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NFL Draft 2018: Scouting the offensive linemen

Quenton Nelson leads a deep group of offensive linemen in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson speaks during

Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson speaks during a press conference at the NFL Combine, Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Indianapolis. Photo Credit: AP / Darron Cummings

1. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Height: 6-5

Weight: 329

40 time: Did not run at NFL Scouting Combine (hamstring)

Projected draft status: Top 10 picks

Strengths: Nelson is regarded as one of the best all-around offensive line prospects in recent years . . . Very aggressive at point of attack . . . One of the top run blockers to come out of college football . . . Uses feet well and is rarely caught off balance . . . Hand placement is strong.

Weaknesses: Occasionally vulnerable to moves made by quicker defensive linemen . . . Will have to adjust to speed of NFL line play . . . Can use improvement in pass blocking.

Quote: Nelson: “I want to dominate all my opponents and take their will away to play the game by each play and finishing them past the whistle. You have guys who are dominating the NFL right now in Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox that have just been working on interior guys. You need guys to stop them, and I think I’m one of those guys.”

2. Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

Height: 6-8

Weight: 312

40 time: Did not run at combine (hamstring)

Projected draft status: Rounds 1-2

Strengths: Very athletic in his movements, thanks in part to background as a tight end . . . Blocks well on the move . . . Skilled technician who can play in a variety of schemes . . . Two-time captain has excellent leadership skills . . . Very intelligent lineman.

Weaknesses: Will have to bulk up to deal with bigger opponents at the NFL level . . . May be better suited to playing right tackle . . . Can be taken advantage of by stronger defensive ends.

Quote: McGlinchey on being first cousins with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan: “It’s kind of been the ‘Mike McGlinchey, Matt Ryan’s first cousin’ since I was in high school. But I’m very thankful for that. Matt has guided me every step of the way, whether he knew it or not. He’s been my football hero ever since I was a little kid.”

3. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Height: 6-2

Weight: 348

40 time: 5.15

Projected draft status: Rounds 1-2

Strengths: Excellent durability as a four-year starter at left guard . . . Has unique blend of strength and athleticism . . . A powerful run blocker . . . Has good footwork for a big man . . . Had a strong combine performance.

Weaknesses: On the shorter side compared to most of today’s NFL linemen . . . Can improve on pass protection . . . Has shorter arms than many guards.

Quote: Hernandez: “I think my physical ability has helped me and has picked up the slack in a lot of other areas. My technique, you have to have technique for offensive line. I think once you learn how to use your technique along with your strength, I think that’s really what separates you from the crowd.”

4. Connor Williams, T/G, Texas

Height: 6-6

Weight: 320

40 time: 5.05

Projected draft status: Rounds 1-2

Strengths: Relentless worker who uses technique to his advantage . . . Has good footwork . . . Uses hands well to counter moves by opposing defensive linemen . . . Aggressive run blocker.

Weaknesses: Some scouts view him as a guard . . . Was not considered to be as good in 2017 as he was the year before . . . Susceptible to speed rushes to the outside.

Quote: NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler: “Williams at guard is a thought that seems to be gaining steam. With his size and 33-inch arms, he can play tackle, but he might be best inside to help mask some of his issues. He will stay on my tackle board, but he’ll be listed as a guard for some teams around the league.”

5. Orlando Brown, T, Oklahoma

Height: 6-8

Weight: 360

40 time: 5.85

Projected draft status: Rounds 1-3

Strengths: The son of former NFL lineman Orlando “Zeus” Brown is a physical specimen with exceptional size and length . . . Uses strength to his advantage and can rarely be beaten at the point of attack if his feet are set properly . . . Covers a lot of ground simply by virtue of his size.

Weaknesses: Had an awful performance at the combine and was not in good shape, shocking most scouts . . . Lack of preparedness sent up red flags about his work rate . . . Often relies too much on his strength and not his technique . . . Has to work on keeping a lower center of gravity to improve leverage.

Quote: NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock: “I’m struggling right now with [Brown]. I typically don’t like huge tackles that don’t have great feet. But the more tape I watched of him, I though, ‘Man, he gets the job done.’ And then he comes out [to the combine] and does 14 reps [bench press] and runs 5.85. He’s going to slide a little bit.”

6. Kolton Miller, T, UCLA

Height: 6-9

Weight: 310

40 time: 4.95

Projected draft status: Rounds 1-3

Strengths: Did an excellent job as a junior protecting QB Josh Rosen’s blind side . . . Draws favorable comparisons to Giants LT Nate Solder, who was Tom Brady’s longtime blocker before joining the Giants . . . Takes a wide stance during pass block to gain leverage on pass rusher.

Weaknesses: Height sometimes works against him, especially when he doesn’t have his feet set correctly . . . Is susceptible to outside speed rushers . . . Doesn’t always use his hands well.

Quote: Miller: “I think as a big guy, you have to overemphasize getting low because people aren’t going to be the same height as you and this game is a game of leverage. Also, I think it’s an advantage, too, because when you get low, you can drive your hips and extend and end up gaining more power.”

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