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It’s a bad year for tackles in the NFL Draft, but there’s hope for these 6 players

It’s not a great year for tackles in the draft, but retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz identifies a handful who could become reliable starters.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One position we don’t hear any draft rumors about, just like it should be, is the offensive line. And I promise I won’t start any here. I tend to focus on the positives of football and players because there’s always negative on social media. I know the feeling of having people trying to tear you down all the time, so I enjoy doing the opposite. So I, along with some offensive line scouts, want to focus on one thing each top offensive line prospect can improve as they enter the NFL.

My high school coach had a favorite saying: “Don’t lie to yourself.” That phrase can be used in everyday life, and it’s also easily be applied to football. If you’re a student of your own game, you know deep down what your limitations and flaws are on the field. It’s up to you to swallow your pride, admit out loud what those are, and decide to fix them. Don’t lie to yourself.

It’s easy to constantly believe those flaws don’t exist and only decide to work on what you’re already good at. We see it all the time, not just in football but in life. The people that refuse to acknowledge they have an issue are the ones who will constantly underachieve. We don’t want any of these young offensive lineman to not reach their full potential.

I won’t be saying anything these guys don’t already know if they are students of their own game. They are things they should be already working on to improve their game heading into their first NFL offseason program.

I’m starting with the tackles, then finishing up with the guards and centers later this.

These scouting reports are all brought to you by me, with the help of my guy, Duke Manyweather. You can find him at @bigduke50. He’s the best offensive line mind and trainer, and his scouting reports are used by multiple outlets. Also, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com and Brandon Thorn who you can find at @veteranscout. He’s an up-and-coming star in the scouting world.

The tackle class is down this season.

There are only a handful, if that many, ready to play now. The top dog in the class is …

Mike McGlinchey — When your downside is continuing to develop functional play strength, or anchor, that’s easy to fix. Functional play strength is much different than pure strength. You can develop your anchor with additional coaching, reps, and time in the weight room. McGlinchey, who was drafted by 49ers with the No. 9 overall pick, will get plenty of that.

Isaiah WynnWynn is only 6’3 with shorter arms. However, most scouts I trust, including Duke, love Wynn at tackle even with his height being a concern. And that’s his only concern! Wynn can ball, and if you’re looking at 6’3 tackles who have succeeded in the NFL, look at Willie Colon and Kelvin Beachum.

People are also concerned about his arm length of 33 3/8 inches. Well, Joe Thomas had 33 3/4-inch arms and he survived. If you can ball, you can ball. Wynn can, and that’s good news for the Patriots, who snagged him with the No. 23 pick.

Kolton MillerMiller is an athletic freak, and he’s continuing to rise up the draft board. His name was connected with the Patriots as early as the 23rd pick, but the Raiders got him at No. 15. New England would have been a good spot for him because they have a seasoned OL coach and Miller needs work. He has a bad false step in his stance.

A false step is when you step forward with your first step in a pass set before getting into your set. It’s a fatal flaw, and it often can’t be corrected over time. You need the right offensive line coach and, more importantly, you need an excellent trainer who can help coach that out of the player. I’d be worried about expecting him to play right away, though.

Orlando Brown — Lots of the focus on Brown revolves around his poor combine performance, which is a concern. But his film doesn’t show those low combine numbers. What his film does show is someone who struggles to bend or punch, which will make it hard for him to recover in the NFL.

Brown reminds me of Ereck Flowers, with less physical upside. Brown finishes better than Flowers in college, which is a plus.

Brown also played in a college system who doesn’t mimic much of what he will do in the NFL, which is something I’ve harped on non stop. That doesn’t mean Brown can’t improve these issues, since they’re all physical and can be trained out. Plus, Brown plays with a mean streak. It will take time and dedication to get these fixed, and I hope he decides to put in the work. I’m still not sure Brown is worth a top-round pick.

Brian O’Neill — O’Neill will most likely be a third-day pick, but I have to throw him in here because he’s a Piesman winner. He’s the classic undersized athletic lineman who, back in the day before the new practice schedule, would be able to develop over time. With time, a player is able to add some much needed weight and along with reps, continue to grow into a serviceable tackle. I hope whoever drafts O’Neil will continue to work with him and not press him into duty right away. He has all the athletic tools to be successful.

Tyrell Crosby — Go Ducks, baby! Crosby is a name most of y’all probably don’t know well because he’s on the West Coast. This happens often, but I’m here to inform everyone he can ball. Crosby has the issue that most tackles have coming from a spread offense. He’s never taken a pass set with depth so we can only assume how he’d handle it with this athleticism. On film it looks like he could struggle with his pass protection range in the NFL. However, I can see Crosby starting at RT his rookie season because of his physical nature of play.

I will be back with more reports later this week, focusing on the guards and centers, two positions that are more polished than the tackles in this draft.