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2011 NFL Draft Predictions – Offensive Tackle Rankings

2011 NFL Draft Coverage – Offensive Tackle Preview

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The NFL draft moves to primetime for the second time in 2011. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 28, 2011; the second and third rounds on Friday, April 29; and the final four rounds on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

The Panthers with the worst record for 2010 have the right to the 1st pick in 2011.

Note: A provision in the current NFLPA-CBA ensures that this draft will still take place even with the current labor dispute.

Offensive Tackle Rankings

TYRON SMITH, USC
6”5, 305 lbs

Questions swirled around this Southern Cal product during the season; he lacked bulk and needed work on his technique. However, the Combine weigh-ins have done worlds for Smith’s stock – he played at 280 during the season but is up over three bills now. He can do nearly thirty reps on the bench, he can crack a five-second 40-yard dash and has massive arms, all things to make scouts salivate. Smith has elite quickness and mobility for a tackle, but he still must refine his technique. Teams are probably confident that they can teach him that, however, so his natural attributes are likely enough to see Smith go in the first 20 picks of the first round.

May remind you of: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets

ANTHONY CASTONZO, Boston College
6”7, 305 lbs

The tackle prospects in this year’s draft all have slight question marks floating; there doesn’t seem to be that one consensus Jonathan Ogden/Orlando Pace-style franchise LT to stand out. However, the senior from BC may have the most to like. Castonzo is tall, lean and has good athleticism, all of which make him look suited for the left side. He needs to add some more bulk and isn’t the meanest run blocker, but he’s a competitor and a technician. He’s a smart kid (majored in Bio-Chem) with a big heart and he’ll be an excellent professional; he’ll have to improve his footwork if it’s going to be on the left side rather than the right. Still, Castonzo is a likely first rounder.

May remind you of: Ryan Diem, Colts

GABE CARIMI, Wisconsin
6”7, 315 lbs

At the start of the 2010 season, scouts would have told you Carimi was the top tackle on the draft board. Yet, the season saw concerns surface over his handling of speed rushers and counter moves. Carimi has great size and is a tough, mean son of a gun; he may not have the upper-tier athleticism and footwork necessary to thrive at LT in the NFL. Doubtless, he will blow people up in the run game – there’s been some talk of Carimi switching to guard – but he should be an excellent RT in the pros. The proof is in the pudding, as Carimi and other players like interior OL prospect John Moffitt spurred the Badgers to their dominant run attack in the Big Ten.

May remind you of: Jammal Brown, Saints

NATE SOLDER, Colorado
6”8, 319 lbs

Solder brings excellent size to the table – maybe even a little too much in the height department. Watching him on tape, he gets caught standing up too much and doesn’t always play with leverage, probably because of his lankiness. There has been some high praise for this prospect; Solder is certainly a great athlete with a high ceiling. But his poor footwork, pad level and lack of truculence doesn’t rate him as highly as a couple of the others, even if some people call Solder the next Tony Boselli. A likely second-rounder with serious potential.

May remind you of: Alex Boone, 49ers

Honorable Mention: Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State At 6”5, 321 lbs, Sherrod is a beefy guy, but he carries it well. He has the necessary lanky arms and looked good in Combine drills. Should come off the board in front of or behind Solder.

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