VIKINGS OFFENSIVE TACKLES — Bryant McKinnie, Mike Rosenthal, Adam Haayer, Adam Goldberg.
VIKINGS' NEED — The Vikings have invested in their top two tackles, making McKinnie the seventh overall choice in the 2002 draft and signing Rosenthal as a free agent in 2003. The biggest concern might well be the non-signing of Everett Lindsay, who has spent the last two years as the backup at both positions. That job has now fallen to Adam Haayer and Adam Goldberg, a pair of practice squad types that will likely face stiff challenges in training camp. While not viewed as a priority position, there is a good chance the Vikings will consider taking a player to provide depth — whether someone who is projected as a pure tackle or someone who eventually could move inside to play guard.
THE CLASS OF 2004 — Few players have seen their stock rise as fast as Robert Gallery of Iowa, who now looks to go with the No. 2 pick — whether the Raiders keep the selection and take him or the Giants trade up for him. The same isn't true with the other true blue-chipper, Shawn Andrews. Once thought to be almost a lock to go in the top 10 to 12 picks, there's a good chance he could slide all the way to the Vikings' pick at No. 19. With his ability to move inside if asked to play guard, he could be an intriguing — albeit unlikely — first-round choice. The talent pool drops off quickly from there, but there will be eight to 10 tackles that will get serious first-day consideration and the chance exists that, by the time the Vikings pick in the third round, as many as 10 offensive tackles will already be off the board.
THE CREAM OF THE CROP
Robert Gallery, Iowa, 6-7, 323 — Fifth-year senior…Four-year starter who spent half his freshman season at right tackle and the last three years at left tackle — starting 44 games in a row…Won Outland Trophy for best offensive lineman in 2003…Very good at both run blocking and pass protection…Has a strong upper body and can force bull-rushing DEs to the outside…Good quickness on the snap…Doesn't have the prototype frame for a left tackle, but has added muscle and bulk the last two years…Needs to add some more muscle…Doesn't have ideal lower body strength…Did 24 reps with 225 pounds at the Combine, along with an impressive 4.95 40, a 30-inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 23.
PROJECTION: Clearly the best in show, he won't last past the fourth pick and could go as high as No. 1 or 2.
Shawn Andrews, Arkansas, 6-5, 366 — Third-year junior…Started every game at right tackle for three years and was a two-time All-America…Monstrously big…Like a snow plow in the running game…Excellent upper body strength that can move people out of the way…Finishes blocks well…Weight is a big concern — he's tipped the cattle scales at more than 400 pounds and doesn't always work to keep his weight down…Will struggle against speed rushers…Has been downgraded by some teams because of a perceived weak work ethic…Did 27 reps at the Combine, ran a 5.48 40 with a 25-inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 20.
PROJECTION: Would seem to be an ideal fit with Atlanta at No. 8, where he could protect Michael Vick's blindside at right tackle, but, because of his weight issues, could drop all the way past the Vikings at No. 19.
THE NEXT LEVEL
Jacob Rogers, USC, 6-6, 307 — Fifth-year senior who came to USC as a tight end…A three-year starter…Two-time all Pac-10 and winner of the Morris Trophy for best offensive lineman in the conference in 2003 — an award given by the Pac-10's defensive linemen…Did not allow a sack the last two years, including neutralizing first-rounder Terrell Suggs in 2002…Excellent technique in pass protection…Technically sound…Needs work on improving his run blocking and adding strength and bulk…Has improved each year and his stock is rising…Did 30 reps — the second best total for offensive tackles — at the Combine, as well as running a 5.25 40 and posting a Wonderlic score of 29.
PROJECTION: He's been a durable college player but will need to continue to add bulk to be a dominant OT in the NFL. He should be around when the second round gets underway but gone by the time the Vikings hit the clock in Round 2.
Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech, 6-7, 318 — Third-year junior…Three-year starter at left tackle…Excellent size with big wingspan to hook speed rushers…Good lower body strength and adequate upper body strength…Good quickness for a man his size…Is good but not great at either run blocking or pass protection…Has seen his weight balloon up when he doesn't keep a close eye on it…Tends to be a little lazy when it comes to the nuances of the game — he's been able to get by on size alone for much of his career…Could have used another year of defining his technique…Did 26 reps with 225 pounds at the Combine with a 5.44 40, a 28-1/2 inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 35 — tied for the best among players at his position.
PROJECTION: Has been labeled a boom-bust type of pick, but has all the needed skills to excel in the NFL. If he keeps his weight under control he could be dominant, but, had he waited a year, he would have gone in the middle of the first round instead of the second — where he's now projected to go.
Travelle Wharton, South Carolina, 6-4, 311 — Fourth-year senior…Four-year starter…Could be a solid tackle or guard…Wide base that neutralizes defenders…Has a quick set-up in pass protection…Has experience pulling and trapping on sweeps…Has never missed any considerable playing time in four years, but has missed time each year with ankle injuries, which will concern some teams…Doesn't have great upper body strength, as shown by doing just 20 reps at the Combine…Has problems handling speed rushers…Lacks ideal size to play OT in the NFL…Ran a 5.1 40 at the Combine with a 31-1/2 inch vertical jump, but his 12 on the Wonderlic test was the worst among the OT prospects.
PROJECTION: A classic 'tweener, he has the ability to play tackle, but his size limitations — the second shortest OT is the Class of '04 — make him more likely to be moved to guard at the next level (a position he's never played).
Kelly Butler, Purdue, 6-7, 322 — Fourth-year junior…Started 38 games at right tackle over the last three years…Very strong in the running game…Good quickness and powerful hand punch coming out of his stance…Locks on quickly and is almost impossible to shake once he has a hold on a defender…Has a strong upper body, but his 19 reps with 225 pounds at the Combine was the worst of any offensive tackle prospect…Doesn't have good mobility and can get beat by speed rushers or swim moves…Ran a 5.01 40 at the Combine with a 34-1/2 inch vertical jump and a 10-1 broad jump — all at or near the best for his position.
PROJECTION: Needs work in pass protection, but his Combine effort raised some eyebrows and should be enough to have him off the board late in the second round or in the third.
Max Starks, Florida, 6-7, 342 — Fourth-year senior…Three-year starter…Comes from an incredible football bloodline that includes six relatives that played in the NFL, including former Viking Joey Browner…Versatile, has started games at both tackle positions and at right guard…Excellent combination of height, bulk and long arms…Can overpower defenders in the running game…Decent upper and lower body strength…Isn't as dominating as many scouts believe he should be…Needs to work on his technique in pass protection…Did 21 reps at the Combine, with a 5.59 40 — both among the worst for offensive linemen — but his Wonderlic score of 35 tied for the best.
PROJECTION: A true enigma, he passes the eyeball test, but has yet to live up to his potential. While he may never be a left tackle in the NFL, he could develop into a dominating RT, but his deficiencies could be enough to keep him on the board until the third round.
DAY TWO PROSPECTS
Adrian Jones, Kansas, 6-4, 296 — A fifth-year senior who played tight end until last year when he moved to left tackle…Very good athlete with good upper body strength — he did an impressive 27 reps with 225 pounds at the Combine…High intensity and willing to learn…Viewed as a little too small to be an effective left tackle in the NFL and has had some teams projecting him as a center — another position he hasn't played…Improved his stock as much as any offensive lineman at the Combine, running a 4.93 40 with a 31-inch vertical jump and a 9-6 broad jump — all among the best for O-linemen…Won't likely slip into the first day of the draft, but he is seen as an ideal developmental project who could play either tackle spot (or maybe center) which is why he won't last long on Day 2.
Carlos Joseph, Miami, 6-6, 345 — Fourth-year senior and two-year starter…The brother of DT William Joseph, taken in the first round by the Giants last year…Prototype combination of size, height and mobility…Has long arms to re-direct defenders…Top-notch run blocker…Doesn't finish blocks the way coaches want to see…Can get burned by speed rushers…Isn't a student of the game…Wears down as the game goes on…Helped his cause at the Combine with 29 reps, a 5.20 40, a 28-inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 27…He won't be a first-rounder like his brother, but he has the skills to be developed into a solid pro. But he will need to be in a system that won't throw him to the wolves too early, which will probably allow him to slide into the fourth round.
Sean Bubin, Illinois, 6-7, 306 — Fifth-year senior and three-year starter who started the last 36 games of his college career…Has good upper body strength…Durability isn't a question…Has good mobility and foot quickness…Solid in both pass protection and the run game, where he tends to swallow up smaller defensive ends…At 306 pounds, he's the second-smallest OT in this year's class and will have to add some bulk to start in the NFL…Struggles against pure speed rushers…Doesn't have good lower body strength…Did 25 reps at the Combine with a 5.25 40 and a position-worst 24-1/2 inch vertical jump…A hard-working veteran college lineman, he doesn't project to be a starter in the NFL but could be a valuable backup in the mold of Everett Lindsay.
Jim Molinaro, Notre Dame, 6-6, 308 — Fifth-year senior who was a high school All-American…Came to Notre Dame as a defensive tackle and didn't become a full-time starter at offensive tackle until last year…Team captain, which exemplified his leadership skills…Has good size, and scouts think he could add 20-30 more pounds without losing quickness or mobility…Has long arms…Doesn't possess ideal strength — his lower body is a little narrow and he did just 21 reps at the Combine — second worst of any offensive tackle…Very raw, with just one year of OT experience as a starter…Ran an impressive 5.07 40 at the Combine with a 29-1/2 inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 15…A project player, he will need at least a year or two to develop, and that alone should drop him into the fifth or sixth round.
Andrew Strojny, Duke, 6-7, 324 — Fifth-year senior and four-year starter…Named team captain twice…One of the taller linemen in the draft…Improved his strength over the last couple of seasons…A real tough guy, played almost the entire 2001 season with a dislocated left shoulder — an injury severe enough it required surgery after the season…Smart player who was two-time All-ACC for academics…Doesn't have great lower body strength to plow people out of the way in the running game…His shoulder injury could throw up some red flags from scouts who question his durability…Didn't lift at the Combine, but ran a 5.4 40 with a 29-1/2 inch vertical jump and a Wonderlic score of 28…A tireless worker, he will find his way on an NFL roster but may never have what it takes to be a starter, so he will be on the board very late into the draft.
Jake Scott, Idaho, 6-5, 281 — Fifth-year senior and four-year starter…A walk-on who worked hard and earned the respect of his coaches and teammates, starting 44 games in his college career…Is an exceptional athlete with good quickness and mobility…Hard worker who finishes blocks…Had an impressive 34-1/2 inch vertical jump at the Combine…His downsides are a little too big — not playing top competition and weighing about 50 pounds less than most NFL tackles…Needs to get stronger…A late-round developmental pick, because of his size limitations he will probably be drafted to be a project center of the future.
Positional Analysis: Offensive Tackles
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