The 5: Last offensive tackles to go top-10 in NFL Draft
The odds are the Arizona Cardinals are going to select an offensive tackle if they pick at No. 8 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Of the last 30 mock drafts to come out, 28 of them have them headed that route. That’s because of need and also because the Cardinals have options.
Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas have all been mocked to Arizona.
So, at eighth overall, what’s the past precedent for offensive tackles selected that high?
Here are the five last players at the position to go in the top-10.
2018: Mike McGlinchey, ninth overall, San Francisco 49ers
McGlinchey actually wasn’t the first offensive lineman to go off the board in 2018, with the Indianapolis Colts taking offensive guard Quenton Nelson sixth.
McGlinchey, a consensus All-American at Notre Dame, started all 16 games in his rookie season at right tackle and made the All-Rookie team.
Pro Football Focus graded McGlinchey with a 70.7, a middle-of-the-road number among tackles in 2019.
In what should be no surprise given the way San Francisco rode the running game to a Super Bowl appearance, McGlinchey ranked 12th in PFF’s run block grade among tackles.
McGlinchey is expected to succeed longtime veteran left tackle Joe Staley — who is still trucking at 35 years old — in leading the 49ers’ offensive line room.
2016: Ronnie Stanley, sixth overall, Baltimore Ravens
Another Notre Dame product, Stanley is one of the best offensive tackles in football.
PFF labeled Stanley as the league’s best pass blocker and the left tackle’s play earned him First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl recognition in 2019.
There isn’t much else to note. Stanley is awesome at his job and the Ravens knocked it out of the park.
Expect to see news soon of a very expensive extension for Stanley, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
2016: Jack Conklin, eighth overall, Tennesee Titans
Conklin’s had an odd NFL career considering how short it has been and how well he has played.
He was tremendous from the jump, making First-Team All-Pro in 2016 as a rookie and saw his PFF grade dip only slightly from an outstanding 88.9 to 81.8 for the 2017 season.
In the playoffs that year, Conklin tore his ACL and didn’t return in 2018 until the fourth game of the season. He went into concussion protocol after his return game, and then would again get injured later in the season, this time in Week 14 with another knee problem that put him on injured reserve.
In May before the start of the 2019 season, the Titans had apparently seen enough to go as far as to decline the fifth-year option on Conklin’s rookie contract that had him set to be owed $12.8 million in 2020.
The Cleveland Browns proceeded to sign Conklin this offseason to a three-year, $42 million deal.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell gave the move a B-, noting Conklin’s reputation as one of the best run blockers at right tackle and that his pass blocking is the swing.
2015: Ereck Flowers, ninth overall, New York Giants
Brandon Scherff went fifth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft to Washington as an offensive tackle but has been a right guard in the NFL, so we will pass on him to Flowers.
Scherff has gone on to make three Pro Bowls but it has not been as successful of a first five years in the NFL for Flowers.
From 2015-17, Flowers allowed the most pressures of any offensive tackle. The Giants declined Flowers’ fifth-year option and moved him to right tackle in 2018. He lasted less than a month into the season there and was released on Oct. 9 of that year.
Flowers was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars for the rest of the 2018 season, where he would start at left tackle and underwhelm.
In a fun twist, he signed a one-year deal in 2019 with the Redskins, starting at left guard all year. So, the Redskins wound up with two top-10 picks from the same draft at offensive tackle but played them at guard.
Flowers performed relatively well, reviving his career.
The Miami Dolphins liked what they saw, giving Flowers a three-year, $30 million contract this offseason.
Barnwell is skeptical, grading the move at a C-, crediting Washington offensive line coach Bill Callahan with some of Flowers’ success and fearing a change of scenery for Flowers.
2014: Greg Robinson, second overall, St. Louis Rams
History tells us that if you see a lineman on either side of the ball drafted in the top-five, it’s rare for teams to miss.
Here are the linemen selected in the top-five from 2010-15: Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Marcell Dareus, Matt Kalil, Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan, Lane Johnson, Ezekiel Ansah, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, Dante Fowler and Scherff.
Joeckel, Jordan, Robinson and Fowler are the only four who haven’t made a Pro Bowl. Joeckel and Jordan are already out of football, Fowler resurrected his career with the Rams last year and then there’s Robinson.
Robinson never panned out in St. Louis. PFF graded him in the 60s throughout his three-year stint there, a decent-level contribution, but nothing worthy of the contract he was given as a second overall pick. They declined his fifth-year option.
Detroit saw potential in Robinson and took a flyer on him, trading a sixth-round pick for the tackle in 2017.
It didn’t go well there, either. Robinson had shoulder and ankle injuries with the Lions and was released in November of that year.
Robinson then spent his last two seasons with the Browns, serving as a mildly competent depth piece with his PFF grades in the same range as St. Louis.
He’s currently a free agent, and he will probably remain that way.
That’s because in February, Robinson and former NFL wide receiver Quan Bray were arrested at the United States-Mexico border with allegedly 157 pounds of marijuana packed up in duffle bags.
Robinson is facing up to 20 years in prison.