With the focus on offensive linemen today during the opening media session of the NFL Scouting combine, this year’s top prospects set out to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga and Indiana’s Roger Saffold got points for having the most polished interview skills among the offensive tackle elite, as both were well-spoken and communicated effectively during their interview session.
Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis, who at one point had ballooned to 360 pounds during his college career, came in at a svelte-for-him 323 pounds, and has perhaps the most potential of becoming an elite pass blocker
Oklahoma offensive tackle Trent Williams’ arm length of 34 ½ inches solidified his candidacy as a left tackle in the league.
And Oklahoma State Russell Okung’s no-nonsense approach to answering questions during his interview session mirrored the tough and sometimes-nasty way he plays on the field, providing further evidence of the reason some draft experts think he’s the best tackle of the bunch.
It will be up to the Seattle Seahawks to wade through all the measurables and during the interview process figure out what offensive tackle will be the best fit for their team, with Walter Jones contemplating retirement and the Seattle sitting with the No. 6 and No 14 pick overall.
Or perhaps the Seahawks, with Alex Gibbs as the offensive line coach having a history of developing productive lines without a first-round pick, pass on a first-round tackle and selected someone like USC’s Charles Brown in round 2.
Here’s what Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, had to say about the top offensive tackle prospects.
“I think Bulaga is the safest out of the five prospects, regardless of the system or scheme,” Rang said. “If you’re looking for a left tackle that isn’t necessarily going to be a Pro Bowler ever, but is going to be a very solid player for a long, long time, I think he’s a great fit for just about any club that is looking for something like that.
“But if you’re looking for upside as far as being a great, pass-blocking left tackle that potentially can be a Pro Bowler, then Anthony Davis from Rutgers is probably your guy. He has incredible talent, he just more of a risk because he’s struggled with consistency throughout his career. He’s been benched at times because he hasn’t necessarily shown the work ethic. He’s struggled with his weight in the past, things like that.
“For my money, one of the safer picks is Russell Okung. This is a kid that played in the spread offense, so he certainly has experience pass blocking. He gave up one sack his entire senior year. But at the same time when you watch him on film he’s very physical in the run game. For Seattle in particular, I still think that Bulaga of those five is probably the safest bet.”
And here are the offensive tackle measurables for those five players. Remember, scouts generally like offensive tackles to have a 33-inch reach on their arms.
Charles Brown, USC
Arm length: 35 ¼
Hand size: 11 3/8
Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
Arm length: 33 ¼
Hand size: 9 ¼
Anthony Davis, Rutgers
Arm length: 34
Hand size: 10 1/8
Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
Arm length: 36
Hand size: 10 ½
Trent Williams, Oklahoma
Arm length: 34 ½”
Hand size: 9 ¾