1st Round Potential
Trey Smith – Tennessee, SR
Smith is the starting Left Guard for the Vols, but has bounced around the line and started at Tackle his freshman and sophomore years. The highly touted recruit came in as the 5th rated player in the nation and was immediately plugged into the starting lineup. His sophomore season was cut short and his career was threatened due to blood clots, but he bounced back and returned as a junior and started 12 games and was awarded the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award along with several others. Many worried that Smith would be rusty when he returned, however, he did not allow a sack all season. Smith finished his junior campaign with 1st Team All-SEC honors and opened 2020 as a preseason All-American as well being honored on the Outland and Wuerffel Trophy Watchlists. Smith is a powerful and versatile guard who will be able to move around to any position on the offensive line. He is an excellent run blocker who quickly gets to the second level to make impact blocks. He has done his part in keeping lesser talented QBs clean, but it hasn’t contributed much to the teams success. He has been a lone bright spot on one of the weaker teams in the SEC, but never played down to competition. He is a true competitor of high character and will excel in almost any NFL organization. If health concerns scare teams out of taking Smith in the 1st Round he will be a steal to whoever takes him and will immediately pay dividends.
Wyatt Davis – Ohio State, JR
Wyatt Davis is one of the most naturally gifted players in the draft and is the perfect NFL interior lineman prototype. Fast, strong and agile, Davis inherited a natural skillset for the game from his grandfather, Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis. Unlike his grandfather, Wyatt Davis keeps QBs clean in the pocket and has been a part of several of the most dynamic offenses in the country. He is versatile and excels in the run and passing game and is a bulldozer against defenders. He is certainly a natural guard and likely won’t find as much success as a Tackle, which could hurt his draft value a bit, but Davis still is a likely first rounder from the Guard position.
Alijah Vera-Tucker – USC, JR
Vera-Tucker has transitioned to Left Tackle after playing Left Guard for the 2019 season. Vera-Tucker started his career at Right Guard but has proven his versatility and importance as he now is Kedon Slovis’ blindside blocker. He is young and lacks significant experience, but his film shows steady improvement over his career. He has a great first step and what keeps him in the NFL Guard category is his ability to pull block and bust open holes for his Running Backs. He is powerful, yet extremely quick and nimble for 315 lbs. His player comp. would be Taylor Moton due to his elite athleticism and versatility on the line, playing anywhere at any time. His technique will need work, but he is one of the best raw talents in the draft and should have a significant shot at being taken in the 1st Round.
Creed Humphrey – Oklahoma, JR
Humphrey is in his third year as the starting Center for the Sooners and has been one of the nations top in the position. He was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (nations top Center), but lost to unanimous All-American Tyler Biadasz. Although he did not win, he was honored as the Big-12’s co-offensive lineman of the year. He is a smart center who excels in quickly getting to linebackers, but also has found success in pass protection as he did not allow a sack in 2019. He is the top Center prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the question will arise if he is going to get drafted as a Center or possibly be moved to Guard. Centers aren’t always taken in the 1st Round, however, three out of the last five Rimington Award Winners were selected in the first 21 picks (Ryan Kelly 18th, Billy Price 21st, Garrett Bradberry 18th).
Day 2 Candidates
Deonte Brown – Alabama, SR
Brown may not have the same experience as some of the nations top prospects, but has still played in 43 games with 21 starts. Alabama’s Left Guard has improved every season and earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl. Brown is not as flashy as some of the other Alabama prospects, but teams will know exactly what they are getting when they consider drafting him. He is a key contributor to the top rated offense in the country and has showcased his ability against some of the best players in the SEC. As of now, Brown likely will be taken on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Ben Cleveland – Georgia, SR
At 6’6″ 340 lbs, Ben Cleveland is a mammoth on the Bulldogs offensive line. He is a physical run blocker who is quick off the line of scrimmage, but also is pretty nimble for such a large guard. He is not the best athlete or natural lineman, but he has a high motor and is a powerful blocker who could possibly get taken on Day 2 due to success in a highly respectful organization among lineman.
Landon Dickerson – Alabama, SR
Dickerson is the least amount of upside of the three Alabama OL prospects (behind Leatherwood and Brown), but he also may have the highest floor. Dickerson position depends on who drafts him, but he has done a phenomenal job at Alabama as the starting center. He is one of the top rated run blocking centers in the country, which is evident on his film where he dominates up the middle of defenses. He is quick and strong, but lacks the elite athleticism to place him in the 1st Round. He earned a well-deserved trip to Mobile in January and will have the opportunity to showcase his abilities in front of some of the best players in the country.