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Long leads the way at OT


An outstanding crop of offensive tackles awaits teams seeking help at that position in this year's draft. Will the Jaguars be one of those teams?

"There are a lot of solid tackles, guys who can start immediately and start down the road. It's a terrible guard group. Most of the guards who will have come out of this group will have been college tackles. It's a horrendous group of centers," draft analyst Tony Pauline said of the offensive linemen in general in this year's NFL draft.

Michigan's Jake Long, 6-7, 313, is expected to be a top five pick. Long is a typical big, slug-it-out Michigan lineman. Long did an eye-popping 37 reps on the bench at the combine, but not everybody is sold on Long.

His footwork is suspect and "there are people who don't think he can play left tackle at the next level, but I don't necessarily agree," Pauline said.

Long struggled against Ohio State pass-rusher Vernon Gholston, a certain high pick in this draft, and that started suspicions that Long might be the next Robert Gallery and not the next Tony Boselli.

Ryan Clady, a 6-6, 309-pound left tackle from Boise State is a top 10 prospect and some believe Clady has a greater upside than Long. "Tremendous pass-blocker; very athletic. Good punch; moves well on his feet. Can block on the move and flashes a nasty attitude," Pauline said of Clady, who did 24 reps at the combine.

Chris Williams, 6-6, 315, is the kind of player you'd expect from Vanderbilt. He's a smart pass-blocker who can slide laterally, but he's not dominant at the point. He's a mid-first round prospect who did just 21 reps. The rap on Williams is that he doesn't play nasty all the time.

Pitt's Jeff Otah, 6-6, 322, is the mystery tackle in this draft. Otah had a great senior season but injured his ankle late in the year and was unable to participate at the Senior Bowl. He gave it a go at the combine but his marks were terrible; Otah ran a 5.56 that immediately dropped his stock. The question now is: What will a good pro-day workout do for him? As it stands, Pauline considers Otah to be a mid to late-first round prospect.

"He's a very good athlete who can block in motion, is a terrific pass-protector and uses his hands well; high upside," Pauline said.

Gosder Cherilus, 6-6, 314, of Boston College is a dominant run-blocker at right tackle. "Annihilator at the point of attack; finishes his blocks," Pauline said. Cherilus, however, is a suspect pass-blocker and that could drop him into the early part of the second round. He did 24 reps.

Virginia junior Brandon Albert, 6-5, 309, is the top guard prospect in this draft. Albert is a terrific athlete with a tremendous upside. He dominates the line of scrimmage and can block in motion; can hit a moving target and could develop into left tackle. He did 23 reps and figures to be a late-first or early-second round prospect.

Opinion is mixed on left tackle Sam Baker, 6-4, 309, a very productive and durable lineman during his career at USC. He's not flashy but gets the job done against great competition. He did 28 reps and is an early to mid-second round prospect.

Junior Anthony Collins, 6-5, 317, of Kansas will probably be a right tackle in the NFL. He's strong at the point of attack and is fundamentally sound. Collins uses his hands well and drives opponents off the ball. Guard could even be in Collins' future, as he may lack the footwork to remain a tackle. He did 26 reps and is a mid-second round prospect.

Arizona State's Mike Pollack, 6-3, 301, is the draft's top center prospect and should get the nod in the second round. Pollack is "athletic, can move and would be a good fit in a zone-blocking system," Pauline said. Pollack did 29 reps but lacks lower body strength.

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