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With Jared Gaither’s status for 2011 in question, the Ravens could opt to add an offensive tackle with the 26th-overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft.
Just who will be there at the end of the first round remains in question, however.
Luckily, there are several talented prospects projected to be available when the Ravens are on the clock.
Here are just a few of the offensive tackles who could potentially be there at 26. Who would you draft?
Tyron Smith, USC Junior; 6-foot-5, 307 pounds 2010 Notables: All-Pac 10 selection, started all 12 games
Smith’s quickness and athleticism give him high marks in pass blocking. According to most scouting services, Smith’s feet are what set him apart, but his 36 ½-inch arms and 11-inch hands were notable at the NFL Scouting Combine, allowing him to engage rushers with his long reach and powerful grasp. Smith could be the first tackle drafted.
Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin Senior; 6-7, 314 2010 Notables: Outland Trophy winner, All-American, All-Big 10 selection, 13 starts
Playing in the Big 10, Carimi regularly lined up and won against the likes of Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Jordan and teammate J.J. Watt, some of the best pass rushers in the draft. Carimi has the athleticism to excel while pass blocking, but his run blocking in Wisconsin’s ground-based attack is a definite positive. Depending on which draft analyst you’re listening to, Carimi is a mid- to late-first-round prospect.
Anthony Castonzo, Boston College Senior; 6-7, 311 2010 Notables: 13 starts
Castonzo started at left tackle for the Golden Eagles from Day 1, logging a school-record 54. A biochemistry major, Castonzo’s smarts are nearly as impressive as his on-field resume. Castonzo blocked for the likes of current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and reigning All-ACC running back Montel Harris (2010). By most draft pundits, Castonzo seems to be rated in the late-first round.
Nate Solder, Colorado Senior; 6-8, 315 2010 Notables: All-American selection, 12 starts
A former tight end, Solder put on a massive amount of weight in Boulder, eventually becoming one of college football’s best offensive linemen. An 81-inch wingspan makes it very difficult to get around Solder, and his athleticism allows him to bend and block smaller rushers who might try to dip under his grasp. Solder might still be learning the position, but a standout senior campaign placed him squarely in the first round.
Derrick Sherrod, Mississippi State Senior; 6-5, 321 2010 Notables: All-SEC selection, 13 starts
More than one mock draft has linked Sherrod to the Ravens, as he is a likely late-first-round selection. A solid blend of nimble feet and mauling mentality, along with 50 games of experience, have Sherrod NFL-ready. With Sherrod playing left tackle, the Bulldogs finished with the nation’s 15th-best rushing attack (219.3 yards per game).