Joe Marino’s Senior Offensive Tackle Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

North Carolina left tackle James Hurst’s game will be put to the test Thursday night against South Carolina superstar defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. (Photo: Steve Mitchell — USA Today Sports)

6. James Hurst, North Carolina (6’7’’, 305 lbs)

Hurst has been a starter for the Tar Heels since the second week of his freshman season, and he has played very well. He was an first-team All-ACC selection in his junior year, and is playing his best football heading into the end of his collegiate career.

Hurst is a well-balanced and efficient blocker with an excellent frame and length.

When pass blocking, Hurst displays good footwork and agility. He uses his length to ride pass-rushers past opposing quarterbacks, and naturally stays in front of his man.

As a run blocker, Hurst shows good leg drive and finishing ability. He has proven he can sustain blocks solidly.

For Hurst to reach his full potential, he will need to win hand placement battles more consistently. Opposing rushers too frequently get inside hand placement against Hurst, giving them the ability to control Hurst and bull-rush. Hurst is also susceptible to getting beat by inside rush moves.

Hurst has held his own against good competition for his first 45 career starts. Although he is the outside the first tier of offensive tackles, he has a great skill set and starter upside.

7. Billy Turner, North Dakota State (6’6’’, 314 lbs)

As a starter for the Bison since his freshman season, Turner has been dominant against FCS competition, and looked equally impressive when North Dakota State took on Kansas State this season. Turner is a small-school player who plays like a big-school player.

Turner is a game-changer as a run blocker. He is extremely aggressive and physical in the run game and punishes his opponents. In doing so, he plays with great leverage and technique.

Turner is a good but not great pass blocker. His flaws in this area are easily overcome by his power at the FCS level. Two primary areas of concern, however, are his footwork and change-of-direction skills. Turner has an awkward hop step that shows up in his kickslide. Though correctable, it could lead him to playing inside at guard at the next level.

Turner has a nasty demeanor, and is exciting to watch play while dominating opponents all over the field and blocking through the whistle.

8. Jack Mewhort, Ohio State (6’6’’, 308 lbs) 

After switching between guard and tackle to start his career, Mewhort has found a home at the left tackle spot, where the senior is showing he belongs to be ranked among the top tackles in the 2014 draft class.

Mewhort excels in a number of areas that make him part of that conversation. What I like most about Mewhort’s game is his ability to extend his arms, run his feet and drive people off the line. He has great interior hand placement and his technique is consistent. It is apparent Mewhort has a solid mean streak and blocks with tenacity in the run game.

Mewhort’s biggest concern may be his slow feet. He is susceptible to getting beat by speed rushes off the edge and by pass-rushers with a good inside counter move. As a result, scouts may look at him as an interior lineman rather than an offensive tackle.

He is well-balanced and can redirect opponents, but not with the quickness desired in a tackle. That said, he is a smart player who adjusts well to blitzes and understands the sources of pressure.

He is an experienced blocker from a great program with decent physical ability. At worst, Mewhort projects as a quality backup swing tackle with starter upside.

9. Michael Schofield, Michigan (6’7’’, 304 lbs)

Overshadowed by Lewan on the opposite side of the line, Schofield has been a consistent starter at both guard and tackle for the Wolverines. He has found a home at right tackle, having started Michigan’s last 22 games at that position.

Schofield does many things very well, and is a solid all-around blocker. He utilizes his sound footwork, length and athleticism as a pass blocker, while he also run blocks well, displaying solid ability to sustain blocks and create movement off the ball with power and leg drive. He can get to the second level sealing off linebackers, and will effectively pull and make blocks in space.

Cornelius Lucas has the largest frame of any prospect on this list. (Photo: Scott Sewell — USA Today Sports)

Schofield is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. He shows no glaring flaws but does not shine in any particular area either.

10. Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State (6’9’’, 328 lbs)

As a first-year starter in 2012, Kansas State offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas was selected as an all-Big 12 performer. With a great frame and length, Lucas is on everyone’s radar.

Lucas is a solid pass blocker and at his size, he is tough for rushers to get around. He is able to get good depth on his kick slide and utilize his long arms to keep rushers away from the quarterback. He moves well for a man of his size.

Although his size may make people think Lucas is a mauler, he is underwhelming as a run blocker. He does not display much power or initial movement in his punch, and at his height, leverage will always be an issue, which shows up big in short-yardage situations.

Lucas is a player whose draft stock could really fluctuate at the Senior Bowl, where he will receive professional coaching and opportunities in one-on-one drills to either impress scouts or have them labeling him as a gentle giant.

11. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (6’5’’, 295 lbs)

Johnson has started 47 consecutive games at left tackle for the Commodores. He is an impressive athlete who plays with an aggressive demeanor. Despite his lack of ideal size and length, Johnson can protect well with his excellent foot speed, and also run block with power. With a strong Senior Bowl showing and adding more weight, I can see moving up in these rankings.

12. Morgan Moses, Virginia (6’6’’, 325 lbs)

Moses has the physical tools to excel, but his ability does not always show up on the field. He would benefit from dropping some weight to increase his overall quickness, but his best trait is his run blocking, where he can generate good movement and displays a mean streak. A subpar pass blocker, he is a developmental prospect.

13. Donald Hawkins, Texas (6’5’’, 310 lbs)

Hawkins has started 20 games since transferring into Texas from Northwest Community College. He has been a solid performer at left tackle, playing with a nasty demeanor in the run game while aggressively trying to create movement. He is a better run blocker than he is a pass blocker, but his game is raw, needing work to fix some balance and footwork issues. Hawkins has a promising frame, strength and demeanor, however, for a developmental player.

14. Dakota Dozier, Furman (6’4’’, 291)

A great player for the Paladins in the FCS, Dozier caught scouts’ attention with an impressive performance against Clemson in 2012, looking like he belonged with the talent in the ACC in that game. Dozier shows solid natural pass blocking ability and is a fluid athlete. He can generate push as a run blocker and make blocks at the second level. He has a small frame, but if he can add to it and impress in the postseason, Dozier has a chance to be a late-round pick as a small-school player.

15. Kenarious Gates, Georgia (6’5’’, 327 lbs)

Gates has spent the majority of his career playing offensive tackle for the Bulldogs, but has also kicked inside to guard. Gates is a very inconsistent player, but when he is on, it is when he is being aggressive and playing with a mean streak. At other times, he struggles to sustain blocks and pass protect. Nonetheless, Gates can add depth to an NFL roster if he becomes more consistent.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Billy Turner, Cornelius Lucas, Dakota Dozier, Donald Hawkins, Furman, Georgia, Ja'Wuan James, Jack Mewhort, Jake Matthews, James Hurst, Kansas State, Kenarious Gates, Miami, Michael Schofield, Michigan, Morgan Moses, North Carolina, North Dakota State, Notre Dame, Offensive Linemen, Offensive Tackles, Ohio State, Positional Rankings, Prospect Rankings, Rankings, Seantrel Henderson, Taylor Lewan, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Wesley Johnson, Zack Martin

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