NFL Draft News & Analysis

2023 NFL Draft: Ranking the top 10 offensive tackle prospects

College Park, Maryland, USA; Northwestern Wildcats offensive lineman Peter Skoronski (77) prepares to block against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

• Two Ohio State linemen make the top 10: Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones are among the top tackle prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

• Northwestern's Peter Skoronski comfortably at No. 1: After taking over for Rashawn Slater in his true freshman season, Skoronski has established himself as a dominant draft prospect.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The 2023 offensive tackle class may not feature the top-end talent of the 2022 group that included three top-10 picks and five first-rounders, but the depth into Day 2 is still there. That is, however, if all of the below prospects declare, as almost all of those listed have the option to return to school.

10. Dawand Jones, Ohio State (Senior | 6-8, 359)

  • 2022 Grade: 83.8
  • Play Style: Behemoth
  • Initial Round Projection: Late Day 2

Jones is one of the most interesting evaluations in the 2023 tackle class. He’s one of the most physically imposing men you’ll see on a football field with a frame that is stunningly large (reportedly a 7-foot, 5-inch wingspan). At that size, Jones is capable of completely eliminating the man in front of him on any given play. He’s also more consistent with his technique than you might expect for a player of his size, and it showed in his two seasons as a starter. He allowed only 15 pressures over that span.

While he moves well for a 350-plus-pounder, his foot speed is still well below average for the position. That shows up the most in his ability to recover blocks — it can get ugly at times. He’d be a perfect fit for teams that utilize their quarterbacks heavily in the run game and can protect him with fewer true dropback pass sets.

9. Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse (RS Junior | 6-5, 322)

  • 2022 Grade: 74.6
  • Play Style: Strong-Anchored Pass Protector
  • Initial Round Projection: Day 2

The ACC may not be the best all-around conference, but the slate of edge rushers Bergeron faced this season stacks up against just about anyone in college football. He faced the likes of Yasir Abdullah, YaYa Diaby, Myles Murphy, Isaiah Foskey, Habakkuk Baldonado and Jared Verse. That murderers' row will prepare anyone for the next level. And through it all, Bergeron allowed all of 12 pressures on 392 pass-blocking snaps for an 80.9 pass-blocking grade.

While his pass protection is encouraging, Bergeron’s tape in the run game is still littered with too many plays where he’s easily knocked off balance. He plays out over his toes and makes himself top-heavy in the process. That will get exposed in a big way at the next level.

8. Jonah Monheim, USC (RS Sophomore | 6-5, 295)

  • 2022 Grade: 82.1
  • Play Style: Hands Fighter
  • Initial Round Projection: Day 2

I’ll start by saying it’s very unlikely Monheim declares. His play strength is just not up to snuff yet by NFL standards, and he could easily garner a first-round grade if he shows improvement in that regard next season. I say that because his mirroring ability is stupendous. He’s already one of the best tackles in the country at closing down the space against wide rushers with how he explodes out of his stance. Adding a more consistent strength element to his game would take it to another level entirely.

7. Blake Freeland, BYU (Senior | 6-8, 305)

  • 2022 Grade: 90.9
  • Play Style: Wide-Zone Tackle
  • Initial Round Projection: Early Day 3

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry, Freeland is the age you’d expect a senior to be, as he went straight to BYU out of high school. He’s been starting ever since his freshman year in 2019 with two seasons at right tackle before two at left tackle. Freeland has been one of the top pass protectors in the country over that span with only 12 pressures allowed on 888 pass-blocking snaps. It’s a great sign that he was effective even with pass protection basics that will need to be rebuilt at the next level.

I highlighted him as a “wide-zone tackle” for both good and bad reasons. The good is that he’s very nimble for a high-cut tackle and capable of executing the backside cutoff with ease. The bad is that he’s not going to be nearly as effective at blocking other concepts that require movement at the NFL level. He’s simply not strong comparatively. That can be improved upon but will never be his game. 

6. Darnell Wright, Tennessee (Senior | 6-6, 335)

  • 2022 Grade: 71.0
  • Play Style: Brick Wall
  • Initial Round Projection: Early Day 2

Wright had nearly 2,000 snaps to his name heading into 2021 yet had failed to show the kind of consistency necessary to catch the eye of NFL evaluators. That changed in a big way this season. His performance against Alabama’s Will Anderson (PFF’s EDGE1) midway through 2022 put him on the map. Holding your own against a future top-five pick along the defensive line is always going to be a good sign when projecting to the NFL.

Wright wins with some of the best functional strength in the draft class. You aren’t going to go through the 335-pound tackle. That showed up again and again in pass protection, where he allowed only three pressures on 93 true pass sets this season. 

5. Cody Mauch, North Dakota State (6th-Year Senior | 6-6, 303) 

  • 2022 Grade: 90.9
  • Play Style: Space Player
  • Initial Round Projection: Early Day 2

Mauch is another impeccable body transformation story along the offensive line. He came to North Dakota State as a 221-pound tight end before bulking up to a 303-pound starting offensive tackle for the past three seasons. Mauch gained all that weight but hardly lost any of his athleticism. His ability to locate defenders is as good as it gets in the draft class. He led all FCS offensive linemen with 19 big-time blocks because he’d consistently barrel-roll second-level defenders on the move. 

While his work in the run game is tremendous, it’s Mauch’s pass protection technique that will slide him down draft boards. It’s more than a touch worrisome that a sixth-year player is still so unrefined in his pass sets. He earned only an 80.6 pass-blocking grade against competition that for the most part won’t sniff the NFL. 

4. Broderick Jones, Georgia (RS Sophomore | 6-4, 310)

  • 2022 Grade: 78.5
  • Play Style: Bully
  • Initial Round Projection: 1-2

When Jones squares up a defensive end cleanly, he’s the most impressive tackle in the class. He’s built like a slab of granite with very low body fat for a 300-plus-pound tackle. The fact that he was so adept at moving people against their will in only his first season as a full-time starter is a good sign for his NFL prospects. Jones was tied with Ohio Stare's Paris Johnson Jr. for the third-most big-time blocks among FBS tackles in the run game this past season. 

The worries come in pass protection, as Jones is just a touch stiffer than you’d like for a top-tier tackle prospect. Because of that, he struggles to regain leverage off blocks and react to defenders on the move. The rest is there, though, to be a quality starter at the next level.

3. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma (Junior | 6-5, 315)

  • 2022 Grade: 72.6
  • Play Style: Light-Footed Pass Protector
  • Initial Round Projection: 1st

Harrison has the uncoachable smoothness that you can’t help but admire from a 300-plus-pounder. He moves like an NBA power forward with feet, body and hands perfectly in sync. That helped him surrender only nine pressures on 447 pass-blocking snaps this season, and he had been seeing time at left tackle ever since his true freshman year in 2020.

Harrison is never going to be an explosive people mover in the run game. While he’s made strides in that regard, that’s just not the kind of player he is. Harrison is much more of a finesse player who wins with some of the best hand usage in the class.

2. Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State (Junior | 6-6, 310)

  • 2022 Grade: 83.4
  • Play Style: All-Around Athlete
  • Initial Round Projection: 1st

Johnson is the closest thing to a “lab-built” offensive tackle in this draft class. He has a high-end combination of size, strength and athleticism reminiscent of the elites at the next level. That was even evident in high school, as he was a five-star prospect and the No. 11 offensive tackle recruit in the 2020 class. 

In his first season at left tackle this past fall after switching from right guard, Johnson looked like a natural. He made the third-most big-time blocks (highest-graded blocks in PFF’s system) of any tackle in the country and allowed only 10 pressures all season. His hands are what’s keeping him from the No. 1 spot on this list, as they’re still a work in progress. He’s too often late to the punch (literally) and will cede the first-contact battle. 

1. Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (Junior | 6-4, 315)

  • 2022 Grade: 89.3
  • Play Style: Technician
  • Initial Round Projection: 1st

Skoronski is quite comfortably the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in the draft class. He took over for Rashawn Slater at left tackle as a true freshman in 2020 and has given the Wildcats nothing short of exceptional play ever since. This past season, he allowed all of six pressures across 474 pass-blocking snaps for one of the best pass-blocking campaigns in PFF's nine years of college grading. His feet, balance and hand usage are all already tremendous.

Physically, though, Skoronski has limited length and play strength to be considered a blue-chip prospect. Many around the league will likely see him as a guard or center because of that. That being said, if I need a tackle in this class Skoronski, is the one I’m taking.

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