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2016 NFL Draft: Laremy Tunsil at front of top-heavy OT class

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Dating back to 2008, there's been an average of 4.5 offensive tackles taken in the first round of the NFL draft and 7.5 OTs within the first two rounds. In 2008, 7 OTs went in the first round while 2012 saw just two go in the first but 7 go in the second. In other words, there is always a run on OTs in the early going of the draft.

Laremy Tunsil is an incredibly consistent talent with outstanding technique and pedigree. He might be the best player in this draft. Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin are in the next tier of immediate starters with the potential to be good NFL starters. In all, there are seven tackles with true starting potential, but the talent falls off very sharply after that.

Let's explore this year's offensive-tackle class (scroll down for a look at this year's class of interior O-linemen).

Teams with greatest need


San Francisco 49ers

Philadelphia Eagles

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Seattle Seahawks

Carolina Panthers

Top 5 players at the position

1. Laremy Tunsil: Tunsil lacks pure power, but has the body control to be a quality run blocker in space and on levels. Ultimately, his feet, technique and instincts could make him an all-p­ro and one of the top pass protectors in the NFL.

2. Ronnie Stanley: While Stanley's core power is still a concern, he showed improved strength and run-blocking prowess this year and should be ready to come in and start right away for a team looking to protect a high-­end quarterback.

3. Jack Conklin: Conklin has some physical limitations, but he has solid technique and the field demeanor that offensive line coaches will be looking for.

4. Le'Raven Clark: Left tackles with Clark's potential in pass protection carry first-round value. He has a Pro Bowl upside with the floor of an average NFL starter.

5. Taylor Decker: Decker has the run-blocking prowess and mindset to be a long-time starter at right tackle, but might always be a little leakier in pass protection than offensive line coaches and quarterbacks would like.

Sources Tell Us


"I spoke with a scout who was complaining about Coleman not being able to move that well. I have no idea what he's looking at. He is a little stiff in space, but we aren't drafting tackles based on second-level blocking and Coleman has good movement when he's kicking out the edge in pass protection." -- AFC offensive line coach on Auburn OT Shon Coleman

2016 NFL DRAFT

Draft coverage:

Most overrated


Jason Spriggs: I might be way off on this one when it is all said and done based on the way he performed at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, but I can't get away from Spriggs' issues on tape with bull rushes and inside moves. Spriggs is athletic, has the measurables and looks the part, but I see holes in his protection that might be very hard to correct. Spriggs could go as early as the first round.

Most underrated


Shon Coleman: Some teams don't care for the way Coleman moves as a left tackle. He has incredible arm length and a great deal of tape that shows him dealing with SEC edge rushers, including Texas A&M's Myles Garrett. Coleman is also a rock-solid run blocker. He could become an early starter in the league despite being the seventh or eighth tackle off the board.

Boom or bust


Le'Raven Clark: This is the easiest one on the page. Clark has the traits teams are looking for, but the tape can be unkind to him. Keep in mind that playing fast is much more coveted than hyper-focusing on technique, so Clark has tremendous room for growth with more coaching. However, if Clark is unable to take the coaching and improve upon his areas of weakness, he will be an early-round bust.

Sleeper alert


Alex Lewis:I don't see a crop of tackles that features many legitimate "sleeper" possibilities in it this year. Lewis has pretty good length, decent size and plays strong. He's not the best athlete in the world, but as a grinder who could end up being a late-round selection and future starter for a team, he might fit the bill.

Interior O-linemen

At the top of the draft board for interior linemen, Kansas State's Cody Whitehair is the lead dog after playing left tackle over the last two seasons. While Whitehair was disappointing on the bench press (16 reps) at the combine, his tape shows plenty of functional strength. Joshua Garnett comes from Stanford's pro-style rushing attack, so he should be an early plug-and-play option at guard.

There are those who see Nick Martin in the same discussion with Ryan Kelly as the top center in this draft, but I don't think it is quite that close. Christian Westerman has power and athleticism but will require additional reps to get acclimated at the next level.

There is quality mid-to-late round depth at both the guard and center spots and I believe we will see centers who could go late or undrafted become eventual starters in the league. Many of the interior linemen in this draft are unusually light, so they must prove they can put on more weight in order to make it in the league.

Teams with greatest need


New Orleans Saints

Jacksonville Jaguars

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

Top 5 players at the position

1. Cody Whitehair: Whitehair has the ability to be a very good starter with a ceiling that could reach the all-pro level.

2. Joshua Garnett: Garnett should be an early round pick who can come in and start right away.

3. Ryan Kelly: While he could use more mass on his frame, Kelly has the necessary skill­ set and football intelligence to step in and challenge for a starting position right away.

4. Germain Ifedi: A move inside to guard combined with NFL coaching could unlock Ifedi's high ceiling

5. Christian Westerman: A move from guard to center is not out of the question thanks to his body type and quickness. His draft stock might be helped by a potential ability to offer roster depth at several offensive-line positions.

Sources Tell Us


"I like everything about Whitehair as a player, but he's developed some bad habits with his outside hand because of his lack of arm length. I think he can overcome it inside, but I would be a little worried about him in the first round." -- NFC offensive line coach on Kansas State's Cody Whitehair

Most overrated


Vadal Alexander: Alexander has very good size and power as a guard, but has no business playing the tackle spot, where he lined up last season. While I like some of the things that Alexander can do in a phone booth, he falls off of too many blocks and is a little too limited in space for me to hop on the bandwagon.

Most underrated


Darrell Greene: Greene possesses tremendous power at the point of attack and combines leverage with leg drive to widen out the rushing lanes. He is limited athletically, so he won't be for everyone, but his ability to drive block could make him a future starter for a team who prefers power.

Boom or bust


Germain Ifedi: Ifedi has great size and length. He flashes the quality footwork that has helped Texas A&M produce three first-round tackles in a row; however, his lack of consistency is a concern. Teams must first decide if Ifedi is a guard or tackle and then he has to learn to be more patient with his hands and become technically sound or he'll forever have issues. He does have a high ceiling, to be sure.

Sleeper alert


Kyle Friend: Friend reminds me of A.Q. Shipley with a squatty build, extremely short arms and enormous power. If Friend had better length, he might be in the discussion as one of the top three centers in this draft. As it stands, he's aggressive, powerful and extremely consistent. A team is going to steal a starter late when it picks Friend.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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