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2018 NFL Draft OG/C Rankings

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Ranking the draftable interior offensive line prospects from the 2018 class, out of Southern Pigskin's coverage area.

These rankings are comprised of what are the draftable/PFA worthy prospects from our coverage area here at Southern Pigskin -- the ACC, SEC, Sun Belt, and SoCon.

These rankings include a basic rundown of strengths and weaknesses, from the pre-combine rankings, plus new round projections, player comparisons, and a more in-depth summation of my personal opinion on each respective player.

Starting with the quarterbacks, they will be released one day at a time until all of the position groups are up. After that, they will be easily found in a comprehensive database from a homepage that includes an updated mock draft.

QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | IOL (OG/C) | EDGE (DE/3-4 OLB) | DL | LB | CB | S

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

1. Frank Ragnow, Arkansas: 6’5, 312

Strengths: Good size, strength for the position. Gets into defenders quickly after the snap and finds work at the next level. Excellent technique in every respect. As good a run blocker as it gets. Plus pass protector at center. Starting experience at both center and guard.

Weaknesses: Only average athleticism.

Player Comparison: Travis Frederick

IMO: How anyone could have another center ahead of Ragnow is beyond me. Everyone is raving about how we might have the best guard prospect in a generation in this class in Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson. Well, we might have the best center prospect in a while, too. He is, perhaps, the only player to have been the indisputable best at his position over the past two years in college football, when healthy, which, speaking of, shouldn’t be a concern, even with last year’s ankle injury. Not only are other no weaknesses to his game, it’s composed almost entirely of strengths -- one of which is that he’s quite strong. Even that little bit about his athleticism is just nitpicking. He is athletic enough to play in any scheme. Sure, he may struggle with quicker interior pass rushers, like Aaron Donald, but that’s something he has in common with every person that’s ever been born. Take this guy and be set at center for the next decade, starting that second.

Round Grade: Late 1st

2. Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech: 6’5, 314

Strengths: Well put together frame. A bully of a run blocker that doesn’t make many mistakes. Maybe the best pass blocking guard in college football over the last two years. Strength to handle bull rushing interior defenders.

Weaknesses: One of the most penalized offensive guards during his career. Won’t always look for more work when uncovered.

Player Comparison: Kevin Zeitler

IMO: This man is a bully, just ruining people’s days with regularity throughout his career. He’s been one of the best run blocking guards in the country since he was a freshman and significantly improved in pass protection as an upperclassman. He too will need to work on keeping a wider base to better deal with those quicker interior pass rushers, but other than that he’s going to be ready to roll from day one. Teller is being slept on. He’s got all the tools to be a great pro, and has been about as good as anyone could expect from a four year collegiate starter.

Round Grade: Late 1st

3. Braden Smith, Auburn: 6’6, 315

Strengths: Great frame for the position -- put together. Powerful mauler that can handle even the stronger interior lineman. Efficient pass blocker.

Weaknesses: Can be a little boom or bust as a run blocker. Efficient pass blocker, but it’s hard to judge the translatability from Auburn’s offense. Slow to recognize stunts and twists.

Player Comparison: Upper Middle Class Andrew Norwell

IMO: Braden, who hurt you? Did everyone you’ve ever played make a rude joke about your mother? If not, then I can’t understand what nearly every opponent you seemed to come across did to warrant their fate -- that being torn limb from limb, relentlessly, for four quarters. Smith is apparently made out of rocks, and not, like, little rocks, big rocks that can do 35 reps on the bench. He underwhelmed as a freshman, but ever since Braden Smith has been a consistent force for Auburn’s rushing attack. He gets after it from snap to whistle on every down and plays as strong as he looks and measured. He definitely swings for the fences, and often connects, but you would like to see him take a few less strikeouts. When he connects, though, it’s truly jarring. There’s some work to do in pass pro, although he was very effective in college, but his run blocking prowess is enough to get him drafted on its merits alone.

Round Grade: Late 2nd

4. Will Clapp, LSU: 6’4, 311

Strengths: Good size, if not weight distribution, for the interior offensive line. Superior football IQ, recognition skills. Extremely consistent producer at both guard and center from the time he was a redshirt freshman.

Weaknesses: Built more like tackle without the arm length or athleticism.

Player Comparison: Maurkice Pouncey

IMO: Clapp is like the clock on the wall. Three straight years of good, solid tape on this guy as both a pass protector and run blocker at guard and center. Smart and calculating, Clapp always appears to be in control, understands his limitations and plays to his strengths. If you aren’t looking for him he may not stand out; he’s not a mauler by any stretch, but he takes care of business. Plug and play guy at any position along the interior line.

Round Grade: Late 3rd

5. Colby Gossett, Appalachian State: 6’5, 311

Strengths: Good size. Elite run blocker. Gets out on screens well. Has experience at right tackle, too. Succeeds in maintaining blocks on five and seven step drops.

Weaknesses: Took a step back after a stellar 2016 campaign. Over penalized. Only average athleticism.

Player Comparison: JC Tretter

IMO: Hindsight is 20/20, but Gossett probably should’ve left for the NFL after last season. Unfortunately, his senior year was probably the worst of his career. On the bright side, he was still very good, so take that for what it’s worth. He has a ton of experience in a pretty easily translatable zone run scheme at App State, and has been one of the better run blockers in college football for his entire career, bar none. His experience at right tackle will offer some valuable roster flexibility, too. There’s some work to be done before Gossett is ready to start in the NFL, but he’s hardly a project. I wouldn’t even be against him jumping into the latter part of day two.

Round Grade: Early 4th

6. Tony Adams, NC State: 6’2, 322

Strengths: Strong, lower half build with plus footwork. Athletic enough to win and find work in the second level as a run blocker. Has the feet to improve as a pass blocker.

Weaknesses: Size could force a move to center. Was a perfect fit for NC State’s offense, how will he adapt to a different scheme? Gets beat in pass pro by longer pass rushers.

Player Comparison: Brett Jones

IMO: Tony Adams is above average in facet of the game, except for his size. Will it mean a move to center? Maybe, but not necessarily. That will be largely dependent upon scheme. The question for Adams is whether or not he can put it all together. He’s been, at times during his college career, a great pass blocker and a great run blocker, but not often simultaneously. Even so, he has shown steady progression from one season to the next, even with the high bar he set for himself as a freshman. His capacity for growth and the room he still has to improve makes him a pretty enticing prospect, size be damned.

Round Grade: Early 4th

7. Bradley Bozeman, Alabama: 6’5, 316

Strengths: Good size and strength for a center. Extremely well-rounded with few glaring holes in his game. Maintains adequate balance when run blocking, allowing him to recover and avoid missed blocks.

Weaknesses: His run blocking production has dropped more noticeably than would be anticipated against better competition.

Player Comparison: Spencer Long

IMO: Given his athletic limitations, it’s important that Bozeman find the right fit, schematically. It may not have bitten him too much at Alabama, but he had a lot of help from his friends there that he won’t get going forward. That said, technically, watching him is watching a master at work. That was enough to be good, occasionally even great, in the SEC, maybe it will be enough in the NFL.

Round Grade: Early 5th

8. Taylor Hearn, Clemson: 6’4, 320

Strengths: Great size for the position. Good, consistent pass blocker over the last two years. Solid run blocker with good strength.

Weaknesses: Could have used another year of college to polish some of his technical issues.

Player Comparison: Chase Roullier

IMO: Hearn is big, powerful, and well built for the position. He occupies so much space and gets such a strong intial punch that he can sometimes take his opponent out of the play right from the snap. He won’t get beat by a typical bull rush and moves well enough on pulls. Still, his athletic limitations cap his ultimate upside and interor pass rushers with even above average quickness will give him trouble.

Round Grade: Early 6th

9. Toby Weathersby, LSU: 6’4, 317

Strengths: Good size. Very smart. Effective pass blocker. Adequate play strength.

Weaknesses: Probably an average NFL run blocker, at best.

Player Comparison: Dion Dawkins

IMO: His body looks like that of a tackle squezzed into the frame of a guard. Even his athletic measurables profile more towards the interior, despite his tackle experience at LSU - of course, that versatility and the positional flexibility it offers could come in handy down the road. He’s got good size and proved to be a high level pass protector in college, but, boy, it’s like he’s got lead in his shoes. On tape it appears that he moves a little better than he measured, so it’s worth a second look, but his combine performance raises a couple of red flags. All things considered, the good tape on him is enough to overlook some of the concerns, though.

Round Grade: Mid 6th

10. Tyrone Crowder, Clemson: 6’2, 334

Strengths: Sturdily built with good base. One of the more effective pass bockers in CFB over the past two years. Strong enough to withstand interior bull rushers.

Weaknesses: Lacks the ideal length for an NFL offensive lineman. Questionable upside due to physical limitations.

Player Comparison: Gabe Jackson

IMO: Malone is like an enormous tree stump -- he plants his roots and doesn’t move without significant effort. He’s consistently competed against, and performed well against, high profile interior defenders, throughout his decorated collegiate career at Clemson. Physical limitations may keep him from ever being more than a stop gap solution or backup in the NFL, but he could stick on a number of teams for a while.

Round Grade: Late 6th

11. K.J. Malone, LSU: 6’4, 303

Strengths: NFL ready frame at guard. Powerful lower body. Has shown steady improvement as a pass blocker, lateral agility will accentuate that with a move inside.

Weaknesses: Played tackle throughout his career at LSU but will need to move to guard. Largely unpolished footwork. Doesn’t really get upfield as a run blocker.

Player Comparison: Kelvin Beachum

IMO: Malone, like his teammate Weathersby, was a tackle at LSU that will need to move inside. Unlike Weathersby, LSU’s offense was not one that played to his strong suits. Almost any NFL team will immediately be a better schematic fit. He missed about half of the 2017 season and really could have used those opportunites to showcase himseld, but Malone is absolutely worth a day three selection.

Round Grade: Late 6th

12. Austin Golson, Auburn: 6’5, 312

Strengths: Highly versatile, can play anywhere along the offensive line in a pinch, allowing for some roster flexibility. Plus awareness.

Weaknesses: Versatility may be his best asset. Well-rounded but doesn't excel at anything in particular.

Player Comparison: Less athletic Ethan Pocic

IMO: Golson can play any position on the offensive line in jus about any scheme, thanks to his length, size, and football IQ. That alone could help him earn an NFL paycheck for awhile, albeit in a reserve capacity. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none. He may never be a starter in the league, but there’s a place for him, nonetheless.

Round Grade: PFA

13. Rod Taylor, Ole Miss: 6’3, 320

Strengths: Good footwork, lateral agility. Has played both tackle and guard in college.

Weaknesses: Built more like a tackle than guard, without the length of a tackle.

Player Comparison: Jamon Brown

IMO: Taylor lacks the length to be a true tackle in the NFL, but his experience there could help him make a roster as someone that offers some positional flexibility that could fill in, in a pinch. He’s really agile for the position and works to the second level. There are questions coming out of Oxford about his maturity and work ethic, but if he can move past that, he has a decent chance to earn a spot on the right squad.

Round Grade: PFA

14. Cory Helms, South Carolina: 6’4, 309

Strengths: Big and strong enough for an NFL center. Elite recognition skills. Well-rounded producer as both a run and pass blocker. Experience at both guard and center during his career at Wake Forest and then South Carolina.

Weaknesses: Athletic limitations have seen him struggle against quicker interior pass rushers. Footwork needs improvement.

Player Comparison: James Stone

IMO: His multi-posiitonal experience will help him to compete for a roster spot. He’s highly intelligent and adaptable, and his recognition skills will endear him to any offensive line coach. His general lack of athleticism may do him in, in the long run, but he’s got the play strength to compete in the NFL, and maybe that cerebrality shines through under the right circumstances. Longer shots than Helms have carved out nice pro careers. He could do the same.

Round Grade: PFA

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP