shows an impressive combination of length, strength and foot quickness. With a strong Senior Bowl week he can confirm all of that and push his way up draft boards. Jones should be viewed by teams as a Day 1 starter, capable at either tackle position.
Wanogho and Adams are both thought of as 2nd round talents and in the middle of that 2nd tier of offensive tackle prospects. It’s possible with a strong week, one or both move up into the late first round discussion. Both have the talent and upside to be 1st round picks and long term starters, but each have a bit of a concern that could make teams more wary. Adams has dealt with multiple major injuries in college, which is going to be a red flag for many teams. If he checks out medically though, he’s a potential plug-and-play option for a team. Wanogho is still relatively new to football, and has succeeded mainly due to raw skill and power. He has to work on his technique to succeed at the next level so he probably needs a year before you can really count on him. That outlook could change if he takes to NFL coaching this week and dominates.
Outside the big three this is still a very solid group. All of these guys are draftable and many should have long careers as at least back-up options at the next level. Herron, Adeniji, McKivitz and Heck all fit this bill as solid swing tackle options, with perhaps one of them developing into a full time starter. Matt Peart is one to really watch as an under-the-radar starting caliber tackle. He’s started all 4 years of college at guard and tackle and has an impressive length and footwork. He still needs to bulk up a bit and improve his hand usage, but it’s easy to see him becoming a solid starting tackle at the next level.
– While this year’s interior class doesn’t match last year’s group that had 2 first round picks, and a total of 6 players taken in the top 3 rounds (out of 12), there are still some names to watch. Nick Harris and Lloyd Cushenberry are a pair of center prospects who both could be 2nd or 3rd round picks and day 1 starters at the NFL level. Cushenberry started every game at center for LSU the past two seasons and was a big part of why the Tigers won the best offensive line in the country award. He’s got good size and strength and shows really advanced technique. He’s a smart center who thrived versus some elite competition this season. With a strong week he could even make the case for a late first round pick.
Nick Harris looks like another top level center, who could rise with a strong week of practice. He’s a three year starter at both guard and center from Washington. Harris was first team Pac-12 this year and a 2nd team SI All-American. The knock on Harris is he’s a bit on the smaller side, but if he can hold his own versus a strong group of defensive linemen it will help ease those concerns.
Matt Hennessy from Temple is another center rising up draft boards entering this week. Hennessy was a three-year starter for the Owls and is one of the better technicians in this class. He’s pretty quick and understands leverage, but he also hasn’t faced a lot of high level competition. The big question for him will be how he handles power rushers this week.
Among the guards there are a number of intriguing guys, but two in particular stand out in Simpson and Bredeson. Bredeson has started 45 games at guard in his career at Michigan, earning a number of conference and national awards in that time. He’s got really good footwork and uses his hands to control pass rushers. Bredeson looks like a 3rd/4th round pick who could push to start as a rookie. He’s better in pass protection right now than run blocking, but that shouldn’t be too much of a concern for NFL teams.
Simpson is an interesting case as he wasn’t even a full-time starter until 2018, just getting spot duty his first two years at Clemson. In 2018 Simpson looked like a solid starting guard that helped Clemson win a National Title. His draft prospects entering the year had him in the late round/UDFA range. Now that outlook has completely changed after a breakout senior campaign. Simpson was dominant throughout the year, and was an Outland Trophy Finalist and Consensus All-American. He plays with excellent power and has really improved his technique. With a strong week he could be a real “riser” and enter the top 50 discussion.