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Tackling the offensive tackle prospects

The sudden and very tragic death of Heath Benedict from Newberry College, a young man I interviewed at the Senior Bowl and had on my radio show a week prior to his death, got me thinking about the tackles in this draft. Benedict might have been switched to guard, but he demonstrated tackle skills at the bowl practices and he would have been selected with the hope he could play outside.

In preparation for this article, I had a chance over the past 10 days to talk with a number of the top OL prospects, the men who coached some of them, and the clubs looking for offensive linemen. I think I have a good feel for the situation.

Supply and demand at this all-important position is critical to understanding how the draft will take shape in less than a month. Getting a great left tackle in the mold of Joe Thomas -- who went to Cleveland in last year's draft, was immediately plugged in on the left side and finished the season in the Pro Bowl -- may be an unrealistic goal, but seeing six men drafted in the first round who can play tackle is a probability.

It's time to tackle the tackles.

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