Draft Positional Analysis Offensive Tackle
February 9th 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers will in all likelihood be looking to add some depth at offensive tackle this off-season. The team wants to add some bulk up front and may also see their best lineman, Ray Brown, retire after June first. The draft provides some interesting prospects that the 49ers may consider drafting after their initial needs have been filled.
Top Ten Offensive Tackles
Bryant McKinnie has tremendous size at his position. He can litterally anchor an offensive line. McKinnie is hands down the best tackle in this years draft, with great speed and technique to compliment his size. Formerly a defensive lineman, McKinnie uses that experience to help his offensive game. He is very in tune with what opponents are trying to do against him. McKinnie's only knock is that he is sometimes tentative at the point of attack. Whatever team drafts McKinnie will be happy to see him start immediately and become a league leader at his position.
Mike Pearson is a typically sized offensive lineman and is one of the better tackles to come out of college in recent drafts. Pearson is very solid in his fundamentals and has great footwork. He excels at pass protection but needs to improve his upper body strength. Does a very good job of handling the new breed of 'speed rusher' and is a good blocker in the open field. His run blocking is good but not exceptional, and he does not disappear when the game is on the line. Has the frame to continue to add size. Will be a tremendous player in the NFL and will make any NFL team happy they drafted him.
Mike Williams is a highly sought after tackle in this years draft. And he is huge. It's hard to believe a 360 lb person can run a 5.2/40 but he does. Williams is the heavies tackle in this years draft, and has such incredible speed and lower body strength for a man his size. Williams is so big in fact, he may consider dropping down his weight by ten pounds. He does need to improve his upper body strength a little, but should have little problem dealing with defensive lines in the NFL.
Levi Jones is a short but big offensive tackle with tremendous speed for a man his size. Possibly the fastest offensive tackle in this years draft, Jones is extremely quick off the ball and uses his upper body strength to his full advantage. Where Jones misses the beat is in the mental game, he is confused by deceptive defenses with disguised blitz schemes and stunts. Has blocked out of the backfield in short yardage schemes. Improved hand placement would greatly help Jones at the next level whose size and speed alone make him an interesting prospect.
Victor Rogers is a very big offensive lineman who is almost as fast as Levi Jones. Rogers has great vision and rarely makes mental mistakes. He excels at run blocking - teams can be assured to pick up the short yardage when running behind him. Rogers has suffered a few leg injuries that force him to play a little stiffer than most. He still has good leg drive but may have trouble getting good leverage in the NFL. A talented tackle who if not for injuries would be a very good pick.
Marc Colombo is an average sized tackle who has great fundamentals and excels at run blocking. He will completely overcome defenders and can pull and move latterall with ease. He's extremely fast for a man his size. He needs work only on finishing his blocks otherwise he is fundamentally sound. Could use some more lower body strength and could benefit from playing ten pounds heavier. Colombo is lightening off the ball and will make some NFL team very happy.
Joaquin Gonzalez is a smaller offensive tackle but is a heck of a pass protector. Has great vision and mental aspects of the game. Gonzalez has good balance and uses it to help him with leverage. Still he will have to increase his upper body strength and play looser in the NFL. Gonzalez has a great personality, work ethic and will do whatever the team asks of him. A character guy.
Chester Pitts is a short tackle with god body size. He has show flashes of incredible strength and is fundamentally sound. Unfortunately he's inexperienced because there was no football team at his high school. Carries his weight very well and is quick with good balance. He's always ding something and has a great upside. Needs to become more consistent in his game, but should be a great project for any NFL team.
Langston Walker is a mammothly sized tackle. He has incredible upper body strength and excels at run blocking. Walker is the type of tackle that will just crush a defender because he knows how to best make use of his size and strength. Walker needs to work on his footwork and balance as well as how to contend with an outside speed rush. A great project with the physical tools needed to be dominating in the NFL.
Artis Hicks has good size and rounds out the top ten offensive tackles nicely. He is fundamentally sound and an above average run blocker. Has all of the tools and just needs to learn to put them together through better conditioning. Is improving at pass protection but still needs work. Has lots of potential to take his game up a notch, but will have to work quite hard at achieving that level.
This year's offensive tackle group is above average in strength. The top bunch have lots of talent and there is more good depth behind them. They are for the most part a very big group and most of them are relatively quick. They should make offensive line coaches across the NFL quite happy. The 49ers typically go for smaller offensive lineman who are agile, this may be their chance to get an agile big offensive lineman. Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum