Lately there has been growing speculation that if the St. Louis Rams take Sam Bradford with the first pick of the 2010 draft, as expected, the Detroit Lions might pick left tackle Russell Okung next.
The rationale behind taking an offensive tackle is simple. The Lions just invested nearly 42 million guaranteed dollars into quarterback Matt Stafford. They need him protected. The Lions have also added defensive linemen Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch during the off-season, lessening the need for Ndamukong suh or Gerald McCoy, the defensive tackles most rate as the two best players in the draft.
According to sources throughout the league, however, if the Lions do indeed take an offensive tackle second overall, it won't necessarily be Okung.
I spoke to representatives of four teams in the past few days. Though none of the representatives were willing to tell me who their team, collectively, had as their top-rated offensive tackle, I was able to get their personal opinions on who should be the first blocker drafted April 22nd.
Two of the four polled had Okung as the top rated tackle. Iowa's Bryan Bulaga and Oklahoma's Trent Williams, however, each received a vote, as well.
Okung, a four year starter, has the experience and consistency scouts like. The two scouts who picked Bulaga and Williams, however, nitpicked about his lack of elite athleticism and conversion from a spread attack.
The conversion from a spread attack applies to Trent Williams, as well. Williams, who demonstrated eye-popping athleticism at the Combine, has only one season at left tackle, however. There are some who believe he has the most upside of this talented OT class.
Bulaga is actually viewed as the safest of the trio by many scouts, including three of the four I polled. Already technically refined, however, he may lack Okung and Williams' upside, which is why he only earned the one vote as the best tackle of the class.
Regardless of the order they are selected, there is a growing consensus that all three tackles will be drafted among the top ten.
Some believe, in fact, that the three will join with Bradford, Suh and McCoy in some order as the top six picks of the draft.