Offensive linemen keep getting bigger, faster and stronger. Over the past five years (1999-2003), six offensive linemen have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I don't think any of them weighed 250 pounds when they were drafted.
The heaviest lineman at this year's combine was Shawn Andrews of Arkansas at 366 pounds, while Jake Scott of Idaho was the lightest at 281 pounds. Fifteen players were 6-6 or taller with Kelly Butler of Purdue the tallest at 6-7 3/8.
Shortest: 6-1.5; Median: 6-4 5/8; Tallest: 6-8
Lightest: 293; Median 311; Heaviest: 375
Slowest: 5.58; Median 5.21; Fastest: 4.93
If you have ability to play left tackle in the NFL, you have a chance to earn a lot of money. In the spring of 2003, three left tackles became free agents and received almost $25 million in signing-bonus money: Flozell Adams (Cowboys), Luke Petitgout (Giants) and Wayne Gandy (Saints).
The following is a list of my top 12 offensive linemen followed by the best of the rest at guard, center and tackle.
Size and speed
Averages of O-linemen at this year's combine:
Height: Tackles 6-6; Guards 6-4 1/2; Centers 6-3 1/8
Weight: Tackles 318; Guards 316; Centers 302
Strength Lifts: Tackles 26; Guards 25; Centers 26
40-yard time: Tackles 5.23; Guards 5.42; Centers 5.26
10-yard time: Tackles 1.81; Guards 1.86; Centers 1.81
Vertical jump: Tackles 29 1/2 inches; Guards 27 1/2; Centers 26 1/2
1. Robert Gallery, Iowa (6-7 1/8, 323)
Gallery ran his two 40s in 4.99 and 4.95. He had a 30-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-9 long jump, 4.36 in the short shuttle, 7.42 in the three-cone drill and 24 strength lifts (put up 32 lifts but did not "lockout" on eight and was given credit for only 24). Was a tight end in high school and also played outside linebacker, punted and kicked off. Also a member of the basketball team and finished second in the state track meet in the high jump his senior year. Redshirted in 1999 at Iowa. Started at tight end to begin the 2000 season before moving to right tackle, where he started the last six games. Started the next three seasons at left tackle. Has size, speed, athletic ability and toughness. Outstanding person who should star in the NFL for many years. His brother, Nick, was a punter at Iowa.
2. Shawn Andrews, Arkansas (6-4 1/8, 366)
Andrews ran his 40s in 5.42 and 5.49. Had a 25-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-2 long jump, 4.85 in the short shuttle, 8.25 in the three-cone drill and 27 strength lifts. At Arkansas' Pro Day on March 24, he weighed 345 pounds and was clocked in the 40 at 5.25 and 5.31. An All-American in high school and also threw the discus and shot put for the track team. Earned honors in 2001 at Arkansas, starting 10 games at right tackle. Started next two years at right tackle. Two question marks on Andrews are: Can he keep his weight under 350; and, if so, how good can he be? Very athletic, as he can move with ease. Good use of hands if he gets them on you. A great person with a Jolly Green Giant type of personality. Weighed 401 pounds at the beginning of 2004 and lost 56 pounds by March 24.
3. Justin Smiley, Alabama (6-3&188;, 298)
Smiley ran his 40s at 4.93 and 5.06. He had a 32-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-3 long jump, 4.41 in the short shuttle, 7.72 in the three-cone drill and 19 strength lifts. Played high school football in Ellabell, Ga. Redshirted in 2000 at Alabama and won the starting job in 2001, starting every game. Started every game in 2002 and 2003 when healthy. Missed some games in 2003. Athletic player (the kind a team like Denver likes) who can pull. Has very good feet. Needs to improve strength and he will as he has very good work habits. Type of person you want to be part of your team. Will play for many years and play well.
4. Chris Snee, Boston College (6-23/4, 314)
Snee ran his two 40s in 5.09 and 5.10. Had a 301/2-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-6 long jump, 4.66 short shuttle, 7.75 three-cone drill and 29 strength lifts. Started in high school on both offense and defense, recording 47 sacks in three years. Also captain of the basketball team. Redshirted in 2000 at Boston College. Started six games in 2001 and every game in 2002 and 2003. A very good athlete who may be able to play center or guard in the NFL. Very aggressive player who does a good job blocking for the run. A young player who turns 22 years old in June and has a lot of upside.
5. Kelly Butler, Purdue (6-7 3/8, 320)
Ran his 40s in 5.09 and 5.12. Had a 301/2 -inch vertical jump, 8-foot-9 long jump, ran 4.92 in the short shuttle, a 7.90 three-cone drill and did 19 reps. Played offensive lineman in high school and also played basketball. Medical redshirt in 2000 due to shoulder tendonitis. Started all games at right tackle the next three years. Has quickness and moves well in short area, but needs to get stronger. A top-flight person, somewhat of a project, but a lot to work with.
6. Adrian Jones, Kansas (6-41/2, 296)
Jones ran 4.97 and 4.95 in the 40. Had a 31-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-6 long jump, 4.58 in the short shuttle, 7.81 in the three-cone drill and did 27 strength lifts. Jones redshirted in 1999, played seven games in 2000 (no starts), started two games in 2001 and five in 2002 as a tight end. Moved to tackle in the spring of 2003 and started at tackle in the fall. He's an athletic player with quickness and mobility. Made great progress this fall at his position. Wade Smith started every game this past season for Miami and had the same type background. Both grew up in Dallas, Texas and played high school football there. Jones has a lot of upside. Atlanta and Denver type of lineman. Played tight end in high school and also lettered basketball.
7. Jacob Rogers, USC (6-6 1/8, 307)
Did not run at the combine and only ran one time at the Pro Day, saying he had a tight hamstring. Had 30 lifts. Tight end, defensive end, linebacker and punter in high school and also played basketball. Redshirted as a freshman in 1999 playing tight end. Was a backup left tackle in 2000. Has started the past three years at left tackle. Played with injuries in 2003. Has some athletic ability, but there is a question is about his intensity. Better in pass protection than run blocking and has good character.
8. Travelle Wharton, South Carolina (6-3 5/8, 312)
Wharton ran his 40s in 5.10 and 5.13. Had a 311/2-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-9 long jump, 4.65 in the short shuttle, 8.31 in the three-cone drill and 20 strength lifts. Played offensive line at Hillcrest High School in South Carolina. Played as a true freshman in 2000 at South Carolina, starting 10 games at left tackle. Has started the past three years at that position. A hard worker that was elected team captain for the 2003 season. A good, not great, competitor who needs to play with more of a nasty attitude. Needs to improve strength. Has a great body makeup for the position and has a lot of upside.
9. Vernon Carey, Miami, Fla. (6-4 3/8, 335)
Carey ran his 40s in 5.32 and 5.34. He had a 28-inch vertical jump, 7-foot-5 long jump, 5.00 in the short shuttle, 8.10 in the three-cone drill and 30 strength lifts. Played at Northwestern High School in Miami, winning a state title. Redshirted in 1999 at Miami and played eight games in 2000 as a backup at right guard. Played both guard and tackle in 2001, and started at right guard in 2002. Is a very good run blocker and just adequate in pass protection. Has very strong hands. Not sure he has enough quickness to play tackle, he will play guard in the NFL. Good, solid player with good character.
10. Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech (6-7, 322)
Ran two 40s with times of 5.43 and 5.53. Had a 281/2-inch vertical jump, a 8-foot-6 long jump, ran 4.84 in the short shuttle, 8.30 in the cone drill and had 26 lifts. Played offensive line at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. Started all but four games in 2001 at left tackle as a true freshman and was named first-team All-ACC. Started at left tackle the past two years. Has good athletic ability for his size. Needs to get on program to help weight loss and gain back good weight. Everyone remembered the Thursday night game against Julius Peppers and North Carolina when he did a great job. Has a future if he will work to get in shape.
11. Jake Grove, Virginia Tech (6-3 3/8, 303)
Ran one 40 in a time of 5.15 and 5.18 (two stop watches). Pulled right hamstring on second run. Did not run again at Pro Day. Had a 35-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-9 long jump, ran 4.34 in the short shuttle and had 31 lifts. Played center and defensive tackle in high school and also played some at guard. Redshirted in 1999, played but had no starts in 2000. Played guard in 2001 and started 11 games at center in 2002 and 2003. Has been a good leader on the team. Gives good effort on every play. Has some nasty in him. Very well built "farm boy," thick muscle mass and broad shoulders. Will be a good, solid player. An older player -- he was 24 in January.
12. Sean Locklear, North Carolina State (6-4, 308)
Locklear ran both his 40s in 5.19. He had a 29-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-4 long jump, 4.56 in the short shuttle, 7.85 in the three-cone drill and 27 strength lifts. Played tight end and defensive tackle in high school, and also played basketball. Redshirted in 1999 at N.C. State. Played defensive end and tackle in 2000 and moved to offensive guard in spring of 2001, starting two games that year. Started at guard in 2002 and 2003. Has athletic skills but needs to be a more competitive player every down. Very agile for size. Against North Carolina in 2002, he ran more than 70 yards to catch and tackle and North Carolina player returning a blocked extra point.
OFFENSIVE GUARDS: Best Of The Rest
1. Max Starks, Florida (6-7, 350)
Starks was timed at 5.59 twice in the 40. Had a 271/2-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-2 long jump and 21 strength lifts. Has started for three years at left tackle and was backup at the position in 2000. Played offensive line in high school and also lettered in basketball. Florida State, USC, Michigan, Georgia and Notre Dame all recruited him out of high school. His father Ross Browner played at USC and was the first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1978. Six of his relatives have played in the NFL. Starks is a young player -- he will be 21 in December.
2. Jeb Terry, North Carolina (6-51/4, 313)
Ran 5.13 and 5.22 in the 40. Had a 29-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-9 long jump and 26 lifts. Played as a true freshman in 1999 as a defensive tackle. Moved to guard in the spring of 2000 and redshirted (fractured right ankle). Has started at guard and played several games at tackle the past three years. Played both offensive and defensive line at Culver Military Academy. He also threw shot put and discus.
3. Stephen Peterman, LSU (6-4, 312)
Peterman ran 5.44 and 5.46 in the 40. He had a 241/2-inch vertical jump, 7-foot-11 long jump and lifted 23 times. Played defensive line as a true freshman in 2000. Moved to offense line in the fall of 2001 and started 12 games at left guard. Started at guard in 2002 and 2003 while earning All-SEC honors. Played tight end in high school and named to all-state (Mississippi) team. Also played basketball.
4. Jacob Bell, Miami (Ohio) (6-43/4, 302)
Bell ran once (pulled his right hamstring) and was clocked at 5.18 and 5.24 (two watches). He had a 31-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-9 long jump and did 28 lifts. He redshirted in 1999 and started 11 games in 2000. Missed all but one game in 2001 (shoulder injury). Played right guard and right tackle in 2002. Started at guard in 2003. Played offensive line in high school.
5. Trey Darilek, Texas El Paso (6-4, 301)
Darilek ran 5.17 and 5.26 in the 40. Had a 281/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-2 long jump and 22 lifts. Darilek redshirted in 1999, started at right tackle in 2000 (12 games). Four-year starter at right tackle. Missed last five games of 2002 season with torn medial collateral ligament (MCL). Played tight end and defensive line in high school.
6. Alan Reuber, Texas A&M (6-61/4, 323)
Reuber ran 5.45 twice at the combine, had a 29-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-2 long jump and had 26 lifts. He ran better on March 9 at Texas A&M Pro Day with times of 5.28 and 5.38 while weighing in at 314 pounds. He redshirted in 1999. Played tackle in 2000 and 2001 starting two games. Started at tackle in 2002 and 2003. He was a first-team all-state selection in his senior year in high school.
7. Adrian Clarke, Ohio State (6-5, 329)
Clarke ran 5.47 and 5.50 in the 40. Had a 26-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot-6 long jump. Redshirted in 1999 and started over the next four years at both left tackle and left guard when healthy. Going in 2003, he started 19 at left guard and 10 at left tackle. He played on the offensive line in high school and also threw the shot put. Clarke was a high school teammate of Nate Clements, the former first-round draft choice by Buffalo.
CENTERS: Best Of The Rest
1. Nick Leckey, Kansas State (6-2 7/8, 290)
Leckey ran 5.20 and 5.28 in the 40. Had a 27-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-1 long jump and did 18 lifts. He's the only true freshman offensive lineman to play at Kansas State since Bill Snyder took over as head coach in 1989, starting two games at left guard in 2000. Started every game in 2001 and 2002 at left guard and played center in 2003. He was a three-year starter on high school team that won two state titles. He was also state wrestling champion.
2. Scott Wells, Tennessee (6-1 7/8, 300)
Wells ran his 40s in 5.21 and 5.31. He had a 31-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-1 long jump and 31 strength lifts. Team captain for 36 straight starts going into the 2003 season. He was a four-year starter at guard in high school and was also the nation's No. 1 ranked heavyweight wrestler. Also threw shot put and discus.
3. Nick Hardwick, Purdue (6-31/2, 295)
Ran the 40s in 5.15 and 5.25. Had a 34-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot long jump and 27 lifts. Played just two years (2002 and 2003) mostly at guard. Started six games at guard and one at center in 2002. Played only center in 2003. Hardwick played only one year of high school football (freshman year) and three years in wrestling. Entered Purdue in 1999 but did not join football team until 2001 as a walk on. His mother is a Purdue graduate.
4. Alex Stepanovich, Ohio State (6-3 3/8, 304)
Ran 5.21 and 5.28 in the 40. Had a 251/2-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot long jump. Played as a true freshman. Started three games at guard in 2001 and had 17 starts going into the 2003 season. Played offensive guard and defensive end in high school.
5. Toby Cecil, Texas Tech (6-4, 297)
Cecil did not run due to a strained groin but had a 7-foot-1 long jump. Has been a four-year starter at Texas Tech after he redshirted in 1999. Played offensive line at a very good program in Richardson, Texas. Also was a power lifter. His uncle, Jim Haller, was once the head basketball coach at Baylor University.
TACKLES: Best Of The Rest
1. Stacy Andrews, Mississippi (5-6 1/8, 342)
Ran the 40 in 5.03 and 5.11. Had a 301/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-10 long jump and did 34 lifts. The only way to describe this player is that he is the wild card of the 2004 draft. Played less than 20 plays of college football and mostly in two games (against Auburn and Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl). Andrews will be a project that could turn out great or be total bust. He has size, speed and athletic ability. But the underlying question is will he be able to play football.
2. Sean Bubin, Illinois (6-61/2, 306)
Bubin ran 5.25 twice in the 40, had a 241/2-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-1 long jump and did 25 lifts. He redshirted in 1999, played but did not start in 2000 and started the past three seasons at left tackle. He played offensive and defensive line plus tight end in high school, and also lettered in basketball and track. This is a very big man. His parents own a restaurant in Champaign and his hobby is cooking.
3. Kevin Sampson, Syracuse (6-4 3/8, 312)
Sampson ran his 40s in 4.96 and 5.00. He had a 32-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-11 long jump and 27 strength reps. Three-year starter in high school and was also undefeated as a heavyweight wrestler. Played as a true freshman at Syracuse, starting one game against Miami (Fla.) at right tackle. Played every game in 2001, alternating series with the starting right tackle. Started the past two years.
4. Jim Molinaro, Notre Dame (6-5 7/8, 308)
Molinaro ran his 40s in 5.09 and 5.10. Had a 291/2-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-9 long jump and 21 strength lifts. Played offensive and defensive line in high school, starting for three years. Redshirted in 199 at Notre Dame. Played defensive line in 2000 but did not start. Played offensive tackle in 2001, but did not start. Started three games in 2002 and every game at left tackle in 2003.
5. Tony Pope, Michigan (6-6 1/8, 323)
Pope ran his two 40s in 5.31 and 5.40. He had a 27-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-1 long jump and 26 strength lifts. Three-year starter in high school and also lettered in wrestling and track (shot put and discus). Redshirted in 1999 at Michigan. Played at right tackle but did not start in 2000. Started the next three years at both right and left tackle, totaling 38 starts. Received All-Big Ten honors. Nicknames are "Walrus" and "Mauler."
6. Tyson Clabo, Wake Forest (6-6 7/8, 315)
Clabo ran his two 40s in 5.44 and 5.46. He had a 30-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-4 long jump and 24 strength lifts. Played offensive guard and tackle in high school. Also played basketball, averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. Played as a true freshman at Wake Forest in 2000. Has started the past three years at left tackle and left guard. Father played at the University of Tennessee and cousin, Neil, was a punter in the NFL.
7. Carlos Joseph, Miami, Fla. (6-5 7/8, 345)
Joseph ran his 40s in 5.31 and 5.35. He had a 28-inch vertical jump, 8-foot long jump and 29 strength lifts. Top prospect coming out of high school where he played both offensive and defensive tackle. Redshirted in 2000 at Miami and was a backup at left tackles in 2001. Started at left tackle in 2001 and moved to right tackle in 2003. His brother, William, was first-round draft choice by the New York Giants in 2003.
8. Kirk Chambers, Stanford (6-71/4, 313)
Chambers ran his two 40s in 5.50 and 5.51. He had a 27-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-4 long jump and 22 strength reps. Played offensive line and defensive line in high school and was also a good basketball player. Did not play football in 1998 and 1999 as he was on Mormon mission in Berlin, Germany. Started in 2000 at Stanford at left tackle and has been a four-year starter at the position.
9. Drew Strojny, Duke (6-7 1/8, 327)
Strojny ran his 40s in 5.31 and 5.44. He had a 291/2-inch vertical jump and 8-foot-2 long jump (he did not lift). Played defensive line in high school and also played basketball. Redshirted in 1999 at Duke. Started 31 games prior to the 2003 season. One of just six players in Duke history to serve consecutive season as captain.
10. Shane Olivea, Ohio State (6-2 7/8, 302)
Olivea ran his 40s in 4.96 and 5.03. He had a 331/2-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-2 long jump. Four-year starter in high school and was also on the wrestling, baseball and track team (threw the shot put). Played as a true freshman in 2000. Started every game at right tackle in 2001 before breaking his ankle. Started the last two season when healthy.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Of the 244 offensive linemen drafted over the past six years (1998-2003), 211 have been at the combine workout.
- In recent years, more and more offensive linemen are starting and playing well as rookie. In 2003 Jordan Gross (Carolina) and Dan Koppen (New England) started in the Super Bowl. Wade Smith (Miami), Eric Steinbach (Cincinnati) and Steve Sciullo (Indianapolis) all started on teams with .500 or better record. Vince Manuwai of Jacksonville, a third-round pick, started and played well.
- Over the last 10 drafts, 50 offensive linemen have been selected in the first round.
What scouts look for when grading offensive linemen:
- Ability to learn football
- Competitive toughness
- Work habits
- Athletic ability
- Pass protection
- Use of hands
- Initial quickness
- Lateral movement
- Stay on feet
- Inline blocking
- Reactions to blitzers
Here is a list of offensive line prospects for the 2005 NFL Draft:
David Bass, Michigan
Alex Barron, Florida State
C.J. Brooks, Maryland
Elton Brown, Virginia
Jammal Brown, Oklahoma
Chris Colmer, N.C. State
Marcus Johnson, Mississippi
Michael Munoz, Tennessee
Rob Petitti, Pittsburgh
Previous Gil Brandt position analysis columns:
Gil Brandt was vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-89. He is now in his eighth year as NFL.com's chief personnel guru. (Brandt is of no relation to Packers VP of Player Finance Andrew Brandt.)