2008 NFL Draft: Top 20 Offensive Tackles

Chris Steuber weighs in with his early-season picks for the top 20 offensive tackle prospects for the 2008 NFL Draft. Check out who you should be keeping an eye on if your team will be looking for offensive tackle help next year.

1. Jake Long (6-foot-7, 315-pounds), Michigan (Sr.)

A fifth year senior, Long demonstrates excellent leadership and is the anchor of the Michigan offensive line. He is a versatile lineman who has played both right and left tackle during his time at Michigan. Long injured his foot prior to the 2005 season and missed the first seven games of the year, but just like most Michigan linemen, he's a gamer. He plays through pain and is nasty at the line of scrimmage. This has been a tough year for Michigan, but it won't hurt Long's status as the best tackle in the nation.

2. Sam Baker (6-foot-5, 305-pounds), USC (Sr.)

Baker entered USC as a guard, but after his redshirt season in 2003, he was quickly moved to tackle in 2004. He's been the team's starting left tackle ever since and he's No. 1A to Jake Long. He's widely considered to be a top-ten selection in the 2008 draft. This offseason, Baker had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left knee, and how he responds after that surgery will make or break his season.

3. Barry Richardson (6-foot-7, 330-pounds), Clemson (Sr.)

One of the most durable players in the country, Richardson has started 34 consecutive games for the Tigers. He's a big part of the dynamic running game, which features James Davis and C.J. Spiller, that Clemson brings to the field every Saturday. Richardson has excellent balance and quick feet that make him a tough opposition for a defensive end.

4. Gosder Cherilus (6-foot-7, 319-pounds), Boston College (Sr.)

Another durable player is Boston College's steady right tackle Gosder Cherilus. He has started in an incredible 39 straight games and is the leader of the Golden Eagles offensive line. Cherilus has started 37 games at right tackle and switched to left tackle this season, and has played well during the first two games of the year. The transition from right tackle to left tackle is tough for some player, but Cherilus is an outstanding lineman who will have success wherever he lines up.

Ohio State's Kirk Barton
Jay LaPrete/AP

5. Kirk Barton (6-foot-6, 300-pounds), Ohio State (Sr.)

A consistent and dependable right tackle for the Buckeyes, Barton is considered to be one of the top right tackles in the country. An intense competitor that plays with great balance and excels as a pass blocker, Barton has to improve his run blocking to become a complete lineman. He's played in every game of his career except for three due to a knee injury.

6. Chris Williams (6-foot-6, 320-pounds), Vanderbilt (Sr.)

The best offensive lineman nobody has ever heard of, Williams allowed one sack during the entire 2006 season, which occurred in the first game of the year against Michigan. Williams didn't allow another sack in the next 11 games. He has played well so far this season and if he continues to progress, he will be mentioned among the elite linemen in this class.

7. Heath Benedict (6-foot-6, 335-pounds), Newberry (Sr.)

A former Tennessee recruit, Benedict spent one year (2002 redshirt) with the Volunteers before transferring to Newberry College. He is a big, physical lineman who excels at run blocking and uses his massive frame to his advantage. He shows excellent technique and overpowers the opposition. He's a man among boys at the Division II level.

8. Michael Oher (6-foot-6, 322-pounds), Ole Miss (Jr.)

Oher started his career at Ole Miss as a guard before moving to left tackle last season. He's started 24 consecutive games over the last three years, including two games this season, and is the anchor of the Rebels offensive line. Oher has an interesting and somewhat disturbing history, but he's battled adversity and has become one of the nation's best offensive linemen due to his hard work.

9. Ryan Clady (6-foot-6, 317-pounds), Boise State (Jr.)

Clady has played both right and left tackle during his two years at Boise State. He's an effective blocker that shows excellent punch at the line of scrimmage. Clady has been an integral part of the Broncos running game and overall offensive success. He seems to improve every time he's out on the field and will only get better with more seasoning.

10. Alex Boone (6-foot-8, 313-pounds), Ohio State (Jr.)

Entering his second season as the starting left tackle for the Buckeyes, Boone has shown a lot of promise and intelligence on the field. Boone is a tremendous pass protector and has improved his run blocking. He needs to get a little stronger, but his potential is off the charts.

The rest of the list:

11. John Greco (6-foot-5, 318-pounds), Toledo (Sr.)

12. Eric VandenHeuval (6-foot-7, 323-pounds), Wisconsin (Jr.)

13. Tony Hills (6-foot-6, 305-pounds), Texas (Sr.)

14. King Dunlap (6-foot-8, 312-pounds), Auburn (Sr.)

15. Sean Sester (6-foot-8, 325-pounds), Purdue (Jr.)

16. Max Unger (6-foot-5, 306-pounds), Oregon (Jr.)

17. Dallas Reynolds (6-foot-5, 328-pounds), BYU (Jr.)

18. Mike McGlynn (6-foot-5, 315-pounds), Pittsburgh (Sr.)

19. Dace Richardson (6-foot-6, 306-pounds), Iowa (Jr.)

20. Lydon Murtha (6-foot-7, 305-pounds), Nebraska (Sr.)

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