2023 NFL Draft Position Review: Interior Offensive Linemen

Charlie lays out an overview at the top players from each position for the 2023 NFL Draft. For further information, check out our in-depth analysis of 2023 NFL Draft Prospects by Position.

By Charlie Campbell.
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This page was last updated March 30, 2023. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

Interior OL Class
Early-round talent: B+
Mid-round: B
Late-round: B-
Overall grade: B

Merging the 2023 and 2022 prospects
Peter Skoronski
Kenyon Green
Zion Johnson
Tyler Linderbaum
Broderick Jones
O’Cyrus Torrence
Tyler Steen
Cole Strange
Cam Jurgens
Ed Ingram
Cody Mauch
Steve Avila
Joe Tippman
Jarrett Patterson
Luke Fortner
Joshua Ezeudu

Last year the interior offensive line class was strong for early-round talent as three went in the first round and another trio was selected in round two. Early in the third round, two more went. This year’s group has some day two depth with an outside shot of matching the round one total.

If you were to merge the two classes together, Skoronski would be the best prospect with a slight edge over Kenyon Green. In my opinion, Broderick Jones, O’Cyrus Torrence, and Tyler Steen are better prospects than Cole Strange although that trio may not go as high as Strange did. Cam Jurgens and Ed Ingram are slightly better prospects than Cody Mauch, Steve Avila, Joe Tippman, and Jarrett Patterson.

Safest Pick: Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Previous Picks:
2022: Kenyon Green
2021: Alijah Vera-Tucker
2020: Tristan Wirfs, Cesar Ruiz
2019: Cody Ford, Eric McCoy
2018: Quinton Nelson, Billy Price
2017: Forrest Lamp
2016: Sebastian Tretola, Nick Martin
2015: Brandon Scherff, Cam Erving
2014: Xavier Sua’Filo, Weston Richburg
2013: Chance Warmack, Barrett Jones

While Skoronski is not an elite prospect like a Penei Sewell, Skoronski is one of the safest prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, regardless of position. Skoronski is quick, athletic and strong, plus possesses excellent technique. Whether he is playing left tackle, right tackle, or guard, Skoronski should turn into a quality pro starter.

Biggest Bust Potential: Broderick Jones, Georgia
Previous Picks:
2022: Thayor Munford
2021: Trey Hill
2020: Damien Lewis, Jake Hanson
2019: Ross Pierschbacher
2018: Scott Quessenberry
2017: Pat Elflein
2016: Cody Whitehair, Jack Allen
2015: Jeremiah Poutasi, Hroniss Grasu
2014: Chris Watt, Marcus Martin
2013: Brian Winters, Travis Fredrick

Jones might go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but from surveying a number of NFL teams, WalterFootball.com learned they had him graded on the second day of the draft. Jones has some raw elements, lacks some length, and has character issues. Hence, I think he has the most bust potential of the potential guard picks for Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Interior Offensive Linemen Rankings by Attributes

Pass Protection:
NFL prototype: Quenton Nelson, Colts
  1. Peter Skoronski
  2. Tyler Steen
  3. Broderick Jones
  4. Cody Mauch
  5. O’Cyrus Torrence
  6. Jarrett Patterson
  7. Joe Tippman
  8. Steve Avila

Recap: The NFL is a passing-driven league, so keeping a clean pocket as a pass-blocker is the attribute that the majority of teams consider first. Coaches want the guards to keep defensive tackles from gaining penetration or causing disruption. If the guards are successful, quarterbacks can step up in the pocket to avoid edge rushers. This helps out the offensive tackles significantly. Additionally, good guard/center play provides better throwing lanes for the quarterback.

As a pass blocker, Skoronski can bend and is a smooth mover. He has quick feet and can play the typewriter to glide with pass rushers to keep them from running the arc around him. Skoronski does not have good length, but he uses what he has well and is a smart tactician with how he engages defenders. Skoronski places his hands well and shows good technique in negating speed or power rushes.

Steen is a polished pass blocker who bends at the knee and shows good development in his set up. He slides his feet well to cut off the edge and does not bend at the waist to lunge after defenders. With his thick and strong build, Steen anchors well against bull rushes, holding his ground and not getting driven into the quarterback. Steen’s power and strong hands give him a nice ability to sustain blocks.

In pass protection, Broderick Jones has the quickness and agility to mirror speed rushers. He also possesses a strong base to hold up against bull rushes. While Jones has talent and technique, he lacks length, which could be problematic for him in the NFL. Longer defensive ends and rush linebackers could give him problems with being able to shed his blocks.

Mauch is a reliable pass protector. He was steady for North Dakota State over the past few seasons, and he then held his own in the Senior Bowl one-on-ones. Mauch could get into trouble when powerful defensive tackles knock him off track. They could give him some issues early in his pro career, but he has the quickness and athleticism to block speed rushers. Mauch should become a good interior pass protector in the NFL.

In pass protection, Torrence has a strong anchor and can stand up bull rushers with ease. Even though he is not a great athlete, he moves well for his size to tie up speed rushers. Torrence uses his strong hands and big mass to sustain blocks well. His power helps him to recover by jarring defenders off their rush, allowing Torrence to regroup and tie them up. Fast interior defensive tackles or defensive ends who move inside in passing situations could give Torrence problems early in his NFL career, but over time, he should grow into a steady pass protector.

Patterson is a technician in pass protection, showing good hand placement, knee bend, and leverage. He has enough size to take on defensive tackles in one-on-ones and can hold his ground against bull rushes. Patterson is very stout in terms of shutting down physical interior tackles. While Patterson is not overly fast or athletic, he is able to tie up speed rushers, plus he is skilled at executing double teams with guards. For the NFL, Patterson could stand to improve by reacting more quickly to games upfront because he can be a hair late, but that is something that he has the capacity to be better with. Patterson had some struggles at the Senior Bowl, not looking as good in pass protection as he did at Notre Dame, so that is a concern heading into his rookie season.

In pass protection, Tippman is generally reliable. He has the size to engulf defenders, and that size helps him handle bull rushes and gives him the length to help ward off speed rushers. However, Tippman could stand to improve his leverage given that he is a tall blocker who gets in trouble when he stands up too high. Getting too high leads to him lunging and leaving himself open to defenders to control him by getting into his chest. Standing up too high also can lead to issues with his balance. Tippman needs development as a pass blocker for the NFL.

Avila was a steady and reliable pass protector at TCU. He has the strength to rock defenders and can often knock them off balance to slow them down. Avila’s hands also help him to sustain blocks, even though he could stand to improve his hand placement. With good size and strength, Avila can stop bull rushes. However, his weight can be a problem. If he gets too heavy, his mass can extend over his toes, which could cause him to have problems with pro speed rushers. Avila must stay on top of his weight and conditioning in the NFL to remain a functional pass protector.

Run Blocking:
NFL prototype: Quenton Nelson, Colts
  1. O’Cyrus Torrence
  2. Peter Skoronski
  3. Broderick Jones
  4. Tyler Steen
  5. Steve Avila
  6. Joe Tippman
  7. Jarrett Patterson
  8. Cody Mauch

Recap: The interior of the offensive line is the engine of a good running game. The guys between the tackles are the most important blockers for opening holes up the middle in addition to pulling or moving on stretch runs. Dominant guards and centers who can open up holes even when defenses know the run is coming provide a mental edge, especially late in games. The 2023 NFL Draft has a pretty good class of run blockers.

Torrence brings heavy hands with sheer power at the point of attack to generate movement as a run blocker. He can latch onto a defensive tackle and use his strength to manipulate them out of their gap. Finding nasty bullies up front is getting more difficult as the uptempo and spread concepts have changed the game, and Torrence is a rare college blocker who enters the NFL with a mean streak to set a physical tone at the point of attack. Torrence blocks through the whistle, pushes defenders around, buries them into the ground, and finishes them off with violence. Torrence has developed strength to push defenders out of their gap and open holes in the ground game. As a pro, Torrence should be a real asset as a run blocker.

In the ground game, Skoronski is effective and contributes well. He generates movement on defenders via his ability to push them or manipulate them through some advanced power. As a junior, Skoronski showed more strength and power to knock defenders off the ball and drive them backward. He was a tough blocker in short-yardage situations, and he displayed the necessary strength to be a starting right tackle in the NFL. Skoronski’s quickness and smooth moving ability make him very good at firing to the second level to get to blocks on linebackers or move in space pulling around the line.

On running plays, Broderick Jones has aggression and blocks with a mean streak. Finding nasty bullies up front is getting more difficult as the game has changed, but Jones is a throwback who blocks through the whistle, shoves defenders around, buries them into the turf, and violently finishes them off. Jones has the developed strength to push his assignment out of their gap and open holes in the ground game. With heavy hands, Jones is able to sustain his blocks after shocking defenders backward. Jones also has the quickness and athleticism to get to the second level. He can pull and would be a fit in a zone-blocking or power-man scheme as a pro.

Steen is able to tie up and manipulate defenders in the ground game. He can push defenders backward and keep them from getting to his runner. While Steen is not an overpowering force, he is a quality, reliable run blocker.

Avila was a dependable run blocker for the Horned Frogs, who had a lot of success running behind him. He is strong at the point of attack and has the mass to rock back defenders. With his thick build and upper body, Avila can drive block and get a push. He does have some issues with bending at the waist at times, and that can limit his push in the ground game. Along with that issue, Avila can have trouble with his weight, and when his mass gets out over his toes, it can lead to him lunging with his weight. Thus, he is a better fit as a power-man blocker rather than a zone-based lineman.

In the ground game, Tippman can generate movement, as he will lean on defenders, get within their frames and push and manipulate them. Tippman has the strength to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes. As a run blocker, Tippman packs a punch off the line, sustains his blocks with strength, and moves defenders the direction he wants them to go consistently.

Patterson is physical in the ground game and can create movement. He shows some nastiness as a blocker and will really get after defenders with punishing hits. Patterson is strong at the point of attack and can use his power to push defenders out of their gaps. As a pro, Patterson should be an asset as an interior run blocker.

As a run blocker, Mauch has good technique. When he gets his hands on defenders, he stalls them out and keeps them from making plays. However, team sources said they feel Mauch needs to get stronger, which was evident at the Senior Bowl. Mauch has good natural along with being mobile and athletic. He is a very nice fit for a zone scheme because he can use his quickness and agility to be part of a moving wall.

Zone Blocking:
NFL prototype: Jonah Jackson, Lions
  1. Peter Skoronski
  2. Broderick Jones
  3. Tyler Steen
  4. Cody Mauch
  5. Joe Tippman
  6. Jarrett Patterson
  7. O’Cyrus Torrence
  8. Steve Avila

Recap: The zone-blocking system is run by a number of NFL teams, and the success of the scheme has many power-man teams adding some zone plays into the playbook. The zone scheme calls for guards and centers to have the ability to move well laterally and downfield to help set up moving wall with cut-back lanes. Interior linemen need athleticism and quickness in order to be effective.

Skoronski has good speed, athleticism, and agility to move in space. He would be a great fit in a zone-blocking scheme because he is agile at getting in position and is very fast to the second level. He would be a good fit for a zone scheme.

Jones, Steen, Mauch, Tippman and Patterson would be fine fits in a zone-blocking scheme. None of them is a dominant athlete or exceptionally fast, but they all have enough quickness and agility to execute zone plays.

Torrence and Avila are more natural fits in power-man schemes. They have some ability to execute somewhat in zone because they ran some zone plays in college, but both are heavy and blockers who are better fits for man.

Power Man:
NFL prototype: Quenton Nelson, Colts
  1. O’Cyrus Torrence
  2. Steve Avila
  3. Peter Skoronski
  4. Broderick Jones
  5. Tyler Steen
  6. Joe Tippman
  7. Jarrett Patterson
  8. Cody Mauch

Recap: A lot of teams in the NFL run a power man-blocking scheme. Interior linemen for this scheme need the ability to defeat their defender to blast open or seal a running lane. Guards need to have the power to move defenders and sustain blocks, while centers need to be able to contribute in some one-on-ones and execute well on double teams with their guards.

In the ground game, Torrence is a force at the point of attack who has strong hands and the power to be a drive blocker. Avila has heavy hands to shock defenders backward and drive them out of their gaps. Skoronski and Jones have the power to knock defenders backward and generate movement at the point of attack.

Steen is a tough blocker who has the ability to bull defenders and create movement at the point of attack. Tippman and Patterson could both fit a man scheme as well. Mauch would need to get stronger for playing man.

NFL prototype: Zack Martin, Cowboys
  1. Peter Skoronski
  2. Broderick Jones
  3. Tyler Steen
  4. Cody Mauch
  5. Steve Avila
  6. Joe Tippman
  7. Jarrett Patterson
  8. O’Cyrus Torrence

Recap: A lot of NFL offensive line coaches want to cross-train their interior linemen for another position, especially among the backup offensive linemen. It helps teams in making the decision on who to keep active on game days. Linemen who can play more than one position are highly valued. Coaches like guards who can play center or tackle if there is an injury in the middle of a game.

Skoronski, Jones and Steen could start at tackle or guard in the NFL. Skoronski might be able to play any position on the offensive line. Jones and Steen both have the ability to start at guard or tackle in the NFL.

Mauch played tackle in college, but team sources said they see him as a guard. Perhaps he could be an emergency tackle in the NFL. Avila, Tippmann and Patterson could play guard or center as pros. Torrence is a guard only and is not a candidate to move to tackle or center.

NFL prototype: Zack Martin, Cowboys
  1. Peter Skoronski
  2. Broderick Jones
  3. Tyler Steen
  4. Cody Mauch
  5. Joe Tippman
  6. Jarrett Patterson
  7. Steve Avila
  8. O’Cyrus Torrence

Recap: Pulling is necessary for a man-blocking system to work. Zone teams are becoming more diverse and are mixing in more power-man plays that have guards pulling. The quick and athletic interior linemen of zone schemes do better pulling than isolating and charging straight ahead. Thus, a zone team will like to see a prospect’s ability to pull as well.

Skoronski could be dynamite as a pulling guard in the NFL. He is so agile, quick and balanced in his approach. Skoronski can dish out perfect blocks in space to open holes.

Jones has good feet, speed and athleticism to be an effective puller at the pro level. With his quickness and feet, he should be very good at moving through trash and hit blocks in space.

Steen, Tippman and Patterson are smart technicians and that makes them effective at pulling. They are quick and athletic enough to get out in space to hit a block at the second level.

Avila and Torrence can pull some, but neither of them are exceptional athletes. Both of them also can get overweight, which limits their movement skills.

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