After three first-round interior linemen came off the board in 2022, will the 2023 class be able to match that figure? As things stand right now… I’d say no. Still, interior offensive line is one of the most demanding positions from a physical maturity standpoint on a football field, so never say never.
1. Cooper Beebe, Kansas State (RS Junior)
The top interior offensive lineman at the moment for PFF has only actually played 134 career snaps on the interior. Like former second-round Kansas State interior linemen Cody Whitehair and Dalton Risner before him, Beebe plays tackle for the Wildcats. And he does it pretty darn well. He didn’t allow a single sack last season while earning an 81.4 run-blocking grade and 87.5 pass-blocking grade.
The first thing that pops off the tape for the 6-foot-3, 320-pounder is how light he plays on his feet. It’s no wonder that despite not ticking the size boxes for the tackle position he has still played there in his career.
Cooper Beebe showing athleticism from the LT position pic.twitter.com/P5d9CaGtVg
— ????KSU_90 (@90_ksu) September 27, 2021
The second thing that stands out is his raw power. The dude can move defenders against their will. He actually came to Kansas State as a defensive tackle recruit before switching to offensive line, and you see that in his attacking mentality. After a massive leap forward from 2020 to 2021, another such leap could vault Beebe toward the top-50.
2. Andrew Vorhees, USC (6th-Year Senior)
From a draft perspective, Vorhees was a massive surprise to even return to USC. He had a breakout season split between left guard and left tackle — his fifth-year starting for USC! At 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds with his movement skills, he could be evaluated as a tackle for teams as well. The only explanation is that Vorhees has to be a Trojan lifer who wants to play a part in the program’s revival under Lincoln Riley.
Truthfully, his tape doesn’t need much more seasoning to be considered a top-75 pick. He’s the only returning offensive lineman in the country to earn run and pass-blocking grades over 90.0 last season.
.@USC_FB OL Andrew Vorhees (@Andrew_Vorhees) is an experienced P5 prospect with proven T/G versatility and those guys usually play at the next level. Four-year starter can torque people and recover. One of top OL out west this year.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️#BestoftheBest pic.twitter.com/Tufj3FtGtF
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 10, 2021
3. Christian Mahogany, Boston College (RS Junior)
When Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley joined PFF’s Tailgate podcast earlier this year, he couldn’t stress enough how Mahogany has a chance to follow in Zion Johnson’s footsteps. Mahogany has exactly 706 career snaps at each guard position after flipping from left guard in 2020 to right guard last season. Mahogany may throw some off with a bit of an awkward stance, but he continually gets the job done regardless, as he allowed only seven pressures last season.
Christian Mahogany (RG 73)… very strong lower body, explosive power through his hips. Easy movement on the combo and sufficient mover up to second level. It’s over when he gets inside.
Side note: Myles Murphy is an animal. pic.twitter.com/m0LDjBxD6M
— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) June 9, 2022
4. Layden Robinson, Texas A&M (RS Junior)
Robinson may be the most physically imposing interior lineman at the top of this class. He can really bury opposing defenders when he locks in. It’s why he earned an 85.0 run-blocking grade last season in his first as a starter. While he obviously wanted to put more on tape to raise his draft stock, he likely would have been in the mix as a third-round guard had he declared last spring with classmate Kenyon Green.
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) November 8, 2020
5. John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota (6th-Year Senior)
Schmitz was yet another surprise return. He was the second-highest-graded center in the country last season after Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum and would have almost assuredly been a Day 2 pick had he declared. Unlike the centers who went at the top of the 2022 class, Schmitz ain’t no undersized space player. He’s 6-foot-4, 320 pounds of midwestern beef. He hasn’t played anywhere other than center in his career but could likely play all three interior positions. Even at that size, he’s still one of the best reach blocking specialists in the country.
Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz (6'4″ 320) wasn't on my radar entering this film (was studying RT Faalele) but he kept flashing so I went back through to study him. He's officially on my watch list for the season after a VERY impressive performance ???? pic.twitter.com/a1bfLsemuE
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 7, 2021
6. Caleb Chandler, Louisville (6th-Year Senior)
Chandler has had the kind of career progression every coach dreams about. He went from a 64.4 overall grade his first year as a starter in 2018, to 75.1 in 2020, to 87.7 last fall. He’s long and athletic enough to push that grade even higher in Year 6. That combination really shows up in space, where he regularly engaged linebackers before burying them in the turf en route to nine big-time blocks last season.
The more we see of this year’s interior OL class the more we like the depth. @UofLFootball LG Caleb Chandler (@DatBoyCC) is a three-year starter who @seniorbowl will be monitoring the rest of the season.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/KhYzpIprLQ
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 25, 2021
7. Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame (RS Senior)
Patterson isn’t the type of offensive lineman who will ever wow you physically, but he also won’t make many egregious mistakes. It’s why he earned an 82.7 run-blocking grade and 85.4 pass-blocking grade in 2021. Now, he gets a year of tutelage under one of college football’s best offensive line coaches in Harry Hiestand. The 6-foot-5, 307-pounder is a little high-cut for a center, yet he’s gotten by with 2,319 career snaps at the position.
C Jarrett Patterson (55) does a nice job of climbing to the second level to make this block and it springs Kyren Williams for the score. pic.twitter.com/SUsW7waQKz
— Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) September 13, 2021
8. Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan (6th-Year Senior)
Oluwatimi was well traveled before joining the reigning Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line. He started off at Air Force in 2017 before transferring to Virginia, where he started for three seasons after being forced to sit out in 2018. Oluwatimi will fit in just fine with the Wolverines, as he’s a powerful, no-nonsense kind of center. He’s the type of center who can go toe-to-toe with a head up nose tackle and move him off the line of scrimmage. It’s why he earned a 90.2 run-blocking grade last season.
This UVA center Olusegun Oluwatimi is a damn good player! Air Force transfer from DeMatha Catholic
2022 Class looking like deep center group with Linderbaum, Lindstrom, Deaton, Kramer, Empey, Godlevske, Neilon, Saffell, etc pic.twitter.com/Y1SBFiGtpM
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 16, 2021
9. Braeden Daniels, Utah (RS Senior)
One of the biggest “all or nothing” type of offensive linemen on this list, Daniels took more downgrades of -1 or lower (ugly losses) than any other player in the top-10. He also had the third most big-time blocks of anyone on this list with nine. He started for two years at left guard before switching to right tackle midway through this past season. At only 300 pounds, he packs a lot of explosiveness into a relatively slim frame.
10. Jordan McFadden, Clemson (RS Senior)
McFadden has been uber-productive for the Tigers over the course of his career and was quite easily their best offensive lineman the past two seasons. He has played over 800 snaps at both tackle positions yet zero on the interior. At only 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, that won’t be the case in the NFL. He’s not a particularly power player, so he has to win with his quick feet and active hands. McFadden did just that last season with an 84.9 run-blocking grade and 84.7 pass-blocking grade.