As the rest of the draft process unfolds, we begin to see the top players rise and separate themselves from the rest. Although pro-days and individual workouts may still alter the grid moving forward, the rise of certain players has been imminent recently. So far, here are the top five offensive players by position in this year’s NFL Draft.
Chance Warmack – Warmack is still the best guard in the nation. He is just a mean guy who is excellent in both pass and run blocking. His 5.49 40-yard dash should not be a concern considering his short area quickness and burst.
Jon Cooper – The 2nd rated guard who isn’t too far behind Warmack. He is a really good run blocker, excellent pass protector. He will be a cog on the OLine for somebody for a long time.
Larry Warford – Warford is above average in both run and pass protection. Warford’s lower body is what separates him. He drives an incredible amount of power from the tree trunks that he calls legs.
Kyle Long – Long is more of a developmental player but flashed a bit during the combine, which made me go back to the tape. He opened up running lanes for Kenjon Barner and seemed to have a lot of room for improvement. Long is ultra athletic as well, which will help him adapt to the position.
Alvin Bailey – For me, Alvin Bailey went under the radar for a little bit until the combine. He ran a 4.95 40 with a great 10 yard split and had 27 reps on the bench press. He was dominant in 2011 in both the run and pass game opening holes for Knile Davis. He played well this past year, just not as well as the previous. That doesn’t mean that his talent has regressed, though.
Eric Fisher – Fisher has jumped Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel for the top spot here. Fisher is extremely dominant on film and should be taken in the top 10 this year.
Luke Joeckel – Joeckel is still a damn good Offensive Tackle and will be a starter in the league for a while. You can put him at the left (or right) side of the line and not be worried about your quarterback’s blind side. His wide base, quick-moving feet, and great recovery all help him block extremely well.
Lane Johnson – Johnson, being a former Tight End, uses his athleticism really well. He is excellent at mirroring the pass rusher and not letting them get the edge and often makes his opponent go to an inside move. In the run-game, he is very good at keeping his block and gets to the second level well.
DJ Fluker – DJ Fluker was the right tackle on the best line in the country. He is an excellent run blocker but can improve a bit on his pass protection. His length and hustle make it hard for defenders to beat him off the snap. He is going to be a starter in the NFL, and soon.
Menelik Watson – Watson started at Florida State at right tackle. He has the athleticism and the feet to possibly make the switch to left tackle. His foot quickness, strong punch, and flexibility are going to help him succeed. One downfall is that he is very raw as a player.
Travis Frederick – Frederick is the best Center in the draft and starter capable from day 1. He started as a freshman for the OLine factory at Wisconsin. That has never happened before, until Travis. The key thing I’ve noticed is his strength to turn the defender out of the hole to make room for the running back.
Barrett Jones – Barrett Jones can play any position on the offensive line. He is better suited for the interior because of his wide base and how he mirrors defenders well. In the run game, he has good hip extension and angle of attack.
Brian Schwenke – Schwenke narrowly beat out the next guy on my list after the combine. I saw him play at the senior bowl and he looked great there. Then film, then the combine. Impressive. He is really quick off the snap with great hand placement. Schwenke also has and keeps a low pad-level. And low man always wins in the game of football…At least on the Offensive and Defensive lines.
David Quessenberry – Quessenberry was a 3 year starter for San Jose State. He wasn’t ranked as high until Senior Bowl week. He was impressive all week, game included. Like Schwenke, he plays with a low pad level and is very good at riding the pass rusher out of the pocket.
Mario Benavides – The Louisville center did a really good job all season being the guy for Teddy Bridgewater. Against Sly Williams and UNC, Benavides played very well. Against Florida in the Sugar Bowl he and the interior of the Florida DLine went back and forth a lot, but he had a fair amount of wins. He has quick hands, feet, and lateral movement. These are all important for a zone blocking scheme.
Geno Smith – Geno is probably the most complete QB in this draft. He is smart, has a big arm, and fires passes into tight windows. His accuracy is questionable at times but overall has gotten better over his years at WVU. His completion percentage is skewed to an extent. He threw a lot of short routes his receivers took for a lot of YAC.
Matt Barkley – Barkley has experience running a pro style offense being from USC. He is very good with making adjustments at the LOS, and getting the ball out of his hands quickly when he recognizes a mismatch. His decision making and great touch on downfield passes are also big plusses.
EJ Manuel – This is my favorite QB of the class. A true duel threat QB. He primarily worked from the shotgun but was very effective on play action. Manuel has the velocity to make the tight-window throws. His athleticism and quick release are also parts of his game that will translate well to the next level.
Mike Glennon – Glennon has a big arm and really good pocket presence. Im worried about his size. He is tall but needs to put on some weight to last a while in the NFL.
Ryan Nassib – Nassib is a good quarterback that still seems very raw. He is smart and accurate, but has bit of an unconventional delivery with room for improvement.
Eddie Lacy – Lacy is the best RB in the draft. He has great light feet and balance. He doesn’t have the best top end speed but his elusiveness and moves make up for it. He has the size and power to be a workhorse back in the NFL.
Giovanni Bernard – Gio is a really versatile back. He is good coming out of the backfield to catch a pass and in pass protection. He has short strides, quick steps, and makes excellent cuts. He also falls forward upon the majority of contact.
Jon Franklin – Speedy. Shifty. He is a one cut kind of runner that has impressive foot quickness, which allows him to explode out of a hard cut.
Le’veon Bell – Monster size. Nimble feet. He is a big back but has deceptive speed and moves while possessing the ability to catch the ball too. He holds the ball away from his body, which is never good but doesn’t fumble much. He’ll have to shore that up a bit, but not a huge issue.
Andre Ellington – Ellington has great patience in the hole with great acceleration, which is a problem for defenses. It looks like he likes to run on the inside, but size might wind up being an issue.
Tavon Austin – Austin is incredibly fast and has great hands. His acceleration is also really good. Even though he is 5-8, I think he can be a great slot receiver for teams while helping on special teams as well.
Cordarelle Patterson – Patterson gets really good separation on vertical routes, but still has issues with physicality. Few wasted steps on cuts and runs smoothly. Looks to get YAC right away. Potential number 1 receiver target, but has to get away form body-catching.
Keenan Allen – Allen is a great route runner that has great height. He goes up in the air to attack the ball with his hands and is a really smooth pass catcher. There is a lot of fluidity in his game, which is always a good thing.
Quinton Patton – Patton has good size, height and length for the position to play in the NFL. He has good acceleration and gets himself free to get up and make a catch with his hands.
Robert Woods – Woods is a potential number one receiver that can excel because of his foot speed and shifty hips. He uses his cuts to free himself from receivers. He has good vision and burst with the ball in his hands. He has showed the ability to make catches away from his frame with his hands. He also tracks passes ver his shoulders well as well as in traffic.
Tyler Eiffert – Eiffert is tough in crowds and shows strong hands to makes catches over the middle. One issue is that he is too lean but he will bulk up moving into the league. He isn’t the one to break away so easily but if the ball is in his area, he will catch it in traffic.
Travis Kelce – Kelce is an excellent blocker that also can make a lot of plays in the passing game as well. He has subtle speed that you wouldn’t expect from somebody that is 6-06 260 lbs. Uses his hands and because of his size, he isn’t afraid to make a play in traffic.
Jordan Reed – Reed is a good blocker that can also line up in the slot or as an H-Back. He has smoothness in how he catches the ball and makes plays. He just seems so natural in the position with his play in space and catch and run abilities.
Zach Ertz – The more and more I watch of Ertz, the less I like him. While he is very sure handed, while running great routes, his pass protection is something left to be desired. He needs to work on that to make the jump in the NFL.
Gavin Escobar – Escobar is an excellent receiving tight end. He can locate the ball over his shoulder easily and works with his fluidity to make plays. He needs to work on blocking a little bit, but that is to be expected.