We’ve analyzed some of the more glamorous positions in the 2020 NFL draft, such as quarterbacks, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. However, it’s time to move to the offensive trenches, particularly offensive tackles. Outside of quarterback, offensive tackle is one of the most important positions to draft in the NFL; they have to protect the quarterback from explosive edge rushers. With a mix of refined players, high-ceiling athletes, and some absolute maulers, this is one of the best tackle classes in recent memory- five players received first-round grades from me. After collecting as much information available on each of these players, I’ve compiled a list of the best 2020 NFL draft offensive tackles. Who are they? Let’s take a closer look.
#1: Jedrick Wills, Alabama
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 320 lbs
Pro Comparison: Jason Peters
Best Fits: NYG, MIA, LAC
Overall Grade: 91.96 (Top 3)
Jedrick Wills may have not been on many teams’ radar heading into the season, but after a monster season, he’s established himself as the best offensive tackle in this loaded draft class. His strength can best be described as otherworldly, and because of that, he plays with tremendous power; he’s simply a mauler and a punisher. Therefore, he’s already a terrific run blocker, and not only is he an absolute brute, but he has underrated athleticism that allows him to block effectively in the second level. Don’t sleep on his pass-blocking ability either, as his technique is strong and he plays with a good base. Whether it is at left tackle or right tackle, he has All-Pro potential written all over him.
Wills is sometimes inconsistent with his technique and base in pass protection, so he’s more of a B+ pass blocker than a flawless one. Additionally, his length isn’t great, and he doesn’t have much experience at left tackle. Nevertheless, it’s very hard to find an actual flaw in his game.
As a dominant run blocker and a solid pass blocker, Jedrick Wills has all the makings of a elite offensive tackle, regardless of which side he lines up on. His combination of power and athleticism makes him very scheme diverse, and not only is he already a refined player, but his upside is off the charts. The three teams picking from #4-6 (Giants, Dolphins, Chargers) are all in desperate need of an offensive tackle, and Wills Jr. should undoubtedly be their top target.
#2: Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 320 lbs
Pro Comparison: Ronnie Stanley
Best Fits: MIA, LAC, ARI
Overall Grade: 90.4 (Top 5)
With his elite combination of power and strength, it’s easy to see why scouts are so high on former Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas. With his brute power, he’s a mauler in the run game, and his upper body technique is tremendous. When he as to climb to the second level, he shows the capability to open up rushing lanes there, especially with his bulldozing ability. Coming for a pro-style scheme in Georgia, Thomas is also proficient in pre-snap reads, and plays with extension in the passing game. That’ll make his transition to the NFL a pretty easy one, though you definitely shouldn’t discount high heigh ceiling either.
While Thomas has the ability to thrive in quick pass sets, he’ll be tested on longer developing plays versus quicker edge rushers, as his footwork is both inconsistent and will have to be refined at the next level. He also can sometimes be thrown off balance due to having too wide of a base, so he isn’t putting himself in ideal positions to succeed. At this point, his pass blocking is far behind his run blocking.
Andrew Thomas’ poor footwork leaves him a step behind Wills, but regardless, that’s his only major flaw. He’s a smart player coming from a diverse scheme with a lot of upside, and projects as an above-average tackle for the next 10-15 years. He has a lot of similarities to Ronnie Stanley, with the same build as him, and though he fits in any scheme, he’d be amazing in a power rushing scheme. Assuming Wills is drafted 4th overall by the Giants, Thomas should either be a Dolphin or Charger; it would be a massive mistake for them to pass on him.
#3: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 322 lbs
Pro Comparison: Kelechi Osemele
Best Fits: LAC, ARI, CLE
Overall Grade: 89.4 (Top 10)
To be frank, Tristan Wirfs is simply a freak athletically. He broke every weightlifting record at Iowa, so it’s not a surprise that he plays with devastating power- he’s a true bulldozer and mauler in the run game. Said power also allows him to handle bull rushes very effectively, as he displays very sturdy and strong hands. Not only does Wirfs play with power, however, but he also uses his athletic abilities tremendously. His ability to block at the second level with his elite lateral quickness is impressive, and furthermore, his balance is incredible- he’s the perfect fit for a zone-rushing scheme.
Wirfs is the best run blocker in this draft class and an athletic freak, but he’s not always able to maximize on his tools in pass protection. He doesn’t have great bend on the perimeter, and with concerns about his short arms and length, there’s a chance he’ll have to move to guard in the NFL. For someone of his power too, it’d also be nice to see him have even more of a nasty mentality, and his power can be diminished by his tendency to play too high. For him to stay at tackle, he’ll have to overcome some obstacles.
I’m not sure that Tristan Wirfs is a left tackle in the NFL, but in the right situation, he can at least be a right tackle. If not, he has true All-Pro potential as a guard, as his athletic traits are unprecedented. An interesting comparison for him is Kelechi Osemele, who played right tackle in his first season, but has since dominated on the interior of the offensive line; the team that drafts him shouldn’t be expected him to fill in at left tackle. Regardless, Wirfs’ versatility should also be seen as a positive, and after Wills and Thomas, he’s the easy choice for offensive line-needy teams like the Chargers, Cardinals, Browns, Jets, and others.
#4: Josh Jones, Houston
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 310 lbs
Pro Comparison: Ja’Wuan James
Best Fits: MIA, MIN, JAX
Overall Grade: 85.55 (Late 1st)
If you’re looking for a prospect outside of the top three that could one day develop into a All-Pro tackle, Josh Jones is the perfect prospect for you. Even though he has graded out tremendously, per Pro Football Focus, he’s more of a developmental prospect. Regardless, his upside is incredible. As evidenced by his 6’7″ frame, Jones has the perfect size and length for a left tackle, which allows him to play with the power necessary to handle bull rushes and open up rushing lanes. However, it’s Jones’ athleticism that stands out, as he’s amazing in the open field, and his quick feet give him the tools to handle quicker pass rushers. With all of these traits, Jones is already a great run blocker, and over time, he should also be an excellent pass protector.
Jones may one day be an elite pass blocker, but right now, his technique is inadequate. He too often struggles to get his hands up early enough, needs work with his footwork, and perhaps most concerningly, has the tendency to be lazy with his overall mechanics. Additionally, per Pro Football Focus, although Jones graded out tremendously, Houston’s offense didn’t utilize a lot of pass sets, so perhaps the grades aren’t as legitimate as you’d hoped they’d be.
Josh Jones’ athleticism, power, and length are worth taking a chance on in the first round, but there’s no way I’d take him ahead of the top three tackles in this draft class. I wouldn’t feel comfortable relying on him right away, but nevertheless, I’m all-in on his long-term future as a left tackle. Though there are plenty of intriguing fits, the Dolphins are easily the best one, as they have three first-round picks, and aren’t a win-now team; the team that drafts Jones must be patient with him.
#5: Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 369 lbs
Pro Comparison: Bryant McKinnie
Best Fits: MIA, SEA, MIN
Overall Grade: 85.46 (Late 1st)
While I have Mekhi Becton as my OT5 in this draft, I can understand while others are even higher on him. He has a freakish frame at 6’7″ and 369 pounds, so obviously, he plays with a lot of power. His size overwhelms defenders in pass protection, and you’d expect, he clears holes like a tractor in the running game. Plus, despite such a heavy weight, he’s surprisingly nimble with his feet, and gets upfield much better than you’d expect. At the scouting combine, I expect Becton to test out elite in almost every category, and as a result, he’ll have front offices salivating over his upside.
Becton is a unicorn based on his size and athletic traits, but right now, he’s a very underdeveloped player, as Louisville clearly didn’t do a good job helping him refine his skillset. He doesn’t use his hands well, which takes away some of his pure power, which is where he’s going to need to be elite. After all, despite his surprising fleetness, his weight can be an issue, as he often falls off balance and struggles in space, and he’ll always struggle with quicker edge rushers. Overall, his technique and mechanics are an issue right now, and unlike Jones, he doesn’t have the college production you’d like; Louisville rarely utilized true pass sets, yet he still allowed a significant amount of pressure, per Pro Football Focus.
Mekhi Becton is a rare athlete with regards to his size and athleticism, but to put it best, he’s a project. He has plenty of flaws that will be exposed if asked to start right away in the NFL, and I’m concerned about how much he struggled in true pass sets. Then again, finding a franchise offensive tackle is so difficult, so in the right situation, I think he’s worth a late-first round pick. However, there is talk about him being a top-ten, or even a top-five pick, which is simply absurd; there’s plenty of bust potential with the Louisville product.
#6: Lucas Niang, TCU
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 328 lbs
Pro Comparison: Bobby Massie
Best Fits: PIT, TB, NYJ
Overall Grade: 83 (Late 2nd)
With impressive length, power, and mobility, Lucas Niang has all the prototypical traits you’re looking for from a right tackle. He’s a fluid puller in the run game with tremendous body positioning, and also holds his strength to open up rushing lanes. His explosiveness out of stance will help him maintain his ground against quicker edge rushers, and against bull rushes, he’s able to use his hands violently. In the future, it’s easy to see him projecting as a future starter, given all of these impressive tools.
Though Niang has all the uncoachable traits you’re looking for, he probably won’t be ready to start right away. His footwork will need to be completely overhauled by whatever team that drafts him, so in deeper pass sets, he too often is exposed. Though he’s a solid athlete, his lateral agility is probably closer to average, which limits his potential in a zone-blocking scheme; he’ll need to be in a gap/power scheme, but he also doesn’t finish blocks the way you’d hope for.
It’s rare to find a refined tackle prospect after the first round, so from here on out, the list is mostly compiled of developmental projects. Similarly to Jones and Becton, Niang could be a starter if he’s coached properly, but with mediocre athleticism and poor footwork, it’s not going to be an easy task. Still, I’d invest a day-two pick on him, given the upside, especially in a gap/power offensive scheme.
#7: Jack Driscoll, Auburn
Year: RS Senior
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 294 lbs
Pro Comparison: Michael Oher
Best Fits: ARI, MIA, CLE
Overall Grade: 82.83 (Late 2nd)
Though he’s gotten overlooked due to the presence of another Auburn offensive lineman that we’ll go to, Jack Driscoll was clearly the best player on that offensive front. He has excellent technique, always gives his best effort, and has a nasty temperament in the run game. Driscoll does a good job understand his leverage points, and thus puts himself in a position to succeed in pass protection. That’s reflected in his overall grades from Pro Football Focus, as he consistently has posted strong grades. His best trait, however, is his agility, which allows him to succeed as a run blocker, and even though he’s not very strong, his ability to explode off the line of scrimmage and play with a lot of competitiveness helps compensate for that.
As mentioned, Driscoll lacks the ideal play strength of an NFL-caliber right tackle, which limits his ability as a puller, and won’t create much vertical push in the run game. He also suffers from uneven weight distribution, which severely hampers his body control. His lack of upper body strength, length, and difficulties moving in deeper passing sets are all concerns, which is why he may not getting much recognition at the moment.
Driscoll will never be an elite right tackle, as evidenced by some of his glaring flaws, but if you’re looking for a stable starting-caliber option, he fits the bill. Despite some of his limitations, he held up his own in the SEC, as he’s smart and refined with his technique. There’s no reason he can’t have similar success in the NFL, given his agility, and on day two, he’s a great target for teams that are looking for a high-floor prospect.
#8: Matthew Peart, UConn
Year: RS Senior
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 310 lbs
Pro Comparison: Dennis Kelley
Best Fits: MIA, SF, GB
Overall Grade: 82.13 (Early 3rd)
Matthew Peart is the epitome of a tackle prospect that will have scouts dreaming about his upside. He’s super lengthy with his 6’7″ frame, and even better, he’s super athletic. Therefore, he’ll be able to hold his ground versus quicker pass rushers, though it’s his movement skills as a run blocker that are his best trait. He’s aggressive in the second level, and with that, he should be a terrific puller capable of succeeding well in zone-blocking schemes.
Peart is an incredible athlete, but his play strength is lacking, so he’ll struggle versus bull rushes in the NFL. Meanwhile, his technique and footwork needs significant development, and as a result, he won’t be able to start right away. That lack of power and mechanics will draw some teams away from him, as it’ll take a talented offensive line coach to develop him.
With his length, athleticism, and grading profile (via Pro Football Focus), Matthew Peart is a terrific early third-round prospect for teams with a long-term need at either tackle position. Then again, any team that drafts him must be committed to developing him, as it may not be until his third year until he’s ready to play. The Dolphins are once again an obvious fit, though zone-blocking teams who could use a young tackle, such as the 49ers, Packers, Bengals, Browns, Vikings, and Rams all make sense as well.
#9: Trey Adams, Washington
Height: 6’8″ Weight: 306 lbs
Pro Comparison: Max Starks
Best Fits: MIA, CAR, TB
Overall Grade: 80.63 (Early 4th)
When you have the length that Trey Adams with his 6’8″ frame, you’ll have the eyes of scouts- he’s been a coveted prospect since he was a freshman. With his length, Adams is able to win with power, though his amazing grip strength also helps with that. Furthermore, he’s a very tough player in the trenches, as he’s able to take defenders for a ride in the second level. Adams is also pretty athletic for someone of his size, so he’ll be able to fit in any sort of offensive scheme.
Although Adams was once seen as a premier tackle prospect, he’s sustained a lot of injuries during his college career, so durability is a major concern. Plus, due to his size, he’s unable to stay low in pass protection, so it’s not a surprise that he struggled versus elite pass rushers and in true pass sets. He’ll also have some body control problems, and overall, will have much issues against explosive edge rushers, or those who can counter from speed to power.
At this point, Trey Adams is probably more of a swingman tackle with run-blocking ability, which is unfortunate given how elite of a prospect he was early in his college career. I simply wouldn’t trust him at all in pass protection, and since he clearly can’t move inside to guard, that’s a major issue. I’d take him on day three, but probably not before that if the goal in the draft is to try to find the best value.
#10: Prince Teg Wanogho, Auburn
Year: RS Senior
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 307 lbs
Pro Comparison: TJ Clemmings
Best Fits: MIA, BUF, GB
Overall Grade: 79.33 (Late 4th)
With his length and mobility, it’s not hard to see the appeal with Prince Tega Wanogho, who partnered with Driscoll to form a strong tackle duo. At times, Tega Wanogho is able to shine in pass protection, as he’s able to mirror edge rushers, and knows how to use his length properly. With his strong lower half, he also has upside as a mauler in the run game, while his lateral agility should allow him to thrive on zone rushings or on screens.
Tega Wanogho is an interesting toolsy prospect, but he has some major flaws that he’ll have to overcome. He’ll struggle with quicker edge rushers, since he’s not able to get out of his stance and put his hands up at an appropriate pace. Even though he’s pretty strong, he also doesn’t have the finisher mentality needed to sustain blocks, and his balance problems are another concern. There’s also the issue with his production, as per Pro Football Focus, his grade regressed this season; he’s not developed enough for a redshirt senior.
Prince Tega Wanogho may end up going in the second round due to his length and athleticism, but I’d prefer players who are as athletic and more refined, such as Peart or Niang. He has the tools you’re looking for, but at the same time, he’s too old to struggle with some of the aspects of football he currently is, and unlike some of the other prospects on this list, he doesn’t dominate in any specific way. I’m all in for taking him on day three to add some tackle depth, but if you’re looking for an immediate contribution from the tackle you draft, I’d much rather have the other tackle on the Auburn offensive lineman.
Let’s take a look at the other prospects who were looked at, ranked with their overall grade:
11) Austin Jackson, USC (79.12, Late 4th)
12) Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (78.46, Early 5th)
13) Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame (78.3, Early 5th)
14) Jared Hilbers, Washington (78.18, Early 5th)
15) Saahdiq Charles, LSU (77.91, 5th)
16) Justin Herron, Wake Forrest (77.48, 5th)
17) Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State (77.4, 5th)
18) Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas (76.57, Late 5th/Early 6th)
19) Colton McKivitz, West Virginia (74.76, Early 7th)
20) Charlie Heck, North Carolina (74.3, Early 7th)
21) Alaric Jackson, Iowa (73.61, Late 7th)
22) Terrence Steele, Texas Tech (70.45, UDFA)
With five first-round tackles, this is a very strong tackle class. However, teams must be careful to not just draft for upside, as taking Jones or Becton too early could be problematic. For me, Wills has established himself as perhaps a generational tackle prospect, but Thomas and Wirfs are also blue-chip prospects, while there are other developmental prospects that are interesting investments after the first round. Especially at the top of the draft, I think we’ll see a bidding war for these tackles, as five teams in the top ten (Giants, Dolphins, Chargers, Cardinals, Browns) all have short-term and long-term needs at the position. It’ll be fun to see how it all turns out, but regardless, it’s rare to have three offensive linemen in one draft class who can all fit in any different scheme.
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