By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303
The 2019 NFL Draft seems to be very defense heavy. As we dive deeper into the draft, the next most important question for the team is: Who is gonna be on the line to block all these pass rushers and linebackers?
According to many, Alabama’s left tackle Jonah Williams should be the first linemen to come off the board. Where the 6’5 301 pounder lands is anyone’s guess, but he is considered to be the best blocker in the draft.
Early in his college career, 2016 Williams played as a true freshman at right tackle earning two all American freshmen teams, as well as all American SEC team. He moved to left tackle his sophomore year and declared for the NFL draft this year following his junior year.
NFL.com has Williams graded at a 6.30. That’s instant-starter material, despite his so-called lack of size for the tackle position. His combine workouts came in at 40-yard dash time of 5.12, 23 bench presses, vertical jump at 28″ and long jump at 100″. The three-cone drill at 4.79 seems to indicate the agility required of great left tackles.
Here’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein:
“Early entrant and three-year starter whose work ethic, attention to detail and desire to get better each day have made him a foundation piece of Alabama’s dominant run. Like his idol, Joe Thomas, Williams uses angles, technique and body control to succeed in all facets of the game. He looked more comfortable in his pass sets at left tackle in his final year and he has the tools necessary to counter bigger, longer edge defenders despite a lack of ideal size and length for the left tackle spot. His cerebral nature and potential versatility should make him a safe pick and successful, long-time starter in the NFL.”
Cool moment when Joe Thomas greets Jonah Williams pic.twitter.com/w3qWxAoVDM
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) March 1, 2019
Following close by is the second best pick at offensive line, Jawaan Taylor. The 6’5 328-pound junior linemen out of Florida played most of his three seasons at right tackle, but he finished the season playing left tackle for two games. Taylor, however, did not participate in this year NFL combine as early tests determined he was nursing a mild distal hamstring strain. He is expected to have a quick and full recovery.
“Taylor was excellent for the Gators in 2018. He was steady in pass protection and tough as a run blocker. In speaking to team sources after the end of the regular season, multiple teams said they had Taylor as the top offensive line prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft,” wrote Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com.
So regardless of who shall come off the board first, both these guys are expected to make an immediate impact for their future team.
Talk football with Lisa on Twitter // @LJ1303