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NFL Draft: Top five offensive linemen

Penei Sewell
Penei Sewell (USA Today)

The NFL Draft will be a bit different this year without a combine but the scouting must go on and evaluations are as important as ever with millions on the line. Here’s a look at my top five offensive linemen heading into March and a few sleepers to keep an eye on.

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1. Penei Sewell, Oregon

Sewell opted out of last season but it doesn’t matter to me becasue he’s shown all we need to see as a franchise tackle with agility, footwork and power. He should not last past the Cincinnati Bengals.

Possible teams: Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals

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2. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

Darrisaw had a tremendous season in 2020 and emerged as the best offensive lineman in the ACC - and arguably in the country. To me he’s a franchise left tackle and I love the way he consistently rides opponents out of harm's way. I have him higher than most.

Possible teams: LA Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins (with their second first-round pick).

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3. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern   

Slater also opted out of last season, but some have him higher than even Sewell in this draft with his reset ability and size. He could go ahead of Darrisaw, but I think he’s more raw.

Possible teams: Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, LA Chargers.

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4. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

Vera-Tucker is a bit of a drop-off from the first three to me, but he will likely land at the end of the first round as he is athletic and an excellent run blocker.

Possible teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts

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5. Sam Cosmi, Texas 

The fifth lineman is different for almost everyone, but I like what I’ve seen of Cosmi, especially in 2019. He’s quick out of his stance and has great arm extension as a pass blocker. He could end up going late in the first round or early in the second.

Possible teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals

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SLEEPERS 

Smith is one of the best interior linemen in the draft so he’s not a sleeper per se, but he is likely to go in the second or third round, mainly due to his former blood clot issues.

Possible teams: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, LA Chargers, Tennessee Titans

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I think Jackson is a real value in the second or third round, and based on the amazing rookie success of Tristan Wirfs from last season (he also played at Iowa) he could slide up. That happens.

Possible teams: Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Leatherwood was thought to be a surefire first-rounder, but he didn’t develop as well as expected last season. He’s a massive right tackle prospect and based on the success of Alabama offensive linemen he won’t slip far.

Possible teams: Washington Football Team, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos

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