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Ravens Scout's Eye: Offensive Tackles

Posted Apr 15, 2014

Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz breaks down some of the top tackles in this year's class.

Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz broke down prospects at several positions of need leading up to the NFL Draft May 8-10. This is the third installment of a four-part series. Part 1 WRs | Part 2 Safeties |Part 3 TEs

The Ravens started their offseason by solidifying one of the most important positions on the field when they reached a five-year contract extension with left tackle Eugene Monroe.

Monroe will anchor the left side of the line for years to come, but the Ravens still have questions about who will book-end the offensive line.

Rick Wagner, last year’s fifth-round draft pick, would start at right tackle if the season opened today. But the Ravens have also expressed interest in adding some additional competition for that spot, and they may be able to find a starting right tackle in the first few rounds of next month’s NFL Draft..

“The offensive line as a whole is another good year,” Hortiz said. “We’ve been fortunate that colleges are producing a lot of tackles the last couple of years – and good tackles.”

The Ravens may be able to get one of the top four offensive tackles with the No. 17 pick, but even if they pass on an offensive lineman in the first round, there are still good options later in the draft. The other consideration is that some of the top offensive linemen have the ability to play tackle or guard, so the Ravens could consider them for fits at multiple positions.

Here are the scouting reports from Hortiz on some of the best tackles in this year’s class:

Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Senior; 6-foot-4, 308 pounds
“You could certainly say that he could be a guard. He worked there some at the Senior Bowl. But he can also certainly play tackle. He spent four years there, and he’s as durable as can be. He never missed a start at Notre Dame. He anchored down the left side there going against some pretty good pass rushers all across the country. He’s tough, he’s smart he’s competitive. He may not fit the ideal tackle mold in that he’s not 6-foot-7, 320 pounds. But when you watch him, he’s such an efficient player that you can’t say he can’t do it. He certainly has the ability to play tackle, but he also has the swing potential to play guard. Some people may even say that he could be a center.”

-          Versatile player who could play multiple spots on the line

-          Slightly undersized at tackle, but was a productive left tackle for four years in college

Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Senior; 6-7, 309
“He’s very athletic. He has good height and good length. From an athletic standpoint, Taylor is very gifted. He moves his feet well. He bends really well. He’s played a lot of ball. He came back for his senior year to be a captain, and to try to win the Big 10. People questioned why he came back, but it’s because he had goals – team and individual goals – that he wanted to achieve. You can’t fault a guy for that. I see a good competitor. I don’t see a mean, nasty guy on film. I almost feel like he’s mislabeled in that regard. You don’t see a guy taking cheap shots or just playing ugly or mean. You just see a good competitor on film.”

-          Regarded as a potential top-10 pick, but could slide after an off-the-field issue later in the season where he was reportedly charged with assault

-          Built as a prototypical tackle

Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Junior; 6-7, 322
“He’s a long, athletic kid. He didn’t run that well in Indy, but he’s got length and range. He can get up to the second level and cover ground. I don’t have an issue with his speed, but he just didn’t run well in Indy. Most tackles need to get stronger, and while he doesn’t look like he needs to stronger, from a functional strength stand point, he’s going to have to get stronger. One thing that he lacks that these seniors have is polished technique. He probably needs a little more developing than your seniors, but he’s not that far off. And he certainly has the feet and athleticism and length.”

-          Has the size of an elite offensive tackle

-          Some teams reportedly found medical red flags with Kouandjio when examining his knee at the combine

Joel Bitonio, Nevada
Senior; 6-4, 302

“He could certainly be a tackle. He has the size to do it. He’s competitive. He’s tough. He has the strength. The question is if he has the length and athleticism to be a tackle, or do you feel like he’d be better suited as a guard. I don’t think you can ever pigeon hole these guys. Marshal Yanda was a guard, but he started 15 games at right tackle his rookie year. The good thing about guys like Martin and Bitonio is that you see position flexibility. To call him a guard or to call him a tackle, I just wouldn’t do it. What you say is that this guy has the potential to do both spots.”

-          Swing player who could fit at guard or tackle

-          Quick feet that he showed with impressive shuttle times at the combine

Morgan Moses, Virginia
Senior; 6-6, 314

“He’s a long, big guy. Light feet. He plays tall, but he gets away with it. But he’s so big and athletic that he can get away with it. He’s a long arm guy and he has light feet on the edge. Moses is a [add] fourth-year guy that is polished in seeing things with his technique in pass sets. You see a little bit more polish in his play style and technique.”

-          Has ideal size for a tackle

-          Quick feet to deal with speedy pass  rushers

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