Gil Brandt's Analysis By Position: Offensive Line

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Offensive linemen got bigger, faster and stronger over the past three years (2003-05). The listing below gives you an idea on the height, weight and speed of offensive linemen taken in the first four rounds over the past three drafts.

Height

Shortest: 6-1½

Median: 6-5¼

Tallest: 6-8

Weight

Lightest: 295

Median: 312

Heaviest: 366

40 Time

Slowest: 5.61

Median: 5.16

Fastest: 4.85

Only three of 50 offensive linemen invited to the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine were under 300 pounds. The lightest was Minnesota's Greg Eslinger (292). The heaviest was Georgia's Max Jean-Gilles (355).

There were 15 offensive linemen 6-6 or taller. The tallest was Georgia's Dennis Roland (6-9 5/8). The fastest was Oklahoma's Chris Chester (4.84); two others ran under 5.0.

The 49 players who lifted at the Combine averaged 25 reps of 225 pounds. The strongest was Virginia Tech's Will Montgomery, who had 35. On April 2 at Southern California's Pro Day, Winston Justice had 38. He also had the best vertical jump (35 inches).

If you have the ability to play left tackle in the NFL, you have a chance to earn a very large paycheck. The past seven left tackles to sign in free agency received almost $70 million in signing bonuses.

The following is a list of my top 15 offensive linemen regardless of position. Click below to see my rankings for each of the positions across the line who didn't make my overall top 10.

1. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia (6-6, 312; 5.07)

He did not work out at the Combine, but worked out March 21 at Virginia's Pro Day. He ran two 40s in 5.06 and 5.08, had a 30-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-11 broad jump, a 4.87 short shuttle, a 7.64 cone drill and 26 lifts. He played offensive and defensive line in high school. He started at left tackle for four years (49 of 51 games), missing only two games due to injury in 2005. He was the first true freshman in school history to start on the offensive line. To be a great offensive lineman, you need long arms (Ferguson's are 35½ inches), athletic ability, quickness, quick hands and good footwork. He has it all and will get stronger with an NFL offseason program. He needs to work against people who try inside moves against him. He's smart; he graduated a semester early in December 2005. He should have a long career at a high level.

2. Winston Justice, Southern California (6-5 1/8, 320; 5.15)

He jumped and ran shuttles at the Combine on a bad right ankle. He did his 40s and field work April 2 at USC's Pro Day. He ran one 40 (5.15), had a 4.44 short shuttle and 7.26 three-cone drill and did 38 lifts. He didn't play football until his sophomore year in high school. He played offensive line at Long Beach Poly High School. He started 12 of 13 games as a true freshman at age 17. He started 11 games in 2003 but did not play in 2004 (suspended for two semesters from school). He started 13 games in 2005 at right tackle. He's a very good athlete, but he's not real instinctive. He looked very good in field drills at USC's Pro Day, where his arms were measured at 38 inches. Some question his toughness. He looks great, but does not play as well as he looks. He had boxing workouts in 2004 when he didn't play football.

3. Nick Mangold, Ohio State (6-3 5/8; 5.09)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.05 and 5.12, had a 27½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-8 broad jump. 4.36 short shuttle, 7.47 three-cone drill and 24 reps. His arms measure 31 7/8 inches. He played and started three years on both offensive and defensive line and also lettered in wrestling and track. He played but did not start in 2002. He started 34 games over the next three years. He has very good athletic ability, outstanding quickness and agility, and gets into blocks quickly. He has good knee bend and is rarely off his feet. He needs to get stronger -- and he will. He's a Tom Nahlen-type player. Smart, great character and will play a long time.

*4. Marcus McNeill, Auburn (6-7 5/8, 336; 5.10)

He worked out at the Combine but did not lift because of a right hand fracture. He ran his 40s in 5.07 and 5.12. He had a 31-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-2 broad jump, 5.00 short shuttle and 8.19 three-cone drill. He had no lifts at his Pro Day. He played on both offensive and defensive lines in high school. He also played basketball, baseball and finished second in the state in shot-put. He started six games as a true freshman and 10 in 2003. He made 24 starts over the next two years. He has the size, long arms (35 3/8 inches), quickness and balance you need for the position. He has very good speed for his size and weight. His best position is most likely at right tackle. He's not real explosive and there's the question of how strong he is. He has stenosis (narrowing of the spine) and had not lifted weights while at Auburn. *NOTE: He could be a second-round pick if he can pass his physical. If not, someone might take a chance on him late on the second day of the draft (sixth or seventh round).

5. Davin Joseph, Oklahoma (6-2 5/8, 311; 5.12)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.09 and 5.14, had a 32-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-3 broad jump, 4.97 short shuttle (ran 4.68 at Pro Day), 7.71 three-cone drill and did 24 lifts. He's a four-year starter at offensive guard who also played on the defensive line. He won Class 2A state heavyweight wrestling championship in Florida. He started two games as a true freshman vs. Colorado and USC. Joseph started 37 games from 2003 to 2005 and played left tackle in 2005. He has very good athletic ability, very long arms (35 1/8 inches) and big hands. Lacks the ideal height, but makes up for it with his long arms. He's not a powerful player, but plays smart. His best position is guard, but he can play tackle as well. He should be a very good player for many years.

6. Eric Winston, Miami (Fla.) (6-5 5/8, 310; 4.96)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.94 and 5.00, had a 29-inch vertical jump, 9-foot broad jump, 4.44 short shuttle, 7.47 three-cone drill and 22 lifts. His arm length measures 32¼ inches. He played tight end in high school and is also a very good basketball player. He played as a true freshman at tight end, but moved to left tackle in 2003 and started 13 games. In 2004, he played and started the first four games before going down for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (left knee). He came back in 2005 and started 12 games, but looked to have lost agility and quickness early in the season. He looked much better at the Combine but did not interview well for some teams. If knee is sound, he is a very good player.

7. Taitusi 'Deuce' Lutui, Southern California (6-3¾, 334; 5.45)

Lutui had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran 5.45 in the 40 twice, 4.75 in the short shuttle, and 8.04 in the three-cone drill. He also had a 28-inch vertical, an 8-foot-1 broad jump and did 25 lifts. He played both ways in high school. Signed with Utah out of high school, but did not qualify for admission and went to junior college. He came to USC after junior college and weighed over 400 pounds. His coaches made him lose weight; he lost close to 100 pounds. He started 13 games at right tackle in 2004 and 13 games at left guard in 2005. Good athlete for his height and weight. He has power and strength, good use of his hands (32½-inch arms) and massive body.

8. Daryn Colledge, Boise State (6-4 3/8, 299; 5.05)

Colledge had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran 5.05 in the 40 twice, had a 32½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 broad jump, 4.63 short shuttle, 7.40 three-cone drill and did 21 lifts. He played high school football in Alaska and also lettered in baseball and track (shot-put). He redshirted in 2001 then started 52 games in a row at left tackle and did not allow a sack after his freshman year. He has long arms (33 inches), but not sure how much more he can weigh above 305. Had a good week at the Senior Bowl on the field. He wasn't so good in the interviews with teams. Like most offensive linemen, he needs to get stronger.

9. Andrew Whitworth, LSU (6-7; 5.18)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He clocked 5.16 and 5.20 in the 40, 4.83 in the short shuttle, and 7.47 in the three-cone drill. He had a 30½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-4 broad jump and did 38 lifts. His arm length measures 35 inches (left-handed). Plays offensive line and also plays basketball at a high level; golf and tennis, too. He redshirted in 2001 and then started the next 52 games at left tackle (a school record). He's a great character person. He has long arms and big hands (10 1/8 inches). Very good worker both on and off the field. Good competitor and is athletic, but not sure he is quick enough to play left tackle in the NFL. His best position is most likely at right tackle. He'll play a long time for a team.

10. Max Jean-Gilles, Georgia (6-3¾, 355; 5.52)

Had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.48 and 5.55. He had a 24½-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-11 broad jump, 5.08 short shuttle, 8.57 three-cone drill and 27 lifts. He played offensive and defensive line in high school, where he was a three-year team captain. He blocked seven kicks. He played as a true freshman and started 14 games at left tackle (Georgia had a left-handed QB). He started 25 games over the next two years. He has a massive body with long arms (35 inches). He has some area quickness but gets tired late in the game and has problems. Is this another Larry Allen? Does he have enough character to control his weight? Will he work hard to be good? He could be a force if you can get him to stay in shape.

11. Jonathan Scott, Texas (6-6 3/8, 315; 5.34)

Scott had a complete workout at the Combine. He was timed at 5.35 and 5.32 in the 40, 4.53 in the short shuttle and 7.73 in the three-cone drill. He also had a 24½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-5 broad jump and did 17 reps. Played on the offensive line in high school and earned second-team All-USA Today honors. Also played basketball and threw shot-put. Redshirted in 2001, started seven games in 2002 at right tackle. He started the next 38 games at left tackle. Outstanding athlete with quickness and agility. He has great feet and can deep snap if needed. He has the ability to be very good, but needs to get stronger -- and he can. He needs to also get meaner, which he can. He's smart and has great character. If you hit on him, it will be a home run with the bases loaded.

12. Rashad Butler, Miami (Fla.) (6-4 5/8, 293; 5.30)

Butler did not have a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.29 and 5.30 at Miami's Pro Day on Feb. 28. At the Combine, he ran the short shuttle in 4.56 and the three-cone drill in 7.90. He had a 28-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-10 broad jump and did 16 lifts. He played offensive line in high school and was one of the top players in Florida. Redshirted in 2001. Played but did not start in 2002. Started four games in 2003. Started 11 games in 2003, including eight at left tackle. Started 11 games at right tackle in 2005. He has long arms (36 inches). He has athletic ability, good feet, quickness and balance; a finesse-type player. He's not real strong and needs a lot of weight work. Looked good at East-West practice. He has ability, but is badly in need of weight work.

13. Chris Chester, Oklahoma (6-3 3/8, 303; 4.90)

Had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 4.87 and 4.92. He had a 31½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-10 broad jump, 4.50 short shuttle, 7.31 three-cone drill and 27 lifts. Played tight end and running back in high school, and was also a very good basketball player and discus thrower. Redshirted in 2001 and was a backup tight end in 2002. A knee problem in 2003 forced him to miss five games; played only two games in 2004. He started in 2005 at right guard and also played two games at center. He has very good athletic ability. He can pull and lead. He has quickness for the position, but needs more lower-body strength and will need to go to a zone-blocking team.

14. Fred Matua, Southern California (6-2 3/8, 305; 5.13)

Matua did only jumps and shuttles at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.06 and 5.19, had a 24½-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-9 broad jump, 4.76 short shuttle, 7.87 three-cone drill and did 25 lifts. Played on the offensive line in high school, but missed most of his senior year with a broken leg. Played as a true freshman in 2002, but was injured during the season and was granted a medical redshirt. Started eight games in 2003 and every game over the next two years. He's tough and will do anything to win. Has short-area quickness. He's a hard worker and will play hurt. He does not have long arms (31 1/8 inches) and lacks lower strength. He could be better at center than at guard.

15. Charles Spencer, Pittsburgh (6-4¾, 352; 5.33)

Had a complete workout at the Combine. His 40 times were 5.28 and 5.35, 4.64 short shuttle and 7.74 cone drill. He also had a 27½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-3 broad jump and did 30 lifts. Played both offensive and defensive line in high school. Started three years in basketball and played tight end in prep school. Redshirted in 2001, played defensive line in 2002 and 2003. Started 12 games at offensive guard in 2004. Started 11 games at left tackle in 2005. He's best suited at guard in the NFL. Has long arms (33 5/8). Has played on the offensive line for only two years. Not a lot of lower-body strength. Needs to be meaner; too nice. Has the size you want for the guard position.

CENTERS

Ryan Cook, New Mexico (6-6 5/8, 292; 5.18)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.49 and 5.48. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.68 and the three-cone drill in 7.73. In addition, he had a 28½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-1 broad jump and 28 bench presses. He walked on at New Mexico in 2001 and started eight games at center as a redshirt freshman. He started 44 consecutive games. He is a big person (33-inch arms) who moves well for his size. He might be too tall to play center. He's an average athlete who might be able to play right tackle.

Greg Eslinger, Minnesota (6-3 1/8, 292; 5.18)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.17 and 5.19. He ran the short shuttle in 4.68 and the three-cone drill in 7.31. In addition, he had a 30-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-5 broad jump and 28 bench presses. He played tight end, guard and on the defensive line in high school, where he also played hockey and ran track. He started for four years at Minnesota and played well. He does not look very big, but he does everything you want your center to do. He is quick, agile, and a good cut blocker. He is a finesse-type player who gets the job done. He is an outstanding person with great character. His parents are teachers in North Dakota.

Will Montgomery, Virginia Tech (6-3, 312; 5.12)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He twice ran the 40 in 5.12 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.43 and the three-cone drill in 7.40. In addition he had a 29½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-6 broad jump and 35 bench presses. He walked on at Virginia Tech and redshirted in 2001. He played defensive tackle in 2002. He played left guard and center the past three years (six starts at center in 2005, and seven at guard). He had a good workout at the Combine. He's strong, moves well and can play two positions. He's an overachiever who has been well-coached.

Jason Spitz, Louisville (6-3½, 313; 5.45)

He had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.41 and 5.49 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.56 and the three-cone drill in 7.82. In addition, he had a 28½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-6 broad jump and 25 bench presses. He started six games at right guard in 2002, then started at left guard the past three seasons. He played center during spring practice in 2005. He's a strong, smart, competitive player with good work habits. He's an average athlete who won't wow you with his body (arms only 31¼ inches).

GUARDS

Kevin Boothe, Cornell (6-4¾, 316; 5.44)

Boothe had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.41 and 5.47. He had a 31½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-2 broad jump, 5.05 short shuttle, 8.36 three-cone drill and did 23 lifts. Played on the offensive and defensive line in high school. He came to Cornell weighing 370 pounds and was redshirted in 2001. He started the next four years (at guard in 2002 and 2003, at right tackle in 2004, and at left tackle in 2005). He has average athletic ability and is a better run blocker than a pass blocker. He plays hard and tough. Guard is his best position, but could play at right tackle.

Jahri Evans, Bloomsburg (Pa.) (6-4½, 316; 5.29)

Evans had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran 5.29 twice in the 40. He had a 27-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-11 broad jump, 4.80 short shuttle, 7.97 three-cone drill and did 20 lifts. He has long arms (34 1/8 inches). He's a three-year starter at right tackle. He's a very good run blocker, but needs to get stronger. He could be a guard in the NFL. He has the ability, but needs coaching and technique work.

Chris Kuper, North Dakota (6-4 3/8, 301; 5.12)

Kuper had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.10 and 5.13. He had a 30-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-10 broad jump, 4.60 short shuttle, 7.59 three-cone drill and did 24 lifts. He played high school football in Alaska on the offensive and defensive line. Started 32 games in a row, mostly at right guard, but played some at left tackle as well in 2005. He's a well-built player who has some potential with NFL coaching and more strength. Guard is his best NFL position.

Mark Setterstrom, Minnesota (6-3¾, 314; 5.40)

Setterstrom had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.41 and 5.38. He had a 26½-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-6 broad jump, 4.53 short shuttle, 7.63 cone drill and did 19 lifts. He played on the offensive line and was a heavyweight wrestler in high school. He started 50 games in a row in a very good program, but will need to get stronger at the next level. He's well built and has good athletic ability for his position. He's a second-day pick who will end up starting a lot of games.

Rob Sims, Ohio State (6-2¾, 307; 5.25 (est.))

Sims had a right hamstring problem and only lifted at the Combine (27 reps). He tried to run March 9 at Ohio State's Pro Day, and ran 1.75 in the 10-yard dash and 2.87 in the 20 (both above average for his position). He had a 30-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-11 broad jump, 4.75 short shuttle and 7.68 three-cone drill. He started five games as a true freshman. Played guard and started 11 games in 2004. He needs to keep his weight around 310. He has a strong upper body and long arms (31¾ inches). Guard is his best position.

Isaac Sowells, Indiana (6-3½, 324; 5.20)

Sowells had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.19 and 5.21. He had a 28½-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-8 broad jump, 4.98 short shuttle, 8.13 three-cone drill and did 20 lifts. He played on both the offensive and defensive lines in high school and also lettered in basketball and track. He has long arms (34 3/8 inches). He played one year at guard and the other three years at left tackle. His best NFL position is at guard.

Adam Stenavich, Michigan (6-4, 310; 5.62)

Stenavich did not work out at the Combine. Everything, except his lifts (24), were done at Michigan's Pro Day. He ran two 40s in 5.61 and 5.62. He had a 24-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-9 broad jump, 4.82 short shuttle and 7.91 three-cone drill. He has started in a very good program for three years at left tackle. He's a great competitor who has been well coached, but lacks foot speed. He'll be a guard in the NFL.

TACKLES

Paul McQuistan, Weber State (6-5 1/8, 312; 5.12)

McQuistan had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.10 and 5.13. He had a 29½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 broad jump, 4.62 short shuttle, 7.72 three-cone drill and did 28 lifts. Played both offensive and defensive line in high school. Has a lot of upside and is a tough competitor. Played well in the East-West Shrine Game. There's doubt he can play left tackle, but he has a chance at right tackle or guard. He's a hardworking farm kid.

Ryan O'Callaghan, California (6-6 5/8, 344; 5.37)

O'Callaghan worked out at the Combine but did not run shuttles. He ran 5.37 twice in the 40. He had a 25-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-6 broad jump, 4.83 short shuttle, 7.97 three-cone drill and did 21 lifts. Played offensive line in high school and was a three-year starter at right tackle and right guard. He's a big man with foot quickness. Has good strength and long arms (33 1/8 inches). He needs to be a better worker.

Zach Strief, Northwestern (6-7 5/8, 330; 5.42)

Strief had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran the 40s in 5.38 and 5.46. He had a 21-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-10 broad jump, 4.83 short shuttle, 8.01 three-cone drill and did 19 lifts. Played offensive and defensive line in high school, and also lettered in basketball and track. He's a big man to handle if he gets his hands (33¼-inch arms) on you. Needs to improve his quickness and strength. Started 40 consecutive games at right tackle. He might not look good doing it, but he gets the job done. He's best most likely at right tackle or possibly at guard. Check out his performance against Penn State's Tamba Hali.

Joe Toledo, Washington (6-5½, 337; 5.15)

Toledo worked out at the Combine, but did no jumps or shuttles. He ran one 40 (5.11 and 5.19 on two watches) and did 32 lifts at Washington's Pro Day on March 10. He had a 32-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-3 broad jump, 4.66 short shuttle and 7.92 three-cone drill. Played tight end and defensive end in high school. Played tight end until 2005 season. He started the season at left tackle, missed five games, then returned and played three games at right tackle. He's a good athlete with good speed. The question is: Can he play left tackle? If so, he'll be a good second-day pick.

Michael Toudouze, Texas Christian (6-5¾, 303; 5.14)

Toudouze had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.12 and 5.16. He had a 26½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-4 broad jump, 4.70 short shuttle, 7.45 three-cone drill and did 23 lifts. Played offensive line in high school and also was a discus thrower. He's a five-year player who started for the first time at left tackle in 2005. He made first-team all-conference in his first year as a starter. Toudouze has very thin legs for his size and needs weight work.

Jeremy Trueblood, Boston College (6-8, 316; 5.29)

Trueblood had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran two 40s in 5.25 and 5.32. He had a 27½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-4 broad jump, 4.74 short shuttle, 7.45 three-cone drill and did 20 lifts. Played offensive line in high school, and also lettered in basketball and track. He has good ability, but the question remains whether he can play left tackle against the quicker pass rushers. He has been a two-year starter at left tackle and will need to get stronger.

Guy Whimper, East Carolina (6-4¾, 296; 4.96)

Whimper had a complete workout at the Combine. He ran 4.96 twice in the 40. He had a 29-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-6 broad jump, 4.59 short shuttle, 7.38 three-cone drill and did 25 lifts. He was a defensive end in high school, and also lettered in basketball and track. Played defensive end and linebacker in 2002 and 2003. Played tight end in 2004 and started at tackle in 2005 (one at left and nine at right). He's a very good athlete with good potential. He could be a good player in time, but he needs lots of coaching and weight work.

What scouts look for when grading offensive linemen:

Critical factors

  1. Character
  1. Ability to learn football
  1. Competitive toughness
  1. Work habits
  1. Athletic ability

Position specifics

  1. Pass protection
  1. Use of hands
  1. Initial quickness
  1. Balance
  1. Lateral movement
  1. Explosion
  1. Stay on feet
  1. Inline blocking
  1. Reactions to blitzers
  1. Long-snapping

Did You Know?

D'Brickashaw Ferguson is the only player in Virginia history to start four bowl games at left tackle.

Charles Spencer has six sisters.

Andrew Whitworth became the first player at LSU to start more than 50 games; he started 52 in four years.

Greg Eslinger and Mark Steerstrom arrived at Minnesota in 2002 and were not redshirted. They started every game over the next four seasons (50 straight) for Glen Mason's Golden Gophers.

Michigan's Adam Stenavich holds the record at Marshfield High School (Wis.) for the best free-throw percentage in a single season (88 percent).

Since 1967, two offensive linemen have been picked No. 1 overall in the draft -- Ron Yary (Minnesota, 1968) and Orlando Pace (St. Louis, 1997). Yary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001, and Pace (seven consecutive Pro Bowls) should be a Canton candidate when he retires.

Looking Ahead

Here is an alphabetical list of prospective NFL offensive linemen for the 2007 draft that you should keep your eyes on.

Josh Beekman, Boston College

Justin Blalock, Texas

Levi Brown, Penn State

Doug Free, Northern Illinois

Ryan Harris, Notre Dame

Dan Inman, Georgia

Ryan Kalil, USC

Arron Sears, Tennessee

Joe Thomas, Wisconsin

Kyle Young, Fresno State

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