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2009 NFL Draft - The Offensive Tackles
Posted Apr 17, 2009

The 2009 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 25 offensive tackle prospects led by Jason Smith, Andre Smith, and Michael Oher, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2009 NFL Draft Position Rankings

The Offensive Tackles

2009 NFL Draft Post-Workout Rankings

| Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 NFL Rankings Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

The Class Is ... top heavy. It's not nearly as good as last year's deep class of franchise tackles, but Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe could turn out to be as good as anyone taken last year. The question marks come quickly with players like Michael Oher, Andre Smith, and William Beatty all prospects who'll either break hearts or be Pro Bowlers.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Xavier Fulton, Illinois

Most Underrated ... Gerald Cadogan, Penn State

Most Overrated …  Andre Smith, Alabama

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is ... Joel Bell, Furman

Rankings of the 2010 Top Prospects
- Possible 1st Rounders
- Possible 2nd Rounders
- Possible 3rd Rounders
- Possible 4th Rounders
- Possible 5th Rounders
- Possible 6th Rounders
- Possible 7th Rounders & Free Agents
- Quarterbacks

- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles 
- Offensive Guards
- Centers
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles 
- Outside LBs
- Inside LBs
- Safeties
- Cornerbacks
- Punters & Kickers 


1. Jason Smith, Baylor 6-4, 309
One of the hottest prospects since the end of the season, Smith went from being a first rounder to a sure-thing, top five type of pick after doing everything right in post-season workouts and the Combine. The former tight end is a fantastic athlete who has gotten better and better the more he’s been scrutinized. Not only is he extremely smart, but he has a nasty streak to the point of being over-competitive (re: cocky … but not necessarily in a bad way). While he needs work on his technique to be ready at a pro level, there’s nothing that can’t be tweaked a little bit and he’s more than willing to work on being the best he can be. There’s no real knock on him that should send up any sort of red flag, and the sky’s the limit on how good he can become. There’s a limitless upside.
CFN Projection: First Round, Top Five Overall

2. Eugene Monroe, Virginia 6-5, 309
A superstar high school prospect and a big-time get for Virginia, he didn’t disappoint. While Jason Smith might have the best all-around combination of skills and potential, Monroe is the most ready to start right now. He played in a pro style offense and showed he could play to the level needed. When he needed to blast over a defender for the running game, he did it. When he needed to match up with a speed rusher, he did it. Great at the Combine looking polished and smooth, there’s little work needing to be done on his technique. The main concern is a nagging knee problem that could be an off-and-on issue over the course of his career. The only other question mark is whether or not he has the desire to be a killer, but that has been a bit overblown. He’s just not a screamer, get-in-your-face type of player. He simply goes out and does his job.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Michael Oher, Ole Miss 6-5, 310
There’s absolutely no question that from the neck down, with a year in a pro weight room and with a little bit of work, he has perennial Pro Bowl written all over him. But from the neck up … well, from the neck down he’s a great physical talent. There’s a major concern about his desire to be the best in the game and there’s a bigger concern that he could struggle to handle everything that goes with being a franchise-caliber tackle who’s supposed to stick on a left side for the next decade. He needs the right coaching staff and a mentor who’s willing to provide a bit of a push, but to be fair, he was groomed by one of the best in the business, former Ole Miss head coach and current Tennessee assistant, Ed Orgeron. Orgeron isn’t exactly known for being soft and is peerless when it comes to line development. It might take a little while, but Oher will be solid as long as he’s able to overcome adversity quickly and easily.
CFN Projection: First Round

4. Eben Britton, OT Arizona  6-6, 310 (Jr.)
It all depends on what you want out of him. If you’re looking for a left tackle to protect a quarterback’s blind side, there are going to be problems. He was fine in college, but he’s not athletic enough to be a consistent pass blocker against the faster pass rushers. In the pros, he’ll be tried out at left tackle, but he’ll have a long, solid career on the right side. Being labeled as a right-side-only tackle is the kiss of death, but it might not be a bad thing here. Britton is a very smart, very tough blocker who doesn’t make mistakes; his problems will come from simply not being an elite enough athlete. In a perfect world, there’s no reason to mess with it. Put him on the right side and sleep well for the next decade. When needed, put him on the left from time to time and he’ll be more than serviceable as long as it’s not for a full season.
CFN Projection: First Round

5. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma 6-7, 335
Loadholt is a classic case of a prospect getting a little negative momentum and then seeing it steamroll. It’s like scouts are looking for the problems in his game rather than focus on what he is and the good things that he did. No, he’s not the most nimble of tackles, but he proved he could keep up and thrive in the OU up-tempo offense and did a great job of keeping Sam Bradford upright. The positive is his size … he’s huge, and not in a doughy sort of way. He’s tall, long, and fantastic at getting his arms extended and punching defenders just enough to give the quarterback the extra half-click needed. Yes, he has problems against the fastest of speed rushers, but it’s not like he doesn’t win his share of battles. He might be pigeonholed as a right side blocker because his lack of foot quickness, but he’ll be better than expected on the left.
CFN Projection: Second Round


6. William Beatty, Connecticut 6-6, 308
On of the high-rising prospects since the end of the season, his athleticism has been eye-opening and he’s done a great job of bulking up. He still has room to add more weight and still not lose a step. He moves well from side to side and he did a great job against top pass rushers, even though Connecticut didn’t exactly wing it around. If he gets the right coach who can light a fire under him and keep him motivated, he could be special. He wouldn’t be a great fit on a power running offense, even though he did a great job of run blocking in college, and would be stronger in a West Coast type of attack where he’s able to get on the move. He’ll need to get the motor running at full-tilt all the time, but with his combination of size and quickness, he’ll be worth the risk.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7. Andre Smith, Alabama 6-5, 332 (Jr.)
Smith has been a textbook example of how not to handle yourself before being drafted. The character questions started after he was suspended from the Sugar Bowl against Utah, and then came the public relations disaster of leaving the Combine without telling anyone. And then there was the shirtless private workout, showing off a chest normally seen in Russ Meyer movie, which only threw gasoline on the fire for some teams. On the field, there weren’t many better over the last few seasons. It could’ve been argued that he deserved Heisman consideration in a Most Valuable Player sort of way for what he did for the Alabama line last year. Watch the Sugar Bowl again and it’ll show in dramatic fashion just how important he was. But his character questions are too great to ignore, and he could end up making most of his money as a guard and not a tackle. The bust potential is too great to invest heavily, but on talent he’s worth the risk further down the first round.
CFN Projection: First Round

8. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina  6-5, 305
Tremendously athletic and versatile, he turned out to be surprisingly fast running a sub-5.0 40 in a workout. He’s not going to push anyone around and he’s not a killer, lacking the nasty streak needed to be special, but he has good size and he moves well enough to be a steady starter at left tackle. He needs to mature a bit and he needs to be in the right system that can take advantage of his athleticism. It’ll take the right coach to take his talent and make him into an NFL player, but he has too much skill to ignore.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Troy Kropog, Tulane 6-5, 309
A finesse blocker, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a draft that lacks a slew of athletic tackles, Kropog can move and can handle NFL speed rushers. What he can’t do is pound away in a power running game. He’ll work to make himself better and will step up in the weight room to add more bulk and get stronger. The talent isn’t there to be a Pro Bowl star, but he’ll be a very nice piece to a puzzle if he’s not asked to beat people up.
CFN Projection: Third Round

10. Gerald Cadogan, Penn State 6-5, 310
Very smart and very good, Cadogan doesn’t need a whole bunch of work, especially as a run blocker. Eventually, he should be a strong guard and could be a superstar if he moves inside. He’ll be tried out at tackle early on, and he should be fine on the left side with the ability to hold his own by doing everything correctly. However, as big as he is and as good as he was in college, there’s a hard ceiling on what he can do as a tackle. Lacking great athleticism, he can be penciled in from day one at right tackle, but he’ll be fine on the left for at least a short stretch.
CFN Projection: Third Round

11. T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan 6-4, 310
Coaches will adore him. While he’s not a tremendous athlete, he makes up for it with one of the most intense work ethics in the draft. He’s a nasty, beat-‘em-up blocker who could end up as a star at guard after starting out at one of the tackle spots. His attitude and fire alone will make him a starter, but there’s a limit on how far he can go on the outside without the feet to handle the better pass rushers.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


12. Alex Boone, Ohio State   6-7, 325
A mega-disappointment considering his raw skills, Boone has a large frame and the strength to go with it as a blaster for the running game and an occasional dominant force. Occasional. He’s not consistent, is a bit of a prima donna, and he has major character issues in the eyes of most of the NFL types. If he gets the right attitude and decides he wants to do the dirty work on his technique, he could be a ten-year starter on the right side. As is, he’s a good-chance pick just because of his size.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

13. Fenuki Tupou, Oregon 6-5, 314
If he’s asked to plow ahead and pound away for the running game, he’ll be great. If he’s asked to become a consistent left tackle who can neutralize a top pass rusher, forget about it. Likely to grow into a guard, if he doesn’t stick at right tackle, he’s a run blocker who needs to get a fire lit under him. On the plus side, he’s big, can push some people around, and will open up some holes.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

14. Xavier Fulton, Illinois 6-5, 300
Fulton could be one of the biggest value picks in the draft. The former defensive end needs a lot more work on his technique and needs to do far more to be consistent, but he’s a fantastic athlete and the rare left tackle prospect that can be found later on in the draft. Injuries have been a problem and he needs to be better for the power running game, but his size and quickness are intriguing.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech 6-7, 300
Gardner worked his tail off, or on, and bulked up over the course of his Yellow Jacket career to become a strong all-around blocker. He’s always working and always willing to do whatever is asked, but he’s not a natural blocker or an athlete and he’ll always be an overachiever. However, he could stick around thanks to his versatility and attitude. He could end up at guard.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

16. Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State 6-4, 330
Huge, on bulk alone he’ll get a long look after an ultra-productive career at the lower level. The former Florida State Seminole dominated at Tennessee State showing good athleticism and tremendous strength. Able to play either tackle or guard spot, he should find a job somewhere. However, there’s a question about whether or not he’ll wilt under the pressure and toughness of being an NFL caliber lineman. If he has the right attitude and is willing to get tough, he could be a steal.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

17. Garrett Reynolds, North Carolina 6-7, 310
A potential first day prospect before the off-season, he had a disastrous Combine showing no strength and no athleticism. However, he has the perfect size and is a warrior. He has the attitude and the nastiness that everyone looks for, and he’s great when he’s gets his hands on someone. However, he can’t play on the left side and needs to become a workout warrior to have any sort of pro career.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

18. Augustus Parrish, Kent State 6-4, 300
On size and potential he’s worth a late pick, but he doesn’t have the right focus or consistency to be a major factor on a regular basis. He stayed on the field playing through nicks and was the key blocker for the strong Golden Flash running game, but he doesn’t have a position in the pros. Not quick enough to be a top tackle and not tough enough to play guard, he’ll either be a right tackle or he won’t make it.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

19. Lydon Murtha, Nebraska  6-7, 305
He was supposed to be a superstar coming out of high school and it never happened. He’s on the map because he’s very big, very long, and shockingly fast and athletic. After a great Combine, he’s worthy of getting a harder look, but he’s always going to have health issues and he’s never going to be powerful enough to be a good run blocker. However, if it all comes together, he could be a rare left tackle prospect found late in the draft.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

20. Sebastian Vollmer, Houston 6-7, 315
An extremely interesting prospect with size, attitude, and room to grow. He’s just scratching the surface on what he can do, but who wants to invest the time and effort? He needs to get a lot stronger and he needs to improve his quickness, but he’s never going to be a top athlete and he can’t play left tackle.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

21. Jason Watkins, Florida 6-6, 310
A major work in progress, Watkins needs a ton of technique work and is a strong athlete for his size. Get him on the move, and he’s a road grater. However, he’s totally unrefined and got by on his raw skills. While he could be a great guard, he’s just good enough on his feet to be tried out at tackle to see if he’s worth the development time.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

22. Robert Brewster, Ball State 6-4, 325
Very quick for his size, he’s a very durable, very reliable pass blocker who did a little of everything well for the high-octane Ball State attack. He needs to get himself into a weight room and go from being big to big and NFL strong. Even with his athleticism he’s not a pro left tackle and could end up at guard, but he could be a nice backup for a long time and a decent prospect at right tackle with a little bit of work.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

23. George Bussey, Louisville 6-3, 300
Bussey worked himself into an all-star with decent smarts and quickness. However, he lacks big-time bulk and needs a ton of work to become an NFL caliber blocker. Best suited for a finesse offense, he’s never going to pound over anyone and will either make it as a backup right tackle or he’ll be cut immediately.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

24. Seth Olsen, Iowa  6-5, 306
A solid, reliable all-around blocker, he has the versatility to play either guard spot and could project to be a decent right tackle. Not all that athletic, he’s limited on what he can do and what he can become on the outside, but he needs to get a lot stronger to be a regular on the inside. If he makes a roster, it’ll be because he’s able to be a decent backup at several spots.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

25. Fred Roland, Duke 6-8, 310
Very tall and very strong, he’s excellent when he’s able to extend his arms and push away an end. He’s not all that fast and can be beaten by anyone with any semblance of quickness. A potential right tackle for a power game, he needs to be in the right offense to make a team.
CFN Projection: Free Agent


26. Jose Valdez, Arkansas 6-5, 315
Dan Gay, Baylor 6-4, 308
28. Maurice Miller, Ole Miss 6-4, 325
29. Joel Bell, Furman, 6-7, 315
30. Dallas Reynolds, BYU 6-5, 314
31. Phil Trautewin, Florida 6-6, 308
32. Michael Brown, Mississippi State 6-5, 310
33. Eric Vandenhuevel, Wisconsin, 6-8, 330
34. Rylan Reed, Texas Tech 6-6, 290
35. Sean Sester, Purdue, 6-7, 325


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