Ikem Ekwonu – North Carolina State
What do NFL scouts and GM’s love most about prospects these days? Versatility. Ikem Ekwonu’s position flexibility of being able to line up at either left tackle or left guard plays a big part in why he is mocked to potentially go in the first five picks. He has a really good understanding of pad level and is very quick off the ball, which is why many like him as a guard. Regardless of how the Panthers see him, if he’s still on the board, he’s got to be the pick in my opinion.
Evan Neal – Alabama
For as big as Neal is, you would think mobility and lateral movement would be an issue for him. That’s not the case. He moves around extremely well for his size and probably much better than he should. In fact, he has elite athleticism and that is why he will stick at tackle in the NFL instead of kicking inside to guard.
Charles Cross – Mississippi State
There may not be a better pass protector in this draft class than Charles Cross. Part of that is likely a product of playing in Mike Leach’s pass happy system, but he does have a lot of traits that he possesses that has franchise left tackle written all over it. Great lateral movement, terrific first step, and violent hands. He does struggle to win one on one’s in the running game but that will come with time. Playing in the air raid system did him no favors in that aspect.
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Trevor Penning – Northern Iowa
Penning is one of my favorite tackles in the draft largely because he is severely underrated. A few months back, he was regarded mainly as a late first round pick. As we got deeper into the draft process, teams started to fall in love with him and is now shooting up draft boards. This dude racks up pancakes left and right and is more dominant in pass protection. That said, he is very up and down and has a tendency to play back on his heels which needs to be ironed out. There’s no way Carolina even considers taking him at six, but he could become an option if they were to trade back.
Bernhard Raimann – Central Michigan
Raimann is one of the most athletic tackles in this draft, a lot of which has to do with the fact that he played tight end at the start of his collegiate career. He’s pretty far along despite only playing the position for a couple of years and is going to be someone who develops into a quality starter down the line in a year or two. Having little experience creates doubt among some teams, so there is a possibility that he slips to the third round but it seems unlikely.
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