NFL Draft Central

2021 NFL Draft: OL Steals

Jordan continues his dive into players that he believes will prove to be the steals of the 2021 NFL Draft. We cap off the offence with a look at the hog mollies up front: the OL. 

Josh Myers, C, Ohio State (RS Junior, 6′ 5″, 312 lbs)

Josh Myers has established himself as a solid centre going into the draft. Myers has had snaps with the QB in the shotgun and with Justin Fields under centre, with decent success. His main attributes are on show in the run game, which is where he thrives. Myers is a stocky centre with decent power and good footwork. This makes it difficult to move off his spot. He is always looking for extra work after his first block. Myers has a few areas he could work on, particularly his short area quickness.

Josh Myers has potentially hit his ceiling going into the 2021 NFL Draft. Myers has the tools to be a starting centre in the NFL, particularly if utilised on a run heavy offence. A 3rd round pick wouldn’t be a shock.

Ben Cleveland, OG, Georgia (RS Senior, 6′ 6″ Weight, 354 lbs)

Ben Cleveland is a big human being. Operating as the right guard for the Bulldogs, Cleveland plays aggressively in both run and pass offence. He doesn’t have the greatest of athleticism. This is clear when he loses the initial contact with pass rushers. The RS Senior possesses high end power. This is evident in the run game. He has a strong anchor, and is able to lock on to his opponent with a strong grip. Cleveland uses his power to create gaps. He is difficult to push back in pass protection and reacts to rushing stunts well.

Ben Cleveland is being slept on. He does have a few holes in his game, but is an all-round effective guard. Cleveland has the footballing IQ and the physical attributes to be a potential day one starter in the NFL. He is likely to be picked up in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

D’Ante Smith, OT, East Carolina (Senior, 6′ 5″, 294 lbs)

D’Ante Smith has had a stop-start time with the Pirates. After having brilliant 2018 and 2019 campaigns, 2020 never really started after an undisclosed injury. What stands out for Smith is his length and his mobility. He uses this to keep defenders at bay. Smith has strong hands and good leverage. His wrestling background is a real blessing when up against pass rushers. He is definitely a work in progress. He could do with adding more size to his frame before being considered as an every-down starter in the NFL.

At the moment, D’Ante Smith may be a few years off being a starter in the NFL. He has high potential if he works on the areas that need development. After a good showing at this year’s Senior Bowl, a 3rd Round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is an ambitious landing spot.

Cole Van Lanen, OT, Wisconsin (RS Senior, 6′ 5″, 312 lbs)

Cole Van Lanen is a dominant run blocker with upside in the passing game. He has natural power. Once he has locked horns and starts driving his legs, it becomes very hard for his opponent to regain the advantage. Van Lanen is a gap creating machine in the run game, and can be versatile piece in many run-dominant offences. Although his pass defence isn’t bad, there has some visible concerns. His lateral speed is a weak spot. What results in fast edge rushes brushing past him with ease on the outside.

When it comes to the run game, Van Lanen is up there with the best linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft. Any NFL team looking for a Left Guard, especially in a power run scheme, will be on to a winner. A third day pick is a steal.

Jaylon Moore, OT, Western Michigan (RS Senior, 6′ 4″, 311 lbs)

Jaylon Moore comes into the 2021 NFL Draft with a ton of college football experience. He is a solid player in pass protection. His footwork is good, and he has good lateral speed. This is a great asset to beat back the fastest pass rushers. When it looks like he is beaten for speed, his quick footwork comes into play. He makes edge rushers take the longer way round to get the sack which gives his QB precious seconds in the pocket. His run defence is above average but needs work. He needs to cut out some bad habits. The main issue is when he lunges in with all his weight to block his opponent.

He could be a good player in the NFL if he is given time to improve his attributes in the run game. His pass defence isn’t elite, but steady. Moore still could improve on that side of his game too. A late Day 3 pick could be a potential steal if a team can improve his all round game.

Next time, we move onto steals on the defence. 

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