NFL draft preview: Offensive linemen

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 28, 2014 - 11:27 PM

Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson

Big men who can protect the passer in a pass-happy league will be a hot commodity in the first round of the NFL draft.

So what else is new?

A year ago, offensive tackles were taken first, second and fourth overall during a frantic run that saw eight offensive linemen disappear in the top 20 picks. This year, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects three tackles to be taken in the top nine picks and five overall in the first round.

Obviously, there are no guarantees on draft day. But tackles taken high tend to be safer picks (Yeah, we know about Tony Mandarich). Throw in the name “Matthews” and, well, one has to wonder if Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews isn’t the safest pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

“I’d like to think I wasn’t grand-fathered in,” joked Matthews, whose family’s NFL lineage dates back to grandfather Clay Sr.’s four-year stint with the 49ers in the 1950s. “I hope I earned my way here. It is special the family I came from.”

His father, Bruce, is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who played 19 seasons. His uncle, Clay Jr., was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker who also played 19 seasons. His cousins, Clay III, and Casey, play linebacker for the Packers and Eagles, respectively.

“I mean, having a Pro Football Hall of Famer help you figure out the position is definitely beneficial,” Matthews said.

Matthews was a two-year starter at right tackle before he switched to left tackle last year to replace Luke Joeckel, who was the No. 2 overall pick of the Jaguars a year ago.

Some have argued that Matthews was better than Joeckel. Of course, when asked why he didn’t turn pro last year, Matthews came up with the kind of answer you’d expect from a Matthews.

“One of the biggest things was the opportunity to play with my younger brother [Mike],” Matthews said. “He started at center for us last year.”

Of course, he did.

The front-runner

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Considered the most athletically gifted lineman in the draft. He’s one of the heaviest at 332 pounds, but the pounds are distributed so well over a 6-5 frame that Robinson ran a 4.9 40-yard dash. He has long arms, big hands. An ability to protect the blind side and dominate in the run has Robinson projected in the top five.

The contenders

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

The son of former Gophers offensive lineman Dave Lewan should be a top-10 pick. Kiper has the 6-7, 309-pounder going No. 6 to Atlanta, which has the skilled players but needs the grunts. He could play either side after excelling at left tackle for the Wolverines.

 

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 39 2nd Qtr 5:46
San Antonio 40
Cleveland 4:00 PM
Miami
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 56 2nd Half 3:43
Loyola Marymount 61
Ohio 3:00 PM
Nebraska
Colorado 5:30 PM
Hawaii
George Washington 7:30 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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