Carolina Panthers

2017 NFL draft: Top 10 offensive linemen | Rough class may have a few diamonds

Utah offensive lineman Garett Bolles will be 25 by the time his first NFL season begins.
Utah offensive lineman Garett Bolles will be 25 by the time his first NFL season begins. AP

The Observer’s top 10 offensive linemen available in the 2017 NFL draft:

1. Garett Bolles

College: Utah.

Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 297.

Projected round: 1st/2nd.

Comment: Bolles will be 25 by the time he begins his NFL career, but is probably the strongest tackle option in the draft.

2. Cam Robinson

College: Alabama.

Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 322.

Projected round: 1st.

Comment: Robinson’s size and experience at Alabama may make him the first tackle off the board, but his background (he was arrested in college with marijuana and two handguns in his car, one reported stolen, and the DA famously refused to prosecute) may give some teams pause.

Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk has lots of experience in a three-point stance and a recent hip surgery on his resume. David J. Phillip AP

3. Ryan Ramczyk

College: Wisconsin.

Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 310.

Projected round: 1st/2nd.

Comment: Ramczyk excelled at Wisconsin in a three-point stance (needed in the NFL), but has recently had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.

4. Forrest Lamp

College: Western Kentucky.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 309.

Projected round: 2nd.

Comment: Lamp might be the first guard off the board. He has nice movement but might need to widen up a bit in the NFL.

5. Dion Dawkins

College: Temple.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 314.

Projected round: 2nd.

Comment: Dawkins’ stock rises because he can play tackle or guard. He would be a great fit for Carolina’s love of line versatility, and will likely be around at pick 40 or 64.

6. Taylor Moton

College: Western Michigan.

Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 319.

Projected round: 2nd.

Comment: Moton is a bit of a project where his hands and feet are concerned but has nice girth and good potential as a run blocker.

7. Pat Elfein

College: Ohio State.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 303.

Projected round: 2nd/3rd.

Comment: Elfein doesn’t have the desired size/weight ratio many NFL teams look for but has good experience and base talent.

Troy offensive lineman Antonio Garcia has the length and size to succeed in the NFL. Michael Conroy AP

8. Antonio Garcia

College: Troy.

Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 302.

Projected round: 2nd/3rd.

Comment: Garcia has nice feet and would probably be a high second-rounder had he not gotten manhandled by small-school edge rusher Tarell Basham.

9. Dan Feeney

College: Indiana.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 305.

Projected round: 2nd/3rd.

Comment: Feeney is thick with a solid base. His draft profile projects that he would be better in interior pass protection in the league.

10. Chase Roullier

College: Wyoming.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 312.

Projected round: 3rd/4th.

Comment: Roullier is underestimated but could be a solid project piece for a team because of his body control and reported work ethic.

Panthers’ perspective

While both head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman say they’re optimistic about former starting left tackle Michael Oher’s return in 2017, Gettleman declined to answer whether Oher had made it to optional team workouts last week. Oher has been in the concussion protocol since early last season, and finished the season on injured reserve. He has also been unavailable for comment.

Carolina signed former Vikings tackle Matt Kalil to a $55.5 million contract in free agency and he will replace Oher on the left side with Oher expected to start on the right, but the Panthers will likely need to draft a tackle regardless to add a little more depth. A versatile piece like Dawkins would probably be ideal.

If Oher is not ready to go by the time the season starts, Daryl Williams will start on the right side in his place and the Panthers will need immediate depth behind him.


Julie’n Davenport from Bucknell is an intruiging prospect to watch here, likely as a project. Davenport has long arms (important at tackle), but needs to hone his technique and sharpen his athleticism.

Worth noting

Overall this tackle and guard class is not considered strong. Yet many teams still have need at both spots on the line, which will likely cause someone to overdraft.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue