FOOCH'S NOTE 7:53AM: This is a great FanPost look at the remaining free offensive tackles. Due to the length I've moved a few of the players after the jump. Feel free to join the discussion. Our regularly scheduled 8am post will be moved back to accommodate this FanPost.
Obviously we can't start the season with Barry Sims as the starting RT unless we want to be bad so let's take a look at who we might able to get through free agency. Getting a quality OT in free agency would let us use our first round pick (#10 overall) on the player we think is going to be the best, rather than fill one of the remaining big holes (I'm thinking RT, FS, RB#2).
In order of ESPN's grading, these are the best remaining OT free agents rated 60 or above (60 is their bottom range of "avg starter"):
Height: 6-4 Weight: 318 lbs. Age: 25
Score: 75 (Good Starter)
Evans has been a starter, since his rookie year, when he was drafted by the Saints in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. He is a good combination of mauler and athletic lineman, who is still learning the finer points of the techniques for blocking on the offensive line in the NFL. He still needs some work with his hand use and placement. He will get a wide grasp that can lead to holding. He is quick with his first step, can gain initial position on blocks and has enough agility to react or adjust to movement. He is quick coming out for the pull. He can adjust and react on the corner to zero in on blocks in the open field. He can roll his hips to turn and seal opponents on the edge and will set with a good base to wall off. He understands angles, how to protect the pocket in pass pro and flashes the ability to react or adjust to counter moves. He has good lower-body strength, can sink his hips to anchor against a bull rush or roll his hips and unload to deliver a good blow on drive blocks. He is an adequate knee-bender and does a good job of keeping his pad level down to leverage his blocks. He is learning to finish blocks off and will work the block until the whistle to sustain. He will overextend when in space and lose rushers to good counters or change-of-direction pass rush moves.
Height: 6-7 Weight: 330 lbs. Age: 35
Grade: 70 (Good Starter)
Runyan is an extremely durable RT with excellent size and strength for the position. He is a consistent player who plays physical and does a good job of controlling opponents within his frame. His foot speed and overall quickness are descending, but he takes good angles and can sustain contact with his balance and body control. As a run-blocker, he is more of a mauler than a position blocker. He does a good job of working for movement and he gives good effort to finish at the point of attack or downfield. He is better in a confined area than he is out in space. His foot speed and adjustment skills are limited versus quick players and he can struggle to adjust on the run. He is quick to set and react in pass protection. He uses his hands well to steer or punch initially, while maintaining good balance. He has to open his hips when reacting to speed rushers up field, but his long arms help him push defenders past the quarterback. Runyan occasionally gets overextended or edged by quick counter moves. A hard change-of-direction rusher can catch him off-balance with a quick move, but he usually doesn't get beaten by the same move twice.
Height: 6-5 Weight: 325 lbs. Age: 26
Grade: 67 (Avg Starter)
Barnes has anchored the left side of the line for the past four years. He has excellent size for the position and is a fluid, easy mover who is an adequate knee-bender with excellent body control and balance. He has above-average, small-area quickness and comes off the ball with good pad level. He gets a good fit with his hands to control and steer opponents on by the hole. He has good lateral range in pass protection and can ride the rusher on by the pocket, but will let his weight get a bit high at times and is inconsistent when it comes to reacting or adjusting to counter moves. He does a good job of bringing his feet with him on drive blocks and he understands angles and blocking schemes. He can struggle on the second level when trying to block linebackers and adjusting in space. He could show more of a nasty temperament as he tries to finish his blocks off. He is quick to pick up unblocked opponents and is a quick decision maker. While he is not a dominating blocker, he does more than just hold his own.
Height: 6-3 Weight: 315 lbs. Age: 25
Grade: 63 (Avg Starter)
Colon has been the Steelers starting right tackle for two seasons, with varied results. He carries too much weight in his midsection and is built more like a guard than a tackle. He has experimented at all three interior positions, but seems better suited for the right tackle spot, so it is tough to decipher his position flexibility. He is aggressive and likes to mix it up. He brings a bit of toughness to the offensive line and will sometimes take the play past the whistle. On the edge, speed-rushers consistently give Colon a rough time and he isn't as quick off the ball or agile enough to deal with far better athletes. He has powerful hands, but doesn't always place them as well as he should. His strength is okay, but he doesn't unload his hips or punish defenders as much as his squattier body type would suggest. Colon is still young and still has a fair amount of upside, but he shouldn't be considered anything more than a marginal starter because he takes far too many penalties.
Height: 6-5 Weight: 305 lbs. Age: 25
Grade: 63 (Avg Starter)
Penn is a former collegiate free-agent offensive tackle. He has become a quality left tackle with adequate size good speed, quickness, agility and balance for the position. He has long arms that allow him to punch out and keep opponents at bay and away from his body. He will flash a decent punch to jar opponents and gain the initial advantage. He can bring his feet with him to sustain blocks. He has good lateral range in pass pro and can kick out to pick up the edge speed-rusher. He has the balance and body control to recover and right himself when pass-rushers show counter moves. He will also keep his feet alive to ride the rusher on by the pocket. He is an adequate knee-bender and still needs to work on keeping his pad level down for run blocks because he will lose leverage at times. He is able to roll his hips to turn and seal off the corner. He can slip to the second level and make downfield blocks.
Height: 6-3 Weight: 316 lbs. Age: 31
Grade: 63 (Avg Starter)
Tauscher has been a mainstay on the Packers' offensive line, since entering the league nine years ago. He is a hard-nosed competitor who wins with effort, intelligence and technique. He understands angles and how to gain leverage with proper hand use and body positioning. Tauscher isn't an explosive blocker off the line of scrimmage, but has strong hands to stay connected once engaged. He can anchor effectively versus power bull rushes, but tends to have a tough time blocking speed edge-rushers. Tauscher is an average overall athlete who is best in a limited area. He has good knee bend, but his lateral agility and quickness is limited in space. He is effective on combination blocks, but his lack of nimble feet will get exposed on the second level. Tauscher is also a solid reactor to stunts and twists, which enables him to be effective in both man- and zone-blocking schemes. He is a good football player who has reached his ceiling as an NFL lineman. His experience, leadership and consistency make him a player who will likely be back in a Packers' uniform in 2009.
Height: 6-4 Weight: 324 lbs. Age: 26
Grade: 60 (Avg Starter)
Essex is still young and continues to improve. He is smart, versatile and able to play any position on the line, with the exception of center. He is important on game day as a key backup and ideally suited to be the team's sixth offensive linemen. As tackles go, he isn't as quick laterally or out of his stance as you would like and doesn't have the ideal build for the edge. As a guard, he isn't overpowering in a tight situation. He does just enough to generally be effective and his technique, especially his hand placement, has improved each year he has been in the league.
Height: 6-7 Weight: 314 lbs. Age: 36
Grade: 60 (Avg Starter)
Miller was only active for six games this season and had limited playing time in 2008. Once a mainstay on the Chicago's offensive line, he will likely stay retired in 2009. He does have great size and strength, but has diminishing athletic skills and desire to play the game. He does understand leverage, hand use and angles as both a run- and pass-blocker. He is limited on the second level and lacks consistent knee bend to stay connected. He can anchor versus powerful bull rushers, but is inconsistent to finish. Miller is coming off his 13th season in the league and age as well as health is likely to keep him from playing in 2009.