After many years in the 2010s of mostly disappointing, uninspiring offensive line draft classes, the NFL is being treated with a fine collection of blockers for a second-consecutive draft in 2021. And not just the top-tier prospects.
Similar to the 2020 class with names like Dolphins guard Solomon Kindley, Patriots do-it-all blocker Michael Onwenu, and Steelers interior lineman Kevin Dotson, the 2021 offensive line class has a few undervalued blockers likely available on Day 3 of the draft.
The linemen below have quality starter capabilities.
Nebraska OT Brenden Jaimes
Best traits: Athleticism, pass-blocking prowess
Jaimes is a highly athletic, well-balanced offensive tackle with loads of experience. He made 40 consecutive starts, a tremendous feat which includes nine starts as a true freshman in 2017. Jaimes has a leg up on the vast majority of offensive tackle prospects because he's a rare prospect who's better vertically setting than quick setting defensive ends. What that means is he's more impressive kick-sliding backward, like we typically see in pass protection, as opposed to asserting his will quickly after the snap on a pass play.
All that represents a fine blocker foundation. But Jaimes also brings super-active hands to the field. He's rarely beaten by a pass-rushing move because he's constantly resetting his hands, which blends awesomely with impressive natural balance. Because Jaimes is so athletically gifted, he can play with so much patience. His arms are a tick short and there's ample room to add more weight to his frame. He'll need to do that in the NFL. He legitimately has All-Pro upside.
Texas A&M OT/OG Dan Moore
Best traits: Power/athleticism combination
Moore is a big, very long, deceptively athletic left tackle with three years of starting experience in the SEC. He made 36 starts for the Aggies -- that's the type of experience teams and NFL draft analysts want to see from an offensive line prospect. He anchors against bull rushes well, not surprising for being a bulky, power-based blocker. What's fascinating about Moore -- he can recover if initially beaten. That's rare for a nearly 6-foot-6, 310-pound blocker with a thick lower half.
He's consistently late or inaccurate with his punches, but he carries enough mass and natural strength to reset or finish the play with a win even if it's ugly. Plus, he's another blocker with higher-end balance, vital for a trench player to succeed in the NFL. Is he super twitchy? No. But Moore got out on leads or in front of screens on various occasions at Texas A&M and didn't look noticeably awkward. I even think he has appeal as a mashing guard prospect.
Stanford OC Drew Dalman
Best traits: Explosion, balance
For zone-blocking teams, Dalman needs to be a target. He's an explosive, technically sound, agility-based center and plays with serious burst off the snap. Dalman flies to the second level and executed a variety of blocks very well at Stanford. Once he locks on, the play's over. Herculean grip strength. His only negative pass-blocking reps come due to length or weight deficiencies.
Pertaining to the latter -- Dalman was routinely driven back while playing in the Pac-12, so defending NFL bull rushes will be quite a challenge early on in the pros. However, I love how Dalman hangs on for dear life to make the power rush waste as much time as possible. With more sand in his pants, the 22-game starter can be a quality starter in the NFL.
South Carolina OG Sardarius Hutcherson
Best traits: Brute strength, short-area quickness
Of all of these prospects, I'm most surprised Hutcherson hasn't generating significantly more draft buzz. He started 39 games at South Carolina, and even started at left tackle for most of 2019, a sound indication coaches trusted him athletically. And at guard, Hutcherson is dynamic off the snap. Plus, he's a brawler with the mass and total body strength to control defensive linemen at the point of attack for the run game or in pass protection.
Once in a while, Hutcherson will get driven backward. In general, he grows roots and anchors against power players. Like others on this list, his film isn't flawless, but he possesses the ability to recover thanks to his length and inherent twitch. Hutcherson is over 6-3 and 320 pounds with nearly 33-inch arms, fantastic size for a guard prospect. He's springy and effective getting to the second level and doesn't play out of control there, so he'll bring run-game value too. Hutcherson is the mid-round guard who'll be starting -- and thriving -- early in his NFL career.
Texas A&M OT/OG Carson Green
Best traits: First-step quickness, hand work
Another Aggie with a hefty resume, including 39 starts, with four coming as a true freshman in 2017. Green is the more athletic, more refined version of his teammate, Dan Moore. The speed at which he fires out of his stance creates a fine first impression. Green has the quicks to slide inside against counters. Plus he's 6-6 and 320 with 34 1/2-inch arms. While not a grip-strength specialist, he's always looking to reset against advanced rushers.
The clear weakness to his game is that power is lacking, and that's not a huge concern because a year in an NFL weight room could eradicate that weakness. It's obvious Green was well-coached in college because he uses a good straight arm and consistently plays with a crouched, balanced base. Green absolutely has starter upside.