Over the next two weeks, Rivals.com is taking a look at five-stars at each position from 2012 to 2015 (classes that are now nearly completely out of college football and off to the pros) and how they fared compared to our ranking to determine which spots we got right and which ones we got wrong. We move to the offensive line.
FIVE-STAR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Martez Ivey, Drew Richmond, Maea Teuhema, Cameron Robinson, Damian Prince, Quenton Nelson, Laremy Tunsil, Dorian Johnson, D.J. Humphries, Zach Banner, Kyle Murphy, Kyle Kalis, John Theus, Jordan Simmons, Andrus Peat
There is a maxim in evaluating football talent that offensive linemen are the hardest to project, but we did an admirable job with the 2012-2015 recruiting classes. Maybe not a ton of hits on first-rounders, but a lot of the five-star talent was drafted and they’re in the early years of successful professional careers.
There were 15 five-star offensive linemen during that stretch and nine of those were drafted. There were four first-rounders in Nelson, Tunsil, Humphries and Peat. Robinson was a second-rounder.
Banner, who has such incredible size but was still a major project in high school, was a fourth-round pick, as was Johnson. Theus went in the fifth round. Murphy, one of the more dominant offensive tackles in the West in recent memory, had a solid career at Stanford but didn’t get drafted until the sixth round.
There were a fair share of misses as well, further proving that analysis on offensive linemen can be really difficult and challenging. Ivey looked like a can’t-miss prospect in the 2015 class and he was rated fourth nationally but went undrafted last month.
In large part, the 2015 offensive linemen were misses, as Richmond just did a graduate transfer to USC for next season, and Teuhema had a strong start at LSU but left for academic reasons, landed at Southeastern Louisiana and ended up in the AAF before it folded earlier this spring.
Prince, Kalis and Simmons all went undrafted, and they’re with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Seattle, respectively.
Offensive linemen are the hardest to evaluate for one reason — many of the best are so far from being physically developed in high school that it becomes a bit of a guessing game. So with that in mind, we did well overall in our evaluations, with only a few misses and a few guys like Richmond who can still impact.
Nelson is the one I’m most proud of because we were the only ones in the industry to have him as a five-star. Humphries and Peat were super-athletic guys who had average college careers but were too talented to pass on in the first round for the NFL.
Johnson is probably the biggest surprise of the guys who didn’t make it big because he was so good in high school and the only guy I can remember giving Jadeveon Clowney any trouble at Under Armour week.
Offensive line evaluation won’t change much, and 245-pound guys will end up being first-round tackles or guards and there’s not much we can do about it. That’s what makes it tricky.