2008 NFL Draft – Offensive Tackles

University of Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long
Yesterday, I examined the tight ends who I expected to be available in the 2008 NFL Draft. Today, I take a look at the top offensive tackles that I expect to be available in the draft. Below, you will find the player’s name, school, brief narrative about the player and the team expected to draft him. Here we go:

1. Jake Long, Michigan
Has great size (6’7″, 305); can play either left or right tackle at the next level. Has very good athleticism and quick feet and should be able to hang with the quicker defensive ends as well as play in a zone blocking scheme. Reminds me a bit of Cleveland Browns OT Joe Thomas. Downside – Really only his second full year as a left tackle.

Team likely to draft him: Kansas City (1st round)

2. Ryan Clady, Boise State
Very good size (6’6″, 317); his athleticsm and footwork are top-notch. Played on a team that had a pro-style offense, which gives him an advantage at the NFL level. May be a better run-blocker than pass-blocker, yet solid both ways. Downside for Clady – Will need to improve his strength.

Team likely to draft him: Denver (1st round)

3. Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
He’s a big’un (6’6″, 340); despite his size has very good feet. Explosive off the ball, can hold his own in the pass protection scheme of things. Downside for Otah- has OK speed (5.35 40), still learning the nuances that will help him at the NFL level.

Team likely to draft him: Baltimore (2nd round, although that could change if Ogden returns)

4. Sam Baker, USC
Large frame (6’5″, 305) with long wingspan. Athletic with terrific foot movement. Quick and agile for his size. Great balance; will play left tackle at the NFL level. Downside for Baker – he needs to bulk up and add weight; lacks that killer instinct, toughness may come into question. Average run blocker. May have some durability issues.

Team likely to draft him: Carolina (1st round)

5. Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
Excellent size (6’7″, 318) and wingspan. Naturally strong. Proficient as a run blocker with a great push. Intelligent with very good awareness. Great intangibles. Downside for Cherilus – May have trouble with speedy edge rushers, may lack that killer instinct. Occasionally plays a bit too high. May or may not start as a left tackle in the NFL. Character issues perhaps an issue.

Team likely to draft him: Oakland (2nd round)

6. Carl Nicks, Nebraska
Great size (6’5″, 330), has very good quickness. Very strong frame. Proficient at the run game. Light on his feet and very mobile. Lots of upside. Downside for Nicks – Not a lot of experience, raw. Needs work with leverage, questionable foot and hand technique. A work in progress.

Team likely to draft him: Minnesota (2nd round)

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