Rating the offensive linemen

John Murphy
Yahoo! Sports scout John Murphy ranks the top seniors. Note: up/down in parenthesis indicates change from initial rankings.

QB: Brian Brohm, Louisville; Colt Brennan, Hawaii; Andre’ Woodson, Kentucky (up); Matt Ryan, Boston College; John David Booty, USC (down). Up: Dennis Dixon, Oregon.

RB: Mike Hart, Michigan; Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech (down); Allen Patrick, Oklahoma; Chris Johnson, East Carolina (down); Yvenson Bernard, Oregon State. Up: Matt Forte, Tulane.

FB: Jerome Felton, Furman; Peyton Hillis, Arkansas; Owen Schmitt, West Virginia; Jacob Hester, LSU; Carl Stewart, Auburn. Up: Adam Ballard, Navy.

WR: Early Doucet, LSU; Andre Caldwell, Florida (down); Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma State; Paul Hubbard, Wisconsin (down); Limas Sweed, Texas (down). Up: Keenan Burton, Kentucky.

TE: Brad Cottam, Tennessee (down); Craig Stevens, California; Joey Haynos, Maryland John Carlson, Notre Dame (down); Jacob Tamme, Kentucky. Up: Fred Davis, USC.

OC: Steve Justice, Wake Forest; John Sullivan, Notre Dame; Drew Miller, Florida; Cody Wallace, Texas A&M; Jameson Richard, Buffalo U. Up: Kory Lichtensteiner, Bowling Green.

OG: Eric Young, Tennessee; Pedro Sosa, Rutgers; Michael McGlynn, Pittsburgh (up); Adam Kraus, Michigan; Chris McDuffie, Clemson. Up: Jordan Grimes, Purdue.

OT: Gosder Cherilus, Boston College; King Dunlap, Auburn (down); Jake Long, Michigan; Tony Hills, Texas; Heath Benedict, Newberry. Up: John Greco, Toledo.

DE: Chris Long, Virginia; Quentin Groves, Auburn; Tommy Blake, TCU (down); Lawrence Jackson, USC; Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech. Up: Kendal Langford, Hampton U.

DT: Glenn Dorsey, LSU; DeMario Pressley, N.C. State (down); Red Bryant, Texas A&M (down); Maurice Murray, New Mexico State; Jason Shirley, Fresno State. Up: Sedrick Ellis, USC.

ILB: Dan Connor, Penn State; Phillip Wheeler, Georgia Tech; Beau Bell, UNLV; Vince Hall, Virginia Tech; Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina (down). Up: Ben Moffitt, South Florida.

OLB: Keith Rivers, USC; Shawn Crable, Michigan (down); Ezra Butler, Nevada; Ali Highsmith, LSU; Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech. Up: Cliff Avril, Purdue.

CB: DeJuan Tribble, Boston College; Zackary Bowman, Nebraska; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State; Antoine Cason, Arizona; Michael Jenkins, South Florida (up). Up: Tracy Porter, Indiana.

S: Simeon Castille, Alabama; Jonathan Hefney, Tennessee (down); Quintin Demps, UTEP; Josh Barrett, Arizona State; Jamar Adams, Michigan (down). Up: Chris Horton, UCLA.

K: Art Carmody, Louisville (K); Durant Brooks, Georgia Tech (P); Robert Zarrilli, Hofstra (K); Michael Dragosavich, North Dakota State (P); Jeremy Ito, Rutgers (K). Up: Ryan Weigand, Virginia (P).

A conference-by-conference look at the top senior NFL offensive line prospects.


Gosder Cherilus, Boston College – An anchor-type tackle who could play on the left side at the NFL level, scouts have mentioned Cherilus as a possible top-20 choice. He had an off-field incident, but his sheer power, strength and size make him a no-brainer for teams looking to find a young, athletic tackle who flashes a nasty streak on the field.

Duane Brown, Virginia Tech – An athletic left tackle who is starting to show signs of improvement with both his technique and consistency. Brown is very mobile, ran sub-4.90 in during spring workouts, but needs to bulk up in the weight room. Has a lot of natural ability and skill level.

Steve Justice, Wake Forest – A bright technician who has proven himself to be one of the most consistent interior linemen in the country over the past two years. Justice was at the forefront of last year's offensive surge that propelled the Demon Deacons into the Orange Bowl. Has good enough size/power to be effective at center with a man over him and his intangibles are top of the line.

Barry Richardson, Clemson – A big, powerful right tackle prospect, Richardson has been labeled by most as being an underachiever. He plays with an inconsistent pad level and seems to lose aggressiveness or motivation at times. There is still enough time left for him to change opinions. Right now most will be scared away from using a high pick on him.

Big East

Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh – Underrated former JUCO prospect who has mauler size and strength combined with above-average athleticism for both his size (6-foot-6, 340 pounds) and position. Otah has the chance to jump into the spotlight in the postseason as he has played left tackle the past two years. Scouts have commented that his consistency and ability to finish his blocks have them thinking he can be a high day-one draft pick.

Pedro Sosa, Rutgers – An athletic left tackle who is seen by most as an interior lineman because of his body type and footwork. Sosa is not a naturally big guy, but moves like a 275-pound lineman when he is right around the 290-300 pound mark. His postseason evaluation could rise if given the chance to remain at tackle. Some teams are now looking for smaller-sized tackles who provide better footwork and movements skills.

Mike McGlynn, Pittsburgh – He is among the top-rated guards on most evaluators boards thanks to his great size and strength. Has better-than-average footwork and could be a high riser in the offseason as many believe he has the tools to step right into a lineup thanks to his experience and intangibles.

Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers – Currently plays right tackle for the Scarlet Knights, but will likely be moved inside in the postseason; possibly to center.

Big Ten

Jake Long, Michigan – Opted to come back for his senior year even though he received a first-round grade from evaluators following his junior season. Long is a solid, but not spectacular prospect who has many thinking more Jon Jansen than Jonathan Ogden when they review his tools and upside potential.

Adam Kraus, Michigan – Has the ability to play most positions along the line, but is mainly being evaluated as a guard or center. Bright kid who has worked hard to get into the starting lineup and normally handles his matchup pretty well. Kraus is not a standout athlete, but brings a top-notch work ethic and knowledge of the game. He will be considered a swingman type.

Big 12

Tony Hills, Texas – Was highly recruited as a tight end before being converted to left tackle the past three seasons. Hills has played well as a senior, but struggled in last week's loss to Oklahoma. Has good footwork and athleticism to get out and block downfield, but needs to work on his strength.

Carl Nicks, Nebraska – The JUCO transfer has shown impressive footwork and quickness. Scouts have come away very impressed, especially since he is doing all of his work at left tackle. Nicks has long arms, good natural strength and should run in or around the 5.00-5.10 area. This is guy whose grade should improve over the coming months.


Sam Baker, USC – Some believe Baker's game might not project to being a bona-fide franchise tackle. He has good size, moves well, but is not a great finisher and has been bothered by some injuries. Is smart and does all the off-field work. His father is the commissioner of the AFL. Hopes to become a premier left tackle in the NFL and come off the board in the first 10-15 picks.

Roy Schuening, Oregon State – More of a run blocking interior lineman, Schuening lacks great athleticism or quickness, but gets to most of his blocks and does a good job of locking onto defenders off the snap.


Chris Williams, Vanderbilt – One of this year's fastest risers among offensive linemen, Williams has the tools to develop into a starting left tackle at the NFL level. He has improved each of the past three years. His natural size and footwork have some evaluators thinking he could make a major move if he were to shine at the Senior Bowl week practices.

Eric Young, Tennessee – A converted offensive tackle, Young has become one of the nation's top interior blockers. He moves well for his size and should fit right into challenging for a starting job next year in the NFL. He has all the tools to be a 10-year starter at guard.

King Dunlap, Auburn – His natural size, athleticism and strong junior Pro Day helped him enter his senior season with a potential first- or second-round grade. To date, he has been a disappointment to coaches and scouts who have evaluated him. Dunlap will need to rebound in order to revive his chances of earning a solid day one grade.

Drew Miller, Florida – A versatile performer who has started games at both center and guard. Miller shifted to center this season. He had a solid game against LSU which bolds well for his future.


John Sullivan, Notre Dame – A very smart, sound technician who will be capable of starting at center in the NFL team for the next 10 years. He has been solid, but struggled against a few larger defensive tackles. No longer the sure-fire first center off the board.

John Greco, Toledo – An All-MAC selection the past two years, Greco is a left tackle prospect who has earned good marks thanks to his size and ability to slide out in front of most of the pass rushers he has faced. He moves fairly well for his size and would seem to have the footwork and athleticism to remain at left tackle.

Josh Coffman, East Carolina – Has been the anchor of his team's line, playing mostly right tackle. Coffman is nearly 6-7, 292 pounds and has grown from being a tight end to a high-quality blocker. He moves well for his size, but shows a nasty streak and works to finish his blocks. He could earn a solid mid-round grade.

Jameson Richard, Buffalo – Interesting pivot prospect who is gaining momentum. Richard has good size, plays hard and makes all the calls. The postseason will be very important for him.

Oniel Cousins, UTEP – An interesting athlete who has started at both tackle positions over the last two years. At 6-4, 305 pounds, Cousins moves well and could be evaluated as a left tackle prospect. He does not have great play strength and has been inconsistent at times.


Heath Benedict, Newberry (S.C.) – A former Tennessee recruit who has not been on top of his game all the time this season. Benedict is playing at tackle once again, but most evaluators believe that his NFL home will be inside. At 6-6, 330 pounds, he has shorter than ideal arms (33 inches) to play tackle in the NFL. He moves well for his size. He is expected to play to the Senior Bowl. If he can run sub-5.00 at next year's NFL Combine, he could come off the board earlier than many of the big-named prospects.

Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa – Rinehart is being evaluated as both a tackle and center thanks to his skill set. He has good, but not great footwork at tackle, but makes up for it by using good technique and positioning. A bright guy, who some scouts feel could make an easy transition to the pivot spot.

Brock Pasteur, Stephen F. Austin – A stabilizing force along the line, he has become a fixture at right tackle. Pasteur is strong at the point of attack and has enough footwork and flexibility to handle most edge rushers 1-on-1. A JUCO standout and Nebraska recruit, he can bully most opponents thanks to his strong upper body. He has impressed scouts with better-than-expected footwork for prospect who weighs in at 6-6, 290.

Kerry Brown, Appalachian State – Brown had one of the best efforts of his career with 20-plus pancake blocks in the shocking upset of Michigan. Great naturally-sized athlete with long arms and good footwork, he has worked to finish more of his blocks. Has a chance to move up with a strong postseason.

Mackenzy Bernadeau, Bentley (Mass.) – An impressive Division II prospect who has the look of a future interior lineman. Bernadeau moves likes a 280-pounder, but weighs nearly 320. He has good footwork, but needs to upgrade his conditioning and finish off more of his blocks. He has a tendency to take off some downs and be more of a finesse guy when faced with lesser opponents.

Demetrius Bell, Northwestern State – A former starter in basketball, Bell is being evaluated as an offensive tackle prospect thanks to his long arms, athleticism and ability to slide his feet in pass protection. He needs to work on his upper-body strength, but has great workout numbers.

Matt Roan, Southern Utah – A Virginia Tech transfer, Roan has played both center and offensive tackle over the past few years. He is well-built athlete who has been timed in the 5.0-range in the 40, but shows good power and strength at the point of attack. Gets out of his stance quickly and has the ability to get downfield on blocks.

Jeff Monaco, Yale – A versatile interior linemen who is currently playing guard, but could also be used at center. Monaco has a thick frame with the ability to handle most of the defensive tackles he faces 1-on-1. Smart and shows a nasty streak at times when finishing his blocks.

Thaddeus Coleman, Mississippi Valley State – Coleman shows raw potential and has terrific size (6-8, 290). He looks more like a basketball power forward. He has room to fill out to 320 pounds, but his long arms and decent footwork make him a worthwhile project, possibly as a free agent.