• Sedrick Van Pran has excelled against the best competition in college football: He has allowed just one sack on 933 pass-blocking snaps over the past two years, going up against tough SEC foes and Georgia's elite defensive line in practice.
• Christian Mahogany returns from injury in 2023: The Boston College interior lineman missed all of 2022 after tearing his ACL.
• Hype continues to build for Cooper Beebe: He allowed no sacks on 803 pass-blocking snaps from 2021 to 2022 and has earned pass-blocking grades of 89.3 and 87.5 in his most recent two seasons.
Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
After ranking the offensive tackles earlier this week, we switch gears to the potential interior offensive linemen for the 2024 NFL Draft.
It's a group that might not have big names we already know, but we can already see plenty of prospects who could be coveted top-100 and top-75 players.
1. SEDRICK VAN PRAN, GEORGIA
Van Pran has been the man in the middle of the Bulldogs' offensive line for both of their national championship runs over the past two seasons. What pops out on his tape is that he has the strength to succeed in the NFL. Georgia has been up against some of the best and strongest competition in the trenches over the past two seasons (not to mention Van Pran facing Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis at practice over the years), and Van Pran has been up to the challenge.
He’s allowed just one sack on 933 pass-blocking snaps over the past two years, with pressure rates of 2.6% and 2.1% in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound interior offensive lineman might not be the most fleet of foot, but he knows his markers and where he needs to get to in order to impact the play as a puller or when executing zone-blocking concepts.
He’s solid and experienced, and he brings the power profile you want for an interior lineman.
2. JAVION COHEN, MIAMI (FL)
Cohen was the starting left guard for the Alabama Crimson Tide last season, where he played for the first three seasons of his college career. He transferred to Miami this offseason at a time when he could have declared for the NFL.
Cohen checks the size boxes for a guard at 6-foot-4 and 339 pounds. He moves very well for a big man, as was evidenced by his two highest rushing grades coming on zone-blocking concepts (inside and outside). In 2022, he allowed just six pressures on 321 pass-blocking snaps for a 1.9% pressure percentage. Along with his size and movement skills, he brings the mentality you love on tape. He is always looking for extra work when there isn’t a blitzer right in front of him, and he has a finishing mentality. If he can put you on the ground and bury you out of the play, you better believe he will. Miami got a good one.
3. CHRISTIAN MAHOGANY, BOSTON COLLEGE
Mahogany has been on NFL radars for a few years now. He was one of the higher-rated offensive guards in the country after the 2021 season but opted to return for 2022. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL while training at home during the offseason and missed the entire 2022 campaign.
When healthy, this 6-foot-6, 339-pound interior offensive lineman brought some serious size and strength to his offensive line. His size allows him to anchor well against all kinds of incoming rushers. He also has a knack for displacing people. He earned run-blocking grades above 73.9 on inside and outside zone, as well as man-blocking concepts in 2021.
As a big plus, Mahogany is quite comfortable in his kick slides in pass protection. He makes it look much more natural than your typical interior offensive lineman. (He played offensive tackle in high school, so that could be a foundational reason why.) When he has his feet underneath him with a good base, he’s extremely tough to get around. Teams who like those bigger, stronger bodies in the middle will covet Mahogany.
4. COOPER BEEBE, KANSAS STATE
Beebe got some good hype at the end of last season, as he was draft eligible. Some had the 6-foot-3, 332-pound guard as a Day 2 pick for the 2023 class. Now he returns for his redshirt senior season to continue to grow his draft stock.
His time around the offensive line has been a journey. He played right tackle in 2020 (382 snaps), left tackle in 2021 (749 snaps) and left guard in 2022 (944 snaps). He allowed no sacks on 803 pass-blocking snaps from 2021 to 2022 and has earned pass-blocking grades of 89.3 and 87.5 in his most recent two seasons. His base is wide and balanced, and his footwork is fast enough to mirror all kinds of pass rushers. Strength and run-blocking effectiveness are the next big boxes for him to check.
5. TROY FAUTANU, WASHINGTON
Fautanu has played more than 1,000 snaps at left tackle for the Huskies over the past two seasons but is likely in for a position change inside when he makes the jump to the next level. He’s listed at 6-foot-3 1/2 and around 319 pounds. The overall height and lack of arm length are what will likely force him inside, but he is natural enough in his blocking skills to thrive as an interior player.
You’ll see plenty of players on this list who have yielded very few sacks in the last year or two, and while that’s noteworthy, it’s a lot easier to not individually let up sacks from the interior. Fautanu, as an offensive tackle, allowed no sacks on 608 pass-blocking snaps last season, which is even more impressive. He’s fast and flexible in and out of his stance, and his hand work is violent. I expect him to be a great zone-blocking player, as well as a guy a team would like to use as a puller with how well he moves.
6. ZAK ZINTER, MICHIGAN
If you like bigger, more powerful interior players, Zinter could easily be among your top five interior offensive linemen. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound senior is rock solid in his blocking abilities. He looks very calm and in control in the chaos of trench play. His hand placement is almost always exactly where it needs to be. He's big and strong enough to anchor and displace rushers of all shapes and sizes, though it's not a rare form of imposing strength. He has good footwork and a good base, as well. I believe he can be a starting-caliber guard at the next level.
7. CHRISTIAN HAYES, UCONN
The tale of the tape shows Christian Hayes measuring in at 6-foot-2 1/2 and 312 pounds. That height and length could mean his best position in the pros is center. But he has plenty of experience at guard, with more than 800 snaps at right guard in each of the past three seasons.
Hayes is a really good athlete for an interior player. His explosiveness out of his stance is noticeable, especially when asked to block for outside-zone concepts or when asked to climb to the second level. His feet aren’t slow after that burst, either; he moves fast yet his feet are always under him for great balance. He’s not a mauler or a people mover, but that added strength could certainly come at the NFL level.
8. DONOVAN JACKSON, OHIO STATE
Jackson is a former five-star recruit who was the No. 1 interior offensive lineman in the 2021 recruiting class and the No. 7 overall player nationally, according to 247Sports. You can see why when watching how well this 6-foot-4, 320-pound athlete moves.
Right now, Jackson is more finesse than he is a well-rounded interior offensive lineman, but that speed portion of his game is so alluring. His footwork is so fast out of his stance to mirror incoming pass rushers, and his hand work has a similarly impressive speed. He thrives as a puller in space or when executing outside-zone plays, earning an 89.2 run-blocking grade on outside-zone concepts.
He allowed 16 pressures in 2022, mostly because he needs to get stronger to dictate the point of attack more and anchor better against bull rushers. But as a young offensive lineman, there’s good reason to believe that’s soon coming for him.