Just about every team in the NFL could use some help along the offensive line, either starters or backups, but not all of them are able to use high draft picks to get them. So here’s a look at some offensive linemen that will be available late in the draft but could end up playing like early round picks:
Elvis Fisher, OT, Missouri – Fisher stepped right onto the field at Missouri as a freshman in 2008 and became one of the better left tackles in the Big 12 over the next three years. Unfortunately he has struggled to stay on the field the past two years, missing the entire 2011 season and missing several games last year. The injuries are worrisome, but if he can stay healthy, he’s talented enough to be somebody’s starting left tackle.
Blaize Foltz, OG, TCU – Foltz has the body and the name to be an NFL lineman. He’s been a key part of a strong TCU front line the past few seasons and is equally capable as both a run-blocker and a pass-blocker. He’ll be drafted on day three and he’ll make some team look real smart for finding him late in the draft.
Garrett Gilkey, OG, Chadron State – Gilkey was a three-year starter at left tackle for some school nobody’s heard of. That experience at tackle will help him when he makes the transition to guard in the pros. Gilkey has the ideal size for an NFL guard and he should be able to hold his own.
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Omoregie Uzzi, OG, Georgia Tech – Uzzi is a smart and mobile offensive lineman that could be a starter or a versatile backup at either guard or center. He’s a good athlete that is already an accomplished run blocker; if he can improve as a pass blocker he could be a hidden gem.
Mario Benavidies, C, Louisville – Benavides was a four-year starter at Louisville. He has plenty of experience and has been a consistent performer for the Cardinals over the past for years. He’s gone up against quality defensive tackles many times over the past four years, so he knows he can handle the linemen he’ll go up against in the NFL.
Sam Schwartzstein, C, Stanford – Schwartzstein is a little undersized, but he’s a smart guy coming out of Stanford so he understands how to use leverage and push around bigger linemen. He’s seen some top defensive linemen over the past two seasons and shut them down, while also opening up some big holes for his running backs, who have performed well running behind him.