Latest posts by Joe Broback (see all)
- Tua Tagovailoa out for the season with dislocated hip - November 16, 2019
- College football players to watch in Week 12 - November 15, 2019
- Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears Game Preview - November 14, 2019
Everyone knows who the quarterback is on their team. Whether he’s doing well or struggling, fans know who throws the ball. Not everyone knows who protects him. That is until they get knocked to the ground. First place they look is the tackle position. If you’re a lineman and want to get paid in the NFL, become an elite left tackle. Protecting the quarterback’s blind side continues to be one of the most coveted skills. Let your man beat you, and you’ll hear about it for the rest of the season. Dominate your matchup and no one talks about you. It’s almost a lose-lose, but the elite analysts and coaches notice. You won’t find too many complaints about these 15 tackles. In fact, it will be hard to miss them (literally) on the field.
15. Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
Massive (6’9″, 380 pounds) is an understatement, but that’s not what defines him. Faalele’s quickly becoming one of the best tackles in all of college football. Plus, he showcased his athleticism in the spring game. Could the Gophers use him in a goal line package? The spring game says yes.
14. Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin
Center Tyler Biadasz finds himself in need of help and Van Lanen is an option. He needs to prove he can be an every down starter, but he fits the bill of a Wisconsin lineman. Given the Badgers reputation with offensive linemen, he’s going to fit in well.
13. Penei Sewell, Oregon
Massive (6’6″, 345 pounds) tackle who won the starting job at left tackle as a freshman. Good luck getting around or through him. Sewell’s the one underclassmen starter on the Ducks offensive line, but his trajectory figures to make him the best of them all.
12. Lucas Niang, TCU
Played with the idea of going to the NFL, but decided to return to Fort Worth for his senior year. Another big man (6’7″, 328 pounds) who’s solid. With TCU’s quarterback situation up in the air, Niang will do his best to keep them comfortable.
11. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Cleveland’s on his way to becoming the next NFL Draft prospect from the Broncos. He’s go the frame and the tools to do so, and keeping him around for next season will be tough. Brett Rypien’s gone, but the new quarterback should feel safe with Cleveland protecting them.
10. Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson
All of a sudden, the Tigers have players in the top of nearly every position group. That will happen when you recruit the way they do. Anchrum gives the Tigers another experienced player in front of Trevor Lawrence. Clemson’s offensive line will be a big factor in their success this year.
9. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
Scouts and analysts love his upside, and he gets plenty of opportunities to showcase his skillset. Playing in the SEC is no joke, and Auburn’s looking to improve after last year. Gus Malzahn’s job might be on the line, and the Tigers need a new quarterback. Protecting them will be the top priority.
8. Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
Some think his ceiling is the highest of all the linemen, and that bodes well for Notre Dame’s offense. The last time we saw this group, Clemson’s legendary defensive line was running right through them. You can bet they’ll have a chip on their shoulder to prove they’re better than that.
7. Saahdiq Charles, LSU
If LSU wants to repeat their success from last year (or better), they need to protect Joe Burrow better. The Ohio State transfer found himself taking a ton of big hits, and his health determines the Tigers success. With Charles and three other returning starters, LSU should do better in that regard.
6. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Don’t forget, Georgia’s line is loaded. Wilson would be the best lineman on a lot of teams, but he’s not even the best tackle on his own. That’s scary considering how well Wilson plays. New receivers must emerge, but Georgia shouldn’t have any problem running the ball behind this group.
5. Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon
Georgia’s not the only one with talent up front. Throckmorton’s one of the best linemen in the Pac-12, and it’s difficult to imagine a Ducks offense that struggles this year. Their first test against Auburn will either confirm what we know or raise concerns. Hopefully, it’s the former.
4. Walker Little, Stanford
Even before he walked on campus, Little was pegged as an NFL talent. His name’s Little, but he’s anything but that. He’s big (6’7″, 313 pounds) and his game is too. Stanford’s offense may require him to pass block more this year, but that’s no problem for him.
3. Trey Adams, Washington
Injuries have kept him out of the NFL, but the Huskies are thankful he’s back. Adams returns to join a great group, but will need a full year to prove that injuries aren’t a huge concern when he goes pro.
2. Alaric Jackson, Iowa
Iowa’s line remains underrated, but that could change this year. Jackson’s an NFL talent, and there are a few others who join him. Nate Stanley’s improvement as a passer can be attributed to elite line play, and Jackson’s the best of that group.
1. Andrew Thomas, Georgia
You don’t get to be the best by getting lucky. Thomas will be highly touted when he goes pro, because he’s good at protecting his quarterback. Jake Fromm rarely feels backside pressure thanks to Thomas. Whoever gets him in the NFL will get a great player, but the Bulldogs get him for now.
Others to Watch
John Runyan Jr., Michigan: Coaches in the Big Ten acknowledge his greatness, and that’s not an honor to take lightly.
Colton McKivitz, West Virginia: There’s not much left from the Mountaineers offense last year, but they have a left tackle for sure.
Abe Lucas, Washington State: Eastern Washington transfer Gage Gubrud won’t have to worry about pressure too much.
Jedrick Wills, Alabama: Is he the next great Crimson Tide tackle? He’s not Jonah Williams, but he’s solid.
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa: Alaric Jackson’s teammate that could be just as good as his fellow tackle.