In the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 25-26, BaltimoreRavens.com will take a look at the top collegiate prospects from position groups of interest.
The offensive tackles are featured today in alphabetical order.
William Beatty (6-foot-6, 307 pounds) Connecticut - Beatty entered school at 265 pounds and emerged as one of the Big East's best blockers by the time he left. Coming back from a broken leg in 2006, the former basketball player has elite athleticism and quick feet. One big knock on Beatty is that he is too slender for an NFL-level tackle, because apparently he has trouble keeping weight on. He was the main road grader for running back Donald Brown's NCAA rushing title.
Eben Britton (6-foot-6, 312 pounds) Arizona - Britton has great size and an above-average wingspan which will help him at the next level. He originally played right tackle for the Wildcats, but switch to left in 2007, where he anchored Arizona's line in a spread offense. Britton is a heady leader, but is coming out as an underclassman and probably could have used another year of seasoning.
Phil Loadholt (6-foot-8, 332 pounds) Oklahoma - After attending Garden City Community College for two years, Loadholt enrolled at Oklahoma in 2007 and immediately made an impact. He is a massive human that said he looks up to the similarly-sized Jonathan Ogden. Loadholt has the flexibility, however, to stay low in his pads, but many believe he projects to right tackle after playing left in Norman.
Eugene Monroe (6-foot-5, 310 pounds) Virginia - A top performer since high school, Monroe was the man that kept Branden Albert - a first-round draft pick that is now the Kansas City Chiefs' starting left tackle - at guard in college. Monroe has superb footwork, athleticism and balance, and was selected as a consensus All-American last season. One interesting fact is that Monroe comes from a family of 16 children.
Michael Oher (6-foot-5, 309 pounds) Ole Miss - Oher stepped into the Rebels' starting lineup as a freshman and never relinquished his spot, starting 47 consecutive games. He is a very athletic lineman and a hard worker, but some question whether he can grasp the complex NFL game. Still, his physical gifts are undeniable. Oher's story was the subject of a New York Times best-seller titled "The Blind Side."
Jason Smith (6-foot-5, 309 pounds) Baylor - A converted tight end, Smith has the good footwork one would expect from a former skill position player. He can get to the next level and even pull out on sweeps with ease. Baylor operated out of a spread, so most of Smith's work was done out of a two-point stance, so his sets could use some work. Many analysts are expecting Smith to go No. 1 in the draft.
Andre Smith (6-foot-4, 332 pounds) Alabama - This Smith made headlines when he left the NFL Scouting Combine early and then had a very auspicious Pro Day where he ran with no shirt on. Smith's current 332 pounds is definitely not all muscle. He has raised eyebrows when his weight fluctuated to 370 pounds as a freshman and sophomore. Even so, the tape on Smith is all positive. He is a mauler that held up to the best competition from the powerful SEC.