Putting together the Big Board: Offensive Tackles

Don't be shocked if the Patriots take a tackle in the upcoming draft.

Don’t be shocked if the Patriots take a tackle in the upcoming draft.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

The Tackle position is tough to project when it comes to the Patriots.  In fact, the whole offensive line has become a bit of enigma.  At tackle, the Patriots have had success with tall, lean, and athletic guys like Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer.  Scar is gone and Gooch is in as offensive line coach, and we saw the Patriots draft a little different type of player.  So, will they continue to look at what has proven to work, or are they looking at a change in philosophy? Here are some guys that might fit both styles and stuck out to me.

Current Roster: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Flemming (G), Caylin Hauptmann

Position Need: Medium

Position Overview:

The Patriots have very good starters at both tackle spots. Solder had his struggles last year, but we recently learned he was coming back from testicular cancer and that could have affected his game. You rarely hear Vollmer’s name mentioned, which is a good thing.  Cannon showed promise two years ago, but struggled last year after a stint at guard.  Flemming is a candidate to move inside this year and if I am being completely honest, I had never heard of Hauptmann until I started writing this article.  I think the Patriots could look at bringing in another tackle to groom behind Solder and Vollmer.  This would give them some leverage and a back up plan if a long term deal cannot be worked out with Solder. Look for the Patriots to draft a guy with potential to play other positions in the short term with the ability to bump that player back out to tackle if need be.

Draftable Options:

T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh (6’5″, 309 Lbs.) 1st round

I wrote Clemmings up earlier this season (see link below) but have a few additional comments. I think he has the chance to come in and play guard at a high level while he continues to develop his footwork and balance to play outside. He is not a finished product but has a huge amount of upside.  http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2014/12/scouting-report-t-j-clemmings.html

D.J. Humphries, Florida (6’5″, 307 Lbs.) 1st/2nd round

Humphries fits in the mold of Vollmer and Solder. He is extremely athletic for a guy his size.  He is light on his feet and he moves well enough to handle even the fastest of pass rushers (just watch the Missouri tape.)  He lacks strength and will not dominate as a run blocker.  Humphries needs to add some bulk to his frame to keep up with the physical play of the NFL.

Jake Fisher, Oregon (6’6″, 306 Lbs.) 2nd round

Fisher and Humphries are very similar to each other. Fisher is another athletic guy that needs to add strength.  Fisher has a little more work to do from a fundamental standpoint. He tends to play too upright and he needs work with hand placement and usage.  He has a bit of a nasty streak and I think he could be a candidate to play inside at guard short term.  He has the look of a Patriots offensive tackle and with good coaching he could anchor either side for years to come.

Cedric Ogbuehi, Alabama (6’5″, 302 Lbs.) 2nd/3rd round

I promise, I did look at some of the bigger, thicker guys, but Ogbuehi isn’t one of them.  I could say a lot of the same things I said about Humphries and Fisher here, so I will save you and me the time. Of the three, I think he is the best in the running game.  He can be grabby and he needs to work on his hand placement and technique.  He is coming off a major injury and probably would have been drafted higher, so he might represent that evil “v” word all Patriots fans have come to hate.

Donovan Smith, Penn State (6’6″, 338 Lbs.) 3rd round

See, I told you.  Smith has a nice combination of size and surprisingly nimble feet. He has a wide base and a strong lower body.  He has good length to keep defenders at bay and moves well enough to get to the second level.  He has a big belly and can be a waist bender when he starts to tire. Conditioning and motor have come into question with Smith.  He has rare size and movement skills, but a team will have to keep him motivated to play up to his potential.  If they can do that, Smith will be special.

Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State (6’6″, 311 Lbs.) 3rd/4th round

Here is what I wrote about Sambrailo earlier this season. http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2014/12/scouting-report-ty-sambrailo-otog.html

Daryl Williams, Oklahoma (6’5″, 327 Lbs.) 4th round

Williams was not even the most heralded offensive tackle at Oklahoma, but for my money, he is the better prospect.  He has NFL size and strength to contribute early.  He is very powerful and once he gets his hands on defenders it is over. Williams has a huge wingspan that helps him make up for his deficiencies as a mover.  He will struggle with speed and seems heavy legged in his movements.  Williams has a tenancy to lunge at defenders and he must work on his balance and knee bend.

Chaz Green, Florida (6’5″, 314 Lbs.) 6th round

Florida used to be the Patriots minor league system, and with a couple of offensive line prospects, maybe it will be again.  Green is a good athlete that moves well in space.  He is a blue collar type of player that won’t wow you, but rarely makes mistakes that will hurt the team.  Green was a team captain and from all accounts a very respected player.  He is very good in pass protection, but needs to get stronger in the run game.  He has some injury issues.  Green played both right and left tackle during his time at Florida, so he does have position flexibility.  This guy screams Patriots player to me both on and off the field.

Interesting UDFA’s:

Laurence Gibson, Virginia Tech. (6’6″, 305 Lbs.) very intriguing guy. Tape is either awesome or terrible, not a lot in between. Needs time, but could be someone to watch

Takoby Cofield, Duke (6’4″, 310 Lbs.)

Rob Crisp, NC State (6’7″, 301 Lbs.)


Note: If you didn’t see a guy on here you thought should be, it is possible I see them as a better fit at guard, so they may be in that grouping. (tomorrow’s post)

as always, follow me on twitter @midwestpatsfan






22 Responses to “Putting together the Big Board: Offensive Tackles”

  1. hdpaulie says:

    If ever there was a time to load up on the OL, this is it. All the AFCE rivals have been built to come after TB, and I expect all 3 rivals to continue in that direction in the draft. TB is going to need better pass protection, and the Pats will have to be more consistent in running the ball. If they trade out of the 1st, they could end up with 6 or even 7 picks in rds 2-4. That should give them the assets to move around the board to get at least 2 potential upgrades on the OL With TB’s clock winding down, I don’t think the Pats can afford the luxury of developing late round picks. I’d like to see them draft an OT/ OG type such as Jake Fisher or Donovan Smith, and add a guard, such as Tomlinson, Cann, Jackson. RB David Johnson could be a very productive player, especially with his prowess at catching passes. IMO the Pats must improve their running game to help keep defenses from teeing off on TB. Offensive lineman are not sexy draft picks, but seeing TB constantly on the ground is not very sexy either.

  2. Greg says:


    I was so excited with the upcoming draft, thinking about all the rookies who should become instant starters and your analysis completely discouraged me, lol.

    I agree with you, and I think we gonna use our 1st 3rd rounder in a guard.

    About cbs, I respect and understand your opinion, but I do believe that guys like Jalen Collins or Kevin Johnson are an upgrade.

    At DT, don’t you think that Davis, Bennett and Phillips could be starters while Davison and Walton would be, at least in the beginning, rotational players?

  3. Russell says:

    I’ve looked at several trade back posiblities, and here are some that look good for both teams.
    #32 to Kanas City for #49 and #80.
    #96, #101, #177 to Jacksonville for #67
    To trade up;
    #32, #96, #219 to Carolina for #25

    Trades I look for ;
    Green Bay to move ahead of Arizona to get LB Kendricks
    Dallas to move up to get RB Gurley/Gordon (ahead of San Diego)
    Minnesota, Cleveland,(One of two 1st’s) Washington and New England to move back
    Kanas City,and Cinncinnati want extra late 1st pick (New England’s ??) and willing to give up 2nd,3d,..?

  4. John says:

    I still feel as though the interior OLine and the entire DLine positions are deep and loaded. I think they WRs are really good too, but most are going to be gone before we pick. I actually think the value in this draft is sandwiched between the late 1st to the end of the 2nd. Although this hypothetical trade doesn’t make sense on the trade value chart, I still think they could swing their third, TB’s 4th, and their 4th, for a 2nd. Selected guys off of private workouts, official visits, and substantial interest. The combine interviews don’t mean that much, to me anyways.

    1.) Laken Tomlinson OG
    2.) Damarious Randall SAF
    2.) Stephone Anthony LB
    3.) Gabe Wright DL

  5. KNOWLEDGE says:

    It seems clear that it is unlikely they use either of their first or second pick. If Ogbuehi is still there in the 3rd round, he gives you an immediate upgrade playing inside and has the talent to take over the LT position if they decide to not pay Solder the big contract he will be looking for. If he is still there in the in the 3rd, I’d likely move up from the back of round 3 to ensure you get a 1st round talent in the 3rd round.

    I also like Donovan Smith alot, especially if you can get him in the 3rd round. He can come right in and upgrade your interior offensive line immediately . I could see him being a potential 10 year starter with the ability to turn into a pro bowl caliber guard 4-5 years down the road. The key is keeping him in that 330 weight and get him into a NFL weight and conditioning program.

    The strategy going into the draft should be adding depth up front in rounds 3-6, because you can get a guy like Josue Matias in the 5th or 6th round.

    I think the first 3-4 picks should be used on defense, and talented running back. I like Landon Collins early, or trade back to picks 38-45 and pick up Grady Jarrett. I see a ton of Eddie Goldman mocks at 32, but I think a much better prospect is Malcolm Brown and he seems to have dropped from a top 15 pick to the late 1st early 2nd. This guy is a stud. He isn’t just a run stuffing DT. He is strong enough to hold Off double teams but also is great penetrating and getting pressure up the middle. In the 2nd, they add great weapon with explosive big play ability and in my opinion the 2nd best RB in the draft in Tevin Coleman. I also love the possibility of getting a top level talent at CB in the 3rd round, PJ Williams. His background could have him fall into their laps in the 3rd round.

    Don’t be surprised if the Pats trade one of their 3rd’s and 4th round picks to get another pick in a loaded 2nd round.

  6. MM-II says:

    It’s difficult for me this year to rate/rank any OL for the Pats without really knowing where they’re intending to go with the blocking scheme (or if they’re adjusting it at all).

    During the run-up to the 2014 draft, I compiled the pre-draft measurables of all the OL who’d been on the Pats’ off-season and regular season rosters and PSQ (not just the starters) back to about 2002 (those that I could find numbers on – more than a couple dozen, anyway). I calculated the median measurables by position and found that, for instance, Guards were typically a bit under 6’4″ and around 305# with a pretty good 40-time (5.15) a shuttle time under 4.60 sec and a 3-cone time under 7.70 sec. They also typically had a vertical around 27″ and a broad jump around 102″, but only put up around 21 bench reps in spite of having relatively short 33″ arms.

    BTW, even the Tackles were only a bit above 33″ arm length, though both Guards and Tackles tended to have hands right around 10″.

    Tackles tended to be much taller (median 6’6″), more agile (3-cones under 7.55 sec) and more explosive (32″ vertical, 108″ broad jump) than Guards. Centers tended to be even smaller than Guards and had somewhat slower 40-times (5.35) and agility drills (4.70 shuttle, 8.15 3-cone).

    So, relatively light, fast and agile – more technically sound than overpoweringly strong – all of which fit with the ZBS that Scar had been running (Cannon was the outlier by a huge margin, but maybe a sign of things to come). BITONIO’s measurables, as well as his tape, convinced me that he would be a perfect fit and probably the Pats’ first overall draft pick in 2014.

    Instead, last year the Pats selected (all personally worked out by Scar):
    – Stork, Center: 6’4″/315# – 5.44/40 – 5.02/shuttle – 7.90 3-cone (and a 115″ broad jump)
    – Fleming, Guard (Tackle?): 6’5″/323 – 5.28/40 – 5.00 shuttle – 8.24 3-cone (and 26 bench reps)
    – Halapio, Guard (?): 6034/323# – 5.34/40 – 4.83 shuttle – 8.26 3-cone (and 32 bench reps)

    Most of the selections above also, IIRC, had some (perhaps extensive) power-man blocking experience. It seemed to me those selections represented a distinct change in “type” and, perhaps, signified a potential shift to more power-man blocking, at least in the ground game (which would probably make life easier for the RBs). OTOH, it might only indicate a desire to get bigger/stronger in the middle in order to better handle the bigger, more powerful interior DL that they Pats may face.

    This, then, begs the question as to whether or not this >apparentwe< might and they could be mid/late round picks that we aren't particularly expecting. If not, then guys like Humphries and Fisher seem the more likely candidates, though the Pats may not want to go for a tackle that early in any case.

    At the very least, who the Pats end up selecting for the OL in 2015 (and in what round), may tell us something about where the blocking scheme is headed.

    • Russell says:

      Great info thanks! I followed his as well and thought the choice of Stork, over OC Bodine, (Cinny)and OC Lindsey (Green bay) was interesting as these two prospects had better numbers/times than Stork.
      This year Sac has worked with Tomlinson, and BB met with him at the Combine, a prospect who will not be on the board at #64.
      Rob Haverstien maybe an OT the Patriots are watching in that same 4th round area as Stork last year.

    • Greg says:

      Recently Caserio gave an interview and said that more that combine results and physical measureables, they take into account intangibles, like talent, production during career and fitting in the scheme. Of course it’s a hard mission to know who fits in scheme without knowing which scheme is. I believe we are changing to a power man blocking and I expect a player being drafted in mid rounds, but of course this Scar’s journey will find a gem

    • Greg says:

      BTW which players are in your big board at OG, CB and DT MM-II?

      • MM-II says:


        With OL generally, the guys who the Pats probably wouldn’t be interested in at all before, say, pick #131 is the much, much shorter list. OTOH, most of the really interesting OL prospects (to me) appear to be clustered in the 25-50 range, with a couple-three more around the end of the 3rd and early 4th.

        Pretty much the same thing with CB (the “fewer guys OFF the list than on it” part). Although I will say this – if they take a CB by the mid-2nd, he will absolutely be a guy who THEY think can start immediately as a significant upgrade over the guys already on the roster – and play the game the way THEY want it played, which includes being a very good run-defender. Size won’t make a whole lotta difference, and all the dazzling 40-times and broad jumps, well, above a certain relatively low bar, most of those numbers are really superfluous.

        Basically, I think the difference between Revis and the top CB prospects in this class is generally much greater than the difference between THEM and the guys on the current roster. Still, there just may be that ONE GUY who BB thinks is a lock.

        Odds are that BB acquires 2-5 DBs (including UDFAs) during the course of Draft Weekend, because he always does. One of those may (or may not) be as early as WE think he should jump. Either way, there are a couple-three guys who look to be available between #101 and #131, any one of whom could work out fairly well, though mostly with 2016 or 2017 in mind.

        DT may be a bit easier when filtered through the lens of the current roster.

        For the heavyweight, run-stopper types, I don’t really see anybody who seems all that certain to be any immediate upgrade over Siliga, Branch and Johnson. Among the guys who seem likely to fall anywhere near the #32, none of them get more than a “Meh, maybe” from me, and I’m not sure that I wouldn’t just wait until later for Davison or Walton, though Phillips or Davis could be okay around #64. Still, there will almost certainly be more valuable candidates available at other positions in the range that those guys would need to be taken, anyway.

        For the lighter, quicker DT types, really the only guys THEY need to beat are Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. So, Jarrett, Cooper and Hardison in the late-2nd through late-3rd could be worthwhile values and there aren’t a whole lotta equivalent guys who’ll come up in later rounds.

        The one thing that strikes me, though, is it appears that there’s likely to be WRs and RBs who could complement/upgrade the current roster (for right now as well as looking ahead) available in pretty much every round, so I’m really not expecting any action for the Pats involving either position until the mid-3rd at the earliest (and those columns on the big board are pretty well-stocked, too).

        Actually, the only thing I know for certain about the draft is that, come Monday, we’ll all have a bunch of shiny new toys to play with and argue over.

        • Greg says:


          I was so excited with the upcoming draft, thinking about all the rookies who should become instant starters and your analysis completely discouraged me, lol.

          I agree with you, and I think we gonna use our 1st 3rd rounder in a guard.

          About cbs, I respect and understand your opinion, but I do believe that guys like Jalen Collins or Kevin Johnson are an upgrade.

          At DT, don’t you think that Davis, Bennett and Phillips could be starters while Davison and Walton would be, at least in the beginning, rotational players?

        • MM-II says:

          Greg –

          Sorry! I didn’t at all intend to be discouraging.

          Basically, I believe two things about this draft:

          1) As always, every prospect has positives and negatives when looked at in isolation, but also (and more importantly), when examined WRT how they might fit in, role-wise, with the Pats – as well as how soon – they might be productive. In this draft, I see a lot more guys whose positives (wrt the Pats, specifically) probably outweigh their negatives, so it’s difficult to eliminate a lot of them from contention on the face of it. HOWEVER …

          2) The current roster, even in the “thin” areas, isn’t quite as weak as most folks seem to believe (I’m looking at “roles” as much as specific positional definitions). Despite there seeming to be a lot of prospects who can be viewed positively, I have questions about HOW MUCH of an upgrade a lot of them might be over who the Pats have now in the roles those prospects might be expected to fill – in the future as well as in 2015.

          For example, is Prospect-A that much MORE of an immediate upgrade to the current roster than Prospect-B that it would be worth taking Prospect-A in the 1st or 2nd as opposed to, instead, taking Prospect-B at the end of the 3rd (or even later)? So, that’s the question I have about Davis/Philips versus Walton/Davison for their specific projected role. One of the first pair may be ready to contribute significant snaps SOONER and may (or may not) ultimately become a “better”, more versatile player than either of the second pair, but is the “sooner” part really necessary for that specific role, given other current roster factors (e.g., compare that situation to getting a guy who might be ready very quickly to make significant contributions at Guard and ONLY available in the 1st or 2nd)?

          Kind of a similar situation at CB. For instance, I can’t say with complete confidence that (rookie) Byron Jones (or Collins or Johnson) will be enough “better” in 2015 than (veteran) Bradley Fletcher that it’s worth spending the #32 on him rather than the #64 on Williams (red flags and all) or a mid-3rd on a guy like Steve Nelson. If a significant AND IMMEDIATE difference between Jones and Fletcher isn’t really there (and there may be no difference at all, ever), then the Pats may be just as well off waiting for Nelson in the 3rd, even if he takes a year to get to (or surpass) Fletcher’s level. Instead, maybe BB takes a guy like Erving or Fisher (or Eli Harold) at #32.

          Overall, I just see about a gazillion possibilities for the Pats to come away with a couple-three (eventual) solid starters/significant role-players (though maybe not “stars”), at a number of positions, between pick #32 and their picks at #96/97. Too many possibilities, really, for me to point at one guy over the rest. That feels more encouraging than discouraging to me.

        • Greg says:

          Relax, I was just kidding

          But let’s return to the serious part because I’m enjoying very much this conversation.

          I agree with you, our thin areas are not so thin. We can start with Branch, a cornerback committee approach and brick Connolly back. Probably the “decrease” would be only viewed CB from last season. That said, the sooner part is not so important now.

          This brings us to the other part: value. Of course it’s better to always draft the best guy. But, at least at the first look, wouldn’t a player drafted in early rounds have more chance to be better than a player drafted in mid round? I know, that’s a futurology question almost impossible to answer, but speaking about the odds to become a better player.

          Your explanation already opened my eyes about some aspects about the draft, so let’s go on.

  7. acm says:

    One way to sum up this list would be – “This just isn’t the year to look for a LT but load up on interior OL, if the right prospects is on board.”
    Not a shot at Mike G’s list, just pointing out the particularly poor level of talent at LT.

    • Ryan says:

      I wonder if any rookies will even start the year at LT. The most likely candidates to do so are Peat, Flowers and Humphries but Peat might not be ready to start at all, Flowers will be better off on the right side to begin with and Humphries is a bit of a question mark. That said, there is definitely a surplus of players with great positional versatility, such as Cameron Erving and Brandon Scherff.

  8. Greg says:

    Which players are in your big board ate CB, OG and DT?
    I’m trying to do one for my own and need some help

    • acm says:

      Here is what I posted yesterday regarding my board for this year’s draft (all should be taken with a grain of salt, though, as that is based primarily on my personal take on the matter):

      My final Patriots draft board for this off-season. There are more prospects at the OL, LB, CB positions as that’s where I think the Patriots would be looking for depth in the late rounds.

      OL: Cameron Erving, Jake Fisher, AJ Cann, Laken Tomlinson, Ali Marpet, Mitch Morse, Mark Glowinski, Austin Shepherd, Darryl Baldwin, Jon Feliciano
      RB: Duke Johnson, David Johnson, David Cobb, Mike Davis, Buck Allen, Malcolm Brown
      WR: Rashad Greene, Tyler Lockett, Kenny Bell, Justin Hardy, Tre McBride, DeAndre Smelter
      TE: CJ Uzomah, Nick Boyle, AJ Derby (all 7th round prospects)

      DT: Eddie Goldman, Carl Davis, Marcus Hardison, LT Walton, Tyeler Davison, Xavier Williams, Kristjan Sokoli
      DE: Owa Odighizuwa, Mario Edwards Jr., Danielle Hunter, Lorenzo Mauldin, Anthony Chickilo
      LB: Shaq Thompson, Paul Dawson, Davis Tull, Ben Heeney, Jake Ryan, Kyle Emanuel, Marcus Rush, Gabe Martin
      CB: Byron Jones, Jalen Collins, Eric Rowe, Ronald Darby, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Alex Carter, Steven Nelson, Ladarius Gunter, Axel Ofori
      SAF: Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Amos, Kurtis Drummond

      • Greg says:

        Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
        Don’t you like:
        DT: Jordan Phillips and Michael Bennett
        CB: Senquez Golson
        OG: John Miller and Josue Matias

        • acm says:

          On J. Phillips – I think he may be too big and have issues with staying on the field deep into games due to stamina. Generally, I think Pats would so well to move towards more athletic guys on the DL.

          M. Bennett – he is virtually identical in terms of measurables and role on the field to Dom Easley. Bringing him would be redundant. Would rather see them get a player a bit smaller or bigger than Bennett/Easley, which would contribute to a more multiple, complete DL.

          On S. Golson – I think he may be too small and light even for the slot. I like his scrappy style of play but have strong doubts at 5’8″ and change, 175 or so lbs he’d survive the grind of the NFL. In that area of the draft, would rather see them target similar players in Nelson and Ekpre-Olomu.

          J. Miller and J. Mathias – Don’t think they have the general athleticism requirements Pats seem to have dfor their OL-men. Even if we were to speculate that the team is moving to incorporate power-blocking schemes to a bigger extent moving forward, I still think they wouldn’t be a good fit as Pats, imo, will always require from their lineman a certain level of scheme versatility, no matter what.

  9. Russell says:

    Watched alot of Duke Tape and Cofield is not good, IMO. A prospect I’m very high on is Brey Cook, undrafted most likely but under the radar player with very high up-side. I like Gibson as well, but as you said he needs coaching and has limited experiance.
    Rob Havenstien 6’7″ 330 is an interesting prospect, but I think ROT only, however like Flemming last year, Havenstien could be on the Patriots radar.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I left off Haverstein because of his skill set is so similar to Flemming. You can only have so many guys with limited versatility on the team.
      I think Cofield is a long shot, which is why he is in my UDFA section. I think he has some raw athletic traits that could be developed over time, but you are right, he is not ready to contribute in year 1 for sure.
      The series will conclude tomorrow, and I just want to thank you for being a loyal reader and commentor. You, as well as many others, have helped me learn and grow as an evaluator.

      • Russell says:

        More Thoughts on Haverstein. Last year the Patriots drafted RB White from the Wisconsin program, and surely watched the program’s blocking/blockers to understand White’s running style/potentail. So they should have watched Haverstein’s tape this year as well to watch his “growth” as an Olineman “IF” they have an interest.
        Also last year the Patriots watched tape on Stanford’s’ Blocking to see Flemming, and possiblely other blockers. They could not help but see RB Gaffney, so when he was available BB jumped at the chance to get him.
        IF Haverstein has made improvements to his game, and that is seen by those watching, for improvement/learning of a prospect’s craft, that type of “growth” is valued at the next level.
        In October I had Haverstein in my Mock at the 6th round. TODAY he looks more like a 4th rounder, which could be very much in BB area of value.
        Check out Brey Cook if you have time.

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