Top 10 offensive tackles in the 2021 draft

Penei Sewell of Oregon. The Oregon Ducks take on the Auburn Tigers in The AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on August 31, 2019 (Eric Evans - GoDucks.com)
Penei Sewell of Oregon. The Oregon Ducks take on the Auburn Tigers in The AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on August 31, 2019 (Eric Evans - GoDucks.com)

Credit: Eric Evans

Credit: Eric Evans

Here are the top 10 offensive tackle prospects (with projected round) for the 2021 NFL draft, which is set for April 29-May 1:

1. Penei Sewell, Oregon, 6 feet 4, 331 pounds (first): Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, although it did not matter when it came to his draft status. Still considered one of the top two tackles in this year’s draft, Sewell’s power in the run game is evident on film. Sewell possesses excellent athletic ability for someone his size, which makes him an ideal candidate to protect the quarterback’s blind side in the NFL. In two years as Oregon’s starting left tackle, Sewell surrendered only one sack.

ExploreFalcons have interviewed Penei Sewell

2. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern, 6-4, 302 pounds (first): Like Sewell, Slater also opted out of the 2020 season. And like Sewell, that hasn’t affected his draft standing whatsoever. Slater was the only offensive lineman to contain former Ohio State defensive end Chase Young for an entire game in 2019. What separates Slater from many of his counterparts is his ability to play guard and center in the NFL if needed. However, Slater, known as a highly intelligent lineman, stated at his Pro Day that he views himself as a long-term tackle at the next level.

3. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech, 6-4, 322 pounds (first): A former three-star prospect out of high school, Darrisaw became a three-year starter with the Hokies. With plenty of collegiate experience, Darrisaw has evolved into a fundamental tackle in both the run game and pass protection. With the athletic ability that Darrisaw possesses at his height and size, it’s possible that he could also play guard in the NFL if needed.

4. Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame, 6-6, 306 pounds (second): Eichenberg possesses an ideal blend of aggression and patience. He’s violent in the run game and a tactician as a pass protector. Eichenberg makes up for a lack of length — even at 6-6 — with his football intelligence. He’s also proved to be a durable lineman, having started 38 consecutive games over the past three seasons.

5. Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State, 6-5, 317 pounds (second): An athletic tackle who moves well in space, Jenkins also played guard during his time with the Cowboys. Jenkins has a strong upper body and uses his hands well on a play-by-play basis. Jenkins opted out after seven games to prepare for the draft and ultimately decided against participating in the Senior Bowl after accepting an invitation. At left tackle in 2020, Jenkins finished blocks and played with great aggression.

ExploreTeven Jenkins doesn’t let up

6. Samuel Cosmi, Texas, 6-5, 314 pounds (second): A late bloomer, Cosmi began his collegiate career at Texas as a right tackle before moving to the left side in his second season. Cosmi has excellent fundamentals and has been described as an overachiever throughout his college career. Cosmi was voted a team captain entering the 2020 season.

7. Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State, 6-5, 301 pounds (second/third): Radunz had the luxury of protecting the blind side of quarterback Trey Lance, a potential top-10 selection in this year’s draft. A former two-star prospect out of high school, Radunz is smooth in pass protection. He also plays with a mean streak in the run game.

Stanford's Walker Little participates in the school's pro day football workout for NFL scouts in Stanford, Calif., Thursday, March 18, 2021. (Jed Jacobsohn/AP)
Stanford's Walker Little participates in the school's pro day football workout for NFL scouts in Stanford, Calif., Thursday, March 18, 2021. (Jed Jacobsohn/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

8. Walker Little, Stanford, 6-7, 313 pounds (third): A tall offensive tackle, Little was a five-star prospect out of high school in Houston. A tactician at tackle, Little has good recovery speed and is fluid with his movements. Playing in coach David Shaw’s pro style offense has assuredly prepared him for the NFL, too. However, he hasn’t played in a while as he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first game of the 2019 season and opted out of the 2020 campaign.

9. James Hudson, Cincinnati, 6-4, 313 pounds (third): A defensive lineman converted to tackle, Hudson began his career at Michigan before transferring to Cincinnati. Hudson has the athletic traits to play tackle in the NFL but needs further development after beginning his college career on defense.

10. Brady Christensen, BYU, 6-5, 302 pounds (third): Christensen was tasked with protecting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, who has the chance to be a top-five selection in this year’s draft. Although he’s athletic and skilled, his 32¼-inch arms could be a concern for some teams. Still, Christensen held up well when starting 38 consecutive games during his time with the Cougars.

Teams in need: Bears, Bengals, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Raiders, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers, Titans, Vikings, Washington.

Need area for Falcons: Yes. The Falcons need help on the offensive line.

Top 5 OTs for 2022 draft: Alabama’s Evan Neal, Mississippi’s Nick Broeker, Wisconsin’s Logan Brown, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Tennessee’s Wanya Morris.

AJC’S POSITION-BY-POSITION SERIES

QUARTERBACKS: How far will Justin Fields drop in draft? Top 10 QBs

RUNNING BACKS: Plenty of prospects to pick from | Top 10 RBs

WIDE RECEIVERS: Draft deep with talent | Top 10 WRs

TIGHT ENDS: Ability to create mismatches is key | Top 10 TEs

OFFENSIVE TACKLES: A ‘nasty’ bunch | Top 10 OTs

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