Unlike the offensive tackle group in the Big Ten, there are several players worth getting excited for on the interior offensive line. The Wisconsin Badgers have some serious bragging rights for the interior trio they’re primed to unleash on the rest of the conference, as they have three of the top for talents at the position eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft.
With a full season left to play, plenty can (and will) change for these Big Ten interior offensive linemen and their resumes for the next level. Some may not even enter the 2019 NFL Draft prospect pool, as several have more than one remaining year of eligibility. But as things stand entering the season, here are the five best draft eligible Big Ten interior offensive linemen.
1. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
This kid is going to be something pretty special. Biadasz is a people mover in the middle, offering a terrific amount of punch and pop to his drive blocking skills. Not only does Biadasz win with raw strength, he shows an effective ability to work across the face of defenders at the point of attack.
This blend of run blocking skills will make him a universal prospect when he enters the draft. Just a redshirt sophomore, Biadasz has several years of eligibility left. But a strong 2018 season could prompt him to make the jump to the NFL this winter.
Needs to improve: Sustaining a wide base on blocks
2. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Deiter has been asked to fill a lot of roles for the Badgers. Having played center, left tackle and now left guard, Deiter has put several positions on film. Fortunately for him, he’s been effective both inside and out. A lack of arm length and an underdeveloped pass set does offer concern on the outside, but on the interior Deiter will not be exposed to that level of speed and stress.
Deiter, who tips the scales at 321 pounds, is nimble footed in lateral situations, especially when engaged with defenders. A crafty blocker who understands the value in using his hands to dictate contact, Deiter should have little issue establishing himself an NFL talent at another new position in 2018.
Needs to improve: Establishing an earlier anchor against power rushes
3. Ben Bredeson, Michigan
When watching Bredeson, the first thing one will notice is that he is abnormally long for an interior blocker. Bredeson is a listed 6-foot-5, 308 pounds and absolutely looks the part of an NFL offensive tackle. Yet he’s a fixture on the inside, where his athletic frame unloads some impressive power into defenders when everything is properly aligned.
The issue? Bredeson often has pad level issues that rob him of that natural power and hip coil, subsequently prompting him to lean into his blocks and get his weight too far forward on his toes.
Bredeson offers impressive length, natural power and effective lateral mobility, so the foundation is present for him to be an effective interior blocker. 2018 will be a key season for Bredeson’s development.
Needs to improve: Pad level
4. Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin
Benzschawel has been targeted by some in football media as a top interior offensive line prospect…not just in the Big Ten but in the entire country. Simply put, Benzschawel’s film doesn’t illustrate that caliber of a player, at least not yet. If including OT David Edwards, Benzschawel is the 4th best player on his own line.
Beau’s hands and feet offer barriers to success as a blocker. Foot speed consistently shows up as a flaw in run blocking and pass protection alike, preventing Benzschawel from framing his blocks cleanly and working himself across the frame of defenders on outside rushing concepts.
Too many punches slip off the intended target, especially when pulling and a defender’s surface area is undefined until the blow is delivered.
Benzschawel is a big, powerful blocker who shows impressive recovery balance in stretches, but he need to clean up his technical skills to add to his pro profile.
Needs to improve: Sustaining blocks with hands
5. Steven Gonzalez, Penn State
The heaviest player on this list, Gonzalez is listed at 336 pounds. He certainly looks every bit of it with a thick lower half that provides him with ample anchoring skills and natural strength. Gonzalez could be found on several chunk gains on the ground throwing the key block at the point of attack, he’s walled off rushing lanes effectively on a unit that struggles to do so across the board.
But Gonzalez’s size and power may be too much of a good thing. His hips appear tight, his movements in space cumbersome and labored.
Needs to improve: Mobility