In 2012, you couldn’t throw a stone without it hitting a five-star talent at offensive tackle. One year prior to that, Cyrus Kouandjio set the bar at the position and is looking like candidate to be the top overall pick in the draft in a year. In the class of 2013, Laremy Tunsil, Hunter Bivin and Kent Perkins paced a group that wasn’t top heavy but had plenty of depth.
Orlando Brown is a three-star as rated by both 247Sports and industry generated 247Composite ranking.
The image of the class of 2014 at the offensive tackle position is still being shaped.
With Cameron Robinson, David Sharpe and Damian Prince all in the five-star range as rated by 247Sports, it’s clear that there is elite talent at the top. But beyond the top group, the tackle position becomes a list of high-risk, high-reward candidates – and future guards.
But there are future NFL draft picks, All-Americans and starting left tackles in this class. They just have to burn off a few warts to get there.
We take a look at 7 offensive tackles that may be on the early end of their ascent as players and prospects.
Orlando Brown, 6-7.5/345, Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge – You’ve likely heard the name even if you’re not familiar with recruiting circles. Brown is the son of the late Orlando Brown Sr. who played 12 years in the NFL for the Browns and the Ravens. His son has no-doubt NFL potential but he’s a long way from being there. At 6-7/5 and 345 pounds, Brown has a body that college coaches claw to work with but his feet haven’t caught up to him quite yet. When they do – and they will – watch out.
Tyrell Crosby, 6-5/290, Henderson (Nev.) Green Valley – Recently Crosby ended a recruitment that had been heating up steadily over the course of the spring with a commitment to Oregon. As a program, Oregon has identified and developed talent as well as anybody and Crosby could be another great find. At 6-5, 290 pounds, Crosby is a strong prospect with an outstanding punch. But he also has an athletic lower body and plays with light feet. As he learns to play with leverage, Crosby’s ranking coule rise similar to his stock among college recruiters.
Layth Friekh, 6-5/270, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial – On film, there aren’t many prospects in the class of 2014 that have the athleticism of Friekh. The four-star bends like an athlete, can get to the second level quickly and effectively and he has all the edge reactive quickness you want out of a left tackle. He just has to add to a frame that is still developing. If and when, Friekh adds the offensive tackle size to go with his offensive tackle feet, he could be one of this class’s best.
Jaden Gault, 6-7/285, Madison (Wis.) Monona Grove – It doesn’t matter the coaching staff, Wisconsin always seems to produce offensive line talent and Gary Anderson has found one in his own backyard for 2014. From a frame perspective, they don’t come much better than the 6-7, 285-pound Gault. He’s strong up top and even at his size shows a powerful base. Our evaluation on Gault is limited due to his competition level but he has plenty of God-Given ability, earning him a 247Sports ranking as the No. 10 offensive tackle in the country.
Roderick Johnson, 6-7/330, Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central – The size is already there with Johnson. At 6-7, he has plenty of height. At 300 pounds plus, he has plenty of mass as well. He also has plenty of room to grow as a football player. Johnson moves exceptionally well at his size but he is raw technically. Within the class of 2014, Johnson has as much upside potential as anyone.
Kaleb McGary, 6-7/270, Tacoma (Wash.) Fife – On film, you’ll find McGary lined up at defensive end and tight end more than you will see him at offensive tackle but that kind of athletic versatility is only an indicator of success when it comes to anchoring that offensive line. While McGary won’t have the same experience and polish as some other offensive tackles, we love his athleticism and love his frame. It wouldn’t surprise us at all if McGary develops into the best tackle on the west coast by February.
Chuckwuma Okorafor, 6-5/290, Southfield (Mich.) High School – If Central Michigan can produce a potential first round draft pick in Eric Fisher, why can’t Western Michigan? Western Michigan certainly hopes that Okorafor will emerge into a candidate. The uber-athletic offensive lineman has a nice frame but really separates with his movement skills. If he can fill into his frame and maintain his outstanding athleticism, the Broncos may have a battle on their hands to hold onto this talent.