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OTs Draft Preview: Who Could Joe Douglas Add Up Front for Sam Darnold, Jets?

Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs Headline Tackle Class  

Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas (71) blocks Auburn defensive end Nick Coe (91) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Jets GM Joe Douglas' emphasis has been, and will remain, on the offensive line. Douglas heavily addressed the interior O-line in free agency, signing Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis and Josh Andrews. However, the only tackles on the roster are George Fant, Chuma Edoga and Conor McDermott.

If Douglas wants to add a tackle at No. 11, there's a chance one or two of the "Big Four" — Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs — will be available.

Becton, the 6'7", 364-pound dancing bear, started 21 games at LT for Louisville and 12 at RT. He was a second-team All-American this past season and won the ACC 2019 Jacobs Blocking Trophy. The Highland Springs, VA native ran a 5.10 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and is known for his finishing as a run blocker. Former Cardinals HC Bobby Petrino said they wanted to offer Becton a scholarship once they saw him reverse-dunk in high school.

Thomas is the most seasoned of the bunch, starting from Day 1 in Athens. The 6'5", 315-pounder started all 15 games at RT in 2017, earning freshman All-American honors, before switching to LT for '18 and '19. He started 26 straight games there and was a first-team All-American this past season, a team captain and he won the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

Wills protected southpaw QB Tua Tagovailoa's blindside the past two seasons at RT and has played there since high school. The 6'4", 312-pounder was a second-team All-American this past season and is a menace in the run game. A former basketball player and the No. 1 football recruit in the state of Kentucky, many draft pundits believe Wills has the athletic traits to play LT.

Wirfs is another freak athlete. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds at 6'4", 320 pounds. The Mount Vernon, IA native became the first player in the state to win both the shot put and discus titles in three straight years since the 1950s. He was also a state champion wrestler. Wirfs became the first true freshman T to start under Hawkeyes HC Kirk Ferentz, who's been coaching at Iowa since 1999. He was a first-team All-American this past season and the first Hawkeye to win Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year since Brandon Scherff in 2014.

See Some of the Top Offensive Line Prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft

Outside of the "Big Four," there are a handful of potential starting-caliber options in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Here are six other tackles who could be selected before Saturday:

Josh Jones, Houston (6'5", 319) — After redshirting in 2015, Jones started 45 straight games at LT for the Cougars, earning second-team All-AAC honors this past season as he served as a team captain. The Richmond, TX native was a basketball player until his sophomore year at George Bush High School. At Houston, he played in three different systems with five OL coaches and is known as a better pass protector than run blocker.

Austin Jackson, USC (6'4", 322) — Jackson started the past two seasons at LT for the Trojans and was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection in 2019. His grandfather, Melvin, won a national championship at USC in 1974, playing tackle and was selected by the Packers in the 12th round of the 1976 NFL Draft. In addition to playing 39 games (25 starts), Austin blocked two field goals — one in 2017 and one in '19.

Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (6'6", 311) — Cleveland earned back-to-back first-team All-MWC honors in 2018-19. He started 40 games at LT after redshirting in '16 and played in 95.6% of the Broncos' offensive snaps. The Spanaway, WA native was a three-star defensive tackle in high school.

Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (6'6", 350) — Wilson played opposite Thomas on the Bulldogs' offensive line, starting two seasons at RT after redshirting in 2017. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native was the No. 5 ranked OT and the No. 16 player in the nation coming out of HS is considered somewhat raw because he only started two seasons in Athens and elected to skip his final two years of eligibility.

Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn (6'5", 308) — Tega-Wanogho first played football in 2014 as a DE and was a four-star recruit despite one season of experience. He was born and raised in Nigeria before he moved to Montgomery, AL, receiving a basketball scholarship at Edgewood HS where he lived with the head coach of the team. Tega-Wanogho redshirted in 2015 as he rehabbed from a basketball injury and made the transition to OT in '16. He then started 32 games (49 appearances) at LT and earned second-team All-SEC honors this past season.

Lucas Niang, TCU (6'6", 315) — Born in NYC, Niang moved to Switzerland for two years before moving back to the US in 2003. He lived in New Canaan, CT and became the first player from the state to sign with the Horned Frogs. He started 27 games at RT and he did not allow a sack before he missed the final five games last season because of a hip injury that required surgery.

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