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The 2020 NFL Draft is so stacked, your team might land a franchise tackle without even trying

Massive, athletic left tackles will be available well beyond the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This year’s NFL Scouting Combine was a testament to how deep the rookie crop of offensive linemen will be. Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs each set records while cementing their place in the first half of April’s draft. Behind them, other college standouts like Jedrick Wills, Austin Jackson, and Andrew Thomas acquitted themselves well.

That’s not surprising. SB Nation draft expert Dan Kadar put all five of those tackles in the top 18 of his last pre-combine mock draft and six in the first round total. His first post-combine mock projects seven tackles taken in the first 27 picks.

The question now is how much those monster performances in Indianapolis will change how the first round plays out.

Which teams could benefit most from this depth at left tackle?

Offensive tackle is a glaring need for several teams. Even if names like Becton, Wirfs, and Wills are off the board early, there will still be plenty of talent available to protect blindsides across the league.

This is good news for a team like the Browns. Cleveland badly needs to rebuild an offensive line that allowed entirely too much pressure on second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield last fall. The easiest and cheapest way to upgrade that blocking will be through the draft.

However, Cleveland sits at the 10th overall pick. Assuming Joe Burrow and Chase Young go first and second overall, that leaves the Browns behind blocking-needy clubs like:

Not all of those teams will pick an offensive tackle in the first round, but some will. Staying at No. 10 could relegate Cleveland to the third- or even fourth-best tackle in this year’s draft.

And the Browns could still wind up with a franchise cornerstone.

They aren’t alone. According to Kadar, these teams all have offensive tackle among their top four needs this offseason and are slated to make their selections after Cleveland:

In past years, these teams may have been pressured into a trade up to grab a left tackle. Instead, they can let the draft unfold in front of them. This year’s combine likely convinced teams there’s a stockpile of valuable contributors that could last well into the waning hours of the draft’s opening day.

The first round has a steady supply of ready-made NFL tackles

Thomas was a unanimous All-American in 2019 and started the offseason as a popular top-five choice. He’s slid in the pre-draft process and is now trending toward a spot where a borderline contender could pick him up in the middle of Round 1.

Wills had a great showcase at the combine, though he was outshined by star turns from Wirfs and Becton. Jackson had his boom-or-bust moments at USC, but he tested well across the board in Indianapolis and could be a prized pickup for a team selecting in the middle or back end of the first round.

Isaiah Wilson was overshadowed on his own offensive line at Georgia thanks to Thomas’ presence. Still, Kadar has him making an appearance at the end of the first round even after an unremarkable combine.

TCU’s Lucas Niang went into the 2019 season with a shot to be the first offensive lineman off the board this spring, but injury concerns — he missed the final five games of the year with a leg injury and did not work out for scouts last week — could make him a Day 2 bargain.

That doesn’t mean Wirfs and Becton are unworthy of the praise they earned. Each had been considered first-rounders long before they pulled on their workout tights. While this year’s first-round prospects stepped up under the spotlight, there was room for less-heralded players to make a mark as well.

Are there any smaller names who could develop into NFL stars based on their combine performance?

Here are a handful of blockers who boosted their profiles at the combine.


That’s only scratching the surface of this year’s crop of blockers. The 2020 draft is stacked with offensive line help. Teams may not need a top-10 pick to wind up with a franchise left tackle this spring. Hell, they might not even need a first-rounder to get there.