Online Now 2298

What School Is Offensive Line U.?

Welcome to the fifth installment in our series to determine which schools have done the best job in recent years of producing top NFL draft picks.

Wisconsin (repped by Joe Thomas) leads the Offensive Lineman U rankings, followed by USC (repped by Matt Kalil) and Florida (repped by Mike Pouncey)

You can check out the links below for our look at the schools who have done the best job of producing quarterbacks, defensive linemen, wide receivers and defensive backs. Today, we take a look at the schools who have done the best job of preparing and producing offensive linemen.

For our analysis, we used the last 15 years of the NFL draft. In each draft, we looked for offensive linemen who were drafted in the first three rounds. For the purpose of this analysis, we included all players listed as offensive guards, centers and tackles in the NFL.com draft history web site.

Below the school rankings we also have more data on schools and conferences that have produced offensive linemen at football’s highest level. Plus, we have more interesting information on the offensive line position group.

Offensive Lineman U. Ratings

Using the last 15 years of the NFL draft (top three rounds) as a barometer, here is a look at which schools have excelled at producing offensive linemen for the NFL (Note: We used first-round picks to break any ties):

1. Wisconsin

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 10; First-Round Picks: 5.

* The Skinny: Ever since Barry Alvarez arrived at Wisconsin in the early 1990s, the Badgers have been known for their running game, toughness and offensive line play. Bret Bielema carried that mantra over when he replaced Alvarez as the UW head coach in 2006. Bielema has moved on to Arkansas, but it’s unlikely the Badgers will deviate too much from their history of physical play under new coach Gary Andersen.

Over the last 15 years, Wisconsin has had five first-round picks. That is the most of any Division I school in that time. That run began with Aaron Gibson in 1999 and followed with Chris McIntosh (2000), Joe Thomas (2007), Gabe Carimi (2011) and Kevin Zeitler (2012). Thomas was the draft’s third overall selection in 2007.

Travis Frederick, a center who left school a year early to enter the 2013 draft, could add to this pedigree this year.

2. Southern California

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 10; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: USC is one of two schools that have been in the top 10 of all five of our positon analyses so far. USC was also first in the quarterback list, sixth in wide receivers and seventh in defensive backs and defensive linemen.

The Trojans have been one of the winningest programs and top offensive programs as well over the last 15 years. First-rounders from USC over the last 15 years include Sam Baker (2008), Tyron Smith (2011) and Matt Kalil (2012).

3. Florida

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 4.

* The Skinny: Florida is the other school that has been mentioned in the top 10 in each of our five position analyses. The Gators were first on the wide receiver list, ninth for defensive backs and quarterbacks and 10th for defensive linemen.

Florida had a pair of brothers taken in the first round with Maukrice Pouncey in 2010 and Mike Pouncey in 2011. Two other first-rounders in the last 15 years from UF include Mo Collins (1998) and Kenyatta Walker (2001).

4. (tie) Boston College

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 4.

* The Skinny: Boston College is among three schools with seven offensive linemen taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft since 19998. BC gets the nod at No. 4 because of its four first-round picks, including Damien Woody (1999), Marc Colombo (2002), Gosder Cherilus (2008) and Anthony Castonzo (2011). BC has always had a reputation as a blue collar program and the success of their offensive linemen bear that out.

4. (tie) Oklahoma (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 4.

* The Skinny: The Sooners have also produced their share of top offensive line talent. OU has had four linemen selected in the first round since 1998 – Stockar McDougle (2000), Jammal Brown (2005), Davin Joseph (2006) and Trent Williams (2010).

Lane Johnson is projected as a first-round pick out of Oklahoma this year.

6. Alabama (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: The success story for Alabama – with three national titles in the last four years – begins up front. The Crimson Tide have had three first-round linemen in the last 15 years, including Chris Samuels (2000), Andre Smith (2009) and James Carpenter (2011). Samuels was the third overall pick in 2000.

Alabama will boost its output of top linemen drafted this year with Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker and Barrett Jones all considered as top draft prospects. Anthony Steen could follow their lead a year from now.

6. Iowa (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Like Wisconsin, Iowa is another Big Ten program known for producing great offensive linemen under longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff. Ferentz has had three first-round linemen, beginning with Robert Gallery (2004) as well as Bryan Bulaga (2010) and Riley Reiff (2012). Gallery was the No. 2 overall pick in 2004.

Marshal Yanda, a third-round pick in 2007 out of Iowa, also carved out a nice NFL career.

8. Michigan

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Another Big Ten team checks in at No. 8 here with Michigan. The Wolverines produced a pair of first-round picks in 2001 with Steve Hutchinson and Jeff Backus taken back-to-back at No. 17 and No. 18 that year.

Jake Long was the top overall pick in the 2008. In fact, he is the only offensive linemen drafted in the top spot since Ohio State’s Orlando Pace in 1997. They are the only two OL taken No. 1 in 45 years, dating to USC’s Ron Yary in the 1968 draft.

Taylor Lewan considered a jump for this year’s draft, but opted to stay in school. He could be a first-rounder in 2014.

9. Georgia (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Georgia has had a pair of first-round offensive linemen in the past 15 years, including Matt Stinchcomb (1999) and George Foster (2003). Georgia was also in the top 10 in the quarterback list (fourth) and wide receiver analysis (ninth).

9. Mississippi (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 6; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Ole Miss has had a pair of first-round picks since 1998, including Chris Spencer (2005) and Michael Oher (2009). Oher, of course, was the subject of the 2009 movie “The Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw.

11. Miami (Fla.)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 5; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Miami had a pair of first-round picks early in this 15-year cycle with Bryant McKinnie in 2002 and Vernon Carey in 2004. Seantrel Henderson could add to the pedigree here in the 2014 draft.

12. Arizona State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 5; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: Arizona State has quietly produced some top OL talent. That includes first-rounder Levi Jones (2002) and second-rounders Marvel Smith (2000) and Mike Pollak (2008).

13. Auburn (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Auburn has sent three first-rounders to the NFL in the last 15 years, including Victor Riley (1998), Kendall Simmons (2002) and Ben Grubbs (2007).

13. Virginia (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Virginia has had three first-rounders since 1998, including D’Brickashaw Ferguson (2006), Brandon Albert (2008) and Eugene Monroe (2009). Ferguson was the No. 4 overall pick in that 2006 draft.

15. Florida State (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: We have a three-way tie for 15th. FSU has a pair of first-round picks from the OL in the last 15 years, including William Thomas (1998) and Alex Barron (2005). Menelik Watson could be next in that line with this year’s draft. Bryan Stork could be a top center prospect in the 2014 draft.

15. Notre Dame (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Notre Dame has had two first-round offensive linemen in the last 15 years, including Luke Pettigout (1999) and Jeff Faine (2003). Zack Martin could be a top tackle prospect in the 2014 draft.

15. Texas (tie)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: The Longhorns had a pair of first-round picks early in this 15-year period, including Leonard Davis (2001) and Mike Williams (2002). Davis was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

More Comparisons

As we compiled the data, here were some more interesting comparisons:

* Honorable Mentions – Besides Florida State, Notre Dame and Texas, there are five other schools with four offensive linemen drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft in the last 15 years. They are California, Hawaii, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Schools with three top-three round OL draftees in the last 15 years include Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford and Utah.

* First-Round Picks -- In terms of first-round picks of offensive linemen over the last 15 years, Wisconsin has had the most with five. Florida State, Oklahoma and Boston College each have had four, while USC, Alabama, Mississippi, Auburn and Virginia each had three apiece.

* Top-Three Picks – In the last 15 years, only five offensive linemen have been taken in the top three picks of the NFL draft.

Michigan’s Jake Long was taken No. 1 overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2008. Texas’ Leonard Davis was the No. 2 overall pick by Texas in 2001, while Iowa’s Robert Gallery was the No. 2 pick by Oakland in 2004.

Alabama’s Chris Samuels was the No. 3 overall pick by Washington in 2000. Wisconsin’s Joe Thomas was the No. 3 overall pick by Cleveland in 2007.

* All-Pro Picks – Over the last 15 years, several schools have excelled in producing NFL All-Pro picks.

In that period, LSU produced two offensive linemen who combined for 13 All-Pro team appearances. They were Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca.

Michigan and Ohio State each have had two linemen combine for eight All-Pro appearances in that stretch. From Michigan, they were Jake Long and Steve Hutchinson. OSU’s pair was Orlando Pace and Nick Mangold.

Florida State has had two linemen combine for seven All-Pro appearances in Walter Jones and Tra Thomas. Boston College (with Chris Snee and Tom Nalen), Washington (Lincoln Kennedy and Olin Kreutz) and USC (Bruce Matthews and Tony Boselli) each had two players totaling five All-Pro appearances since 1998.

* This Year’s Class – Offensive linemen projected by some as first- or second-round picks in this year’s draft include Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Texas A&M’s Eric Joeckel, North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Alabama’s Chance Warmack, Alabama’s D.J. Fluker, Florida State’s Menelik Watson, Oregon’s Kyle Long, Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick and Alabama’s Barrett Jones.

* Next Year’s Class – Some of the top OL names mentioned for the 2014 NFL draft include Baylor’s Cyril Richardson, Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, Alabama’s Anthony Steen, Nebraska’s Spencer Long, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, North Carolina’s James Hurst, Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Ohio State’s Jack Mewhort, Ohio State’s Andrew Norwell, Florida State’s Bryan Stork and Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard.

Previous Installments

Here are links to the previous installments in this series:

Quarterback U.

Defensive Line U.

Wide Receiver U.

Defensive Back U.

Stay tuned in the weeks to come for analysis of the schools who have produced top draftees at the linebacker and running back position groups.

Already have an account? Sign In