In the 2021 NFL Draft, four offensive tackles were taken in the first round, including two within the first 15 picks. With the 2021 college football season right around the corner, Pro Football Focus recently released a list of the top five offensive tackles in all of college football.
The top five, in order from No. 1 to No. 5 are Ohio State’s Thayer Munford, Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard, Alabama’s Evan Neal, Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer, and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski. Each player was a former 247Sports Composite four-star recruit or better, with Neal and Salyer both five-star recruits.
Munford will return to the Buckeyes for a fifth season in 2021 thanks to an extra year of eligibility granted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before his time at Ohio State, Munford was a 247Sports Composite four-star recruit out of Massillon, Ohio. He was also the No. 28 ranked offensive tackle in the recruiting class of 2017.
“His pass protection was nearly flawless in 2020,” PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote. “Munford stood strong against quality pass-rush units, such as Michigan, Clemson and Alabama, and displayed tremendous processing speed against stunts and blitzes all year long. Over the course of 264 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed just three pressures — none of which were sacks or hits on quarterback Justin Fields. In turn, his pressure rate allowed was half a percentage point lower than any other Power Five left tackle.”
As for Neal, the Crimson Tide star was a 247Sports Composite five-star recruit out of Bradenton, Florida. He was also the No. 1 ranked offensive tackle in the recruiting class of 2019. In Bleacher Report’s 2022 NFL mock draft, Neal is drafted No. 4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Right now, position-wise, Coach is trying to find the best combination of guys out there,” Neal told reporters this month during a Zoom call. “I worked at right (tackle) last year, worked at left guard my freshman year. I’m playing a little left (tackle) right now, but nothing’s set in stone right now. Coach is just trying to find the best five to put on the field.”
The other five-star recruit on the list is Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer. Coming out of Atlanta prior to his time with the Bulldogs, Salyer was the No. 1 ranked offensive guard and No. 10 ranked overall player in the recruiting class of 2018.
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Salyer started nine games at left tackle this year and moved to left guard for the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl with a couple of linemen missing in action. Prior to the 2020 season, Salyer had made two starts and both were at right tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, Salyer was the highest-graded left tackle in the SEC in 2020 at 88.9. The analytics-based publication had him at least 10 points higher than any other left tackle in the league.