Rd. 1, Pk. 2
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Is there any doubt that the Chargers will target a tackle if they're drafting this high? If the front office doesn't improve the offensive line, Philip Rivers might just retire on the spot. That, or grow even uglier facial hair.
Rivers' pass protection has been a mess this year, and it could be worse going forward with Joseph Barksdale bound to hit free agency. Meanwhile, blind-side protector King Dunlap hasn't been able to stay in the lineup, thanks to numerous injuries. San Diego absolutely has to do something about its horrendous blocking.
Rd. 1, Pk. 5
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
The Lions upgraded the guard position in the 2015 draft, but they still have a huge hole at right tackle. Riley Reiff has also played poorly as well on the blind side (though he's been a bit better of late). I can't imagine them failing to address this void two years in a row, and they are now in position to grab one of the top two tackles in this class. Save for a couple of games, Matthew Stafford is having an awful season, but he can improve with better blocking. Thus, I can't see the Lions eschewing the chance to draft either Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley.
Rd. 1, Pk. 10
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
It's time to cut ties Luke Joeckel. Three years is a large enough sample size to know that a player sucks, and Joeckel hasn't shown anything this entire time. The Jaguars need to give Blake Bortles better protection; otherwise, he could turn into the next David Carr after being knocked around so much.
Jack Conklin has been outstanding lately, and I think he has moved into top-10 consideration. He was dominant in the victory over Ohio State.
Pick change; previously Myles Jack, OT
Rd. 1, Pk. 17
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Buccaneers drafted Donovan Smith to go with Demar Dotson, but Smith has struggled mightily thus far, so perhaps he could move inside. Also, with Dotson, he'll be entering his contract season as a soon-to-be 31-year-old, so this could be a long-term solution.
The Colts need to stop screwing around and fix Andrew Luck's offensive line, which has been an abomination for far too long. Its performance throughout this season has been an embarrassment. The tackles are fine, but every position on the interior has to be upgraded.
Rd. 2, Pk. 20
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
A future replacement for D'Brickashaw Ferguson... or perhaps a current one. Ferguson isn't playing as well as he has in the past, and he'll be owed close to $9 million in 2016. If he doesn't restructure, he could end up being a cap casualty.
Pick change; previously Jerald Hawkins, OT
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
The Giants spent an early pick last year on an offensive tackle, and they may do the same this offseason. New York may move on from the injury-prone Will Beatty, who has a cap of hit of more than $9 million next season.
Pick change; previously Jonathan Bullard, DE
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Here's more help for Marcus Mariota, who has been under siege quite often this season. The blocking must improve.
The Bears drafted a center, but they need more than just one upgrade on their horrific offensive line. They need to move Kyle Long back to guard, so why not another blocking Duck who can make that happen?
Rd. 3, Pk. 25
Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
Here's some insurance for Kelvin Beachum, who tore his ACL. On top of being hurt, Beachum is an impending free agent, so it's unclear if he'll be back next year.
The Titans have a good young left tackle in Taylor Lewan, but Tennessee's offensive line as a unit could be improved to protect Marcus Mariota. If the Titans took Tunsil, they could move Lewan to the right side and give them the best young tackle tandem in the NFL to protect their franchise quarterback.
This season, Tunsil has demonstrated his phenomenal quickness, athleticism and abilities to bend and mirror. He has a ton of natural talent to be a blind-side protector. Tunsil was dominant in 2014 and arguably the best left tackle in the nation. Not only does he shut down pass-rushers, he gets movement in the ground game.
After being suspended for seven games, Tunsil returned to the field impressively for Ole Miss against Texas A&M and speed rusher Myles Garrett. Tunsil had some issues with Auburn's Carl Lawson in his second game, but still was solid. He was excellent against LSU.
Tunsil (6-5, 305) was one of the top recruits in the nation coming out of high school. As a freshman, he validated the hype when he broke into the starting lineup and became an All-SEC Second-Team selection by the AP. The conference's coaches had him as an All-Freshman performer, and he was also named a Freshman All-American according to many media outlets.
Pick change; previously Joey Bosa, DE
Rd. 1, Pk. 10
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Jacksonville's young offense has really grown thanks to some great coaching by new offensive coordinator Greg Olson. The only thing really holding back Blake Bortles, T.J. Yeldon and Allen Robinson from really taking off is a weak offensive line. The Jaguars should upgrade the left tackle spot and move Luke Joeckel to guard.
Stanley is athletic and quick. He possesses good length to him and sustains his blocks pretty well. Stanley has the speed and agility to mirror speed rushers, and sometimes he can get movement in the ground game. His significant athleticism allows him to hit blocks downfield as well.
However, Stanley needs to add more power and play with more mean streak, and he has to improve his ability to avoid mental mistakes with penalties. Stanley can struggle with physical defensive linemen (see Clemson and Shaq Lawson).
Stanley (6-5, 315) generated a ton of late-season buzz in 2014, and he put an exclamation point on it by getting the better of the top 2015 NFL Draft-eligible defensive lineman in USC's Leonard Williams in limited plays against each other. In 2013, Stanley started at right tackle and was part of a line that allowed only eight sacks on the season.
Pick change; previously DeForest Buckner, DL
Rd. 1, Pk. 14
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Eagles could use a quarterback and offensive line help, but there isn't really a signal-caller option here, so they can go with a blocker who could help them at guard or tackle.
Conklin is a well-balanced blocker who is effective at protecting the passer and opening holes in the ground game. He turned in an impressive 2014 season as the blind-side protector for Connor Cook.
The 6-foot-6, 303-pound Conklin could use a little more power for the next level, but he should add that in an NFL strength and conditioning program. Conklin isn't all that quick or athletic. In speaking with sources from multiple teams, they feel that Conklin would be better off as a right tackle in the NFL. They say a team could get away with him at left tackle, but ultimately would be looking for an upgrade who is more athletic.
Rd. 1, Pk. 19
Vadal Alexander, G/OT, LSU
The Bills grab a long-term replacement for Richie Incognito with a power run blocker to pave the way for LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams.
The 6-foot-6, 342-pound Alexander is a massive blocker who can open holes at the point of attack. He played well at guard in 2014 as an impactful run blocker and reliable pass protector. Alexander is playing right tackle as a senior, but guard looks better as a long-term home in the NFL. This season, he has struggled in pass protection on a few plays and allowed some sacks in the early going, but has been better recently. Some teams could think of keeping him at right tackle.
Rd. 1, Pk. 23
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
The Colts have to upgrade their weak offensive line, and Decker could prove to be the solution at right tackle.
Decker has played well for the Buckeyes in 2015, but while he's strong at opening holes in the ground game, he is limited in pass protection. Decker would be a better right tackle in the NFL. The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Decker really finished the 2014 season in impressive fashion. Late in the year, he did a good job of protecting Cardale Jones and opening holes for Ezekiel Elliot.
The Lions grab a competitor for left or right tackle. Detroit needs to upgrade its perimeter blocking this offseason.
Clark was solid for Texas Tech in 2014, including his matchup versus Arkansas' Trey Flowers. Clark (6-5, 320) had a strong freshman debut in 2012 as he started 13 games at right guard. In 2013, Clark took over at left tackle and, once again, was selected by the media as an all-conference standout.
Clark has natural abilities as a pass protector and moves well for his size. He also has the strength to open holes in the ground game.
Pick change; previously Kenny Clark, DT
Rd. 2, Pk. 22
Spencer Drango, G/OT, Baylor
The Colts obviously have to upgrade their offensive line and could use multiple picks to do it. Drango could help Indianapolis at guard.
Drango (6-5, 315) is in his fourth-straight season as the starter at left tackle for Baylor. He is a quality run-blocker who has steadily improved his pass protection. Drango would fit best as a right tackle or guard in the NFL.
Before being injured in 2013, Drango was playing at a really high level as a pass protector for Bryce Petty. Baylor really missed Drango when he went out for the season with a ruptured disc in his back in mid-November that year.
The Broncos could use a lot of help on their offensive line. Here's a potential upgrade at guard or tackle.
Ifedi (6-5, 325) has been a steady right tackle for the Aggies and is an athletic blocker with quickness. Ifedi has more strength and nastiness to him than other recent Aggies line prospects like Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi. Some scouts think that Ifedi would be better off at guard in the NFL.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
The Chargers need offensive line depth and competition.
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound Spriggs has good length on the edge with some power and athleticism. He held his own going against Joey Bosa this season. Spriggs plays on the blind side for Indiana, but would be a better fit at right tackle in the NFL.
The 49ers grab a replacement for one of the spots in what they lost on the right side of their line with Anthony Davis retiring and Mike Iupati signing with Arizona.
Kirkland plays tackle for the Razorbacks, but he's a better fit as a power guard in the NFL. The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder has opened a lot of holes for the Arkansas ground game. Kirkland doesn't have the quickness or feet to block NFL speed rushers as a left tackle, but he could be a tough guard or right tackle.
The Panthers could use multiple picks to upgrade their offensive line. Carolina's front is routinely bailed out by Cam Newton, and the organization must improve his protection.
Johnstone (6-4, 295) has returned to the field in 2015 and done a solid job for the Ducks. He clearly could use more strength for the NFL. Johnstone was Oregon's left tackle in 2014 before going out for the season with a torn ACL. He was a honorable mention All-Pac-12 performer in 2013. Johnstone helped the Ducks with their potent ground attack. Generally, he was a good pass protector for Marcus Mariota.
This is less of a vital need pick and more of a “I can’t believe this guy is still available. Take him now!” pick. Tunsil has all the makings of a future pro bowl left tackle, but he still has the tools to be just as good on the right side. It may be too early to give up on Kyle Long as Chicago’s right tackle, but Tunsil could man the right tackle spot in 2016 and potentially replace Jermon Bushrod as Chicago’s left tackle in 2017, considering the former pro bowl tackle is arguably past his prime. If Tunsil is fully healthy and on his game this season at Ole Miss, he would be an immediate starter at left tackle.
I don’t care that the Jaguars have Luke Joeckel and Jeremy Parnell “solidified” as left and right tackle respectively for the 2015 and 2016 seasons; Ronnie Stanley could have been a top 10 pick in 2015 and will push for a top 5 selection in 2016. Also, he will most likely be way better than both of them in a few years. Jacksonville drafts Stanley to push one of them. Worst case scenario: he makes for a kickass guard that will probably take Joeckel’s spot in 2017. That’s probably the best “worst case” one can get from their 1st round pick.
It’s been two drafts in a row where Carolina truly needs a left tackle to protect Cam Newton. They at least grabbed Kelvin Benjamin and a decent guard in 2014, but reached for Devin Funchess and drafted the ordinary Daryl Williams in 2015. Though adding Ezekiel Elliot seems ideal, improving the running game does only a fraction of good when Cam Newton is continuously beat down by defenses. Decker has all the tools to be a decade long starting left tackle. Protect your franchise QB or you’ll be leaning too often on backups.
The Seahawks had a solid right tackle in Justin Britt last year; then they moved him to left guard in favor of an undrafted free agent who was bullied by a great Rams defensive line. He needs to be replaced, either by Britt or Conklin, who is heavily touted for his run blocking ability. Whether he’s moved inside to guard or right tackle, a run blocker is exactly what Seattle needs for their offense to keep chugging along.
The Chargers gave up a little too much to move up to take Melvin Gordon, but can add value to Gordon by selecting a run-blocking lineman. With experience at both the right tackle and right guard position, Alexander can help shore up some uncertainty on the right side of the line. Joe Barksdale is not an ideal long-term solution at right tackle, while DJ Fluker is currently dealing with some injuries and was initially drafted to be the Chargers’ right tackle. No matter which position the Chargers put Alexander or Fluker in 2016, it will likely be an improvement over having Barksdale at right tackle.