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NFL Draft top offensive lineman prospects: Limited field still holds quality

There are 64 starting offensive tackle jobs in the NFL, but the talent pool of 6-foot-6, 300-pound-plus players who can really play the position is not that deep.

So, most NFL teams will be on the lookout for prospects who either already measure up, or project players who could become starter-level stars by the second or third years of their rookie deals.

Paris Johnson - Ohio State

Paris Johnson, -110 to be the first offensive lineman drafted, started all 26 Buckeyes games the past two seasons, playing the right guard position in 2021 and then moving out to the left tackle spot last year.

His play in 2022 turned quite a few heads as he allowed only two sacks and 11 pressures in 424 pass-block snaps to earn consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors.

He's versatile, but NFL teams will look at his almost prototypical 6-6, 313 pounds frame and 36-inch arms as ideal for the crucial left tackle job that usually protects the quarterback's blindside.

Johnson has excellent athleticism and movement skills, enabling him to mirror and match athletic pass rushers on the edge.

His quick feet also work well on run-blocking plays to the outside, which he sustains well, and he's pancaked enough edge defenders during his college career to satisfy scouts.

His technique is not fully developed yet, so there is a rawness that will need to be ironed out in the pros, but all the elements are there that suggest he can be molded into a long-time NFL starter at tackle.

Peter Skoronski - Northwestern

Peter Skoronski is arguably the most refined offensive line prospect available in terms of his footwork and technique, but is lacking in one crucial area that scouts put much credence in - arm length.

Half an inch short of the 33-inch threshold that is generally recognized as being optimal, +110 Skoronski's reach could hold him back from being the consensus best lineman in the draft.

His game tape and other pre-draft measurables certainly won't as the All-American starred for Northwestern, becoming the first Wildcats player in history to win Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.

He finished last season with a 93.0 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus, allowing one sack on 473 passing plays.

And there's no doubting he's one of the most athletic 313-pound lineman around after his 34 1/2-inch vertical jump and 9'7" broad jump were good enough to rank in the 97th and 96 percentile, respectively, for the position at the Combine.

Broderick Jones - Georgia

Not as physically blessed as Johnson or as refined as Skoronski, +700 Broderick Jones is a very good overall package with no obvious flaws.

The 6-4, 310-pound prospect put together a dominant junior season with Georgia, not allowing a single sack, and played in their back-to-back CFP Championship-winning teams

Not only is he tried and tested against some of the best edge rushers in the stacked Southeastern Conference, but he has banked hours of practice time in the trenches against the likes of Nolan Smith, Azeez Ojulari and Travon Walker, who are all now NFL stars.

He is a touch raw in pass protection, using his athleticism to a greater degree than his technique, but he can recover well when knocked off balance and never gives up.

His athleticism and mentality stand out on tape and he should flourish in any NFL run scheme when asked to move to the next level and block in space.

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Darnell Wright - Tennessee

Darnell Wright is among the fastest-rising prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, but his current status is somewhat of an enigma, with even NFL teams uncertain when he will be selected.

Typically, a tackle prospect who takes Top-30 visits will be targeted by teams in similar areas of the draft who believe he will be available when they have the opportunity to select.

However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, almost 20 teams believe that Wright will still be available when they are on the clock.

Unlike many first-round linemen from Power 5 schools who tend to enter the NFL as underclassmen, Wright is a rarity after playing all four years with the Volunteers.

His decision appears to have paid off, as Wright was rewarded with a first-team All-SEC selection following his best year of collegiate play.

He was a semifinalist for the Lombardi award after allowing zero sacks as a senior in one of the top offenses in the nation in 2022.

Anton Harrison - Oklahoma

Anton Harrison possesses the perfect combination of size and strength, just like three of his Oklahoma predecessors who have gone on to be NFL stars: Lane Johnson, Trent Wiliams and Orlando Brown.

His footwork and technique stand up to scrutiny when he mirrors pass rushers on the edge, as evidenced by him surrendering just four sacks in three years with the Sooners.

Harrison takes pride in the run game and plays with excellent physicality, often pushing defenders back at the point of attack. He possesses the agility and speed to reach the second level and make effective blocks.

Throughout his college career, Harrison has consistently been one of the top pass protectors in the nation, playing with natural leverage and the strength to anchor against the bull rush.

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