The Scorecrow Scout Team | April 20th, 2020
We are almost there! The 2020 NFL draft is almost here and it’s going to be a draft like no other in NFL history. However, once the draft starts and the picks start rolling, everyone will forget about how the draft is being done remotely and focus on who is being picked and what team is trading up. Here at The Scorecrow, five of our NFL draft scouts (Givanni Damico, Mason Thompson, Connor Neal, Byron Jewell, Brady Podloski) have put together a list of their top-five at each position.
In addition to listing off their top-fives, each scout will give a quick explanation for what player at the position is the most underrated and most overrated. Part three of the series is on offensive tackles and interior offensive linemen. Remember all of our scouts hate your favorite prospect and rank them too low or not at all just to annoy you. Without further ado let’s get started!
Gio – Matt Peart, UConn
Peart is an absolute monster of a man at 6’7”, 320 lbs. He pairs that size with excellent mobility and fluidity. His hand placement is solid but he could be more dynamic with his punches. Whoever gets Peart is getting someone who can maul opposing defenders.
Mason – Jack Driscoll, Auburn
Driscoll is most likely a late day-two or early day-three prospect right now. I loved his tape and saw a lot of things similar to what Bryan Bulaga and Mitchell Schwartz have done at the right tackle spot. Now, I’m not saying Driscoll is on their level, but he is very underrated in this loaded class. He would be an early day-two player in any other class.
Connor – Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Cleveland is a very explosive, athletic offensive lineman, who in my opinion is the second most athletic lineman in this class just behind Wirfs. In addition to being very athletic, Cleveland is naturally good in pass protection. The one weakness is his game is hand placement. If he can figure out how to properly use his hands, Cleveland will be an elite left tackle in the NFL. According to relativeathleticscores.com, Cleveland’s RAS of 9.92 is the 18th best of all time.
Byron – Matt Peart, UConn
Peart has one of the best frames of all the tackles in the class. Standing at 6’7″ and 320 lbs with 36-inch arms, there’s a lot to love about his sheer size alone. He has excellent mobility that comes from his smooth feet. He’s a little soft with his hands but there’s a lot to like about his game. Fun developmental piece.
Brady – Lucas Niang, TCU
Niang is a capable right tackle who has first-round tape. He has played at a high level, holding his own against Chase Young in 2018. If he can get back to this level of play, he’s a steal. He is one of my favorite draft prospects because he’s going to be a starting tackle at a huge discount. The concern is the hip injury and the loss of flexibility but he should get it back and maintain his old level of play.
Gio – Austin Jackson, USC
Jackson is not a strong lineman. His footwork is atrocious and his hand placement is below-average. He struggles against bendy edge rushers who can get leverage on him.
Mason – Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Becton has been mentioned as part of the “big four” at the tackle position but he isn’t ready to make an immediate impact in week one as many expect him to be. He is still a very raw prospect and I’d rather wait and spend a pick on Peart or Driscoll instead of selecting Becton in round one.
Connor – Austin Jackson, USC
Jackson should never be considered in the first round by any team, no matter how badly they need an offensive tackle. For an offensive tackle of his size, he plays with poor leverage and strength. His footwork is also inconsistent and can’t keep up with speedy EDGE rushers. He doesn’t excel in any category that a first-round offensive tackle should and I have a late third-round grade on Jackson.
Byron – Austin Jackson, USC
I’ve seen Jackson being mocked in the backend of the first round quite often, but I don’t see a player that’s close to a first-round talent. He’s extremely raw, with needed work in a lot of areas. He has bad hand placement and poor footwork, which leads to bad balance and athleticism. Needs a good coaching staff and a few years before he’s ready to play.
Brady – Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Becton’s talent isn’t overrated, but he has some significant elements to his game that need to be developed and improved. I think the lack of offseason workouts this offseason is a serious concern since Becton needs to be coached with his pass blocking sets.
Interior Offensive Linemen
Gio – Robert Hunt, Louisiana
Hunt is a force to be reckoned with. He demonstrates monstrous strength with great fluidity and hand placement. He could be a day-one starter on a guard-needy team.
Mason – Netane Muti, Fresno State
Muti would’ve been in the late first-round conversation if he hadn’t missed a ton of time due to injuries. He is going to be a steal in the third round for a team in need of a solid interior presence.
Connor – Shane Lemieux, Oregon
Lemieux is one of the better run blocking guards in this class who also has the power, footwork, and hand technique to become very good in pass protection too. In four seasons at Oregon, Lemieux started every game and became an All-American in his senior season. Lemieux clears holes for the running backs beautifully by ripping the defenders out of the hole.
Byron – Robert Hunt, Lousiana
Hunt is a massive man with incredible power. He was a four-year starter in college where he displayed an awesome combination of power and mobility, great hands, and a killer instinct, always wanting to punish his defenders. He will be a steal in the third or fourth round and could start day one as a rookie.
Brady – Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
Stenberg is 6’6” and 317 lbs, but it’s his nasty demeanor which makes him my third-ranked interior linemen. He’s scary, a people mover, but is surprisingly athletic for the size. Stenberg can be a 10-year starter at guard and fits almost any scheme. A team will get a steal in the late-second or third round.
Gio – Ben Bredeson, Michigan
Some people have Bredeson rated way too high, including in their top-15 overall players but Bredeson does nothing special for me. He’s slow with poor footwork while his hand placement and his ability to redirect is atrocious. There’s just nothing that I want in a guard here.
Mason – Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
He is a good run blocker, but pretty bad as a pass blocker. He might have a fall similar to what Jawaan Taylor did, except the second to third round instead of the first to second. There are a lot of similar prospects to Cushenberry that could be taken much later in the draft.
Connor – Michael Onwenu, Michigan
Onwenu isn’t a highly rated guard but I still think he is overrated. Onwenu is slow to get out of stance and can be easily run around by defensive lineman. His hand placement is inconsistent and lacks the length to make up for his lack of speed. Onwenu shouldn’t be a starter in the NFL but could be a decent backup.
Byron – John Simpson, Clemson
Simpson is a strong guy but lacks a lot of important qualities needed for success at the guard position. He has poor lateral quickness due to slow feet, lacks hip explosiveness, and is bad in short area agility situations. Overall he just lacks the athleticism needed to start at the guard position and is a scheme specific player.
Brady – Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
There are a lot of snaps where Cushenberry is pancaked by the defender. He lacks the balance and anchor ability to be a key starter. In the run game, his agility is useful, especially when getting to the second level. I have legitimate concerns about how he approaches blocks and when he goes up against big nose tackles.
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