The Big 12 demands athleticism out of its offensive tackles. Up-tempo, spread offenses need mobility and durability out of its offensive linemen.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they can’t also be powerful. Connor Williams, the former Texas Longhorn mainstay, had the right combination of mobility and power to make him a legit NFL prospect. Williams projects as the Day 1 starting left guard for the Cowboys as a rookie because of that NFL-ready combination of traits.
Who are the top offensive tackles in the conference now? Let’s examine.
1. Dalton Risner, Kansas State (6’5, 300)
Dalton Risner will be one of the most highly rated offensive tackles come draft time. Some may view a full-time right tackle as less valuable, but with the number of elite edge defenders who are playing on the defense’s left side nowadays, that is becoming less and less true.
Risner is as sturdy and consistent as they come in pass protection. He shows great awareness in the run and pass game, and has the necessary mobility to climb to the next level or move laterally. Risner is also a dominant puller and has the heavy hands and upper body power to finish defenders.
He projects as a long-term answer for an NFL team and has the potential of a first-round prospect.
2. Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia (6’5, 315)
Yodny Cajuste has similar attributes to Risner in his consistency, awareness and technique in his pass sets. He gives minimal ground and has a true anchor to stall a defenders rush. Cajuste is a dominant down blocker who works well on combo blocks.
Though his technique is sound and consistent, he isn’t the most powerful tackle and doesn’t finish his opponent as often as Risner. Also, Cajuste has experience at guard and the frame that may suggest a move inside at the next level. With that said, he should continue his college dominance this upcoming season, and find himself as a potential Day 2 selection come Draft time.
3. Bobby Evans, Oklahoma (6’5, 299)
Bobby Evans has a sleek, athletic build for a tackle and has played in 26 games over the past two seasons. He plays with incredible play strength, and can dominate with his power. Evans plays with a nasty streak in the hole, with a strong punch which allows him to shock and put defenders on skates.
Despite his attributes, Evans can look to finish defenders too early and result in getting knocked off balance or allowing defenders to counter. He will occasionally whiff with his pass blocking and can get turned around too easily.
Evans is a draftable talent, but may also project to the interior at the next level due to his build.
4. Scott Frantz, Kansas State (6’5 297)
Scott Frantz is the other half of the best tackle duo in the Big 12, holding down the left side for Kansas State. Frantz possesses strength in his upper body, and is able to knock some defenders off balance with his punches. He does a good job of getting and keeping his hips in the hole, while turning the defenders upper body and forcing them to work through him. Frantz has effortless mobility for a man of his strength and stature, and can work combination blocks and latch on to linebackers.
Frantz can occasionally lose the hand fight with defensive lineman, either being inaccurate or getting his hands knocked away by quicker rushers. Additionally, he can get off balance as a puller or in his pass sets, and needs to do a better job of distributing his weight.
Frantz projects as a capable NFL talent who could have a mid-round grade come draft time.
5. Calvin Anderson, Texas (6’5, 300)
Calvin Anderson is slotted as the starting left tackle for the Texas Longhorns this fall, and the Rice graduate transfer has the makings of a potential NFL prospect. His lean build allows him to be mobile in his pass sets, and his consistent technique makes him reliable in protecting the quarterback.
Anderson has also been durable enough to start 36 straight games for the Owls. Obviously, the Big 12 will be a step up in competition for Anderson, but if he continues to put together impressive tape, he could find himself with a draftable grade come 2019.