We've all heard the cliches. Build from the inside out, get the big guys early and protect the blind side. By now, most fans, and movie buffs for that matter, understand the importance of a quality left tackle on an NFL roster.
The combination of high demand and a lack of truly elite players at the position creates a consistent market for offensive tackles in the first round of the NFL Draft.
But what if a team could sit back and snag a bookend tackle after the run on linemen on the draft's first night? It's not as impossible as you may think. In fact, for every Joe Thomas and Jake Long, a Donald Penn or Jared Gaither finds his way through the cracks.
Let's take a look at a pair of potential anchors on the offensive line in this year's crop of draft eligibles. As always, be sure to comment on any tackles that you feel aren't getting enough love leading up to the draft.
Mitchell Schwartz, California
Simply put, Mitchell Schwartz can punish defenders. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Pac 12 defensive linemen still cringe when they think about the punch Schwartz generates with his hands. A four year starter for the Golden Bears, Schwartz is well versed in his blocking technique. He gets adequate bad level when blocking and manages to stave off defenders with sharp footwork. Speed rushers were his soft spot on occasion, but his strength and athleticism will make him an immediate starter at right tackle. For the modest price of a second day draft choice, Schwartz could be one of the bargains of the draft.
Nate Potter, Boise State
Left tackles aren't traditionally found beyond the first couple of rounds. But Nate Potter may be an exception to the rule. After a career of reliability on Boise State's offensive line, Potter could be waiting until the draft's third day to be selected. Despite his tremendous lateral agility, ideal knee bend and rare athleticism, concerns over Potter's strength and injured back have hurt his draft stock. Does he need work? No doubt. But with refined technique, adding strength in an NFL weight room should be the easy part. Potter will be a starting left tackle in the NFL some day. And they don't usually carry such a low price tag.