Mel Kiper has unveiled his initial position rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft throughout the week and on Friday, ESPN’s senior draft expert ranked the top seniors and juniors at offensive tackle. Kiper previously unveiled his top draft prospects at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback and safety already this week.
For the third year in a row Texas A&M could boast the Outland Trophy winner and have the first offensive tackle taken in the draft as Cedric Ogbuehi looks to follow in the footsteps of Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel who were both top-six draft picks. Ogbuehi has played guard and right tackle in his career with the Aggies but shifts to the left tackle position this year just like Matthews did when Joeckel left for the NFL.
Checking in behind Ogbuehi on Kiper’s list is another player who could have been a first round pick in the 2014 draft and that’s Brandon Scherff from Iowa. THe Hawkeyes have produced their fair share of offensive linemen under iKrk Ferentz and Scherff could be the best because he is a punishing run blocker.
Like Ogbuehi and Scherff, Kiper’s No. 3 senior also had a tough decision to make in regard to the 2014 draft, but Florida State’s Cameron Irving made the right decision to return to Tallahassee to continue his development at tackle after beginning his career as a defensive tackle. He has the tools to work and is getting another year of experience to iron out his bouts of inconsistency he’s encountered.
Rounding out Kiper’s top senior tackles are a pair of SEC players in Corey Robinson from South Carolina who is a giant at 6-7 and 350 pounds. He is also a former defensive player so the key for him in his senior season is refining his footwork and showing more fluidity and athleticism in his sets. LSU’s La’el Collins returned to the Tigers after bypassing the 2014 draft and the former top recruit who also has experience at guard will look to improve his pass blocking to complement his excellent run blocking.
The top junior on Kiper’s board is Andrus Peat from Stanford who could be a top-10 pick if he comes out after this season. He has ideal size and athleticism to play immediately at left tackle and strong enough to hold up well in the run game. Plus, he’s got the bloodlines as the son of a former NFL player and comes from a great program that’s familiar with developing offensive linemen.
Coming in next is Tyler Johnstone from Oregon who has started the last two seasons on the Ducks line. He could bulk up from his 283-pound weight on his 6-6 frame, but he is highly athletic and operates well in the fast-paced scheme that Oregon runs.
Le’Raven Clark is the best left tackle in the Big 12 and Kiper’s third best junior tackle and responsible for giving Davis Webb in the pocket to produce the prolific numbers in Kilff Kingsbury’s high-powered aerial attack.
Rounding out Kiper’s top five are Donovan Smith from Penn State will enter this season as his third in the starting lineup and one of the strongest players in the Big Ten. Germain Ifedi is the next in line at Texas A&M to be a future high pick. He’ll line up at right tackle this year and likely shift to the left side when Ogbuehi heads to the NFL. John Theus started right away as a freshman at Georgia and capable of playing either right or left tackle.
Who do you think will be the first offensive tackle taken in the 2015 draft?