This draft class has some great offensive line prospects, two of whom could go in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. Improving the offensive line should be a top priority for the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason.
Here, we will be taking a look at Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills.
Andrew Thomas is one of the best tackles in this class. Standing at 6’5” and weighing 320 pounds, he is absolutely massive. When watching his film, the one thing that stood out to me the most was his brute strength. Many times he was seen tossing around defenders and taking them out of the play.
Thomas has great hands and is quick off the snap. He does a great job of using his hips to control his assignment and gets great extension with his arms to keep his defender away from the quarterback.
With being as big as he is, Thomas can be slow at times to block quicker pass rushers at the next level. His footwork is solid, but he will need to improve in pass protection in order to stay in front of faster defenders.
He also showed how he sometimes struggles to recover after getting beat by a defender. According to Joe Marino of The Draft Network, Thomas tends to be top-heavy when recovering, leaving his feet behind, when facing quick edge rushers.
Thomas can also be too aggressive at times. He will run at a defender with his head down and completely whiff on a block, leaving his assignment untouched. This doesn’t seem like too much of an issue though because this is something NFL coaches will help him improve.
Overall, Thomas is a great prospect and will likely go early in the first round. Someone with his size and strength would be a great addition to the Chargers offensive line.
Another top offensive line prospect in this class is Jedrick Wills Jr. from Alabama. Wills is also the same height and weight as Thomas. Both men have incredible strength, size and skills. While they share a lot of similarities, the main difference between the two comes in pass protection.
Thomas struggles at times during pass protection, while Wills has shown improvement during his career at Alabama.
Wills only played right tackle at Alabama but has the technique and skills to play inside as well. He can get to the second level quick off the ball and take any linebacker or defensive back out of the play with ease.
However, analysts are unsure if he will be able to make the transition to left tackle since he has mainly played right tackle his entire football career. Teams will be able to get a better look at how he will play on the left side through drills during the combine and other workouts.
Like Thomas, Wills can be beaten by quick edge rushers. Occasionally, Wills tries to use just his strength and lacks technique, causing him to miss blocks.
When this happens, the defender can use their speed, force him to miss that initial blow off the line of scrimmage and can get right around him. However, Wills does a great job of using his feet and hips to stay in front of his defender and has shown that he can recover if he gets beat.
Wills has great size, technique, athleticism, is great in the run game and showed improvements in pass protection. Someone with his skills would be a great addition to a struggling line and would greatly benefit any quarterback.
Drafting Thomas or Wills would be ideal for the Chargers if one of the top quarterbacks are not available with the sixth pick. You cannot go wrong with either of these players but Wills seems like the top tackle in this draft.
This is mainly due to how well he plays in pass protection compared to Thomas. Even if he cannot make the transition to left tackle, this is someone who you want on your offensive line, regardless of where he plays.
If the Chargers do take one of these two in the first round, they could look at taking a quarterback in the early second round.
The Chargers have over $50 million in cap space. Using some of this cap to sign another piece to the line, drafting one of these tackles, and adding a younger and more mobile quarterback would be great for the Chargers future.