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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Offensive Linemen

Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are the top tackles, while center Tyler Linderbaum is the top-ranked player on the interior.

Given the relatively weak quarterback class in 2022, it may not be surprising that four offensive linemen were off the board before the first QB in my latest mock draft.

Even though offensive tackles are a stronger group overall than their interior counterparts, both are talented and deep this year.

Over the past 10 drafts, an average of 5.8 offensive linemen have been selected in the first round. The number of first-round offensive linemen selected in all three iterations of my mocks thus far has exceeded that average.

The decade high was set in 2013, with nine first-rounders, and, given that there are eight offensive linemen inside my top 33 players overall, there is an outside shot of approaching that total. In addition, the 19 offensive linemen ranked inside my top 100 players would edge the decade average (18.1) in comparison.

Several of the top offensive tackles in this draft class began their collegiate careers at guard and could kick inside at the next level, if necessary. On the other hand, several of the top interior offensive linemen have experience at tackle.

Here are my top 10 overall offensive linemen for the 2022 draft, followed by separate rankings for tackles and interior linemen.

evan-neal-offensive-line-prospect-rankings

1. Evan Neal, Alabama (JR, 6'8", 337 pounds)

Neal offers his future team true versatility, having started at left guard, right tackle and left tackle over the past three seasons, respectively. The former five-star recruit has an impressive combination of size, length and power, but he’s a smooth mover for a prospect his size who explodes out of his stance. Neal didn’t run at either the combine or his pro day, but he’s a freakish athlete who topped Bruce Feldman’s annual freaks list for The Athletic.

2. Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State (JR, 6'4", 310 pounds)

More like 1A/1B with Neal in my rankings, Ekwonu is arguably the best run-blocking offensive tackle over the past few drafts. Powerful at the point of attack, with the nimble feet and movement skills to devastate defenders at the second level, Ekwonu has been dubbed “Mr. Pancake” (due to the volume of his pancake blocks). While he’s much better as a run blocker at this stage and oversetting occasionally leads to pressures in pass protection, he’s made considerable year-over-year improvements in pass protection and has the traits, intelligence and character to continue making significant strides in that area.

3. Charles Cross, Mississippi State (rSO, 6'5", 307 pounds)

There will be an adjustment as he transitions from Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, but Cross has had tons of pass-blocking reps over the past two seasons. While he wasn’t recruited to play for Leach, the former five-star recruit showed significant improvement from 2020 to ’21. The two-year starter has plus length (34½" arms), athleticism, balance and hand placement. All his starts have been at left tackle, and that’s where he’s ideally suited to play at the next level.

4. Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (rJR, 6'2", 296 pounds)

As Marcus Mosher notes, only five offensive linemen drafted since 2000 have had shorter arms than Linderbaum (31⅛"). While his frame likely limits him to only center, the Rimington Trophy winner is not only the best center prospect in this draft class but over the past several drafts, as well. A mild foot sprain kept him from working out at the combine or Iowa’s pro day, but he has elite lateral mobility and is ideally suited for a zone scheme that can maximize his movement skills.

5. Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa (rSR, 6'7", 325 pounds)

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It often looked easy for Penning, who will be making a big jump from FCS-level competition. The former bookend tackle to Spencer Brown, the 93rd pick in 2021, Penning plays to the echo of the whistle with the tenacity and nasty demeanor that will endear him to his coaches. Penning has prototypical size and length, outstanding strength and athletic feet. While he has primarily started at left tackle and could succeed there at the next level, he may be even better on the right side.

6. Zion Johnson, Boston College (SR, 6'3", 312 pounds)

Johnson is a five-year starter who started 19 games at Davidson before transferring to Boston College, where he started 17 games at left guard and 12 games at left tackle. While he can handle a spot start at tackle, if necessary, he’s ideally suited to the play on the interior, and he also had reps at center during Senior Bowl week. He led all offensive linemen in the bench press at the combine with 32 reps. Johnson is smart and polished, plays under control and with good balance, and is a high-floor prospect who should develop into an above-average starter early in his career.

7. Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (JR, 6'4", 323 pounds)

Green started at right guard in 2019 and left guard in ’20, then made starts at all offensive line positions except center in ’21. Like Johnson, Green is ideally suited to play guard, although his added versatility is a plus. Improved hand usage will help cut down on holding penalties, but the former five-star recruit has a powerful lower half and outstanding length, and is at his best in the run game.

8. Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan (SR, 6'6", 303 pounds)

A unique prospect on many levels, Raimann is a former exchange student from Austria who was recruited to Central Michigan as a tight end before converting to left tackle just two seasons ago. While he’s an older prospect (turning 25 in September), he’s young in terms of his football development and has made impressive strides learning his new position so far. Raimann lacks ideal arm length (32⅞"), but he has nimble feet and excellent play strength, and his best football is ahead of him.

9. Tyler Smith, Tulsa (rSO, 6'5", 324 pounds)

Smith is a young prospect—he turned 21 this past weekend—and has started the past two-plus seasons at left tackle for Tulsa. While he has the athleticism and length (34" arms) to stick outside, a move inside is possible until he cleans up some technical issues. Smith has tremendous power and the bully mentality to be a dominant run blocker, and he offers plenty of upside as a (likely) Day 2 prospect.

10. Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (SR, 6'5", 322 pounds)

Kinnard was a three-year starter for the Wildcats at right tackle, and he has the size and length to continue playing outside, although a transition inside to guard may lead to more success at the next level. Playing in space isn’t his strength, but he’s a people-mover in the run game.

Offensive tackle rankings

1. Evan Neal, Alabama (JR, 6'8", 337 pounds)

2. Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State (JR, 6'4", 310 pounds)

3. Charles Cross, Mississippi State (rSO, 6'5", 307 pounds)

4. Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa (rSR, 6'7", 325 pounds)

5. Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan (SR, 6'6", 303 pounds)

6. Tyler Smith, Tulsa (rSO, 6'5", 324 pounds)

7. Daniel Faalele, Minnesota (SR, 6'8", 384 pounds)

8. Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State (rJR, 6'5", 316 pounds)

9. Abraham Lucas, Washington State (rSR, 6'6", 315 pounds)

10. Sean Rhyan, UCLA (JR, 6'5", 321 pounds)

11. Max Mitchell, Louisiana (SR, 6'6", 307 pounds)

12. Zach Tom, Wake Forest (rSR, 6'4", 304 pounds)

13. Spencer Burford, UTSA (SR, 6'4", 304 pounds)

14. Rasheed Walker, Penn State (rJR, 6'6", 313 pounds)

16. Kellen Diesch, Arizona State (rSR, 6'7", 301 pounds)

16. Braxton Jones, Southern Utah (rSR, 6'5", 310 pounds)

17. Obinna Eze, TCU (rSR, 6'7", 321 pounds)

18. Matt Waletzko, North Dakota (SR, 6'8", 312 pounds)

19. Zachary Thomas, San Diego State (rSR, 6'5", 308 pounds)

20. Dare Rosenthal, Kentucky (rJR, 6'7", 290 pounds)

Interior offensive line rankings

1. Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (rJR, 6'2", 296 pounds)

2. Zion Johnson, Boston College (SR, 6'3", 312 pounds)

3. Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (JR, 6'4", 323 pounds)

4. Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (SR, 6'5", 322 pounds)

5. Jamaree Salyer, Georgia (SR, 6'3", 321 pounds)

6. Dylan Parham, Memphis (rSR, 6'3", 311 pounds)

7. Ed Ingram, LSU (rSR, 6'3", 307 pounds)

8. Cole Strange, TN-Chattanooga (rSR, 6'5", 307 pounds)

9. Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma (rSR, 6'5", 318 pounds)

10. Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan (SR, 6'5", 312 pounds)

11. Luke Fortner, Kentucky (rSR, 6'4", 307 pounds)

12. Cameron Jurgens, Nebraska (rJR, 6'3", 303 pounds)

13. Chris Paul, Tulsa (rSR, 6'4", 323 pounds)

14. Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech (rSR, 6'3", 314 pounds)

15. Dohnovan West, Arizona State (JR, 6'3", 296 pounds)

16. Thayer Munford, Ohio State (SR, 6'6", 328 pounds)

17. Cade Mays, Tennessee (SR, 6'5", 311 pounds)

18. Alec Lindstrom, Boston College (rSR, 6'3", 296 pounds)

19. Justin Shaffer, Georgia (SR, 6'4", 314 pounds)

20. Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina (rJR, 6'4", 308 pounds)

Kevin Hanson is contributing mock drafts and position rankings to The MMQB during the 2022 NFL draft season. His mock drafts have been graded as the seventh-most accurate (tied) over the past five years, per The Huddle Report. His ’15 NFL mock draft was graded as the most accurate.

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