+ Round-by-round picks
Strengths: Depth, versatility, run blocking
Weaknesses: Talent, health, pass blocking
In Brief: Kyle Williams proved serviceable in limited action, and serviceable from a third string left tackle is stupendous. I'm not sure if Walter Jones is good for another season or just yet to retire, but for now we'll say he contributes to the overall depth at the position. Jones is a fantastic tackle, and you have to believe if someone can gut out a decent season at well below top form, it's Jones. Sean Locklear looks like an average left tackle that's a bit above average against the pass and has the kind of acumen in space to take to zone blocking. Locklear is the strength of this line. Willis is versatile and could be a good enough pass blocker in a system that de-emphasizes that duty. He showed some flashes of elite run blocking ability.
Targets by round
- Eugene Monroe: Monroe is a bit thin in the upper body, and has the look of a tight end that converted to tackle. He's a rare talent in pass protection and that makes him an elite prospect. A team like Seattle that doesn't need point of attack maulers but instead smart, agile blockers that are good on the move could maximize a player with Monroe's skill set. Injury concerns make him an risky pick at four, but should he stay healthy, he certainly would give an otherwise average unit a boost.
William Beatty: Beatty is built a bit like Monroe, but isn't nearly the pass blocker. Effectively, Beatty played right tackle at Connecticut, because though he played left tackle, he played left tackle for a left-handed quarterback. That might confuse people a bit when they're imagining Beatty's profile. He has the frame and the footwork of Monroe, but not nearly the skills. Beatty is a good athlete and a project, but project offensive linemen with questions about their pass protection skills is not my idea of a good pick in the early second round. May be more sizzle than steak.
- Troy Kropog: If Seattle targets a tackle in the third, they will probably target Kropog, but if they target Kropog the temptation to trade down or wait to see if he falls to the fourth will be strong. Kropog isn't a typical Tim Ruskell pick, but only because Tulane is not a big school or from a powerhouse conference. That's not enough to disqualify him. Tulane faces its share of top talent and graduates its share of NFL prospects. In a zone blocking system that de-emphasizes raw power, and for a team that needs not just talent at tackle but talent throughout the offensive line, Kropog is a solid fit. Athletic and skilled, knowledgeable of his position and knowledgeable of his offense, Kropog is the kind of good-upside, low-downside value pick that's perfect for an offensive line that needs talent, but has no aspirations of greatness.
- Andrew Gardner: Gardner is Sam Baker-East and like Baker is farther down your average mock draft than your average NFL exec's draft board. Gardner has suffered from lack of news. After starting 48 consecutive games at Georgia Tech, Gardner finally succumbed to a torn labrum suffered early in the season. He played through it for much of the 2008 season, but prudently elected to have surgery well in advance of the draft. He didn't participate in the Senior Bowl or the NFL Combine, and did not work out for scouts until Tech's pro day. Despite the labrum tear, Gardner was again elected first team All-ACC. He was a core member of a surprisingly resilient, and very good offense. Tech recently graduated Calvin Johnson and Tashard Choice, but still finished 14th in offensive FEI. Gardner is a good athlete, very skilled, has an NFL-ready mean streak and good upside in a variety of systems.
- Jason Watkins: Like Kropog, if Watkins is available in the fifth, Seattle will be tempted to trade down or wait for the sixth. And like Kropog, Watkins makes the most sense to a team that doesn't need a mauling run blocker or a tackle that must start right away. Watkins is quick and gets by on good athleticism. He has a bad mix of below average strength and bad technique, and I could see him cut several times before his first professional snap, but the upside is that of an average to below average left tackle in a zone blocking scheme, and that's excellent value in the sixth. Watkins is a bit old for a developmental prospect.
- Phil Trautwein: The other half of Florida' starting offensive tackles, Trautwein is a good example of what happens when a just-good tackle prospect faces lots of top competition on national television. Trautwein is undoubtedly better than some prospects rated above him, and even penciling him in in the sixth feels a bit like succumbing to pre-draft hype, but his potential, upside, whatever you want to call it is probably no greater than Luke Petitgout, and that's a little taste-less.
- Cameron Goldberg: Goldberg has everything but size. Effective college offense linemen who seem to lack NFL-size typically top out at Steve Vallos. Goldberg is practice squad fodder and not likely drafted.