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Mock Draft Roundup: Where’s the best spot to take top offensive tackle?

The demand for better offensive line play across the NFL continues to grow.

Never was it more apparent than during last year’s open to free agency, when numerous tackles and guards received big contracts in hopes they’d shore up -- and create -- some major holes all across the NFL. The Browns were among the biggest spenders, as they re-upped with left guard Joel Bitonio, invested heavily in right guard Kevin Zeitler and shored up the center position with JC Tretter.

As it stands today, the Browns are poised to return their entire starting offensive line, which was much improved from the previous season. The team, though, is awaiting word from future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas, who is mulling whether to return for a 12th season after missing the final half of 2017 with a triceps injury.

Losing Thomas changed how the Browns schemed their offense. Even if he does return, the Browns will look to add depth at the position and prepare for a future -- whenever it is -- without one of the best to ever do it manning the quarterback’s blind side.

Beyond Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, a projected top-10 pick, it’s hard to find any mock drafts projecting offensive linemen, specifically left tackles, anywhere near where the Browns are slotted to pick at No. 1 and No. 4. Still, it’s worth monitoring where these players could fall. With picks at No. 33 and No. 35, the Browns could pounce on one who falls through the cracks in the first round or, like last year, trade back into the first round.

Here’s the lay of the land one week before the 2018 NFL Combine.

  1. Texas OT Connor Williams (Bengals)
  1. Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown (Cardinals)
  1. Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey (Vikings)

Of note: NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Williams to Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews, who has started all but one game since he was a top-10 pick in the 2014 draft. A switch to guard or center wouldn’t be out of the question for Williams, Zierlein writes, because of his arm length.

  1. Brown (Bengals)
  1. Williams (Ravens)
  1. Williams (Bengals)
  1. Brown (Ravens)
  1. McGlinchey (Patriots)
  1. McGlinchey (Ravens)
  1. Williams (Jaguars)

Of note: McGlinchey, who is Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s first cousin, teamed with Nelson to create one of the most dominant sides of an offensive line in the entire country. An AFC team executive told NFL.com that McGlinchey could be better suited on the right side of the offensive line. The two-time team captain will need to add strength and mass to survive in the NFL, Zierlein writes.

  1. Williams (Bengals)
  1. Brown (Ravens)
  1. UCLA OT Kolton Miller (Vikings)
  1. Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby (Eagles)

Of note: At 6-foot-8, Miller is one of the tallest players, at any position, in this year’s draft. He spent the majority of his UCLA career at right tackle before switching to the left side in 2017.

  1. Brown (Ravens)
  1. McGlinchey (Seahawks)
  1. Williams (Bengals)
  1. Brown (Cardinals)
  1. McGlinchey (Jaguars)
  1. Miller (Vikings)

Of note: Brown, the son of former Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown, had a decorated career with the Sooners. He was Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2016 and was an Outland Trophy finalist and first-team All-American in 2017. He’s currently listed at 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds with a frame that works to his advantage in pass blocking and against him in run blocking, Zierlein writes.

  1. McGlinchey (Packers)
  1. Williams (Panthers)
  1. Brown (Vikings)
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