Trying to determine what the Green Bay Packers will do about drafting offensive linemen in the first year of the Brian Gutekunst era is turning out to be one of the toughest challenges of the 2018 NFL Draft season. Here is our attempt to do so, which all but wraps up our draft board projection for this year’s Packers.
Last year, a study of the Packers’ offensive line draft prospects by Justis Mosqueda revealed a few things that the Packers tend to look for in those players. First, they prioritize experience at a blind-side tackle position in college; in fact, Ted Thompson never drafted a lineman who spent his college career on the interior in the first four rounds of the draft. Meanwhile, the Packers also tend to value taller players (taller than 6-foot-3 1/2) and those who are agile. The latter trait is demonstrated by the team’s picks tending to have 3-cone times of 7.75 or better (rounded up a bit from 7.71) and short shuttle times of 4.75 seconds or better.
However, this year’s offensive line group has very few players who both played blind-side tackle in college and meet the Packers’ drafting trends for height and agility drills. In fact, there are just three players who fit all of those characteristics and have ratings of fourth-round or better by NFLDraftScout this year: Kolton Miller, Brian O’Neill, and Joe Noteboom.
However, there are several players who meet all but one of those requirements and who are close to the Packers’ typical numbers on the other. Furthermore, there is a group of top linemen who do not have results from the Combine or Pro Days and who might fit had they tested.
Finally, there is the question of whether Brian Gutekunst will continue to prioritize blind-side tackle experience, something APC contributor Owen Riese and I have speculated about repeatedly. The Packers reportedly scouted UTEP guard Will Hernandez closely despite his position and the fact that he is just shy of 6-foot-2 1/2, suggesting that they may be open to interior linemen earlier than they were under Thompson.
All of this means that we don’t really know what it means for the Packers’ offensive line draft board, and so unlike other positions we are splitting these players up into a few different categories. The first is the group of tackles who meet all the criteria; then there are guards who meet the agility testing, followed by tackles who fell short on one drill and finally players with incomplete results.
As you can see, determining just which players the Packers will like is a challenge; if the team does draft a player who did not fall in the first group, it will either be a sign that they are willing to sacrifice tackle experience for ideal athleticism or vice versa.
As a reminder, numbers with asterisks were reported from Pro Days and players with their names in ALL CAPS had pre-draft meetings with the Packers.
Blind-side Tackles who meet all testing ranges
- KOLTON MILLER, UCLA (tackle); Round 1; 6085, 309; 4.95, 7.34, 4.49
- Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh (tackle); Round 2; 6067, 297; 4.82, 7.14, 4.50
- Joe Noteboom, TCU; round 3; 6050, 309; 4.96, 7.65, 4.44
- GERHARD DE BEER, Arizona; Round 6; 6064, 312; 5.21*, 7.52*, 4.72*
- Brett Toth, Army; Round 6-7; 6060, 305; 5.09*, 7.35*, 4.55*
- Nick Gates, Nebraska; Round 7-UDFA; 6050, 295; 5.46, 7.61, 4.68
- Greg Senat, Wagner; Round 7-UDFA; 6060, 305; 5.38, 7.41, 4.71
- Elijah Nkansah, Toledo; Projected UDFA; 6051, 298; 5.09*, 7.51*, 4.66*
- K.J. Malone, LSU; Projected UDFA; 6035, 303; 5.29, 7.71*, 4.72*
Interior OL who meet or nearly meet 3-cone and shuttle times
- Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (guard); Projected round 1; 6050, 325; no 40, 7.65 3-cone, 4.62 shuttle
- Will Hernandez, UTEP (guard); Round 1; 6023, 327; 5.15, 7.59, 4.70
- Scott Quessenberry, UCLA (center); Round 3; 6035, 315; 5.09, 7.50, 4.69
- Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech (guard with some tackle experience); Round 5-6; 6040, 301; 5.24, 7.45, 4.79*
- Coleman Shelton, Washington (center); Round 7-UDFA; 6033, 292; 5.20, 7.62, 4.59
- Austin Golson, Auburn (center); Projected UDFA; 6046, 304; 5.19*, 7.71*, 4.65*
- Aaron Stinnie, James Madison (guard); Projected UDFA; 6034, 312; 5.23*, 7.63*, 4.65*
Blind-side Tackles with slight outliers
- CONNOR WILLIAMS, Texas; Round 1; 6051, 296; 5.05, 7.83, 4.63
- Austin Corbett, Nevada; Round 2; 6043, 305; 5.15, 7.87, 4.50
- Mason Cole, Michigan (center who started 2 years at LT); Round 4; 6040, 305; 5.23, 7.77, 4.72*
- Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T; Round 4-5; 6075, 305; 5.40, 7.82, 4.68
- Desmond Harrison, West Georgia; Round 6-7; 6060, 292; 4.90, 7.64*, 4.79*
- K.C. McDermott, Miami (FL); Round 7-UDFA; 6055, 311; 5.34, 7.72, 4.82
- DEJON ALLEN, Hawaii; Round 6; 6023, 295; 4.97*, 7.63*, 4.82*
- Matt Gono, Wesley; Round 6-7; 6040, 316; 5.21*, 7.76*, 4.60
- Anthony Coyle, Fordham; Projected UDFA; 6043, 298; 5.20*, 7.71, 4.79*
Tackles with incomplete testing
- Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame; Round 1; 6077, 309
- Isaiah Wynn, Georgia; Round 1; 6023, 313
- Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State; Round 3; 6043, 308
- Geron Christian, Louisville; Round 4; 6051, 298
To visualize this a different way, we also have the color-coded boards below, split up between blind-side tackles and other linemen.