Top 10 offensive linemen available in the 2014 NFL Draft
|1. Greg Robinson||Tackle||Auburn||6-5||332||1||Remarkably athletic with great size.|
|2. Jake Matthews||Tackle||Texas A&M||6-5||308||1||The most polished, experienced tackle in the class.|
|3. Taylor Lewan||Tackle||Michigan||6-7||309||1||Plays with an edge and through the whistle.|
|4. Zack Martin||Tackle||Notre Dame||6-4||308||1||Shorter arms may slide him into guard.|
|5. Xavier Su’a-Filo||Guard||UCLA||6-4||307||1||Ran the 40-yard dash in 5.04 seconds.|
|6. Morgan Moses||Tackle||Virginia||6-6||314||1-2||Long arms but doesn’t bend well.|
|7. Cyrus Kouandjio||Tackle||Alabama||6-7||322||2||Questions on knee’s health drop the former All-American.|
|8. Gabe Jackson||Guard||Mississippi State||6-3||336||2||Consistent, strong left guard.|
|9. Joel Bitonio||Guard||Nevada||6-4||302||2||Fast but on the smaller side.|
|10. Marcus Martin||Center||USC||6-3||320||2||Dislocated kneecap in senior year.|
PANTHERS PERSPECTIVE: Offensive tackle is the greatest need for the Panthers going into the draft. Jordan Gross’ retirement after the season sent the Panthers looking for tackles in free agency, but the cap-strapped team couldn’t afford the high-end talent. There’s no clear heir to Gross’ left tackle position. Ron Rivera has said the answer may be on the roster, including Byron Bell or Nate Chandler. If the top four tackles are gone by 28, and they should be, the Panthers must decide if they want a less-talented tackle in the first round or wait until later rounds and work the pick in at right tackle.
LOCAL CONNECTIONS: North Carolina tackle James Hurst broke his leg at the Belk Bowl but handled a switch from a pro-style offense to spread very well. He was a two-time All-ACC pick for the Tar Heels. ... Clemson tackle Brandon Thomas would be on the list above if not for tearing his ACL last month during workouts. Thomas shot up the draft boards after the season but big men and ACL injuries historically don’t mix well. But he’ll still go in the third or fourth round. ... Furman offensive guard Dakota Dozier was an AP All-American at the FCS level this past season. He was one of the best linemen in Furman’s history and played left tackle at a high level. It’s possible he slides into guard in the pros, and the 6-foot-4, 313-pounder could go as high as the fourth round.
SLEEPER: Cameron Fleming was part of a strong offensive line at Stanford in his three seasons. An aeronautics and astronautics major at Stanford, Fleming is very smart and very big. At 6-foot-5 and 323 pounds, he has ideal arm length at 34 inches. He blocked for Andrew Luck and Kevin Hogan during his career with the Cardinal and played opposite Jonathan Martin in his second season. Many have Fleming in the fourth or fifth rounds, but he could go as early as the third with his size, strength and smarts.
WORTH NOTING: The guy who looks most like a starting NFL left tackle may not even get drafted this week. Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson reportedly failed a drug test at the combine, which is considered a prospect’s biggest job interview. It’d be one thing if it were an isolated incident, but the 6-foot-7, 331-pound Henderson was suspended multiple times at Miami for team rules violations and admitted at the Senior Bowl to marijuana use. Henderson was the No. 1 prospect coming out of high school, but he failed to perform at left tackle and struggled at right tackle for the Hurricanes. Teams will have to weigh whether he can keep himself out of trouble in the NFL.