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We continue our preseason rankings of draft eligible players by position. Today we cover the offensive line.
1. D.J. Fluker – Alabama: At 6’6” and 305 lbs, Fluker is a massive right tackle that dominates the line of scrimmage in the run game. The Crimson Tide ranked 15th nationally in rushing and Fluker was a key to that rushing attack. He is a tough blocker that gives good effort and stays with the play.
2. Ricky Wagner – Wisconsin: Wagner is an experienced player that has played both tackle positions. He was on the right side early in his career and moved to the left side in 2011. He was honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2010 and 2011 and is a preseason candidate for the Outland Trophy.
3. Taylor Lewan – Michigan: Lewan is a two year starter at left tackle and was 2nd team All-Big Ten in 2011. Lewan will be the key to the Wolverine ground game and is a key protector for quarterback Denard Robinson.
4. Luke Joeckel – Texas A&M: Joeckel was a cornerstone of an Aggies offensive line that allowed just 9 sacks and set school records for total passing and scoring offense. He is a two year starter at left tackle and was an All-Big 12 selection in 2011.
5. Oday Aboushi – Virginia: Aboushi is part of an offensive line that started every game in 2011 season and only gave up 15 sacks. The left tackle was selected All-ACC in 2011.
1. Jonathan Cooper – North Carolina: Cooper is entering his 4th year as a starter at guard. He has been 2nd team All-ACC the last two years and was on the All-ACC Freshman team in 2009. Cooper led his team with 47 pancake blocks in 2011. He is a dominating run blocker and he has good feet which allow him to get out and lead on sweeps and screen plays.
2. Chance Warmack – Alabama: Warmack is entering his third year as a starting guard for the Crimson Tide. He was a 2nd team All-SEC selection and honorable mention All-American in 2011. He has helped clear the way for running backs like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. The offensive line is one of Alabama’s strengths and Warmack has a lot to do with their success.
3. Larry Warford – Kentucky: Larry Warford is a massive offensive guard who measures in at 6’3” and 343 pounds. He was a 2nd team All-SEC selection in 2011. He is a dominating run blocker that moves pretty well for a man his size. If he continues to progress, he has the potential to be one of the top linemen in the country.
4. Braden Hansen – BYU: Hansen is a road grader that specializes in pancake blocks. BYU has changed their culture and has gone from a pass first team to a tough running team. Hansen is one of the players that has allowed the Cougars to become a very tough, hard-nosed team.
5. Omoregie Uzzi – Georgia Tech: Uzzi was a 1st team All-ACC selection in 2011 and was 2nd team All-ACC in 2010. He is a very strong player that does a good job cut blocking in the Yellow Jackets option offense. He has good fundamentals and good lateral movement. He sometimes struggles against speed rushers, but he excels in the run game.
1. Barrett Jones – Alabama: Not only is Jones the best center in the country, but could possibly be the best overall offensive lineman. He can play all five line positions. This will be his 4th year as a starter, playing his first two years at guard, then last year played left tackle. His senior year, he is being moved to center. NFL teams love players that are versatile and you can’t get much more versatile than Jones. He was a unanimous All-American and 1st team All-SEC performer in 2011.
2. Khaled Holmes – USC: Holmes was a 2nd team All-Pac 12 in 2011. He is a solid, veteran lineman that is strong at the point of attack. He controls the middle of the offensive line. He is a very mobile and can get to the second level to block linebackers. Holmes is the anchor of an offensive line that should allow the team to set a lot of records and possibly win a National Championship.
3. Mario Benavides – Louisville: Benavides is the leader of the Cardinals offensive line. He is a good run blocker with good feet that allow him to get out and block linebackers. He is also stout at the point of attack.
4. Travis Frederick – Wisconsin: A Wisconsin lineman in a top 5 list, what a shock! In Madison, it seems like the offensive linemen grow on trees and Frederick is just another in a long line of outstanding Badger linemen. He was 2nd team All-Big Ten in 2011 and he has experience playing both guard and center. He is probably one of the strongest players in the country who can bench press 500 lbs. and can squat 770 lbs.
5. Graham Pocic – Illinois: Pocic is entering his third year as the starter at center for the Illini. He has been awarded by his team for outstanding leadership not only on the field, but in the community and in the classroom. He was named the Offensive MVP of spring practice and he will be the key to the offensive attack in 2012.
by Dwayne Wilton