Earlier in the week, Mike Nolan ranked the top ten offensive lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft. Today, he looks at specific targets they could focus on with their top three picks and hands out superlatives for the entire lineman class…
The 6th Pick
This spot might be too high to draft any of the lineman, but if the pass rushers and quarterbacks are gone, a lineman may make the most sense. Brandon Scherff would be their best bet to grab a guy who can immediately be an impact player at guard. I’d be surprised if any other linemen went in the top 10, but not shocked. The only other one I could see going anywhere close to the top 10 is Andrus Peat who could be a cornerstone at left tackle.
The 37th Pick
It might make a lot more sense to grab a lineman here. There will most likely be a run on linemen towards the back end of the first round, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see someone fall. At this spot, the Jets can take more of a risk on a longer term option to replace D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The two names that come to mind are Cedric Ogbuehi of Texas A&M and TJ Clemmings of Pittsburgh who are excellent athletes for Gailey’s spread. Both will probably need some adjustment time with Ogbuehi coming off an injury and Clemmings not fully being ready, in my opinion.
Guards to look at in this spot include Laken Tomlinson who will be an intelligent, rock solid pro. Other names to keep in mind here are AJ Cann or Tre Jackson. Jackson could struggle in Gailey’s system because he’s not great in space. The Jets may want to avoid drafting a pure guard all together and grab a more athletic tackle that they can move inside.
A more intriguing name here might be Donovan Smith. Smith has the size of the aforementioned guards but possesses a little more athleticism. Many think he never lived up to his potential at Penn State, but a move to guard could help him realize it in the NFL.
The 70th Pick
I’ve seen Ali Marpet going anywhere from the 2nd to the 5th rounds, but the Jets would be a great fit for the New York native. Other guards you could see go in this range include Jarvis Harrison, who I talk about below, or Mitch Morse out of Missouri who was an absolute monster at the Combine and might excel with a move to guard.
Another name to keep an eye out for in the 3rd round is Rob Havenstein from Wisconsin. It is amazing a kid this big can go under the radar, but he is. He has massive size and his footwork is better than you would expect. He’s a pure right tackle prospect, though, which could mean moving Breno Giacomini inside.
Other Prospect Notes
Most Underrated – Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech
Mason is the Russell Wilson of offensive linemen. He is getting overlooked mainly because he’s a short 6’0″ and coming out of the Georgia Tech Triple Option Offense. This kid is incredibly quick off the ball and has excellent leg drive. This combined with the fact that he should always be the low man equals a run blocking force. He seems like a “chip on his shoulder” type of kid and the fact that he didn’t even get invited to the Combine should not sit well with him. A move to center might be coming, and if it is a smooth transition, he can be one of the better ones in the league.
Not Ready For Primetime Player – TJ Clemmings, Pittsburgh
Clemmings was at the top of a lot of lists early on in the draft process because of his physical tools. He’s got the size and athleticism to be special, but his film and performance at the Senior Bowl just don’t back it up. I would not be surprised if Clemmings became an All-Pro eventually, but I tend to lean towards the conservative side on him not living up to that potential. I think he will struggle physically in the league, especially if he plays right away. Best case scenario for him is to go to a team where he can redshirt for a year. (Like the Jets?)
Will He Figure It Out? – Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M
I could have put Donovan Smith here, but I included him in my top 10 list. Harrison is a big, athletic guard who has not lived up to his full potential in college. At the Combine, he posted one of the fastest times in the 3 cone drill, which is one of the only drills that has any correlation to NFL success for linemen. He’s had conditioning problems in the past and was even benched for two games because of it. His passion is basketball, but if he can find his motivation in the NFL his special brand of size and athleticism could lead to a lot of success.
Toughest to Scout – Ali Marpet, Hobart
I wasn’t able to get my hands on any Marpet film this offseason so scouting him is a crapshoot. Watching his performance at the Senior Bowl mixed with his athleticism leads me to believe that he will be successful in the NFL. Coming from Division III, he may need some time to adjust to the competition but by year two he could be a solid contributor for a team. He might have the most potential in one of these offenses using a lot of spread zone concepts like the Eagles or Jets.
Might Have to Learn to Pronounce That Name – Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
Pronounced “her-OH-niss GRASS-uu”. The athletic Oregon center is one of the better ones in a weak class. He’s not great at any one thing, but plays with a ton of effort and doesn’t have too many glaring weaknesses. Grasu is just a really solid player who plays above his size as shown by the fact that he was the only Oregon lineman that was able to occupy Danny Shelton. I think this kid will be a solid NFL starter.