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NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Tackles

  • previews the NFL Draft position-by-position, with a focus on some of the top rookie prospects available in the April 29-30 NFL Draft. Tuesday: Offensive Tackles.*

Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen are about to enter their seventh season as the Redskins' primary bookend tackles. Both are entering their prime by NFL standards and show no signs of slowing down. What about backup offensive tackles? The Redskins have a pair of young, inexperienced pros in Jim Molinaro and Jon Alston, plus a former Canadian Football League starter in Jonta Woodard.

Head coach Joe Gibbs has identified depth at offensive line as an off-season priority. The Redskins have acquired several interior linemen this offseason, so it seems likely that Gibbs and assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel could take a young offensive tackle prospect at some point in the draft.

Redskins Draft History: The Redskins obtained two-fifths of the famous "Hogs" offensive line in the 1981 NFL Draft. Lineman Mark May was a first-round pick (20th overall) that season. In the third round, the Redskins selected Russ Grimm with the 69th overall selection.

Top Prospects

Ferguson is regarded as somewhat of a new breed of offensive tackle. He stands at 6-5 and 297 pounds and has mobility that should allow him to better defend against speed rushers. Ferguson is expected to be a top five pick in the draft.

Justice impressed coaches and scouts at USC's Pro Day in March and has been vaulting up draft boards ever since. The 6-6, 300-pounder was a key lineman helping to protect Matt Leinart and open up holes for Reggie Bush. Justice is expected to be drafted in the middle of the first round.

Winston, a converted tight end, was developing into a dominant tackle at Miami when he suffered a knee injury in 2004. The 6-6, 302-pounder rebounded in 2005, but some scouts question whether he has the mobility he did before the injury. Winston should be a late first-round pick, but may drop to the second round.

#### Second-Round Prospects

McNeil has started since his freshman year and played three seasons with Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. The 6-7, 332-pounder has surprising mobility given his mammoth size, but some scouts are concerned he could have weight issues. McNeil could be a late first-round pick, but most likely will be selected in the second.

Trueblood is 6-8, 316 pounds and has an impressive wingspan, but he hurt his draft stock after a mediocre performance at the Senior Bowl. He could be a steal in the second round because he has the tools to develop into a dominant tackle, but some scouts have questioned his consistency.

Scott has prototypical size at 6-6 and 310 pounds and helped protect Vince Young the last three years. Still developing as a player, he could fit in at left or right tackle, depending on a team's need.

Late-Round Possibilities

At 6-6 and 328 pounds, Whitworth has excellent size for a left tackle, a position he played last season at LSU. Some scouts claim he has limited mobility, however.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson's teammate is regarded as a tough, nasty lineman. Butler is 6-7 and 303 pounds, but could be somewhat of a project in the pros.

#### Other OTs to Watch

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