2023 Senior Bowl Preview: Offensive Tackles
One of the most important events on the National Football League calendar is the Senior Bowl. Held the week after the conference championship games, it is the true beginning of the NFL draft cycle.
Not only do scouts and analysts like us get to see over 100 draft prospects in one place competing against each other, but it’s also an opportunity for analysts and personnel alike to get together and have discussions about a number of topics.
As we look forward to this year’s Senior Bowl, both managing editor Tyler Forness and columnist Matt Anderson will be there in person to break everything down.
We will be breaking down each position group and what to look for throughout the week. Here is the wide receiver position.
BYU’s Blake Freeland
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Freeland is a big, athletic tackle that has some impressive traits. He moves well and it shows when he dominates in the running game. Technique needs work, but you can’t teach his size and athleticism.
Alabama’s Tyler Steen
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A Vanderbilt transfer, Steen went to Alabama and performed well as their left tackle. He is a stoud pass protector with great range and athleticism. One thing he hasn’t shown is being dominant in the running game and Steen needs to be more consistent with the technical elements of the position. He stands to be a day two selection.
Florida’s Richard Gouraige
Kns Tennessee Florida Football
Having started 30 games for the Gators in his career, Gouraige is an experienced and long offensive lineman. He has struggles with technique and there are concerns with strength, but the size and length is very intriguing for a developmental tackle.
Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan
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Duncan is a very good athlete at the position that was getting a lot of buzz at the beginning of the season. His lateral agility gives you a lot of hope that he can deal with speed rushers. Strength is a concern, but with an athletic profile like his, you can hopefully improve that strength profile.
Michigan’s Ryan Hayes
Joe Rondone-Arizona Republic
Hayes was on the best offensive line in the nation this past year as the Wolverines won the Joe Moore award. A versatile player, Hayes plays with a lot of power but needs work on his technique. Savvy pass rushers are likely to give him issues in Mobile.
North Carolina’s Asim Richards
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Richards has been a stalwart and experienced player for the Tar Heels, but he hasn’t been great. Richards has allowed 70 pressures combined over the last three years and he might be better suited playing on the inside at the next level. He also has struggled in run blocking throughout his career. A good showing in Mobile could help him rise up the boards and potentially be an early day three pick.
North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch
A mauler in the trenches, Mauch was one of the reasons that the Bison rush offense was incredible once again. Not only does he have grown man strength, Mauch can also move well in space and doesn’t miss blocks in the open field. A move to the interior might be in Mauch’s future, but letting him fail at tackle is the smart play.
Ohio State’s Dawand Jones
Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch
Jones is a mammouth human being playing right tackle. At 6’8″ and 360 lbs, he won’t be for everyone but for teams that run a man/gap/power scheme, Jones is going to be someone they like a lot. His movement skills are good for a player his size, but speed can give him issues. His exceptional length does help him out a lot, but it doesn’t compensate for everything.
Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris
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A transfer from Tennessee, Morris saw significant growth from his time in Knoxville. He allowed 36 pressures on slightly over 1,000 pass blocking reps and only allowed 11 pressures over his 706 pass blocking snaps with the Sooners. With experience at both left and right tackle, Morris has all the tools to be a starter in the NFL, but he needs work on his erratic technique and inconsistent play.
Old Dominion’s Nick Saldiveri
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A tall, athletic tackle, Saldiveri was a multi-year starter for the Monarchs after being just a two-star recruit. He is at his best as a pass blocker and stays in control really well. With the league loving athletic tackles that can run the wide zone, Saldiveri could be a nice addition on day two or three as a developmental player.
Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron
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Bergeron is a player that hasn’t been getting enough love in the scouting world. Having played at Syracuse, Bergeron didn’t get a lot of attention during the season. A three-year starter for the Orange, Bergeron is an experienced and smooth player that needs some strength work. Speed likely won’t give him any issues, but power is something that could expose him.
Tennessee’s Darnell Wright
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For the Volunteers, Wright has played both on the right and left side and was on the former this past season. A big tackle at 6’6″ and 335 lbs, Wright isn’t the most fleet of foot, but he is a mover in the running game. He has played well against elite pass rushers, as he was relatively dominant against Will Anderson when the Volunteers played Alabama. Dealing with speed is something that he will need to prove that he can do during practice.
Georgia’s Warren McClendon
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McClendon started at right tackle the past three seasons for the Bulldogs and was a key part to helping them successfully defend their national title. A late addition to the roster, McClendon will have a chance to raise his draft stock while honoring his fallen teammate Devin Willock.
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