The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his Top 10 offensive linemen in this year’s 2022 NFL Draft, based on ratings and conversations with people across the league:
1. OT Evan Neal, Alabama, 6-7, 337 lbs.
The prototypical left tackle has made 40 career three-position starts over three years and can be an immediate elite player. Never has 337 pounds seemed so lean. Dominant in passing and running games. The best of many recent Alabama blockers.
2. OT/G Ikem Ekwonu, NC State, 6-4, 310lbs
His next team must ask themselves in 2022 and beyond: Do we need an All-Pro keeper or a really good tackle? Powerful run blocker that buries defenders into the ground. The highest character notes. Develop a pass-blocker.
3. OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State, 6-5, 307 lbs.
Ran 40 yards in 4.95 seconds – a tantalizing taste of athleticism. Stifles all pass-rushers no matter how many moves, but inexperienced in run-blocking, which has slowed the development of other Air Raid attack products.
4. OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa, 6-7, 325 lbs.
So determined to prove his toughness by stepping up the competition in the Senior Bowl that he was almost too over the top to finish the blocks. Check all physical boxes. Benefits from the success of many other FCS offensive linemen in the NFL.
5. C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa, 6-foot-2, 296 pounds
Handles blitzes with quick-gliding feet and good recognition. Laughed at the thought of sitting out a bowling game to prepare for the draft (scouts love that leadership), but then injured his foot. Image of being fundamentally healthy.
6. G Zion Johnson, Boston College, 6-3, 312 lbs.
Didn’t allow a single pressure last season and committed just one penalty in 2,271 career snaps, according to ESPN. Brute Strength plays well in double teams and in a phone booth, less so when asked to shoot.
7. G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M, 6-3, 323 lbs.
Started last season at four positions – guard and tackle on both sides of the line – but running back profiles follow. Subject to holding penalties as he can be overly aggressive and relies on his hands.
8. OT Tyler Smith, Tulsa, 6-4, 324 lbs.
Booming projection who could be a star in the making if the right coach and system exploits his athleticism and poor streak. Needs to trust technique longer instead of relying on raw skill. Could fight complex blitzes.
9. OT Bernhard Raimann, central Michigan, 6-6, 303 lbs.
I’m only scratching the surface of his potential after a mid-career move from tight end. Receptive to coaching, but still hasn’t seen the variety of passes he’ll make in the NFL. Will eliminate tacklers on screen passes.
10. OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State, 6-5, 316 lbs.
Scouts thought he could be a first-rounder in 2023, but he dropped out of school despite struggling against top rushers in the Big Ten. Played on both sides. Athletics that cannot be taught.
Raimann: Foreign student from Austria who gained over 70 pounds without losing the athleticism and quick feet of a setter. High engine seen racing across the terrain looking for second and third blocks.
Linderbaum: Hope of the top 10 limit at the end of the season. Pushed late in the first round by injury and a debate over when it’s too early to draft a cross. Chiefs’ Creed Humphrey made a huge difference as a second-round rookie.
Little school wonder
G Cole Strange, Chattanooga, 6-5, 307lbs: Started 44 games (41 at left guard) and used six years of eligibility. Smart, tough, and just about every other desired intangible. Don’t back down from a challenge. Is he too big to play in the center? Most likely.
New York Post