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From the Hart: Breaking down the O-line prospects


And the PFW boys have concluded breaking down the video tape on hundreds of prospects at the various positions.

Before the teams actually begin making their selections on April 26, I get the chance to voice my views on the players at the various positions. Today that means a look at the crop of offensive linemen.

Our pals over at project that as many as 52 offensive linemen could hear their name called on draft weekend – including 27 tackles, 18 guards and seven centers. As always, tackle is the premium position with a guy who could go in the top three players among the five tackles that could come off the board in the first round. But a couple guards and a center might also find spots in the first 32 on Thursday night.

Overall I think there are a couple elite players in this draft of offensive linemen, followed by a solid but unspectacular group of tackles and decent group of guards in terms of overall depth.

Regardless, here are one man's thoughts on how the offensive line prospects break down for next week's 2012 NFL Draft:

1 – Matt Kalil, USC: Kalil is easily the best tackle and offensive lineman in the draft. He's in the running for the best overall prospect at any position. He's long, athletic, strong and has good feet. He makes left tackle look easy and I think he could be an All-Pro in the NFL for a long time. In my opinion he's the best tackle prospect we've seen in quite a few years.

2 – Riley Reiff, Iowa: Reiff earns the No. 2 slot because of the value of tackle over guard. He's not even close to Kalil's class, but doesn't have any obvious weaknesses either. Not elite at any one thing, but solid all around. In that way, he kind of reminds me of Matt Light.

3 – David DeCastro, Stanford: DeCastro is a solid all around interior prospect. He has a good base and solid footwork. He pulls well and finishes blocks. May not be an elite athlete, but is an elite guard prospect.

4 – Cordy Glenn, Georgia: The former Bulldog could end up at either tackle or guard in the NFL, having played both. He has great experience with 49 college starts in a great conference. He moves extremely well for a guy his size and can flat out move people. His footwork may be a little slow for tackle, but at guard he may be a Pro Bowler.

5 – Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin: Just a big powerful guy. Not an elite athlete, but a solid interior possibility. He has good strength and while he was a guard in college, he did take some snaps at the Senior Bowl.

6 – Peter Konz, Wisconsin: The consensus best center in the draft, Konz is a good but not great prospect. He's solid, as many Wisconsin linemen are, and will be a starter in the NFL. But he's not in the Nick Mangold category. He's more of a technique blocker than a power guy and is only an average overall athlete.

7 – Jonathan Martin, Stanford: I'm not nearly as high on Martin as some. I think he's a right tackle in the NFL with average athletic ability and strength. I think he just has average talent in terms of being an NFL starter.

8 – Ben Jones, Georgia: Jones is a four-year starter and seemingly "safe" draft option. There is nothing spectacular here, but solid all around. He passes blocks off well and is seen as a leader, which is key in the middle.

9 – Nate Potter, Boise State: Some have compared Potter to another Nate, Patriots first-round tackle Nate Solder. He's long and lean, and not as talented as Solder. He needs to get stronger, as he gets pushed around at times. But he has the frame to build on and athletic ability for the edge as a latter-round prospect.

10 – Matt Reynolds, BYU: His father is a BYU coach and Reynolds is a two-time team captain. He uses his hands well and could be a developmental tackle. His lunch pal ready for him to go to work in the trenches.

11 – Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State: Saulsberry played all over in college, so versatility is a strength. He's also fundamentally sound, if not overly gifted physically. He pulls pretty well and has OK feet as an interior late-round option.

12 –Ryan Miller, Colorado: Miller may be a right tackle or tall (6-7) guard prospect. He pulls well and finds someone to hit in space. He has solid feet and uses his hands well. He plays a bit high (naturally!), but otherwise is worth a late-round look.

What do you think of my list and breakdowns? With so many OL options, who do you think I left off that deserved a spot in my dirty dozen? Let us know with a comment below!

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