It’s never too early to look ahead to the next NFL draft. Here are three offensive tackle prospects New York Jets fans should keep their eye on throughout this year’s college football season.
Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Few high school recruits can immediately jump into the starting lineup for a powerhouse program, but that’s exactly what Thomas did. As a true freshman, he started all 15 games for the Bulldogs at right tackle, then moved to left tackle as a sophomore to replace first-round pick Isaiah Wynn.
Listed at 6-5, 320 pounds, Thomas has the ideal frame and length for an NFL left tackle, along with the intelligence, athleticism and balance to handle even the most difficult edge rushers. Despite heading into just his junior season, Thomas is already an experienced blocker, with 28 starts under his belt, many of them against some of the top competition in all of college football.
Walker Little, Stanford
The first true freshman to start at left tackle for the Cardinal in nearly two decades, Little made an immediate impact once he landed in the starting lineup. Despite appearing in just nine games that year, he was named co-recipient of the Pac-12’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honor.
Entrenched as the starting left tackle as a sophomore, Little earned first-team all-conference honors in 2018. Listed at 6-7, 311 pounds, Little is a massive blocker with long arms and a physical playing style that serves him well in the run game and against powerful pass rushers.
Trey Smith, Tennessee
It had been thirty years since a true freshman had started at left tackle for the Volunteers, and Smith locked down the premium position for all 12 games in 2017. He was well on his way to another productive season as sophomore before he was sidelined for the rest of the season due to blood clots found in his lungs.
Smith’s long-term health is obviously paramount, but he plans to return to the field in 2019. Listed at 6-6, 337 pounds, Smith has a massive and powerful frame that pairs well with his impressive athleticism. With the skill set and experience to play either guard or tackle, Smith should be a top prospect in 2020 if he’s medically cleared.