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Top Offensive Tackles in the 2016 NFL Draft: Laremy Tunsil Stands Out Over Others

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With quarterback value rising year after year, the value of the position who are tasked with protecting that valued commodity are rising as well. The offensive tackle market has the potential to be great in the 2016 NFL draft as there are numerous tackles with the ability to be quality starters in the NFL.

Typically, there are two different types of offensive tackles in the NFL draft. There are the “dancing bears,” the ones that are athletic with nimble feet, but lack power and there are the length and strength players who may not be the most mobile, but they are nasty in the run game and use their length to deter pass-rushers. The best offensive tackles are a mixture of the two.

With that being said, let’s take a look where the top offensive tackles fall in the 2016 NFL draft.

Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

Size: 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds

The top offensive tackle in the 2016 NFL draft is none other than Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil. There is no other offensive tackle in this draft class that is better in pass protection than Tunsil. He plays with great knee bend and he hits his landmarks extremely well after he gets into his kick slide. He needs to develop more power, so that he can be a better run blocker, but he understands how to position his body to wall off defenders in the run game.

With Tunsil’s ability, he should be a slam-dunk Top-10 pick in the 2016 NFL draft. You don’t see player’s with Tunsil’s technical refine very often, and couple that with Tunsil’s size and athletic ability and you have a rare talent who can potentially be a dominant left tackle for years to come.

Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame

Size: 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds

Coming into this year, Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley was the top tackle on most evaluator’s boards; however, he has struggled more than many thought he would have this season. Stanley falls into the “dancing bear” category of offensive tackles. He tends to get beat by power-rushers and he doesn’t move defenders off the line of scrimmage much in the run game.

However, Stanley has great movement skills in both the pass and run games. Stanley works to the second level extremely well and he moves well laterally on reach blocks in the zone-running games. In pass protection, he seamlessly defends players trying to get to his edge and he has the footwork to stop a quick inside move.

Overall, Stanley is a great talent at offensive tackle and even though he may not be ready to be a starting left tackle in the NFL, a team may take a chance on him in the top-10 because of the position value.

Taylor Decker, Ohio State

Size: 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds

One of the most overlooked offensive tackles in this class is Ohio State’s Taylor Decker. He is an extremely tall and long offensive tackle who is the best run-blocker in this class. Decker dominates opposing defensive ends with his length and strength. He routinely moves defenders off their spot and once he is engaged it is almost impossible for a defender who disengage.

One problem with Decker’s height is that he tends to lose leverage against defenders when he gets into his pass set. He needs to do a better job of bending his knees and lowering his pad level or he will not be able to anchor well against the pass-rushers in the NFL.

Overall, Decker doesn’t have the ceiling of Stanley, but he has a much higher floor. Outside of Tunsil, Decker is the most pro-ready offensive tackle in the draft.

Jason Spriggs, Indiana

Size: 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds

There hasn’t been an offensive tackle who’s stock has risen more than Indiana’s Jason Spriggs. He is probably the most athletic tackle in college football with his quick feet and ability to get to the second level extremely well. However, he is very inconsistent with the angles he takes and he is inefficient with his body positioning. Ultimately, he relies on his athletic ability way too much and it’s going to rear its ugly head in the NFL if he doesn’t clean it up.

Spriggs’ hands need a lot of work because he tends to be late with his hands and he doesn’t get optimal hand positioning in the run game. Spriggs is the type of tackle who may sneak his way into round one, but his team ends up disappointed with how he performs early on in his career. Spriggs’ technique needs to be cleared up or he’s never going to live up to his pre-draft hype.

Jack Conklin, Michigan State

Size: 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds

One of the more consistent offensive tackles in college football is Michigan State’s Jack Conklin. With his length and strength, Conklin has the ability to be a great right tackle in the NFL. He can develop into a dominant run blocker, while be serviceable in pass protection. Conklin doesn’t utilize the best angles in his pass set, which compounds the problem that he isn’t the most athletic offensive tackle. This is why Conklin tends to get beat with speed on a few occasions.

Conklin combats power-rushers extremely well with his ability to anchor and a very good punch to get defenders off balance. Because he lacks great movement skills, Conklin will likely be a right tackle only in the NFL, which limits how high he should go in the draft, but whoever does draft him will be happy with his ability to be a solid right tackle for many years to come.

Five Other Names To Consider

Kyle Murphy, Stanford

Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

Joe Haeg, North Dakota State

German Ifedi, Texas A&M

Stephane Nembot, Colorado

 

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About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com