2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Offensive Line

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I’m on record saying that I believe the Falcons should look to address the trenches in free agency, but if they feel the right offensive lineman is available — they might choose to pounce. Kaleb McGary is a free agent after the 2022 season, and the interior of the offensive line is still shaky. I’ll be splitting these groups into interior offensive line and offensive tackle. Previous editions of this series are listed below:

 

  • 2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Quarterbacks
  • 2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Running Backs
  • 2022 NFL Draft Big Board: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

 

Interior Offensive Line:

 

11. Justin Shaffer — Georgia

Shaffer is more of a project, but I did get a chance to watch a lot of his film at Georgia. He still looks new to the position sometimes, but he can really create a push up the middle in the run game. If he can develop his body a bit more and get used to NFL blocking, he would be a steal in the later rounds.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.45/10

 

10. Alec Lindstrom — Boston College

The brother of Falcons star guard Chris, Alec Lindstrom, is a three-year starter and a very decorated player at Boston College. Lindstrom isn’t the most athletic or strongest guard in this class on tape, but he tested well and is technically sound. He could really develop into a solid player if he can add some strength.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.41/10

 

9. Darian Kinnard — Kentucky

Kinnard flew up draft boards in the middle of this season, but his stock has cooled down a bit leading up to the combine. Still, he is powerful and tenacious as a run blocker, and although his technique needs a little refining — he has the potential to start from day one.

Relative Athletic Score: 5.82/10

 

8. Dylan Parham — Memphis

The former linebacker and tight end is a tremendous athlete, and he manned both guard spots for Memphis during his time there. Parham has good feet and technique — he could honestly play any of the three interior offensive line spots in the NFL. He needs some polish, but the tools and the traits are there.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.74/10

 

7. Tyler Smith — Tulsa

Smith is another former left tackle, but scouts rave about his physicality and nasty demeanor as a run blocker. His future is likely at guard in the NFL, but he brings an attitude to the position that NFL teams will be very excited about.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.62/10

 

6. Cole Strange — Chattanooga

Shoutout to my hometown Mocs — Cole Strange has some serious potential in the NFL with his absurd testing numbers. He has a lot of experience, versatility, and is technically sound. Strange needs some seasoning before he’s ready to be a full-time NFL guard, but I really love his athleticism, motor, and upside.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.95/10

 

5. Jamaree Salyer — Georgia

Even though Salyer had to serve at left tackle at Georgia due to injuries at times, he has positional flexibility all across the offensive line. He’s a versatile piece and is physical as a run blocker and athletic as a pass blocker. Salyer reminds me a lot of James Daniels — a guy with enough experience to start day one and as a likely day two pick. There’s a ton of value there.

Relative Athletic Score: 5.66/10

 

4. Kenyon Green — Texas A&M

The former five-star Green has been a staple on Texas A&M’s offensive line for many seasons, and he doesn’t have a lot of flaws in his game. He profiles as a plug-and-play starter from day one that still has tons of potential to develop into a Pro Bowler. I wish he tested a bit better, but his tape speaks for itself.

Relative Athletic Score: 5.91/10

 

3. Sean Rhyan — UCLA

Rhyan played left tackle for Chip Kelly, but his lateral quickness and ability to pull as a run blocker likely means he’ll be relegated to guard in the NFL, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. His arms aren’t incredibly long, but he has a solid first step and strike, which should help him as a pass blocker as he transitions inside. Rhyan may be a bit of a project at first, but he has loads of potential.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.3/10

 

2. Tyler Linderbaum — Iowa

Although center isn’t a priority position for a lot of teams, Tyler Linderbaum is as plug-and-play as they come. He can transform the interior of an offensive line immediately. Linderbaum is polished as a pass blocker and has a nasty streak as a run blocker — he’s one of the safest prospects in this entire draft.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

1. Zion Johnson — Boston College

Johnson is one of the more technically sound prospects in this class, and his strength and athleticism should appeal to a lot of teams that need a day one starter at guard. He has one of the highest floors of this group, along with a very high ceiling.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.74/10

 

Offensive Tackle

 

11. Tyler Vrabel — Boston College

The son of Mike Vrabel, the long-time starter at Boston College is a powerful blocker that is looking to get physical in the run game. Vrabel can sometimes get off-balance, but his testing numbers should appeal to some teams looking for a developmental lineman.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.61/10

 

10. Rasheed Walker — Penn State

Right now, I think Walker profiles as more of a swing tackle that could develop into a starter. His tape is a bit inconsistent, but he shows that he’s very technically sound with good strength and athleticism. Though, his run blocking isn’t where I would like it to be. Still, Walker shows great traits as a pass blocker and could absolutely develop into a serviceable starter one day — especially with as much experience as he had at Penn State.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

9. Max Mitchell — Louisiana

One of my favorite sleepers in this whole class, Mitchell looks like the perfect candidate for a team looking to develop a starting right tackle. Mitchell is a good athlete who played well against top competition, and I think he has the body and skillset to develop into a great player in the NFL. For someone that may be available on day three, that’s a great pickup.

Relative Athletic Score: 5.86/10

 

8. Daniel Faalele — Minnesota

Faalele is an absolute monster physically. He’s still very raw, as he didn’t start playing football until a few years ago, but the sky is truly the limit for this kid. He didn’t have a great week at the Senior Bowl or Combine, but some team will roll the dice on him.

Relative Athletic Score: 2.4/10

 

7. Nicholas Petit-Frere — Ohio State

Petit-Frere has the ideal body for the NFL, and he was very technically sound at Ohio State as a pass blocker. He opened up a lot of space as a run blocker, and he definitely feels like a safer name out of this group. He got lit up against Michigan when he was facing two NFL talent pass rushers, so he could use some time to develop.

Relative Athletic Score: 6.27/10

 

6. Abraham Lucas — Washington State

Lucas may profile as more of a right tackle in the NFL — he’s super agile and quick on his feet, and his arm length keeps speed rushers at bay. Regardless, he has the makeup of a very safe player with good tape. Throw in his testing numbers, and you’re looking at a solid NFL right tackle.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.73/10

 

5. Bernhard Raimann — Central Michigan

The Austrian-born Raimann has all of the tools to become a franchise left tackle, but he’s still new to the game. Regardless, his testing numbers speak for themselves, and he flashes solid technique on film. He’s going to go higher than a lot of people think.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.87/10

 

4. Trevor Penning — Northern Iowa

I was a big fan of Penning’s teammate Spencer Brown in the last draft cycle, and Penning is an even better prospect coming out of Northern Iowa. Penning is a very strong run blocker and a good athlete, which makes me think he may end up as a right tackle in the NFL. Regardless, he has the makeup of a special player.

Relative Athletic Score: 9.96/10

 

3. Charles Cross — Mississippi State

Cross is one of the better athletes in this group, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped one of the names ahead of him on this list in actual draft position. He can mirror almost any pass rusher and match up with almost any of them athletically. This group of four is the cream of the crop, and there are a lot of ways you can slice this pie.

Relative Athletic Score: 7.57/10

 

2. Evan Neal — Alabama

I had Neal at second on this list, but the first four guys are interchangeable. Neal switched over from right tackle to left tackle this season, but he was still a dominant road grader in Alabama’s run game. He may be better suited on the right side in the NFL; either way, he’ll be a fantastic player no matter where he lines up.

Relative Athletic Score: N/A

 

1. Ikem Ekwonu — North Carolina State

Early in the college football season, Ekwonu was one of my favorite prospects for the Falcons in the second round of the draft. That’s off the table at this point. Ekwonu is an angry blocker in the run game, and he shows off his top-tier athleticism as a pass blocker. Ekwonu is a guy who should be able to start from day one for an NFL team, and absolutely lockdown left tackle for a decade-plus.

Relative Athletic Score: 8.49/10

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