Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 1/19/13
TFDS is going through every position in preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft in April.  Today, we are looking at the top prospects at offensive tackle.  While the Raiders have an above average tackle in Veldheer, they lack any great option to pair with him and many think that the Raiders may be in the market for a tackle in the draft either to put at right tackle or, possibly, to draft a new left tackle and shift Veldheer to the right side. Here are my top 5 picks, in order, for the 2013 Draft offensive tackles. Offensive Tackles: 1. Luke Joeckel 6’6 310 lbs Texas A&M Joeckel looks like he can enter the NFL as a Pro Bowl caliber tackle straight away; he shows great athleticism, range and technique much in the same vein as high first round picks Joe Thomas and Jake Long. Has great burst and vision in running game, generating great push at the LOS while not allowing penetration into the backfield. Joeckel gets to 2nd level well, opening lanes for running backs. His slick footwork and vision will make ZBS teams love him.  Joeckel has smooth sliding feet and a good hand punch out of his stance, then he anchors well against a power rush.  He also has the strength and ability to extend his long arms against a speed rusher who is trying to get outside him and direct the defender off of the QB.  In the instances when he’s initially beaten at the snap, he shows the ability to recover well and lock back on to defender.  He needs to add some nastiness to his game and some overall strength but he’ll be able to bulk up in an NFL weight room and I think he is a better prospect then 2012 top tackle Matt Kalil. Pro Comparison: Tyron Smith   2. Eric Fisher 6’7 305 lbs Central Michigan Fisher has the size and technique for the position but some will question the level of competition he has faced at CMU.  Even though he isn’t coming from a top program, he has shown up well against good competition when he’s faced it.  He needs to continue to work on his anchoring because he is so tall that if he doesn’t focus on correct technique he can pop up too high and all defenders to get underneath, which gives them the leverage to push him back. Pro Comparison: Jared Veldheer           3. Dallas Thomas 6’5 310 lbs Tennessee A versatile offensive lineman that moved to guard this year after playing left tackle his sophomore and junior seasons, Thomas needs to improve in the run game and add some “roughness” to his game. One big question yet to be answered is whether an NFL team want to move him to tackle or leave him at guard.   Pro Comparison: Max Starks             4. Oday Aboushi 6’6 310 lbs Virginia Oday has all the skill and athletic ability to be an elite tackle, But is held back by his lack of consistency.  When you watch him you can be amazed on one play or one series but later in even the same game you look for him again and ask yourself, “where did he go?”  If I saw more dominance from Aboushi he’d be at the top of this list but I, and NFL scouts as well, will wonder if he will be able to transition to the NFL where consistency is a highly valued trait.   Pro Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson     5. DJ Fluker 6’6 335 lbs Alabama Fluker is a mauler in the run game and when he gets his hands on you and is able to get his legs driving not many defenders can do anything about it.  However the NFL is increasingly a passing league and it’s the passing game where Fluker needs to improve most.  He doesn’t have the feet/agility to face NFL quality speed rushers, so while he could be good right tackle, I like him more moving inside to guard where he can grade paths for running backs but have a tackle outside to manage the dominant edge rushers.   Pro Comparison: James Carpenter   For more Raiders or NFL Draft thoughts, follow Tyler on Twitter @Raiderpedia
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