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Mike Mayock: Brandon Scherff will be first O-lineman drafted

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The past five drafts have seen 32 offensive linemen go in the first round, and NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said he has six offensive linemen graded as first-rounders this year.

Mayock's top-rated lineman is Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff -- but Mayock has Scherff as the best interior lineman available.


» DIII prospect paces offensive linemen in 40


"I fully expect Brandon Scherff to be the first offensive lineman off the board," Mayock said Friday on the NFL Network's coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine. Mayock also said that while he sees Scherff playing inside, numerous teams have Scherff as a tackle.

"I think he kicks inside and Day 1 becomes a starter," Mayock said.

Scherff weighed in at 6-foot-4 1/2 and 319 pounds, with a wingspan of 80 1/4 inches. He was clocked at 5.07 seconds in the 40 on Friday, with a 10-yard split of 1.78 seconds -- strong numbers for a guy of his size.

Scherff, whose pro day is March 23, suffered a slight right hamstring injury during the first position drill and thus was finished for the day. But that is not going to affect his draft stock one iota -- he should be one of the first two linemen off the board regardless.

"He checked off all the boxes he needed to check off," Mayock said.

LSU's Collins also could be on the move

Another star college left tackle who could move to the right side or inside at the next level is LSU's La'el Collins (More: Follow his draft journey). Like Scherff, Collins thought a bit about turning pro after the 2013 season, but decided to stay in school. "Is he a guard or is he a tackle?" NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "He looked like a tackle on Friday."

Fellow analyst Charles Davis also was impressed, though he said, "I'm thinking he's a guard." Davis compared Collins (6-4 1/2, 305, with an 82-inch wingspan) to Green Bay Packers guard Josh Sitton, who was a starting right tackle in college at UCF. "Any power-running team would love to have La'El Collins," Davis said.

Mayock noted that LSU hasn't had an offensive lineman taken in the first round since 1998 and said, "I think this kid's going to break that string." Former NFL coach Brian Billick, who now is a NFL Network analyst summed up Collins' day thusly: "I think he's making some money." Collins was clocked at 5.12 in the 40 and 4.62 in the 20-yard shuttle; he also had a vertical jump of 27 inches and a broad jump of 108 inches (an even 9 feet).

Clemmings' athleticism is a selling point

Mayock's top-ranked offensive tackle is Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings. But as everyone who follows the draft knows, there is some risk with Clemmings because he has played just two seasons along the offensive line -- and at right tackle, no less. He was a defensive lineman in high school and in his first two seasons at Pitt. But he definitely has the physical traits of a left tackle: He is 6-4 3/4 and 309 pounds, with an impressive wingspan of 85 5/8 inches. Mayock touted Clemmings' "tremendously high ceiling," but noted that because of his inexperience at the position, there is a risk that he never reaches that upside.

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NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara, a former longtime NFL offensive lineman, said of Clemmings: "This guy is a physical specimen." Later, O'Hara said that while Clemmings is raw, "he definitely has the athletic ability to be a tackle." Davis and Mayock both said that if a team has some concerns about using Clemmings on the left side early in his career, they can start him on the right side and move him later. Clemmings was timed in 5.14 seconds in the 40 and a sterling 4.54 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. He had a vertical jump of 32.5 inches and a broad jump of 111 inches (9.25 feet).

Fast-rising OT has good day

Florida's D.J. Humphries entered college as the nation's top-ranked high school offensive lineman, and Jeremiah and Davis say they think he will leave college as the No. 1 left tackle in the draft. Humphries, who is from Charlotte, had a checkered three-year career because of injuries at Florida. But his athleticism always has been a big selling point, and Jeremiah says Humphries has "the best feet of any tackle in this draft class."

Humphries weighed in the 280s at Florida, and Jeremiah said there were some weight questions. But he was measured at 6-5 and 307 pounds at the official combine weigh-in, which should assuage doubts about his size. He ran the 40 in 5.12 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.64 seconds; he also had a vertical jump of 31 inches.

Blah TE class highlighted by Minnesota star

This year's tight end class is underwhelming. How underwhelming? The top tight end in the class for Mayock (and almost every analyst) is Minnesota's Maxx Williams, whose dad, Brian, was a longtime NFL offensive lineman. Mayock has Williams -- who measured at 6-3 7/8 and 249 pounds and ran a 4.77 in the 40 -- as a second-rounder. "He is the only tight end I have in the first two rounds," Mayock said. He said Williams is athletic -- albeit not explosive -- and has "really good hands." Williams was clocked in a solid 4.37 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and had a 34.5-inch vertical jump.

Mayock has Miami's Clive Walford (More: Follow his draft journey) as the No. 2 tight end and noted that there is no clear-cut No. 3 guy at the position. "After that, what's your flavor?" Mayock said, noting that a team's preference at the position -- whether it is looking for a blocker, a pass-catcher or some kind of combination -- would determine their draft board after the top two. Mayock did say Walford (6-4, 251) has a nice combination of size, speed and strength, though Walford's 4.79 clocking in the 40 was mildly disappointing. But Walford did well in the vertical jump, at 35 inches, and in the broad jump, at 120 inches (10 feet).

FSU star can be a 'Pro Bowl center'

Florida State's Cameron Erving went into the season considered a potential -- and, in some circles, probable -- first-round pick at left tackle. Erving was a defensive lineman in high school and in his first season at FSU; he was moved to left tackle in 2012 and was a revelation. He especially was good in 2013, but his play seemed to drop off a bit early this season.

In an effort to shore up the offensive line as a whole, he was moved to center in mid-November and started the final five games there. He played so well that he is considered the best center in the draft. Mayock said Erving (6-5 1/2, 313, with a wingspan of 84 1/8 inches) is a "starting Pro Bowl-quality center," and both he and Jeremiah said Erving conceivably could go late in the first round. He ran the 40 in 5.16 seconds, with his best 10-yard split being 1.84. He also had a broad jump of 112 inches (9 feet, 3 inches).

Ducks OT continues to open some eyes

Oregon's Jake Fisher has been overlooked a bit in all the talk about offensive tackles, but he was a key cog for a high-powered offense in college and looked good Friday during testing. Fisher -- who was a three-year starter at left tackle -- missed two games this season with a leg injury, and the Ducks surrendered 12 sacks in those games; they gave up 19 in the other 13 games combined.

Fisher (6-6 1/8, 306 pounds, with an 82-inch wingspan) was clocked at 5.01 in the 40, with a solid 10-yard split of 1.75 seconds (his other 10-yard split was 1.78 seconds). There was a thought that Fisher would have to move to the right side in the NFL, but Mayock said, "He's making a case for, 'I'm a left tackle.'"

NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara, a former NFL offensive lineman, was impressed: "He looked really polished." Despite his size, Fisher looks almost lean, and he should be a second-day selection -- perhaps even in the second round. He also blew away the field with a clocking of 4.33 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, and had an excellent vertical jump of 32.5 inches.

TE has good hands, but turns in slow time

Florida State's Nick O'Leary won the Mackey Award as the nation's top college tight end in 2014, but his best 40 time Friday was a 4.93 clocking. Mayock termed that "disappointing," saying he expected O'Leary (6-3, 252) to run in the 4.7/4.75 range. "That's significantly slower than I expected," Mayock said.

As a receiver, O'Leary is advanced; he has good hands -- Mayock calls him a "natural hands catcher" -- and understands routes. But his lack of size means he could struggle as an in-line blocker at the next level, and there are questions about his ability to get open against NFL linebackers and safeties.

More on the linemen

Some other linemen who caught the eyes of analysts Friday included Miami OT Ereck Flowers, Iowa OT Andrew Donnal, Penn State OT Donovan Smith and Stanford OT Andrus Peat. Flowers, Peat and Smith left school after their junior seasons. Mayock said that while Flowers played left tackle for UM, he could see him moving to the right side at the next level; he also lauded Flowers' run-blocking. "He gets movement in the running game," Mayock said.

Mayock noted that Donnal was overshadowed by Scherff at Iowa, but sees Donnal as a fourth- or fifth-rounder who can be a "starting right tackle" in the NFL. Mayock said Smith "had a great Senior Bowl" and might be undervalued; he is another college left tackle who seems likely to move to the tight side. Mayock said Peat needs to get "stronger, nastier and a little tougher" but also that he has a definite upside as a starting left tackle.

Looking ahead

Saturday's testing definitely is the most eagerly awaited by those fans who enjoy offensive football: The featured positions are running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. The running back class is an impressive one, and Mayock touted the quality at the top and the depth throughout. "It's one of the best running back classes I've seen in recent history," he said.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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