I'll be the first to tell you - DO NOT BELIEVE the HYPE. Success at offensive line positions is based on two factors Hand Speed and Heart. Height, Weight, Athleticism get you to the NFL but once your there you better be the first one with your hands on some one and you better hate getting beat. Even for 1 play.
I'm seeing more athleticism from this years crop of offensive line-man than hands and heart. At Offensive Tackle its flagrant. So here goes.
1. Jason Smith, Baylor. Smith played TE coming in. To play tight end you have to be able to catch the ball. Catching the ball means you have to have some kind of hands. It also means you have to have some kind of feet. The other impressive thing about Smith is his attitude. Nasty. That's a good thing in the trenches. I rank him 1.
2. William Beatty, UCONN. What does Beatty have that Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith, and Michael Oher don't ? A running back who led the nation in rushing. Not all of that can be attributed to Beatty but some of it has to be. At 6'6" 307 he has perfect size for the Left Tackle spot. He has the athleticism to pass block and apparently he can run block.
3. Eugene Monroe, UVA. Its close between Monroe and Michael Oher. If Oher didn't take so many plays off he goes here. Monroe has all the tools.
4. Michael Oher, Ole Miss. I don't really have anything against Oher. But watching mississippi I saw two huge OT's in Oher and John Jerry. In the running game there were times Jerry looked better. If you really have that desire to be the best - that NFL tackles need so badly- you're going to out perform everyone on your squad every day. Oher had some good talent to practice against and with. He played great at times. At times isn't enough.
5. This one is a tie. And Niether spot goes to Andre Smith. Sorry, Andre Every time I saw alabama play I found my self thinking, "Man if that guy could play at 320lbs he'd be amazing". So Eben Britton is a nice fit as the 5th tackle. He can play both sides. He's tough he's athletic. He really isn't a surprise. The other guy I like is a surprise though. Jason Watkins , Florida. Watkins has that TE thing going on. He played the run side for florida but it was a pretty passive run scheme which is bad, but he played the LOT spot as a Junior. Watkins is probably the most under-rated prospect in this years OT Class.
Two surprises could be Gerald Cadogan, Penn State - the 310 lb Cadogan is being labeled as not having the requisite girth to play tackle, and his feet are being questioned. But Monroe, Oher, Beatty, Smith, Britton are all just about the same size. Cadogan blocked in both traditional and spread schemes and kept Daryl Clark clean. And Penn State had a nice running game this year. Very under-rated. The 2nd Surprise is Lydon Murtha. Athletically Murtha is a beast. Perfect Hgt., TE speed, he could use some time in the weight room. He may have believed his press clippings on his way to lincoln (like oher) but he has a chance to come in with a chip on his shoulder (like Eric Winston did in houston), learn a position with no pressure and become a very good OT.
Andre Smith ? Sorry he looks like Leonard Davis or Mike Davis to me. Those guys both put up outrageous numbers and looked like sure fire stars. Smith is right there. But the last time I saw a lineman play at 350, and drop 15 lbs for the combine he ended up at 370 by camp. Anything over 330 and Smith becomes a RT. Anything over 345 and he becomes a G. He could be a good player. But he hasn't shown a willingness to keep that weight down and his feet light.