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First Round Offensive Tackles Under The Microscope

The big boys have had their day at the Combine and all the results are in. Time for us to look at the data for the top five tackle prospects and what some draft pundits had to say about each player's combine performance.

The much anticipated Tyron Smith Show was canceled after the trainers found some fluid in his knee. Nate Solder, after a rather disappointing showing with only 21 reps in the bench press, "stole the show" in Indianapolis according to Todd McShay. Anthony Castonzo also had a great workout and Walter Football thinks he could be the second tackle off the board behind Tyron Smith. Gabe Carimi didn't have the best day, but Wes Bunting cautions that the combine is "not the type of environment where he will shine." Derek Sherrod likely saw his draft stock drop as he "did not look anything special at the combine," according to's Tony Pauline. More after the break.

Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl (Scouts Inc.): "The most disappointing aspect of the offensive line workouts was the absence of USC OT Tyron Smith, who is Scouts Inc.'s top-rated tackle prospect. Smith had a strong start to the combine, weighing in at 307 pounds (up from 285 in-season) and carrying the weight well. He also had 29 bench press reps at 225 pounds. The momentum ended when trainers found fluid in his knee and advised him to shut it down for the remainder of the weekend."

Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College.

Russ Lande (Sporting News): "Castonzo didn’t necessarily put up flashy numbers, but he had a very steady workout. He showed excellent knee bend and base and was technically sound in all drills."

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): "This is the type of environment where Boston College offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo can shine, and he did not disappoint on Saturday morning. He was fluid when asked to change directions during position drills, quickly was able to get out of his stance and pull and overall looked like the best athlete in group one. After this workout I’m going to have a tough time seeing him fall past the top 20 picks."

Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl (Scouts Inc.): "Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo, Florida OT Marcus Gilbert and Lehigh OG Will Rackley also helped their causes. Castonzo turned in an adequate 10-yard split (1.79 unofficial) while showing good flexibility and quick feet with his lateral slides."

Walter Football: "Anthony Castonzo ran just a 5.21 40, but was phenomenal in the drills, showing great athleticism and technique. He could be the second tackle off the board behind Tyron Smith."

Tony Pauline (Draft Insider): "Explosive and moved well, yet appeared mechanical and off-balance most of the day."

Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

Russ Lande (Sporting News): "He had a complete day, recovering nicely after a poor showing on the weight bench Friday. Solder had the best broad jump among the linemen (9 feet, 2 inches) and was among the leaders in the 40-yard dash (5.03), the 20-yard shuttle (4.34) and vertical jump (32 inches). He demonstrated in drills that he has the capability of bending his knees and staying over his feet, something he struggled to do consistently on film."

Todd McShay and Kevin Weidl (Scouts Inc.): "Colorado's Nate Solder, the No. 2 tackle on our board, stole the show Saturday. The 6-foot-8, 319-pounder displayed remarkable speed and explosiveness for a massive left tackle prospect. The 10-yard split is the most important part of the 40-yard dash when evaluating offensive linemen because it shows the initial burst and explosiveness that translates to their responsibilities in the trenches, and Solder had the top 10-yard split (1.62 seconds unofficial) among all offensive linemen and the fastest 40 (5.05) in the offensive tackle group."

"Solder also proved his short-area explosiveness by turning in a broad jump of 9-foot-2, tops among all linemen, and he showed adequate flexibility and solid lateral agility during drills. There are some concerns about overall technique and natural knee-bend, but Solder showed enough athleticism and should improve with good coaching and hard work. Different teams will look for different skill sets at tackle, so Solder might not be the first or second tackle selected in the draft, but it's hard to imagine him slipping out of the top 20."

Walter Football: "Nate Solder sucked on the bench press and still has some bad tape to answer for, but he really stood out at the Combine. At 6-8, 319, Solder ran a 4.97 and displayed incredible athleticism in the drills."

Great Blue North Draft Report: "After a very disappointing performance in yesterday's bench press, Colorado OT Nate Solder has had a very strong day at the on-field workouts for offensive linemen. Solder has looked very athletic and flexible in all the positional drills. As a result, Solder will challenge NFL personnel people as he appears to have the most upside of anyone at the position this year, but is still a work in progress."

Tony Pauline ( "Except for the bench press, where he completed only 21 reps, Solder was the best athlete amongst the offensive linemen. He moved his 6-foot, 8-inch, 319 pound frame across forty yards in times as fast as 4.91-seconds. He looked like a tight end moving around the field during drills and stood out in every aspect. Solder still needs work on his game yet he's a prospect that oozes upside potential."

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Russ Lande (Sporting News): "Carimi has had issues with balance and knee bend, so it was not surprising to see him fall in transition during a drill. He ran a respectable 40-yard dash (5.27), but his workout did nothing to prove he can play left tackle in the NFL."

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): "Don’t read too much into the workout of Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi. The guy actually looked pretty fluid when asked to change directions during position drills. He’s not a great athlete and will struggle with his balance/footwork at times, but unlike Castonzo, this is not the type of environment where he will shine."

Tony Pauline ( "Carimi again answered the challenge after his terrific performance during the Senior Bowl. His 29 completed repetitions on the bench was a solid number, considering his arm length measured 35 inches. He was faster than expected, dipping under 5.2 in the 40. Later in the drills, Carimi showed a variety of skill. His footwork was smooth in pass protection and he looked strong in run blocking drills. At this point, it is very hard to rationalize Carimi falling out of the draft's top 32 selections."

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

Walter Football: "I was concerned about Derek Sherrod's sudden weight gain to 321 pounds. Well, Sherrod carried the 321 well and maintained his solid athleticism. He ran a 5.20 40 and looked good in the drills. He could go as high as No. 23 to Philadelphia, but will probably be selected in the 28-35 range."

Tony Pauline ( "Scouts gushed over Sherrod all season long yet the left tackle prospect did not look anything special at the combine. In fact, Sherrod looked marginally athletic and lumbered around the field during drills."


For offensive linemen, the combine drills are all about measuring their strength, explosiveness and agility. Overall speed is nice to have but is not essential, so don't put too much weight on the 40 times for OL. The 10-yard split is much more important, as it is an indicator of initial burst and effectiveness. Unfortunately, I haven't found the splits for all the top linemen yet, but I'll update the table once they become available.

Other drills of specific interest for OL are the bench press (although arm length can impact these results) vertical and broad jump. Here are the measurables for the top tackles at the combine. (Smith's numbers are from his Pro Day at USC)

Drill What it measures Smith Castonzo Solder Carimi Sherrod
40-yard dash Overall straight line speed 4.93 5.23 5.05 5.27 5.2
20-yard shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.68 4.4 4.34 DNP 4.63
Lateral Agility * 0.25 0.83 0.71 - - 0.57
Bench press Upper body strength 31 28 21 29 23
Broad jump Short area explosiveness, balance 9'1 8'9 9'2 9'1 8'1
Vertical jump Lower body explosiveness, 29 29.5 32 31.5 28
Explosion Number
69.0 66.4 62.2 69.6 59.1
3-Cone drill Lateral flexibility & speed 7.47 7.25 7.44 DNP 7.43
10-yard split (40) Initial burst and explosiveness 1.69 1.80 1.72 1.78 1.81
20-yard split (40) Burst and quickness 2.87 2.92 2.87 2.80 3.01

*Lateral Agility = 40 yard Dash time - 20-yard shuttle time [above 0.5 is good]
Explosion Number = Bench Press Reps + Vertical Jump + Broad Jump [above 70.0 is good]

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