Our preseason position power rankings series has been very successful thus far. First, we looked at the new QB board, then moved on to the running backs and yesterday, we merged both our WR and TE boards into one and gave you the top 10 pass-catchers list.
Today, we finish up on the offensive side of the ball by moving into the trenches. The offensive line is the heartbeat of the team because you can have a stud passer, runner or pass-catcher, but if they don't have the time, holes or the allowance for their routes to develop, then they can't be effective.
The OL unit has to be five guys working as one, and the crop of OL prospects for 2013 is impressive. From athletic tackles to road-grading guards to effective centers, this is a good group. Here are the top 10 OL prospects for the preseason.
Golson is a 6'6", 280-pounder from Alabama that likely won't wow you with big-time point-of attack strength. Yet he's what we call a technician and a wall-off, positional blocker.
He would fit best in a zone-blocking scheme, which would take advantage of his snap quickness, solid feet, athleticism and technique advancement. Golson shows good length to stay clean from traffic and second-level ability in the run game.
He's quiet, patient and sound as a pass-protector, and Florida State is where he's headed.
Crowder is a stout 6'2", 325-pound OG from North Carolina. He is very athletic in a short area and will play ginormous at the point of attack.
Crowder can fire off the ball, work into a target's body with a powerful punch and drive his man back off his mark with strength, toughness and size as a run blocker.
He's athletic enough to hit a moving target when he's on the go and plays with a mean streak. Scout.com reports North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia and Stanford are the final four for him.
From Illinois and standing 6'6", 280 pounds, Pocic is one tough cookie monster. I like him best as an RT, where his toughness and strength can anchor a team's base running game.
Pocic has good length in his frame, solid snap quickness and plays strong at the point of attack. He flashes the leg drive move a target off his mark and can get up to the second level due to solid athletic ability and feet for a big man.
The LSU commit plays mean and nasty on the field, showing the temperament to play in the SEC.
McGovern also hails from Illinois, yet he is headed to Notre Dame. The 6'7", 292-pounder has great knee bend, movement skills, agility and solid strength.
McGovern get out of his stance quickly at the snap and jump on top of a target. He'll bring his hips with him and has solid leg drive in the running game. He shows quick movement to pull and trap and can also down block well.
His set quickness as a pass-blocker is fine, along with his adjust ability, but it's his length to stay clean to keep fighting rushers that really makes him a solid pass protector.
Perkins is a Dallas native that stands 6'5", 295 pounds. He has good snap quickness and works to quickly get into the body of his targets. He's very athletic and can get up on 'backers on the second level while also being productive in space.
Perkins shows natural knee bend and feet to mirror rushers in space as a pass protector. He has average strength, but he's not a power guy, rather choosing to use his size and athleticism to get the job done.
He's committed to Texas.
Kugler is the son of an OL coach and has great technique. He's 6'4", 275 pounds and plays OT for his Pennsylvania high school team, but looks to be better suited as an OG in college.
A rough, tough and mean OL prospect, Kugler can fire low off the ball with good leverage and just grind a target off his mark with good strength to finish as a mauling run-blocker. He's very sound technique-wise and has solid quickness.
He'll battle as a pass protector, using solid hand placement, grab strength and good agility when he's engaged. Kugler is headed to Michigan.
Raulerson is a very versatile football player that is 6'5" and close to 265 pounds these days. He is a bit light for an OL, but his athleticism and mean streak make him a perfect fit in the trenches.
From Texas, Raulerson has the snap quickness and movement skills to execute an array of blocks from both two and three-point stances. He can work on the second level as a run blocker or deep set as a pass-blocker.
LT may be his best bet, but don't be shocked if he plays all five OL positions before he leaves Texas.
Johnson is a big 6'6", 285-pounder from Pennsylvania that is a former Penn State pledge. I would predict Pitt to be the favorite to land him now.
With the ability to play both OT spots, Johnson uses a quick stab and grab at the snap to stymie opponents before they get going. He then plays big at the point of attack to drive them out the way for his running backs to clear through.
As a pass blocker, Johnson can short and deep set while showing off solid athleticism and agility to adjust and mirror rushers in space.
The 6'5", 320-pound James is another Texas native and commit. He's very athletic for such a big bodied player that shows great movement skills, agility, balance and play quickness.
James also is pretty strong, showing the ability to really lean on targets to wear them down late in games. He is perceived as a center prospect, but I would also like to see him work as an LT just to see how he fares on the edges due to his athletic ability.
James should be a multi-year starter and All-Big 12 OL at Texas in a few seasons.
Tunsil came into this offseason a bit light in the pants, but will play his senior season at 295 pounds on a 6'6" frame. He's really worked hard to get stronger and bulkier to hold up in the trenches.
An athletically gifted lineman, Tunsil has the ceiling to develop into a franchise LT. He can move like a receiver on the field and just needs to get stronger and hone down his technique.
Once he does, with his size and ability to mirror speed-rushers in space, adjust to slide inside to cut off interior access to the passer and lateral quickness to re-direct and wash upfield, Tunsil could be a top flight OL.
Georgia leads right now, reports Scout.com.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.