Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Height: 6-5. Weight: 325. Arm: 33.75. Projected 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2018): Top-10. 4/14/18: Nelson is the most talented and polished offensive lineman in the 2018 NFL Draft class, regardless of position. He also is the safest prospect in the draft class. Some team sources think that Nelson could be the best guard in the NFL early in his pro career and could be better than former Patriots All-Pro Logan Mankins. Some have higher grades on Nelson than they did on Mankins, David DeCastro or Brandon Scherff.
Nelson dominated for Notre Dame in 2017, showing the ability to overwhelm defensive linemen as a run blocker and pass protector. After surveying sources from around the league, including multiple general managers, Nelson is a consensus elite prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. However, he might go behind lesser prospects in the draft just because he is a guard and many teams don't value guards that high.
7/17/17: Nelson was dominant in 2016 and could have been a first-round pick if he had entered the 2017 NFL Draft. Nelson is strong at the point of attack to open holes in the ground game and athletic in pass protection. He was excellent at protecting quarterback DeShone Kizer in 2016. Sources said that Nelson was receiving first-round grades, and one national scout told WalterFootball.com that they think Nelson is a future Pro Bowler similar to Logan Mankins when he came into the NFL.
Nelson broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore and did an impressive job of opening holes for C.J. Prosise. As a freshman in 2014, Nelson was on the scout team. Going into the 2017 season, he is a true senior who has really impressed NFL scouts.
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 305. Arm: 32. Projected 40 Time: 5.34. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 4/24/18: Price tore a pectoral muscle while bench pressing at the combine. The injury should not have a big impact on his rookie year.
Price impressed NFL evaluators, both with his work in fall training camp and in the games of the 2017 season. They say that Price plays within himself. They like his awareness and call him an above-average athlete. He isn't overly fast or twitchy like the Pouncey brothers, but Price has movement skills and is better than average in space. The sources also like that Price handles big nose tackles well, which can be difficult for centers and is a hard-to-find talent. As a result of his well-balanced play, Price is being viewed as a prospect who could go in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. One team source thought that if Josh Garnett and Laken Tomlinson were worthy of first-round picks, then Price could be as well because they feel Price is a better prospect than either of Garnett or Tomlinson. Teams are projecting Price to be a starting center in the NFL.
7/17/17: Price had problems with penalties in 2016, including three in the season opener, but blocked well for the Buckeyes. He has size and some athleticism at the point of attack. His run blocking is ahead of his pass protection. The junior was wise to return for his senior year, which should help improve his pass blocking.
Price broke into the starting lineup in 2014, and his play has steadily improved. In the ground game, he helped open a lot of holes for Ezekiel Elliott while becoming more reliable in pass protection. Price has upside and could easily rise in these rankings during the 2017 season.
Isaiah Wynn, G/C/OT, Georgia
Height: 6-2. Weight: 308. Arm: 33.13. Hand: 8.5. Projected 40 Time: 5.10. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 4/24/18: In speaking with sources at six teams, they were split on if Wynn would end up being a first-round pick or go as an early second-round pick. Wynn impressed scouts in 2017 as an excellent run blocker for the Bulldogs. He blocks with aggression and has a temperament that is hard to find in college blockers. In pass protection, Wynn was very dependable as well. He performed well at the Senior Bowl practices, but did not work out at the combine.
Because he is shorter and doesn't have ideal length, most sources think that Wynn could move to guard or center in the NFL. Wynn started at left guard in 2016, but scouts think he is athletic enough to also play center. Wynn's size and skill set has drawn comparisons to Kelvin Beachum, who is undersized but has managed to carve out a career at left tackle in the NFL. Wynn is just a natural football player who finds a way to get the job done, thus he might end be able to get by at left tackle. However, his best position as a pro could come at guard or center.
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Height: 6-2. Weight: 340. Arm: 32.38. Hand: 9.75. 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 4/14/18: Hernandez has a shot at sneaking into the end of the first round, and he shouldn't last long if gets to the second round.
At the combine, Hernandez had an impressive workout with a faster than expected time in the 40-yard dash. Hernandez looks like a lock for the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft if he falls out of Round 1. He is a bull dozer in the ground game, routinely pushing defenders out of their gaps. Hernandez is very strong at the point of attack with a heavy base to help him get movement at the point of attack. He is shorter and lacks length compared to a lot of starting guards in the NFL, but he makes up for it with overwhelming strength.
Hernandez could use work on his pass protection for the NFL as he can have issues with speed and length. His strong base allows him to anchor well against bull rushes. Fast interior rushers and defensive ends who move inside in the sub package will be a challenge for Hernandez, but he has the potential to improve there to become a force as a starting guard in the NFL. He would fit best in a power-man scheme rather than a zone scheme.
Hernandez created some buzz last fall when SI's Bruce Feldman wrote that he had heard that Hernandez was the top guard prospect. In reaching out to some team sources, they had Hernandez behind Quenton Nelson.
Frank Ragnow, G/C, Arkansas
Height: 6-4. Weight: 307. Arm: 33.25. Hand: 9.13. Projected 40 Time: 5.24. Projected Round (2018): 1-2. 4/24/18: Ragnow played well for Arkansas in 2017 before a high ankle sprain ended his season early. The injury required surgery, but Ragnow should be ready for the start of the 2018 season. Ragnow had a late rise, and some team sources say they think that Ragnow could be a late first-round pick. If he slips out of the first round, Ragnow could easily go in the second round. He is a strong blocker at the point of attack who is a developed technician with the ability to play guard or center.
7/17/17: Ragnow could be in the running to be one of the top center prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons, he hasn't allowed a single sack while taking on excellent competition. As one can expect coming from Arkansas, Ragnow is also a tough run blocker. He is a technician who enters his senior year having made 26 straight starts. As a sophomore, Ragnow was the Razorbacks starter at right guard. He has the size to be a guard or center in the NFL.
Braden Smith, G, Auburn
Height: 6-6. Weight: 315. Arm: 32.25. 40 Time: 5.22. Projected Round (2018): 2-3. 4/24/18: Smith had a respectable workout at the combine. He impressed in the bench press with 35 reps, but never played that strong and could use more functional strength for generating movement at the point of attack. Still, Smith is a solid player who is well-balanced as a run blocker and pass protector. He has a pro skill set with size, length and athleticism. Sources say that Smith is receiving second-day grades for the 2018 NFL Draft, and many teams believe he will be a second-round pick.
Smith was very good for Auburn in the back half of the season as he helped open a lot of holes for running back Kerryon Johnson. In Week 2, he was beaten for a sack by Clemson's Christian Wilkins, a future first-round pick, but Smith also had a lot of nice plays against Wilkins and Clemson nose tackle Dexter Lawrence. After that outing, Smith was rock solid for the Tigers.
7/17/17: The Auburn offensive line came together during the 2016 season and formed a solid blocking front for the Tigers. Smith could have been their best blocker and was an All-SEC second-team selection by the conference's coaches. Smith has been a mainstay in the lineup at guard, having 27 consecutive starts. He has some athleticism, and continuing to add strength to push NFL defensive linemen is necessary for him to rise.
Scott Quessenberry, G/C, UCLA
Height: 6-3. Weight: 314. Arm: 32.75. Hand: 9.63. 40 Time: 5.09. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Quessenberry was decent for UCLA in 2017. He was very good in the second half of the opener to help the Bruins pull off their legendary comeback over Texas A&M. Quessenberry is an okay athlete, but could stand to improve his run blocking for the NFL. Generally, he was a reliable pass protector for Josh Rosen.
7/17/17: Quessenberry was UCLA's starting center in 2016 and did a nice job. He saw game action as a sophomore and freshman before missing the 2015 season. Quessenberry has the size to play guard or center in the NFL.
Sean Welsh, G/C, Iowa
Height: 6-2 Weight: 296. Arm: 32.13. Hand: 10.25. 40 Time: 5.43. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Iowa has consistently produced NFL talent, and Welsh is the latest Hawkeye who has impressed evaluators enough to receive professional consideration. Welsh made some starts at right tackle during his collegiate career and logged time at center, but mostly he started at guard. For the NFL, Welsh is a guard, although he almost certainly will be cross-trained at center to make him more versatile and valuable on game days. Welsh played well enough over 2017 to earn a Senior Bowl invitation, but he didn't impress in Mobile.
Skyler Phillips, G, Idaho State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 314. Arm: 32.63. Hand: 9.63. 40 Time: 5.10. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Phillips has good bulk to his frame while being a bit shorter and lacking ideal length for the NFL. However, he impressed evaluators enough to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, although he didn't impress there. Phillips is still going to need to develop at the pro level as a backup before being ready to play. He played in just four games in 2016 because of injury.
Colby Gossett, G, Appalachian State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 304. Arm: 33.25. Hand: 10. 40 Time: 5.20. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Gossett started 46 straight games for Appalachian State. As a senior, he didn't allow a sack and had three penalties all year. Over the past two seasons, Gossett was a power right guard. He will need development to handle speedy interior rushers in the NFL.
Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-4. Weight: 311. Arm: 33.88. Hand: 10.13. 40 Time: 5.24. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Teller put together a strong senior season to earn all-conference awards while also getting an invitation to the Senior Bowl. He has good size for an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. Showing the ability to create movement in the ground game and handle interior speed rushers in the pass-rushing one-on-ones was critical for Teller in Mobile, but he didn't help himself.
Sam Jones*, G, Arizona State
Height: 6-5. Weight: 305. Arm: 31. 40 Time: 5.32. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Jones is an athletic and quick interior lineman who had a quality 2017 season for Arizona State. As a sophomore, he saw some action at left tackle, and for the NFL, he might be better off moving to center. Jones will need to get bigger and stronger for taking on NFL defensive linemen. He probably should have returned to Arizona State to develop, but Jones decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Will Clapp*, G/C, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 311. Arm: 31.25. 40 Time: 5.39. Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 4/24/18: Clapp was solid for LSU in 2017. His run blocking is ahead of his pass blocking at this point. Clapp has an NFL frame, but could use more development. He should've returned to LSU, but he declared for the 2018 NFL Draft. Some team sources have told me they gave Clapp a third-day grade.
7/17/17: One could argue that Clapp was LSU's best interior lineman over Ethan Pocic in 2016. Clapp has dealt with a shoulder injury, but the plan is for him to be the starting center for the Tigers in 2017. He is a tough run blocker at the point of attack and reliable in pass protection.
Rod Taylor, G/OT, Ole Miss
Height: 6-3. Weight: 321. Arm: 34.25. 40 Time: 5.24. Projected Round (2018): 5-7. 4/24/18: Taylor started at right tackle for Ole Miss as a senior and was a steady performer for the Rebels. He had seven starts at left tackle in 2016 and started a few games at guard as a sophomore. For the NFL, Taylor's body type projects to him competing at guard rather than tackle.
Taylor Hearn*, G, Clemson
Height: 6-4. Weight: 319. Arm: 33.38. Hand: 8.25. 40 Time: 5.45. Projected Round (2018): 5-FA. 4/24/18: Hearn started at left guard for Clemson over the past two seasons, but in speaking to some team sources, they weren't high on Hearn. They felt he should have returned for his senior year. One area scout told WalterFootball.com that they graded Hearn as an undrafted free agent. Hearn broke into the starting lineup in 2015 and stayed in the lineup for Clemson after that. He struggled at the Senior Bowl.
Tyrone Crowder, G, Clemson
Height: 6-2. Weight: 340. Projected 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2018): 6-FA. 4/24/18: Sources have said that Crowder has gotten late-round grades and that they are down on his NFL potential.
7/17/17: Crowder had some highlights and lowlights during the 2016 season. Overall, he blocked well, although there were times where he allowed some heavy pressure on Deshaun Watson, especially in the early going of the National Championship victory over Alabama. Crowder is a thick blocker who will have to monitor his weight issues in the NFL. He could be ranked higher, but is shorter and lacks some length that NFL teams desire in starting offensive linemen.
Leka Uhatafe, G, Utah
Height: 6-5. Weight: 295. Arm: 33. 40 Time: 5.40. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: Uhatafe played left guard for Utah and was a solid player. He needs to add bulk to his frame for the NFL. He also should be cross-trained at center in order to be make a team as a backup at the three interior-line positions.
Larry Allen Jr., G, Harvard
Height: 6-4. Weight: 285. Projected 40 Time: 5.00. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: Allen is said to be interested in playing in the NFL, but also could pursue a career in biomedical engineering. His strength and weight could be big hindrances for the next level.
7/17/17: Allen has great bloodlines, but is extremely light for the NFL. He is the son of the Hall of Famer Larry Allen. Larry Allen Jr. is undersized and must add some weight for the NFL. He broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore. Allen should have the upside to improve as a senior.
David Bright, G/OT, Stanford
Height: 6-5. Weight: 299. Arm: 33.25. Projected 40 Time: 5.32. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: Bright needs to gain more weight and strength for the NFL. Sources who went through Stanford said they weren't impressed with either Casey Tucker or Bright.
9/1/17: Bright started at right tackle in six games for Stanford with four starts at left guard during his 2016 season. Bright was a solid run blocker, but he needs to improve his pass protection. Gaining weight for the NFL is also a necessity.
K.C. McDermott, G/OT, Miami
Height: 6-6. Weight: 310. Arm: 32.5. 40 Time: 5.35. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: McDermott was solid for Miami in 2017, but had some issues in pass protection against quality opponents.
9/1/17: McDermott started at left guard for the Hurricanes last season and was a significant part of Miami showing a big improvement in its rushing offense over 2015. However, Miami's line still allowed too much pressure on quarterback Brad Kaaya. McDermott turned in some underwhelming play in a few games. Improving his pass protection as a senior is critical for his NFL hopes.
McDermott started at guard and right tackle for Miami during the 2015 season. The offensive line had issues that season as the Hurricanes had one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation. While they didn't allow a lot of sacks, there was still too much pressure on Kaaya. McDermott could be better off at guard in the NFL.
Viane Talamaivao, G, USC
Height: 6-2. Weight: 315. Projected 40 Time: 5.31. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: Talamaivao is a tough blocker who has developed his body, but he lacks height and length for the NFL.
7/17/17: Talamaivao struggled along with the rest of the USC offensive line against Alabama in 2016, but played better after that. Talamaivao was banged up over the season, yet continued to play and was solid for the Trojans. A lack of length will hurt Talamaivao's draft stock even though he will be a four-year starter. He also has had durability issues in his career, and had surgery to repair a partially torn bicep in spring ball prior to his senior fall camp.
Talamaivao broke into the starting lineup as a true freshman and took over the right guard position. He had a quality season blocking for Buck Allen that year. In 2015, Talamaivao had a sprained knee that caused him to miss time, but he made eight starts. Talamaivao needs to stay healthy as a senior.
Brandon Fanaika, G, Stanford
Height: 6-3. Weight: 321. Projected 40 Time: 5.35. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: Fanaika was solid in the ground game for Stanford, but team sources who were through Stanford are not high on any of the Cardinal's offensive linemen.
7/17/17: Fanaika flashed some as a run blocker for Stanford in 2016 lining up at left guard, but he only started five games. Fanaika needs to lock down a starting spot in 2017 in order to rise.
Brendan Mahon, G/OT, Penn State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 315. Projected 40 Time: 5.28. Projected Round (2018): 7-FA. 4/24/18: At tackle, Mahon blocked well and opened holes for Saquon Barkley in 2017. Mahon looks like more of a guard for the NFL.
9/1/17: Mahon started at left tackle for Penn State in 2016, but he struggled in pass protection, including an ugly game against Pittsburgh. However, Mahon and the Nittany Lions' offensive line performed much better as run blockers for Saquon Barkley. Mahon improved as the season progressed.
In 2015, Mahon started at guard and tackle for Penn State. His run blocking is ahead of his pass protection. At times he played well, but he needs to improve his pass protection and consistency. As a freshman, Mahon started at left guard. The Penn State offensive line allowed Christian Hackenberg to be sacked more than 80 times over those two seasons.
Cody O'Connell, G, Washington State
Height: 6-9. Weight: 354. Projected 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2018): FA. 4/24/18: During the fall, the media gave O'Connell a lot of acclaim with his nickname of "The Continent." However, team sources don't like O'Connell at all. One college director said they had given him an undrafted free agent grade and put him as a training-camp competitor. A lot of extremely tall players like O'Connell have struggled with smaller fast edge rushers running around, under, and by them in the NFL. That could be the case with O'Connell, and his draft grade definitely is not matching the media hype. He struggled at the East-West Shrine.
7/17/17: O'Connell is a massive guard who received a lot of accolades for his redshirt junior season in 2016. While starting at left guard, O'Connell was very effective in the Washington State offense protecting at quarterback Luke Falk and opening holes in the ground game. Typically, NFL teams don't want guards as tall as O'Connell because that height can interfere with throwing lanes for the quarterback. Thus, it would really help O'Connell's draft stock if he could show the ability to play right tackle.
Wilson Bell, G, Auburn
Height: 6-6. Weight: 334. Projected 40 Time: 5.19. Projected Round (2018): FA. 4/24/18: Auburn's offensive line had huge problems early in 2017, allowing 14 sacks across the first two games - including 11 against Clemson. The line rounded into form, but Bell remained on the bench as a backup, and coaches said that Bell didn't earn the playing time from how he played in practice.
7/17/17: Bell was a solid right guard for Florida State during the 2016 season and was effective at opening holes for Dalvin Cook. He could stand to improve his pass protection for the NFL. Bell had some off-the-field issues with a hit-and-run accident and arrest. He graduated from Florida State in the spring and then chose Auburn. As a graduate transfer, Bell is eligible to play immediately.