We’ve been going position by position throwing out superlatives for the 2020 NFL Draft class. Now, we turn our attention to the offensive line, where we’re combining tackles, guards and centers all in one.
Best Pass Sets: Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Thomas, Georgia & Josh Jones, Houston
This is a hotly contested superlative and quite easily the one you want to win on this list. At the end of the day, though, Jackson’s consistency takes the cake. The Ohio State guard uses his hands exceptionally well already and gets on guys immediately at the snap with his short sets. Of his 10 pressures allowed this past season, only one came one-on-one in pass protection. The rest were on stunts, miscommunications or pulling. That secures him the top spot for us.
Jonah Jackson, Guard, Ohio State:
• Underrated name to monitor
• Rutgers transfer
• Has played LG, C, and RG (+)
• Light feet/heavy hands in his area
• Zone-blocking scheme fit
• Nasty finisher (++)
• Highly aware with seeing stunts pic.twitter.com/Zs7pq8gwfp
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 23, 2020
Best Run Blocker: Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
Honorable Mentions: Netane Muti, Fresno State & Andrew Thomas, Georgia
In terms of run-blocking grade, it’s very close at the top. Josh Jones (92.7), Andrew Thomas (91.4), Tristan Wirfs (91.0) and Wills (90.5) all earned elite grades this past fall, but it’s Wills’ pure explosiveness that gets him the nod. He registered a ridiculous 12 big-time blocks on the season. That’s more than even Mekhi Becton (11). And that’s against the top competition in the SEC, as well. Wills looks nothing short of special in the run game.
— Charley Casserly (@CharleyCasserly) April 6, 2020
Best Zone Scheme: Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Honorable Mentions: Matt Hennessy, Temple & Nick Harris, Washington
This is yet another category where we’ve seen a ton of guys earn elite grades on zone runs over the past couple of seasons, but few have the sample size and movement skills that Wirfs does. He’s been on the field for 276 outside zone runs over the past two seasons — third-most of any Power-5 offensive tackle. On those runs, he’s earned a 90.2 grade.
Best Gap Scheme: Netane Muti, Fresno State
Honorable Mentions: Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama & Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Gap schemes are fits for the pure people-movers in this draft class, and there’s a lot to choose from. No one moved people quite as consistently as Muti, though. Just go watch his highlight reel. Now, realize that was how strong he was two years ago. Freak.
Here's Netane Muti as a freshman b̶l̶o̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ throwing Ed Oliver pic.twitter.com/pZzqKJaIVu
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 14, 2020
Grading Doesn’t Match Hype: Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Honorable Mentions: Austin Jackson, USC & Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU
This one should come as no surprise if you’ve followed our draft coverage. Becton is getting top-five hype, but his 82.6 overall grade this past season against middling ACC competition is not close to the top group of tackles. That doesn’t mean he won’t live up to the hype — we take a more risk-averse approach to on-field performance.
Biggest Sleeper: Ben Bartch, St. John’s
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Dotson, Louisiana & Danny Pinter, Ball State
There’s a lot of fun sleepers in this class, but having a Division III tackle who is a top-60 player on the PFF draft board takes the cake. You can’t glean a ton from Bartch's tape at St. John’s other than that he moves like an NFL tackle, but his Senior Bowl tape is what sold us. He was in the conversation for the top tackle in attendance by the end of that week against competition that he’d never seen anything like in Division III.
Most Fun to Watch: Mekhi Becton, Louisville
Honorable Mentions: Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama & Netane Muti, Fresno State
Simply watching a man as large as Becton (6-foot-7, 370 pounds) do anything athletic is fun. When he gets his hands cleanly engaged around a defender, Becton can pretty much do whatever he wants with them. He’s a different breed — even in a class full of rare athletes.
I think Mekhi Becton might have killed a man on live television. Good God…???? pic.twitter.com/qjJn7V5Nri
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) April 6, 2020