The offensive line class as a whole is fairly good in this draft, unlike the past few, where the top tackles were weak but the top interior blockers were strong. This class seems to have better depth both inside and out than some of the recent classes, and I feel that the OT crop may be the best we have seen in at least three years.
With that I'll unveil PFW's top six edge blockers in the 2019 draft:
There are some who question the run-blocking skills of Cajuste because of the design of the West Virginia offense. Another question is in regard to him missing time because of injuries early in his career. Still, he was a two-and-half-year starter with very strong tape — especially as a pass blocker, which is the most important thing a left tackle has to do. Cajuste is one of the more athletic tackles in the draft, as well as one of the strongest (32 reps of 225). He weighed in at 312 pounds in Indy and still has the frame to get bigger. I see Cajuste easily going in the second round, and two years from now he will be one of the better tackles from this draft.
The Oklahoma offensive line is loaded with prospects, with four members poised to be drafted next week. Though Cody Ford gets most of the publicity, the player that jumped out to me on tape was LT Bobby Evans.
At just over 6’4 and weighing 312, Evans doesn’t have ideal tackle height, but he is tall enough. His arm length of 34 ¾” more than makes up for his lack of ideal height. Evans has good play strength and easily has the bend, feet and agility to mirror pass rushers at the LT position.
Evans only played on the left side for one season, after starting for two years on the right side. He needs to improve his angles when setting in pass pro — and that will come as he gains more experience playing on the left side. I feel Evans will be an immediate starter next fall and make the club that selects him very happy.
Coming out of high school, Little was rated as a can’t-miss 5-Star prospect. After enrolling at Ole Miss, he became an immediate starter, playing very well the past three seasons. If there is a question about his play, it’s that Little doesn’t consistently show a high level of intensity down after down.
The traits are there for Little to come in and start right away at left tackle for many clubs in the NFL. Few have his combination of size, athleticism, length and power. Little will get drafted in the first round, but until he proves he can play hard every down there will be questions about him.
Dillard entered the draft as an underclassman and, like Cajuste, the original questions many evaluators many had were what kind of run blocker will he be at the NFL level. Playing in the pass-heavy offense at Washington State, Dillard has excellent pass-blocking traits— he may be the best pass protector in this class.
It’s not that he is a poor run blocker, but because Washington State has its tackles play from a two-point stance and doesn't emphasize the run game, there are questions about his run blocking. The answers to those questions can’t be found by looking at tape, so it goes back to his natural traits and how he performed in workouts. The fact is, he worked out very well and some feel he could be the first tackle drafted next week.
During the 2018 college football season, Taylor was playing at 325-to-330 pounds as the starting right tackle at Florida. Following the season, he began to lose weight, and by the Combine he was 312 pounds.
Other than the bench press, Taylor did not do any measurable drills at the Combine or the Florida Pro Day, but reports are that he looked excellent doing drill work. Though he played right tackle in college, he has the quick feet, range and lateral agility to play on the left side. Whether that happens will be up to the club that selects him. Regardless, he will come in and start right away. He may be a top-10 selection next week.
No O-lineman in this draft brings about more conversation than Williams, the three-year starter from Alabama — first at right tackle in 2016 and then at left tackle the past two seasons. For the most part, Williams tape is outstanding, but he did struggle a bit vs. Clemson in the National Championship game. Thus, many analysts feel he will be a guard once he gets to the NFL.
I don’t agree.
At the Combine, his arms measured 33 5/8”, which is a bit less than ideal, but equal to or longer than several NFL Pro Bowlers at the position. Williams is tough, strong, athletic and a technician who will carry his strong play at Alabama over to the NFL level. He proved he could play left tackle vs. the best college competition in the country in the SEC, and I believe he will do the same in the NFL.
Previous 2019 NFL Draft positional breakdowns by Greg Gabriel: