Newyorkjets.com's coverage of the 2012 draft includes breakdowns of each position group, the Jets' needs at the spot, and the top players expected to be selected at the position from April 26-28. Today's fifth in the series: Offensive Linemen.
It is rare when a team sends three offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl and the Jets had that luxury in 2011 with C Nick Mangold, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and RG Brandon Moore all making Hawaii trips.
But the line probably did not perform to its own standards at times and they'll be coached up by a new pair in Dave DeGuglielmo and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano in 2012. The Green & White figure to move from a zone-blocking system to man-blocking scheme and the Wildcat promises to be featured more with the acquisition of Tim Tebow.
The Jets are scheduled to have 10 selections in April's draft and they could elect to address their depth up front.
Kalil Tops Round 1 Tackle Lineup
USC tackle Matt Kalil will be the first lineman selected and most pundits think he's headed to the Minnesota Viking at No. 3 overall. The 6'7", 309-pound Kalil has all the tools pro scouts look for in a left tackle in terms of size, speed, strength, quickness and power.
The Buffalo Bills are in need of a tackle and they own the 10th selection. Could the Jets' AFC East rival target Iowa's Riley Reiff? The 6'6", 313-pounder was an accomplished South Dakota high school wrestler who posted a 121-1 record on the mat and was a three-time state champion. Reiff doesn't have long arms, but he is athletic and tenacious.
Many pundits believe Stanford's Jonathan Martinand Ohio State's* ike Adams* are also first-round material. Martin (6'5", 312) protected Andrew Luck's blindside the past three seasons. He has good feet but he'll have to increase his strength before he plays on Sundays.
Adams, a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, is blessed with tremendous size at 6'7", 323 pounds. He had a solid week in January at the Senior Bowl and he's got ideal length for an NFL tackle. He also was one of five players suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits from a tattoo parlor and was forced to repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring.
DeCastro Looms Big on the Inside
Guard David DeCastro was a teammate of Martin's at Stanford. Considered the best interior linemen available in the draft, DeCastro is an excellent run blocker and the Cardinal averaged 208 yards per game on the ground last season.
Georgia product Cordy Glenntied a school record with 50 starts, including 18 at left tackle and 28 at left guard. The 6'5", 345-pound Glenn was an All-SEC first-team LT in 2011 — his only full season at the position. If pro teams don't think he can handle the speed rushers on the edge, Glenn could be switched back inside or perhaps even shifted over to right tackle.
Wisconsin CPeter Konz, who started 30 games over the past three seasons, left school after his junior season and could be a late-first-round selection. The 6'5", 314-pound Konz improved on the bench press at the Badgers' pro day, benching 225 pounds 23 times after posting just 18 reps at the NFL Combine.
GKevin Zeitler, Konz's Wisconsin teammate, is doing some cross-training at center. According to NFL Draft Report statistics, Zeitler led all of college football with 142 knockdown blocks. Zeitler's 32 reps on the benchpress tied for third-best among offensive linemen at the combine.
"I would like to be a first-round pick,"Zeitler told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Everyone wants to be a first-round pick. Hopefully, I showed enough where people are willing to take a chance and see potential."
Down the Line: Amini, Zebrie
If you're looking for diamond in the rough among the offensive linemen, you may find it in Amini Silatolu. After earning JuCo All-America honors in 2008 at San Joaquin Delta CC, the 6'3", 324-pounder moved on to Division II Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas. Silatolu, who excelled at left tackle and was the first MSU player to earn a Division II consensus All-America honor, might be moved to the inside as he attempts to make it in the pros.
Florida State product Zebrie Sanders will play tackle on Sundays, but will his value be higher for teams who think he can succeed on the left side of the line or the right? Sanders started 50 career games and was credited with 136 knockdown blocks for the Seminoles, but the 6'6", 320-pounder struggled in the Senior Bowl. Off the field, he's an accomplished viola player.
Brandon Brookscame to Miami of Ohio as a 290-pound freshman, but the 6'5" lineman lined up at 353 pounds last year. While he played both tackle and guard on the collegiate level, he will most likely line up on the interior this coming season. Brooks has a good size/strength combination and may be viewed as an intriguing prospect for a number of teams intent on improving their rush attack.
Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele got his weight down to 327 at his pro day and he has some tremendous physical tools with 6'5" height, 35½-inch arms, an 85½-inch wingspan and huge hands. Osemele made the Academic Honor Roll three times off the field and played with an edge on the field. Fans will love that Osemele's surname means "ancient warrior" in the language of his Nigerian ancestors. Most pundits think he's best suited inside than rather outside at tackle.
Michigan's Molk Talks the Talk
Michigan C David Molk doesn't lack confidence. The 6'1", 298-pounder earned All-America first-team honors last year and was the recipient of the Rimington Award, which is presented to the nation's top center. He believes he will be a better pro player than the higher-ranked Konz.
"I have skills he doesn't have," Molk said of Konz on AnnArbor.com. "Obviously, my strength is far better, I'm faster, I would say I'm smarter. Obviously, he's an intelligent person, I've talked to him, but I just think I have a technique that's unmatched."
C Ben Jones made 49 starts at Georgia, the third-most by any offensive lineman in UGa history. He is expected to be the second center on many teams' draft boards entering draft weekend. Jones (6'2", 303) made all the line calls for the Dawgs and possesses impressive quickness.
An All-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection last season, Troy LT James Brown started all 12 games for the Trojans and earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl. According to troytrojans.com, the 6'3", 306-pound Brown "finished the year with an 87 percent grade on 878 snaps" and "racked up a team-high 110 knockdown blocks." Most pundits believe he's best suited for guard on the pro level. He is expected to be taken in the third or fourth round.
C Philip Blake, Baylor; C Michael Brewster, Ohio State; G Senio Kelemete, Washington; T Bobby Massie, Mississippi; T Matt McCants, Alabama-Birmingham, T Brandon Mosley, Auburn; T Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma.