Andrew Harbaugh | July 25th, 2019
With the Skill positions done we are moving onto the big boys that block for them. Before we do that, if you missed any of the previous positional rankings you can find links to them below.
Offensive line prospects are hard to get behind, especially when they are lacking a Quenton Nelson or a Taylor Lewan as we have been spoiled in recent memory. However, this interior offensive line class while it doesn’t have a Quinton Nelson it does have several starter level talents for teams in need at the position.
Now, keep in mind while reading to let me know what players I’m missing out on, what players I’m low on, and what players I’m too high on. The beauty of the NFL draft is everyone has an opinion and it is important every gets a chance to share how they feel on players.
Let us finish up the hog rankings and get on to the defense!
What are two things you can guarantee to get out of Wisconsin? Good cheese and solid offensive linemen. So far one of my favorite players to watch this summer has been Tyler Biadasz. I noticed him when watching the film on Jonathan Taylor and when I focused solely on him he stuck out like a sore thumb.
He has shown to me to be the best-run blocker in this 2020 class of linemen. He has great technique and explodes off the ball and gets under the defensive linemen or nose tackle he is up against. He finishes blocks as well which has been very refreshing to see from this class of linemen.
With the new star freshmen coming in Graham Mertz they may be passing more which for me can only shoot him up my big board further. Mertz will present more passing situations that we haven’t seen from a Badger offense in quite some time. As far as one last cheese reference, I would compare Biadasz to sharp cheddar. He can’t be swiss cheese because he has no holes.
Texas has seen an increased focus on the run game with Sam Ehlinger under center and the star sophomore Keaontay Ingram, that is due in part to the man clearing the middle of the defense Zach Shackelford.
Shackelford is best described as a badass, plain and simple. He, much like Biadasz, has shown a complete repertoire of blocking skills but has shown to be a better pass blocker. He is very explosive and will be an instant impact in the NFL.
His athleticism is something that should come with him growing into his body more and by the time he is drafted, he will have testing numbers that will help determine his true position at the next level. He should have some flexibility when it comes to position assignment and that could also be figured out if he makes a trip to Mobile.
Keeping with tradition, much like Wisconsin, Alabama has produced several talented NFL talents on the offensive line in the Saban era. Leatherwood is the next man in this lineage of quality NFL caliber linemen.
Of the player we have discussed so far I really like his athleticism and ability to pull from the line and get out and help the runner. Much of the success that Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, and Damien Harris have had can be attributed to that line play led by Leatherwood.
Pass blocking is something that the whole line for Alabama needs to improve on this coming season. Tua Tagovailoa was hit far too often last year and going forward the success for this team is in keeping his jersey clean. With the loss of Jonah Williams to the NFL, the buck stops with Leatherwood this year.
4) Gus Lavaka
School: Oregon State
Another favorite of mine to watch this year was Gus Lavaka. His size paired up with his athleticism just shouldn’t happen but he makes it happen. Lavaka tips the scale in this top five as he is listed 40 pounds heavier than anyone else on this list which speaks volumes about his work ethic paired with his talent.
Lavaka isn’t just filling up space with his frame. As I have mentioned he has shown he can be athletic but his strength in the run blocking department is what stood out to me when watching him. He will have a job at iHOP if his career doesn’t pan out because he naturally gets pancake blocks with ease. When he pulls and gets out in front for his running back he time and again showed he could be nightmares for opposing linebackers.
Now again with that size, if he can shed some of that weight he will become even faster and more athletic and could shoot up my rankings in no time come the draft season with some quality play this season and decent testing numbers.
5) Jon Runyan
Year: Redshirt Senior
Jon Runyan should be a familiar name to voters in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. Oh, and he should sound familiar to Eagle fans as well after a long successful career for the team. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree with his son now at Michigan.
His son who bears his name has had a very successful college career at Ann Arbor and has the skillset to have as good a career as his father. Runyan, while at Michigan, has shown to be an excellent pass blocker with quick feet and has been nimble at times adjusting to what defenses throw at him. For Patterson to have the year many expect out of him Runyan will play a crucial part to that happening for the Wolverines.
Consistency will be the biggest thing he needs to show this upcoming season. Michigan are the favorites in the Big Ten for the first time in the Harbaugh era and the offense as a whole will be the key to unlocking that elusive goal for the team.
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