1. Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
2. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
3. Tyron Smith, USC
4. Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
5. Nate Solder, Colorado
Mentions: James Carpenter, Alabama; Marcus Cannon (RT/OG), TCU; Orlando Franklin (RT/OG), Miami; James Brewer, Indiana; Marcus Gilbert, Florida; Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh; Jah Reid, UCF;
The draft has two defined tiers of offensive tackles: first round caliber and the rest. The Big 5 tackles are heads and shoulders above the rest of the prospects, which means that there's a large expected drop in talent in the middle rounds. Some positions (cornerback, outside linebacker) have a gradual decline in talent as the draft wears on, but the tackle position is clearly defined. The Patriots have the opportunity to take a tackle and groom them for a season as Matt Light plays the final couple seasons of his Patriots Hall of Fame career, so it depends on which player they believe has the most potential. Sebastian Vollmer can succeed at either tackle slot, so the Patriots have more freedom when drafting a tackle. Look for the Patriots to grab a project player, as opposed to a certain commodity because they can afford to let the player grow and learn for a season on the bench.
Who are some tackles you'd want me to look at?
Fastest 3 Cone Drill: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, 7.25s
Fastest 40 Time: Derek Newton, Arkansas State, 5.01s
Most Bench Press Repetitions: Chris Hairston, Clemson; Marcus Cannon, TCU; 33 reps
Fastest Short Shuttle Time: Nate Solder, Colorado, 4.34s
Longest Broad Jump: Jarriel King, South Carolina, 9'6
The two tackles in the top group with the most potential, in my opinion, are Anthony Castonzo and Nate Solder. Tyron Smith is entering the draft after playing right tackle, which makes him an extremely risky pick in the first round. Derek Sherrod and Gabe Carimi appear to have lower ceilings than the previous three, but they both have higher floors than Smith and especially Solder, who is the boom/bust prospect. The first round could be a good place to find a tackle for the future.