The "Triple Take" team, the Steelers Radio Network trio of Matt Williamson, Dale Lolley and Mike Prisuta, provides updates on their breakdown of the top offensive tackle prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. If you want to hear the audio version of "The Triple Take" click here.
The opinions of these Steelers Radio Network personalities do not reflect the views of the Steelers organization.
Matt's Second Take on the OT position ...
Who's stock has risen and why?
Brady Christianson, BYU (6-6. 300 lbs.) - What is Christianson was able to do at BYU's Pro Day is quite remarkable. At 6' 6" has the height you are looking for at offensive tackle, although his arms are a little on the short side and like most BYU guys, isn't a young prospect. He weighed in at 302 pounds but moved incredibly well for someone over 300 pounds-especially in the short shuttle and three cone drill. He also put up 30 reps on the bench press. Christianson's jumps were really outstanding as well with a 34" vertical and 124" broad jump. He also had an excellent 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash. A consensus All-American, Christianson had a spectacular 2020 season. Zach Wilson rarely saw pressure under Christianson's watch and these athletic tests will only add to his resume for the draft.
Who's emerged and why?
Stone Forsythe, Florida (6-9, 312 lbs.) - Forsythe wasn't a guy that you saw on lists and in the news until recently. But at 6' 8", 307 pounds with big hands and extremely long arms, Forsythe is hard to miss. And as big as he is, Forsythe could conceivably add more weight and power to his frame. He uses those long arms very well in pass protection and looks very natural kick sliding with lighter feet than you would guess. He is a two-year starter, but Forsythe isn't yet a finished product in the run game but does have potential in that area.
Other Notes: Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins really improved his stock at his pro day. A nasty finisher that really enjoys burying his opponent, Jenkins' tape was excellent, and he has a lot of college playing experience. But the pro day performance checked even more boxes for Jenkins, who stands 6' 5 ½" and weighed 317 pounds. There were some concerns about the length of Jenkins' arms, but at 33 ½" much of that was alleviated. Then Jenkins did 36 reps on the bench and ran the 40-yard dash in five seconds flat.
Matt's First Take on the OT position ...
#5 - Jalen Mayfield, Michigan (6-5, 319 lbs.) - Mayfield has played guard and tackle at Michigan, but projects outside in the NFL. He doesn't blow you away with anything in particular, but Mayfield has an excellent feel for the position and is very consistent. He is a good, not great, athlete, but has a strong understanding of leverage and blocking angles. Mayfield is sturdy with some explosiveness. His power does stand out at times and he likes to finish his opponent. Players like this usually succeed and play a long time in the NFL.
#4 - Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (6-6 1/2, 320 lbs.) - Jenkins is very aggressive and loves to finish his opponent. That can get him into some trouble at times, but overall, he is a bit of a trend setter for his fellow linemen, and he throws opposing defensive players around. He has very good size and strength. Jenkins is quick out of his stance, is well balanced and more comfortable operating in space than you might imagine. Jenkins is a little bit of an older prospect though and wasn't often challenged this past year, especially in protection.
#3 - Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 lbs.) - Darrisaw is a punishing blocker with very heavy hands and a rather nasty demeanor. He is a good knee bender with power throughout his body and a big punch. His upper body strength stands out and when he gets ahold of his opponent, it is usually over very quickly. He had a dominant season this past year for Virginia Tech, but that was a very run-heavy offensive system.
#2 - Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (6-4, 308 lbs.) - Some have projected Slater to guard or even center because of his lack of ideal height and arm length. But we have seen numerous offensive tackles succeed and play at a high level that were under 6' 5" and Slater very well could be the next in that line. He has outstanding athletic traits. Slater's feet are very light, quick and nimble. He is rarely out of balance and is a very natural bender with outstanding leverage and ability to redirect. A smart player, Slater understands the game very well and takes excellent angles to his target. You just very rarely see Slater getting beat on tape.
#1 - Penei Sewell, Oregon (6-6, 330 lbs.) - Sewell opted out in 2020, but was an utterly dominant player before that…and any tape you watch of Sewell it will have been before his 20th birthday. He power and pure physicality is unmatched. Sewell can just bully defenders and has incredibly heavy hands to go along with rare physical power. He moves with a rare ease for such a big person. Sewell has a few things that he needs to clean up technically, but any offensive line coach in the world would love to have the opportunity to work on the finer points of the position with a talent like Sewell.
Dale's Second Take on the OT position ...
Who's stock has risen and why?
Stone Forsythe, Florida (6-9, 312 lbs.) - In a very deep draft class, Forsythe was somehow overlooked in the early part of the process. Now, however, that is no longer the case. Forsythe started the past 25 games at left tackle for the Gators and is just massive. There are some things he can do better, but you can't coach his size and he's a true left tackle who draws comparisons to another former Gators star, Max Starks, because of that size.
Who's emerged and why?
Brady Christianson, BYU (6-6. 300 lbs.) - Much like Forsythe, Christensen was overlooked early. But he's continued to climb his way into the conversation in the draft process. It didn't hurt that he tested in the 90th percentile or above in nearly every athletic measurement at his pro day. In a crowded OT class, his athleticism stands out.
Other Notes: Five offensive tackles in this draft class were timed (unofficially, of course) at running the 40-yard dash in less than 5.0 seconds – Northwestern's Rashawn Slater, Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins, Samuel Cosmi of Texas, Christensen of BYU and Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa. All also did so at over 300 pounds. … If it's long arms you desire, five players had arms 35 inches or longer. D'Ante Smith of East Carolina and Josh Ball of Marshall came in at 35 inches, Tommy Doyle of Miami (Ohio) at 35 1/8 inches, Larnell Coleman of UMass at 35 ½ inches and Greg Eiland of Mississippi State at a condor-like 36 ½ inches.
Dale's First Take on the OT position ...
#5 - Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State (6-5, 299 lbs.) - A natural left tackle, Radunz will be making an obvious jump in competition. But he's got the athleticism to play on the left side in the NFL and a nasty streak in the run game, as well. He'll need to continue to get stronger, but his agility is intriguing. I have him rated ahead of some of the tackles from big-name schools because he projects to the left side.
#5 - Jalen Mayfield, Michigan (6-5, 319 lbs.) - Mayfield added 75 pounds to his frame after arriving on campus. The redshirt junior initially opted out when it appeared the Big Ten season might not happen, then opted back in, appearing in two games before being shut down because of injury. But he's loaded with talent. His 2019 tape shows him more than holding his own against Chase Young, Yetur Gross-Matos and others. But he also has just 15 career starts under his belt. His upside, however, is huge, as he is still just 20 years old.
#3 - Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (6-4, 308 lbs.) - Slater is very good, smart and everything you want in a prospect with the exception of being idea size. In fact, some teams might look at him as an interior lineman because of his lack of ideal size. But he should be a Day 1 starter for whatever team drafts him regardless of where he lines up. He's light on his feet and capable of shutting down the edge.
#2 - Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 lbs.) - Big and nasty, Darrisaw should be an immediate starter at left tackle and could grow into becoming a perennial Pro Bowl player. Darrisaw is a three-year starter despite being a true junior, though he did spend a year after high school at a military school. Darrisaw got better in each of his three seasons at Virginia Tech and should continue to grow at the NFL level as he holds down the starting spot on the left side.
#1 - Penei Sewell, Oregon (6-6, 330 lbs.) - Sewell is pretty much the consensus top tackle available this year and should go somewhere in the top five or six picks. He's very good in pass protection and an absolute beast as a run blocker. Like many of the others on this list, he's also young and still getting better. Sewell doesn't turn 21 until Oct. Sewell won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best offensive lineman in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season, so his pro day should be critical as teams make sure he's continued to grow as a player.
Mike's Second Take on the OT position ...
Who's stock has risen and why?
Walker Little, Stanford (6-8, 313 lbs.) - Little needed to re-establish himself as a prospect at Stanford's Pro Day, given how infrequently he's been on football fields in recent seasons. Little has played 72 snaps since the conclusion of the 2018 season (he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2019 season opener, opted out in 2020 and declined an invitation to the Senior Bowl, according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic). So it was significant, in NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's estimation, that Little "moved really well."
So are the position Little plays, his physical skill set and the program from which he's transitioning.
"In a league where we are starved to find offensive linemen, you've got a big, smart, tough guy who has a chance to be a solid player," Jeremiah assessed.
Little only played 22 career games at Stanford.
He ran unofficial times of 5.28 and 5.26 in the 40-yard dash at Stanford's Pro Day.
Brugler said Little had been "an NFL prospect on the rise as a sophomore in 2018."
The arrow is apparently pointing up again.
"Overall, Little lost two years of development and his core strength and timing issues need to be addressed before he is ready for NFL snaps," Brugler concluded. "But his balanced athleticism and smarts are attractive traits."
Other Notes: Alabama left offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood (6-4, 312 lbs.) might be better suited to play guard in the NFL. The 2020 Outland Trophy winner has had a relatively unremarkable pre-draft season, but NFL Network analyst and former NFL general manager and personnel executive Scott Pioli maintained Leatherwood has been well-coached at Alabama. Such is the level of respect Pioli has for the tough program run by former Crimson Tide offensive line coach Kyle Flood, who is now at Texas after two seasons at Alabama. "These guys are battle-tested," Pioli said. "These guys that come out of Alabama are usually mentally and emotionally ready to take on grown men on the other side of the ball." … BYU's Brady Christensen (6-52/8, 302 lbs.) had a "huge" Pro Day according to Jeremiah. Brugler projects Christensen as a second- or third-round pick. Jeremiah described Christensen as "athletic and nasty," and as a player who "jumps guys" in pass protection … East Carolina's D'Ante Smith (6-53/8, 305 lbs.) impressed Jeremiah as a prospect that's also capable of playing an interior offensive line position. Jeremiah cited Smith's "tremendous length" and assessed him overall as "a good football player" … Miami's Tommy Doyle (6-8, 320 lbs.) is a "raw, developmental offensive tackle," according to Jeremiah. Doyle is "quick out of his stance, good in the run game and nasty," Jeremiah said.
Mike's First Take on the OT position ...
#5 - Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame (6-5, 305 lbs.) - Eichenberg made every start at left tackle for the Fighting Irish over the last three seasons, and that's a position at which three first-round picks have been groomed in succession (Zach Martin, 2010-13; Ronnie Stanley, 2014-15; and Mike McGlinchey, 2016-17). So, in theory, at least, if you can make it for Brian Kelly there, you can make it anywhere. Or, at the very least, you can make it in Dallas (Martin went16th overall in 2014), Baltimore (Stanley was taken sixth overall in 2016) or San Francisco (McGlinchey was the ninth-overall pick in 2018). Eichenberg doesn't have quite the same pedigree, so the first-round streak may be in jeopardy. But Eichenberg's status as a highly-regarded prospect is not in question.
#4 - Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (6-6 1/2, 320 lbs.) - It's in dispute in some circles as to whether Jenkins is better at run blocking or pass protection, and as to whether he's better on the left or right side. There are no such differences of opinion regarding Jenkins' strength. His head coach at Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy, has called Jenkins "uncharacteristically strong." Gundy has also spoken of watching Jenkins in the weight room, specifically on the bench press. "I think he hit 225 (pounds) like 35 times and they weren't even counting," Gundy has offered. "I mean, he was just doing it."
#3 - Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (6-4, 308 lbs.) - Slater opted out of the 2020 season but after the job he did against eventual No. 2-overall pick Chase Young the previous season, Slater might have done enough in 2019. His relative lack of length isn't ideal for tackle but Slater has the footwork to make up for it. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein has maintained Slater's combination of strength, athletic ability and quick processing should make him one of the safer offensive line picks in this draft and an early starter for the team that drafts him.
#2 - Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (6-5, 314 lbs.) - Darrisaw was lightly regarded coming out of high school and went to a prep school before eventually landing at Virginia Tech. The three-year starter is no longer lightly regarded. "The thing that gives him a chance to be special is that he's so very intelligent," Hokies head coach Justin Fuente has said. "He just has a really good understanding of what we're trying to accomplish." Big, strong, athletic and smart. Check, check, check and check. Darrisaw is also dedicated to his craft. Rather than opt out in 2020, he used the season to cement his status as a first-round prospect. Mission accomplished.
#1 - Penei Sewell, Oregon (6-6, 330 lbs.) - Whoever hangs those thought-provoking banners in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati has been thinking about Sewell for a while now, at least since back in December ("Penei For Ur Thoughts"). Fifth overall wouldn't be too high for this guy. Sewell is a massive, hulking presence, and yet he does some of his best work on the move. He won the Outland Trophy the last time he played in 2019. He was a sophomore at Oregon at the time. Sewell has the look of a player who's already a Top 10-caliber selection and one who's going to continue getting better.