2024 NFL Draft: Former general manager's OL rankings, pro comps, landing spots for top prospects (2024)

"The offensive line, to me, is important," new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh said at the league's annual meeting in Orlando back in March. "If I asked you the question of 'what position group depends on no other position group to be good, but every other position group depends on them to be good, what position group is that?' Offensive line. They aren't relying on any other position group to be good. They go out, but every other position group relies on the offensive line to be good. ... Building that kind of offensive line, that's exciting. I can't wait to do that."

Offensive linemen aren't the most sexy, attention-grabbing position to discuss or evaluate to some, but high-level football doesn't exist without them. CBS Sports HQ NFL analyst Rick Spielman, theMinnesota Vikingsgeneral manager for 16 seasons (2006-2021), provides his takes on the 2024 class from the"With The First Pick" podcast episode that aired on March 22, providing a deeper dive on a group with talent variety at both offensive tackle and the interior of the line.

This is the fifth position group in CBS Sports' pre-draft position group evaluations withwide receivers,running backs,quarterbacksand tight ends all ready for your pursual. Each prospect also includes further analysis from yours truly. Welcome to the top of the 2024 NFL Draft offensive line class.

Offensive Tackles

5. Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma)

  • Height:6-8|Weight:322 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Zero sacks allowed on 335 pass block snaps in 2023

Pro comp: Buffalo Bills OT Spencer Brown

"Big. Guyton is better at anchoring [than Spencer Brown]," Spielman said.

  • Highest he could get drafted: 24th overall pick
  • Lowest he could get drafted: 32nd overall pick

Final thoughts:Tyler Guyton has the ceiling to develop into a strong offensive tackle, right or left -- seems more comfortable on the right side -- but his rookie season will be one where the expectations have to be set for what he is: a developmental prospect. Guyton registered only 15 career starts in college in his time at TCU and Oklahoma: 13 at right tackle, one at left tackle and one at tight end (at TCU). He has great size and strength and maintains his balance with reactive agility and bend. His top strength is his hand-fighting where he operates like a boxer to strike and adjust to parry and counter opposing rushers' moves.

However, Guyton can miss with his opening strikes with his hands, connecting with an opponents triceps instead of their chest. He can struggles with leverage by playing too high up. The run-blocking needs work because of the same issue of not maintaining a lower center of gravity. Guyton is a physical specimen and could easily develop into a strong starting NFL offensive tackle. Patience is required.

4. Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State)

  • Height:6-6|Weight:324 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Highest PFF run blocking grade (90.9) in FBS last season, no sacks allowed on 694 career pass-block snaps

Pro comp: A more aggressive version of Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.

"He'll end up on the right side," Spielman said. "Tough mentality."

  • Highest he could get drafted:14th overall
  • Lowest he could get drafted:19th overall

Final thoughts:Fuaga is at his best in the run game, pile-driving opponents into the dirt from snap to whistle. He has the nimble ability to get from one block to the next and wall off defenders from getting near his running backs. Fuaga's film study is a fun one because once he does get to the second level, he sends defensive backs flying upon contract. He has the agility to play in a zone-blocking scheme. Fuaga could even play at guard even though every start of his in college came at right tackle. He is a consistent pass-blocker with great hand counters while making sure not to lunge get off balance for the most part. Fuaga did not allow a sack on 694 career pass-blocking snaps in college.

3. JC Latham (Alabama)

  • Height:6-6|Weight:342 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Three sacks allowed in 970 career pass-block snaps

Pro comp: Kansas City Chiefs RT Jawaan Taylor

"He can bend. He creates movement at the point of attack in the run game," Spielman said. "I think he is patient in pass protection. Sometimes gets beat to his inside a little bit. More than athletic enough to fix some of the technical flaws that he has. Heard at the Alabama Pro Day that he was very impressive in the way that he worked out and the way he moved. I just hear a lot of things out there that he may be moving back up the board as the third tackle coming off the board in this year's draft."

  • Highest he could get drafted:13th overall pick
  • Lowest he could get drafted:19th overall pick

Final thoughts:JC Latham is a right tackle with a sumo wrestler-like frame. His handwork through grabbing rushers with the inside hand while utilizing the outside hand to redirect them is strong, technical work. Latham isn't someone who can be bull-rushed with ease as his frame allows him to absorb the contact and simply anchor himself down at his spot. Once he locks onto a rusher with his hands, it's unlikely they disconnect from his grasp in a timely manner.

Latham is elite in the run game, knocking defenders out of the way like a battering ram to open up wide running lanes for his backs. He possesses the necessary aggression and enjoyment to thrive in the run game, knocking opponents to the ground and making sure they stay there. Latham also doesn't yield his effort until the referee blows the play dead. He is susceptible to rushers blowing past him with their speed, but he is an ideal, long-term option at right tackle.

2. Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn State)

  • Height:6-6|Weight:312 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Zero sacks allowed on 697 career pass-block snaps

Pro comp: Former New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson

  • Highest he could get drafted: Ninth overall pick
  • Lowest he could get drafted: 13th overall pick

Final thoughts:There is a case to be made that Fashanu is the best pass-blocking offensive tackle in this entire draft class. His balance is ideal with bent knees and a straight back while seemingly gliding to mimic opposing pass rushers' movements. Fashanu remains poised when fending off rushers with his hands, and he remains able to contort his body in uncomfortable directions to keep defensive linemen at bay. Fashanu's awareness and anticipation of counter and spin moves displays a high football IQ. His run-blocking remains a work in progress. He tends to spring forward, which can knock defenders out of the way, but it can also lead to him losing his footing as well as losing the edge on his block.

1. Joe Alt (Notre Dame)

  • Height:6-9|Weight:321 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Highest overall PFF grade (90.7) by FBS OL last season, One sack allowed on 740 pass-blocking snaps since 2022

Pro comp: Better version of Atlanta Falcons LT Jake Matthews

"What was surprising is that Joe Alt, the performance he put on at the combine [5.05 40-yard dash, 7.31 second three-cone drill] at that height with his bend, his ability to move, his athleticism," Spielman said. "He's not the most powerful run blocker. He is very solid, steady Eddie. Plays on his feet. Really good at the second level. He is very good with his hands to tie defenders up. He is not great with a lot of movement at the point. It's more than enough for a running back to get by. Very good athlete out in space when you see him on pulls and screens, things like that. I just think he is a Day 1 starter when he steps in. All A-pluses character-wise, football intelligence at least that I know of. ... You never say a 'can't miss prospect' but at this position and this age, the way he is performing and ascending through this predraft process to me it's a pretty much for sure solidifying your starting left tackle for years to come if he stays healthy."

  • Highest he could get drafted: Seventh overall pick
  • Lowest he could get drafted:10th overall pick

Final thoughts:Joe Alt could be the foundational component of any NFL team's offensive line for years to come. Thanks to his size and length, he comes across as a men among boys on tape, preventing rushers from getting close to his quarterback with full arm extension into opponents' chest. Alt's balance and agility is strong for someone whose height would qualify him to play in the NBA, and his leverage is solid. He relies on constantly moving his feet and and the anchoring himself to the spot. As a run blocker, he is a menace. The only knocks are he sometimes waits for pass rushers to come to him instead of forcing the contact off the snap, and he can sometimes get out of his stance and stand too tall on a play. Overall, nimble footwork plus mammoth size equals immediate starter at left tackle with a bright future.

Interior Offensive Linemen

5. Zach Frazier (West Virginia)

  • Height:6-3|Weight:313 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics: 2023 Second Team All-American,two-time First Team All-Big 12 (2022-2023)

Pro comp:New York Giants C John Michael Schmitz, New York Jets C Joe Tippmann

"I liked him as a football player. He's smart. I think he is a center only," Spielman said. "That's the only issue I had with him, a one position guy. Four-time state wrestling champion. I think he only lost two matches his entire life. ... Great start when those guys at center have a wrestling background. They know leverage. They have strong hands. I think he played better as a junior than as a senior. I know he is coming off a broken leg in November where he got hurt. Tough, smart. Good athlete not a great athlete. Those guys end up lining up and playing a long time. He is bigger than I thought he would be.

  • Highest he could get drafted:Second round
  • Lowest he could get drafted: Second round

Final thoughts:Zach Frazier is built exactly the way one would imagine the West Virginia Mountaineers all-conference center would be: stout and burly like a true mountain man. His wrestling background translates to his play on the football field with the quick burst to almost instantly reach a strong leverage point, allowing him to win on a majority of his blocks. Frazier's feet also stay in a wide base, allowing him to remain level. His best move is his wrestler-like snatch technique to toss out of control opponents into the dirt. Frazier can also recover nicely even if initially beat to salvage a block. He didn't allow a sack on 328 pass-blocking snaps in 2023.

His only drawbacks are his stature (height and weight) and his arm length (32 1/4"). Frazier being a center only and missing some of the predraft process will prevent him from being a first-round pick, but he won't last into Round 3.

4. Cooper Beebe (Kansas State)

  • Height:6-3|Weight:322 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:2023 Unanimous All-American, two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year (2022, 2023)

Pro comp: Arizona Cardinals G Will Hernandez

"Big, thick guy," Spielman said. "This guy has lined up at both tackle spots, both guard spots. He is a guard at the next level. May be better in a gap scheme because of his mass and ability to create movement at the point of attack. As long as he has bumpers on either side of him, he is stout in pass protection. I think this guy is going to be a second-rounder, solid second-round pick. I think he is going to be a starting guard in the league for a long time."

  • Highest he could get drafted:Second round
  • Lowest he could get drafted:Second round
  • Best team fit: Detroit Lions

Final thoughts:Some may knock Cooper Beebe for his shorter arm length (31 1/2"), but any team who overlooks him simply because of the measurables is missing out. His burst off the line of scrimmage is strong as his his hand work (punching opponents backward) while maintaining nice upper body leverage. Beebe routinely is out for blood as a run blocker, looking to bury people into the playing surface. He is like a high-speed 18 wheeler on the interstate, making others adjust to his presence. The back-to-back Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year lined up mostly as a guard in college, and he could be a high-quality player at that position in either a zone or gap blocking scheme in the NFL.

3. Graham Barton (Duke)

  • Height:6-5|Weight:313 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:2023 Second Team All-American, two-time First Team All-ACC (2022-23)

"This kid was functioning as a left tackle ... but this is another guard-center combo," Spielman said. "Very tough. Physical. Grit. Whatever you want to put on him. Football player."

  • Highest he could get drafted: Bottom of the first round
  • Lowest he could get drafted:Early second round

Final thoughts:Graham Barton was a full-time left tackle at Duke, but he will be an interior offensive lineman, a guard or a center, in the NFL. Barton remains on point and technically sound to achieve advantageous positioning as a run blocker, and the fluidity in his hips provides him the ability to contort and wall off defenders from the ballcarrier's path. Barton fights until the whistle blow, and he is smooth getting out of his stance.

A couple knocks on him are his arm length (32 7/8"), and he is susceptible to being burnt by quicker, faster edge rushers. That's why the likely first-round pick will be transitioned to the interior of the offensive line at the NFL level.

2. Troy Fautanu (Washington)

  • Height:6-4|Weight:317 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:2023 Morris Trophy winner (best OL in Pac-12), two sacks allowed in 1,161 pass-block snaps in past two seasons

Pro comp: Former Green Bay Packers LT David Bakhtiari

"Really good athlete," Spielman said. "I think some teams will look at him at left tackle. He may not be the ideal arm length [34 1/2 inches], but neither was David Bakhtiari when he came out and he ended up being a Pro Bowl left tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Some teams will look at him as a left tackle. Some teams will look at him to slide like a Peter Skoronski or an Alijah Vera-Tucker, who played left tackle and slid inside. I think it will depend on the team where they want to line him up and play him. I'm not so sure he isn't athletic enough to line up and snap the ball at center."

  • Highest he could get drafted:16th overall
  • Lowest he could get drafted:32nd overall

Final thoughts:Troy Fautanu has the versatility to play any of the five offensive line positions. He possesses the prototypical offensive lineman frame in terms of his height and weight plus strong arm length (34 1/2"). Fautanu combines his physical gifts with a nimble quality to his movement in pass protection, allowing to remain stride for stride with almost any pass rusher. He keeps his feet moving, which aides his balance allowing him to continue fighting opposing rushers with his hands throughout the entirety of the play.

Fautanu's hands come into play in the run game as well, popping defenders in the chest before piledriving them out of the ball-carrier's path. He was predominantly a left tackle in college, but Fautanu also lined up a little bit at left guard, highlighting a varied skill set. Some teams may see him as a guard only, but he definitely has the ability to be a tackle if given the opportunity.

1. Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon)

  • Height:6-3|Weight:328 pounds
  • Accolades/notable statistics:Allowed zero sacks and four quarterback pressures on 714 career pass-blocking snaps, 2023 First Team All-Pac-12

Pro comp: Kansas City Chiefs C Creed Humphrey

  • Highest he could get drafted:16th overall pick
  • Lowest he could get drafted:24th overall pick

Final thoughts:This is a Day 1 starter at the center position. Jackson Powers-Johnson shined brightly at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama by routinely whipping high-caliber, fellow draft prospects to the ground over and over again. His film routinely displays plays in which he blocks two players simultaneously, helping out one of his guards and corralling his own guy. When Powers-Johnson gets set in a spot, he rarely gets moved off the spot.

He is a natural bulldozer in the run game, and he has the agility to not only beat his man at the line of scrimmage but power through to make an impact against the next line of defense. Powers-Johnson can sometimes be too hasty as a run blocker and get off-balance when lunging. Other than that, he projects as an immediate starter at guard or center.

2024 NFL Draft: Former general manager's OL rankings, pro comps, landing spots for top prospects (2024)

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