2017 NFL Draft: Top Five OL

Story posted April 9, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Tommy Butler

Offensive Linemen aren’t nearly as much of a first round staple as some other positions, namely quarterback and wide receiver. Even though they don’t become household names as frequently, linemen are vital to the success of a team’s offense.

For teams looking to protect their signal caller, here are the top five players on the board in 2017:

1.     Ryan Ramczyk, offensive tackle, Wisconsin

Even after only one year of playing at a Division I school, Ramczyk has proven himself to be the top offensive linemen in the Draft. During his year with Wisconsin after transferring from his local D-III technical college, he really showed his ability.

He’s smart, athletic and with great footwork makes up for his slight lack of shoulder width. Ramczyk is a plug and play right tackle and could easily step in at left tackle too depending on the team’s needs.

2.     Cam Robinson, offensive tackle, Alabama

Robinson, a five-star recruit coming out of high school, started for three years at tackle with the powerhouse Alabama. With his stats and D-I experience there could be a chance that he is taken above Ramczyk in the draft.

The one thing that puts Robinson at the two spot behind Ramczyk for me is his footwork. Yes, he’s an incredible run blocker but he can be heavy-footed at times which negatively effects his ability in the passing game.

If his footwork and pass-blocking ability improves he will surely have an impressive career. If not, he could struggle, especially in such a pass-heavy league. 

3.     Forrest Lamp, offensive tackle, Western Kentucky

At the third spot is Forrest Lamp, who had one of the best games against the nearly unstoppable Alabama defense of all linemen last year.

Lamp’s strengths are in his work ethic and confidence at his position. There isn’t much Lamp can’t do. On the downside though, there isn’t anything that he specializes in. He’s good at everything but not incredible at anything.

His biggest problems land with his length. At 6’4” and with 32.25” arms he might be a little small to be a tackle in the NFL. He’ll surely still be a very successful guard if necessary however.

4.     Garett Bolles, offensive tackle, Utah

Bolles is the most athletic linemen in the Draft, which will be necessary if he expects to play tackle in the NFL.

Bolles only played one year at the FBS level though and unlike Ramczyk, he didn’t succeed due to his football knowledge. Yes, he was an All-Pac-12 selection but his success arguably came mostly if not entirely from his pure athleticism.

Bolles has a very high ceiling but the floor could be pretty low as well. It’s going to take a lot of work to get him to his potential.  

5.     Dorian Johnson, offensive guard, Pitt

The only college guard on the list lands at number five. Johnson is natural run blocker who can hold his own in the passing game as well.

It’s safe to expect Johnson to start for an NFL team right out of the gate thanks to his experience and toughness throughout college.

Johnson is a solid lineman who has shown what to expect from him in the NFL. He isn’t too likely to play ahead of his expectations, but of all the linemen in the Draft, he is one of the safest picks in the boom-or-bust department.

  

Tommy Butler is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email tommybutler1480@gmail.com