2021 NFL Draft – OT Preview

Best Prospect of All Time?

Penei Sewell – Oregon, JR

All the hype in this draft usually revolves around Trevor Lawrence and the strong QB class, however, Sewell is one of the highest rated Tackle prospects in decades. He has been a starter since the day he walked onto campus and finished his freshman year as the seventh highest rated offensive lineman with an 84.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. He followed up with a strong sophomore season and finished as the top-rated lineman in history with an incredible 95.5 rating and was named a first team All-American. On top of that, Sewell turned 20 in October. Although he has opted out of the NFL season, Sewell likely will be taken second or third overall in the draft because he will be a generational NFL talent.

Other First Round Talent

Samuel Cosmi – Texas, JR

Cosmi entered the 2020 season with 26 career starts and is a well-seasoned veteran on the Longhorns offensive line. He is an outstanding run blocker and excels getting into the second level of linebackers and is extremely fast for his size. Along with his elite run blocking abilities, he is also a great pass blocker. He tends to stay rather high when blocking and often gets his hands outside, which leads me to believe he may have a tough transition into the NFL, especially with holding penalties, but his size, speed and technique cannot be overlooked.

Alex Leatherwood – Alabama, SR

Leatherwood is another tackle prospect with first round potential and has started for the Crimson Tide for the last 3 years. As a true sophomore Leatherwood started 15 games at RG then switched back to his natural Left Tackle position as a junior and has played alongside two other former first round picks Jedrick Wills (10th overall in 2020) and Jonah Williams (11th overall in 2019). In 2018 Leatherwood was voted 2nd Team All SEC, followed by 1st Team All SEC in 2019 after allowing just 2 sacks and 3 QB hurries for the season. Leatherwood has an extremely aggressive first step that jumps out on tape. He does not have the speed of Sewell or Cosmi but seems to have exceptionally solid technique with quick and powerful hands.   

Dillon Radunz – North Dakota State, SR

Radunz is an extremely intriguing tackle prospect. His name has been mentioned a lot with other first rounders, but he also would be a pretty big risk coming from a smaller school without seeing much action (and only 1 game in 2020). He had started 32 consecutive games when he wrapped up his career at NDST this fall and had a highly decorated career including being named 1st Team All American in 2019. Radunz moves with fluidity and is quick on his feet, which helps him on all levels of the field. He is extremely quick off the line of scrimmage and has the technique of a first-round pick.

Rashawn Slater – Northwestern, SR

Slater has some of the best technique in the class and is extremely mobile for 315 lbs. He had one of the best performances in 2019 against Chase Young. Slater isn’t the flashiest prospect but has tremendous upside and has been one of the highest rated tackles by PFF. Slater’s run blocking abilities keep him near the top of this class and could potentially even push him into the first round.

Other Names to Consider Early

Walker Little – Stanford, SR

Little is a stout tackle prospect who is solid all around. He really doesn’t have many weaknesses, but also does not possess the natural ability as the guys who are likely to go in the first round. At 6’7” he sometimes plays too tall, and really doesn’t have the ability to move defenders, however, he rarely lets them by either. He is a bit slow and gangly, but one of the smartest and most experienced options in the draft. Little may not jump off the board with talent, but he is a  solid day two pick who will likely find his way into an NFL Role.

Jalen Mayfield – Michigan, JR

Mayfield has a good first step in pass protection but is also slow and a bit hesitant as a run blocker. His tape is extremely mediocre, and his glaring weakness is that he cannot handle split decisions at game speed. He exemplifies weak footwork while blocking and gets his hands high often. All of that being said, the silver lining for Mayfield is that he also shows a ton of potential in his tape as well. He is strong and athletic, not to mention he is an ox at 6’5” 320 lbs. He had only started 13 games coming into 2020, all of which were on a weak offensive line that was usually outmatched by the Big 10’s extremely deep defensive lineman in 2019. Mayfield is deserved of a third or forth round pick.  

Liam Eichenberg – Notre Dame, SR

Eichenberg is a lot like Mayfield. He is a bit undisciplined, slow, and plays with his hands high. However, he is a seasoned veteran who has now started 33 games. He is not the most physically gifted player but has a solid skillset and could make some noise on an NFL roster. He plays with enthusiasm and high energy, but sometimes that can lead to getting flags. He, like Mayfield, likely will go in the third or forth round.

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