After a few strong offensive tackle draft classes in a row, there’s a chance we could see a bit of a lull in 2022.
Nothing exemplifies that more than the fact that two of the top-three prospects on this list weren’t even full-time starting tackles for their respective schools last season. Tackle is, at the end of the day, a very skilled position, though, and one where previous years of tape often aren’t a big factor in the evaluation.
1. Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (Junior)
Skoronski takes the No. 1 spot on this list not necessarily for his ceiling but rather for his floor. As only a true sophomore last year, he was already the most consistent returning tackle in the country. Skoronski took over at left tackle as a true freshman after Rashawn Slater left and has earned 80-plus overall grades in each of his two seasons since.
The only thing missing from his profile is the lack of ideal measurables. At 6-foot-4, 294 pounds, he still has some developing to do physically before he’ll be considered a top-10 prospect. Still, the fact that he’s already performed so well at such a young age without ideal size speaks volumes about how talented he is.
NWのLT #77 Skoronski君、順調にドラ1→プロボウルGコースに成長してるっぽいな。
— Andrew mLuck (@AmLuck12) February 10, 2022
2. Broderick Jones, Georgia (RS Sophomore)
Jones was a former five-star recruit in the 2020 cycle. With Georgia’s veteran-laden offensive line, Jones has never been “the guy” at any position yet. He’s started only four games in his career — all at left tackle last season. On his 463 career snaps, he’s been wildly impressive, earning an 82.0 overall grade for his career. When flipping on his tape, he executes blocks that others on this list simply can’t make. Physically, he looks like the elite NFL tackles. He’ll have every chance to prove that as the Bulldogs starting left tackle next year.
Broderick Jones got him one in the G-Day game. pic.twitter.com/vt1h6Mpzy3
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) April 19, 2022
3. Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State (Junior)
Johnson is yet another former five-star from the 2020 recruiting cycle. Unlike Jones, though, Johnson already has a year of starting experience under his belt, but it was at right guard, where he earned an 83.5 run-blocking grade in his first season as a starter last year. His exceptional movement skills shined on the move and at the second level. At 6-foot-6, 315 pounds with quick feet, Johnson is going to be a far more natural fit at tackle than he was at guard. He’ll replace Nicholas Petit-Frere on the left side in 2022.
I see you Paris Johnson (Ohio State RG 77) ???? pic.twitter.com/N8u0rYGoTW
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 7, 2021
4. Blake Freeland, BYU (Senior)
Freeland isn’t the typical BYU offensive lineman in that he’s a rising senior that’s only four years removed from high school. Watching Freeland hold down the left side for BYU last season, it’s hard not to conjure up images of Mike McGlinchey coming out of Notre Dame because the 6-foot-8, 305-pound Freeland is an exceedingly high-cut tackle like McGlinchey but still more than capable of sinking and moving defensive linemen in the run game.
Freeland spent two years starting on the right side before replacing Brady Christensen on the left side in 2021, where he flourished last season, allowing only five pressures from 426 pass-blocking snaps the entire season.
Pass Pro isn’t passive ft Blake Freeland of BYU pic.twitter.com/f7m94XI1Gs
— Big Mike (@bigmike7772) May 3, 2022
5. Zion Nelson, Miami (FL) (Senior)
Nelson has come a long way since the Week 0 bludgeoning he took as a true freshman in 2019 at the hands of Florida’s Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. He’s seen his pass-blocking grade leap from a 46.8 that season to 78.7 in 2020 and an 85.3 mark last year. Nelson played some inspired football down the stretch in 2021, as he allowed only two pressures over his final five games.
Nelson very easily could have been a Day 2 pick had he declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, but he obviously has his sights set higher than that. And with good reason, as Nelson has the physical tools of a first-round tackle although he still needs to show it more consistently in the run game. He only earned a 65.0 grade in that regard last season.
Zion Nelson had a massive improvement from 2019-2020
Can Nelson and the Hurricanes bring the U back? pic.twitter.com/ul1inoNlKG
— NFL Draft Prospects Podcast (@nflprospectspod) July 9, 2021
6. Anton Harrison, Oklahoma (Junior)
While only a rising junior, Harrison already has over 1,000 snaps to his name at left tackle for the Sooners. He’s a smooth moving 6-foot-5, 309-pound offensive tackle who can mirror pass-rushers as well as anyone in the class. While that’s a good starting point, Harrison would get manhandled physically on an NFL field if asked to suit up tomorrow, as he needs to add considerable muscle to his frame before he can be considered a top prospect. He may even opt to return for his senior season to do so.
7. Javon Foster, Missouri (RS Senior)
It took Foster until his fourth season with the Tigers to even lock down a starting spot, but his play in 2021 was worth the wait. He may not be the most physically impressive tackle on this list, yet that didn't stop him from earning an 80.9 overall grade last year against a tough SEC slate. Foster plays with exceptional balance that allows him to sustain blocks at a high level in the run game. He still is a work in progress in pass protection, but we saw him improve mightily in that regard as 2021 wore on.
8. Robert Scott Jr., Florida State (RS Sophomore)
Of any tackle on this list, Scott’s inclusion is easily the biggest projection. While he’s been starting since he arrived on campus in 2020, there’s not much in his grading or statistical profile that would warrant inclusion here. He earned only a 66.2 overall grade as a freshman and then a 66.6 overall grade as a sophomore.
Nonetheless, down the stretch last season, we saw flashes of what the 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle could become. He’s long-limbed with very reactive feet that are capable of recovering lost blocks. It’s just that his technique is nowhere near where you’d want it to be for an NFL prospect. With Florida State’s rough recent track record of developing offensive linemen, the worry is whether or not he’ll make those improvements.
9. Luke Haggard, Indiana (Super Senior)
Haggard spent two years at Santa Rosa Junior College before heading to Indiana, where he’s started at left tackle the past two seasons. His first season as a starter in 2020 could not have gone much worse, as he finished with a 36.9 pass-blocking grade. However, Haggard turned that around in a big way in 2021, finishing with a 66.0 pass-blocking grade. He’s clearly ascending and put some impressive play on tape over the course of last season — particularly in the Ohio State game, where he didn’t allow a single pressure.
10. Connor Galvin, Baylor (Super Senior)
Galvin has been Baylor’s starting left tackle for four seasons and chose to come back this past spring to make it five. He’s had the kind of developmental curve that coaches dream about, as he’s seen his overall grade jump by at least seven points in every season of his career. This past season, he was lights out in pass protection with only three pressures allowed all year. There’s a reason, though, that despite that impressive play, he still decided to hold off on making the leap to the NFL. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Galvin is limited from a tools perspective, which could put a cap on his draft stock.