Packers draft preview: Top offensive tackles

May 6, 2014
Auburn's Greg Robinson is the top offensive tackle in the draft.
Auburn's Greg Robinson is the top offensive tackle in the draft. / Getty Images


1. Greg Robinson, Auburn 6-5, 332, Round 1

A likely top-five pick and might be in the discussion for No. 1 overall. “I worked out Orlando Pace when he came out, he has a lot of similarities to Pace,” one scout said. “It’s not an ego thing with the guy. I worked out (D.J.) Fluker last year, Fluker when he ran around a cone all the little black pebbles from the (FieldTurf) come flying up and hit you in the face like a Clydesdale horse. This guy here, you close your eyes you can’t even hear his feet. He’s very light on his feet. I just think he’s going to get better. He has upside.” Redshirt sophomore entry sat out his first season at Auburn then started at left tackle the past two years. “He could play guard, he could play tackle,” a second scout said. “He’s kind of like a Jonathan Ogden, he’s a big man, smooth. He doesn’t know how good he can be. He can’t explain in detail like some guys can because he hasn’t had a lot of variation in his coaching like a lot of guys have, he hasn’t played in a pro-style attack. But you talk football with him, he gets it, and he picks it up easily. He’s a rare guy, he’s only going to get better with time.” Long arms (35 inches), and ran the second-fastest 40 (4.92 seconds) and tied for the third-best broad jump (9-5) among offensive linemen at the NFL scouting combine. Also did 32 bench reps. “Extremely talented,” a third scout said. “The guy is a mountain. He’s a massive kid. He’s got great feet, he’s a tremendous athlete. He played high school baseball, he was a catcher until he got too big.”

2. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M 6-5½, 308, Round 1

First cousin of Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews and son of Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews is a possible top-five pick overall. “This guy is going to play, he’s going to be a good pro,” one scout said. “He could be a great pro if somebody finds that switch to turn it on. The background, history of how he was brought up compared to (Robinson) — (Robinson’s) mentality was to be physical, whereas Matthews, everything came more easily to him. Going to school, driving a car, he hasn’t had to work hard for anything. It kind of shows in his play. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, he’s just not the finisher the other guy is.” Played right tackle (33 starts) his first three years because Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 pick overall of last year’s draft, was the left tackle. Moved to left tackle last season. “His junior film at the right side was much better,” another scout said. “It’s a different deal. (Last season) he was punching the wrong way, he had his weight on the wrong foot, until he got more comfortable. I think he’s going to have more success if you put him on the right side early in his career. His whole thing is, he doesn’t finish in the run game. He doesn’t go out of his way to knock the (crap) out of anybody.” His arm length is OK for a left tackle (3338 inches), ran the 40 in 5.03 seconds, had an 8-9 broad job, 30½-inch vertical and did 24 bench reps. Never missed a game because of injury. “He’s a left tackle,” a third scout said. “Left tackles don’t come along every day.”

3. Taylor Lewan, Michigan 6-718, 309, Round 1

Redshirted and then started 48 games at left tackle. Probably will go among the top 20 picks. “He looks for work,” said the scout who thought Matthews was poor finisher. “Everything Matthews doesn’t do extra, you don’t have to coach Lewan to do. He’s not as clean as far as his angles go, he has a little bit of a body lean because he’s trying to kill guys, he’s not constantly efficient technique wise. But there’s a play against Ohio State, he’s out on a screen and 18 yards down the field and he’s trying to get in front of the running back. That’s the (stuff) you’d see a lot. Now, he’ll go over the line a little bit on the extra stuff. That’s kind of what’s happening off the field, too.” Among offensive linemen at the combine, ran the fastest 40 (4.84 seconds), had the longest broad jump (9-9), tied for the third-best vertical (30½ inches) and had the fourth-fastest three-cone drill (7.39 seconds). Did 29 bench reps. “He showed some athletic ability at the combine that you didn’t see on his college tape,” a second scout said. “Dependable, consistent in the way in which he went about his business. Not up-and-down at all.” Had problems taking too many personal fouls, and off the field is facing three assault charges for his role in an alleged altercation with Ohio State fans. “(The penalties) have got to stop,” a third scout said. “There’s 7 seconds to do that stuff, when that whistle blows you can’t do it anymore. You’re going to have to keep your foot on his neck a little bit. He’s probably going to be on the edge all the time. It’s just, do you want to be Father Flanagan and bring him to Boys Town? It’s one of those things, buyer beware.”

4. Zack Martin, Notre Dame 6-418, 308, Round 1

Redshirted his first year then started 52 games at tackle, all but two on the left side. “He is the complete guy,” a scout said. “He’s one of those guys, when you put the system in, you’re going to have to polish (him) up a little bit, but everything he does every day is going to be like a pro. He’s going to be a rookie that gets it. He’s going to be one of those guys that for 10, 12 years down the road is going to be one of those cornerstones for your team.” His arms are 3278 inches long, which is just shy of the preferred minimum of 33 about inches, so some teams project him to guard. “He could play center, he could play guard and he could play tackle at a high level,” another scout said. “The one thing as a tackle, he’s not as long as the other guys. When he has to get out in space he needs to take another step and a half to get there as opposed to the other guys. But this sucker is a football player. He’s as solid a guy on and off the field as you’re going to see. I love the kid.” Two-time captain. Didn’t run at the combine or his campus workout because of a sore hamstring, had an 8-10 broad jump, 28-inch vertical and did 29 bench reps. “I would project him to play guard initially, then move to right tackle in time,” a third scout said. “At the Senior Bowl, he got plenty of work (at guard) against (Pittsburgh’s) Aaron Donald and fought him to a draw. None of the other guards could handle (Donald).”

5. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama 6-6¾, 322, Round 1/2

True junior entry is a medical risk because of possible arthritis dating back to an ACL and MCL tear his freshman year. “They’re claiming he doesn’t have a knee issue, and he didn’t have to go to the combine for a re-check (last month),” a scout said. “But we have a question on his knee and his back. If you’re talking about pure left tackle feet, he’s probably closer to Jake Matthews as far as being able to kick out into space and being able to get to the intersection spot. He’s got really long arms, and there’s a couple games you see him playing with an edge. Talking to all those people down there, Nick (Saban, Alabama coach) will (ride) you getting off the bus. As soon as you sign that scholarship you’re getting (it). But for some reason, they treated this kid with kid gloves. He was never getting dressed down in front of the team like Nick does.” Started every game at left tackle the past two years. “He’s either going to be really good or out of the league in three years,” a second scout said. “The thing that worries me, he’s an offensive lineman, and when you talk to him or anybody around him, his No. 1 dream is to be a soccer player. Those guys that want to be soccer players and basketball players, they’re really not playing football because they love football. It’s for the money.” Has long arms (3558-inch arms). Ran the 40 in a glacial 5.56 seconds at the combine, barely improved it in an April Pro Day (5.42 seconds), though he had a good vertical (31 inches) and decent broad jump (8-10) for a lineman. Did 21 bench reps. “A mauler,” a third scout said. “He can get a stalemate along the line, but if he has to get to the second level, has a little trouble there. His size makes him interesting. Looks more like a right tackle to me.”

6. Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee 6-6, 311, Round 1/2

Started every game (49) in his four-year career at right tackle. “Looks really good in passing situations,” a scout said. “In the run game, he struggles a little bit, he doesn’t have an anchor and he doesn’t have any finish. The big knock, he’s kind of been a little bit spoiled and I don’t know if he ever — they keep saying, ‘There it is, there’s the physical play.’ But it’s like every third game it shows up. He’s not an overly tough guy. Now, there are guys in the league that play and are mirror guys and stay in front (of the pass rusher), and he has that ability.” Has long arms (35 inches). Played right tackle because the coaching staff promised highly recruited Antonio Richardson left tackle if he went to Tennessee. “I think this guy just needs to get stronger in the weight room, he’s not overly strong,” a second scout said. “You look at him and it’s like a forward in basketball. He looks like he could carry a lot more weight. But he does have length, he does have feet. I’d stick him over on the left side and train him over there because he has left tackle feet.” Graduated in December. Ran the 40 in 5.29 seconds, had an 8-7 broad jump, 29-inch vertical and did 22 bench reps. “I really like his size but wish he had quicker feet,” a third scout said. “He tries to overpower more than move his feet, but he can be a load when he moves his feet.”

7. Morgan Moses, Virginia 6-6, 314, Round 1/2

Was an academic non-qualifier coming out of high school, attended a prep school, then started 42 games, at right tackle his first two seasons, left tackle his last two. “Physically he’s a big man,” a scout said. “At the Senior Bowl, in the one-on-ones there were times when the kid really fought and was a nasty-ass kid. And there were times when I thought he was the biggest (sissy) in the world. Nice kid. I don’t know how tough he is mentally or physically.” Ran the 40 in 5.35 seconds at the combine, then 5.14 seconds at his campus workout. “I worried about him,” a second scout said. “I like his size, I like his length. He probably played better as a right than a left. But really he’s a little bit of a waist bender, he’s kind of like (the Packers’ Derek) Sherrod, he’s a little top heavy, and if he misses, it’s over: the quarterback’s getting hit, because he has no recoverability, he’s so top heavy. I think you’d put him on the right side.” Increased his horrible 21½-inch vertical at the combine to 26 inches on campus, and did an 8-11 broad jump. Didn’t lift at the combine or on campus because of a pectoral injury sustained in Virginia’s bowl game. “They never made any attempt to run the ball, so the mentality of the kid is all pass protection,” a third scout said. “He’s got really good feet. But I don’t see him coming off and blocking Jared Allen. He’s not going to block some of those ends now, he’s not going to put his face in there. But he’s going to go high.”

8. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee 6-5¾, 336, Round 2/3

True junior entry started the past two years (24 games) at left tackle. “To get him to go to school, they promised him he’d be the left tackle,” a scout said. “They’re really playing him in my opinion out of position. If you have someone (on the line) who tells him what to do every play, then you have a big physical guy who can move his feet.” Did 36 bench reps. Ran the 40 in 5.29 seconds at the combine, then at his campus workout six weeks later improved his vertical jump from 24½ inches to 31 inches, and did a 9-4 broad jump. “Big guy,” another scout said. “Prototypical NFL tackle. He’s huge. Not real physical at the point of attack, but he’s a real good pass protector. He’s so big and long, it’s hard to get by him.”

9. Jack Mewhort, Ohio State 6-6, 309, Round 2/3

Played guard early in his career and started at left tackle his final two years. “He’s a tough (expletive), blue-collar kid from (Toledo,) Ohio,” a scout said. “He’s every day, all day football. He’s not a left tackle, the (Khalil Mack) kid from Buffalo that everybody’s raving about got a sack on him. He doesn’t punch and come straight with his hands, he’s more of a grabber. Some people project him as a guard, and he probably can get away with that inside a little more. He’s one of those guys every time you walk in the weight room you’re going to see him.” Has 34-inch arms, ran the 40 in 5.38 seconds, broad jumped 8-5, had a 26-inch vertical and did 28 bench reps. “I think you could kick him inside (to guard) and he’d be just fine,” a third scout said. “There’s a side of me that believes he can play center. He has some flexibility.”

10. Michael Schofield, Michigan 6-6½, 301, Round 3/4

Started at guard in ’11 and right tackle the past two seasons. “If Taylor Lewan wasn’t at Michigan, a lot of people would be talking about this guy,” a scout said. “He’s a jack of all trades. He’s played some guard, he’s played some tackle, but he’s a master of none. He’s kind of like (Wisconsin’s) Ricky Wagner last year, a fourth- or fifth-round draft choice.” Has 34-inch arms, ran the 40 in 5.02 seconds, had a 24-inch vertical and 7-9 broad jump. “He’s going to make a team, and probably two years from now you’re going to say he’s a reliable guy, a spot starter, real good backup,” another scout said. “He’s really smart, he knows all the positions, you don’t have to give him a lot of snaps to be the backup. That’s perfect, because you don’t want to give your backup too many reps.”

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