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Offensive line prospects to keep an eye on at the Senior Bowl

Let’s take a look at some bullies in the trenches.

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Senior Bowl/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The Senior Bowl has been taking place this week and today’s the final practice for both the National and American teams before they get the day off tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s game.

This is the second year in a row that I haven’t been able to make it down to Mobile for coverage and hopefully that changes this time next season.

At any rate, my favorite thing to watch while at the Senior Bowl are the one-on-one drills involving the offensive and defensive lines. I think it’s the best and most-entertaining show at the all-star showcase and it kills me inside knowing I’m missing it.

That won’t stop me from talking about offensive lineman, though. Below I have four players — one tackle and three guards — that I think the Chargers should take a serious look at this draft season. Tackle is likely the move in round one, but I’m all for reinforcing the offensive line somewhere else in the draft.

OG Deonte Brown - Alabama

Brown’s popularity on social media shot through the roof when a photo of him on the field went viral after people started comparing him to the classic Pokemon, Blastoise. It’s not a bad comparison as the 360-pounder looks so wide that you’d be hard-pressed to tell me that he didn’t have a massive turtle shell on his back.

His size is obviously the first thing everyone notices with Brown. How he is able to hold that much weight on his 6’3 frame is beyond me, but it works. His play at the Senior Bowl will also help coaches decide on whether or not they think Brown could benefit from some weight or if they end up being comfortable with his mass at the next level.

His size alone will intimidate defenders and help make him one of the sturdiest lineman at the next level. The biggest question for him will be whether or not he has the lateral movement skills to keep up with the quicker interior defensive lineman like the Aaron Donalds and the Grady Jarret’s of the world. So far though, he’s been impressive in this area.

OT Spencer Brown - Northern Iowa

Brown wins the “Tallest Player Award” at the Senior Bowl after measuring at 6’8 1/2 and 314 pounds. Last year, Mehki Becton was the tallest when he measured over 6’7 but Brown looks to have a whole inch on him although Betcon was working 50 more pounds on his frame.

The former Northern Iowa Panther will battle it out with North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz for the top offensive lineman taken from the FCS level and both could make an argument to get taken anywhere from late Day 1 to early Day 2.

One of the things that may be most impressive about Brown is his weight room strength. When you’re tall with long arms, bench pressing becomes much harder. But despite this well-known fact, Brown has reportedly bench-pressed over 500 pounds while at UNI. I can’t stress enough just how impressive that feat is. The distance in which he has to lower and raise that weight in much farther than your average human being.

If Brown is able to combine his play-strength with this actual power and lifting strength, one lucky team might just have found one of the largest diamonds from a school not well-known for pumping out NFL talent.

OG Ben Cleveland - Georgia

I’ve been a fan of Cleveland’s for awhile now after I wrote an article for a previous site I contributed to that detailed the best returning offensive line’s ahead of the 2018 college football season. Obviously Georgia was among them as they are routinely one of the better units in the country.

The first thing that stood out to me was Cleveland movement skills at someone his size. Back then he was listed at 340 pounds, so him getting up to 355 is quite surprising. He’s been a long-time starter for the Bulldogs at right guard, earning himself Third-Team All-American honors by the Associated Press and First-Team All-SEC honors from the media and coaches. In all, he started 25 games and played in 45 total.

Following the first practice of the week, Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner listed Cleveland as his top performer of the day among all guards in Mobile. He has displayed the pure brute strength that you want to see from an interior offensive lineman at the next level and he’s a proven player in the toughest conference at the Division I level. With tough hands and incredible functional strength, I think Cleveland would be a steal in the third or fourth round, if he lasts that long.

Lastly, I’m going to leave you with this picture from Cleveland’s instagram profile to give you no doubts about how rocked up this guy is at his massive weight.

Ben Cleveland

OG Quinn Meinerz - Wisconsin-Whitewater

For those of you guys wondering, yes, Wisconsin-Whitewater is a Division III school and Meinerz is the lone player from that level participating in the Senior Bowl this week. But seriously, do not let that stop you from checking him out as a prospect. Plus, Ali Marpet of the Bucs, who are playing in the Super Bowl two week from now, is from a DIII school, as well.

Scout the player, not the helmet.

Meinerz is very well-built at 6’3 and 320 pounds. He’s the only lineman at the all-star showcase that is practicing with his jersey tucked underneath his shoulder pads so that his glorious belly is displayed for all to see. To do that, and then also follow it up with excellent play against the top senior talent in the country, is an ultimate flex.

Meinerz has displayed a good sense for leverage and he plays like a guy with his hair on fire. Effort is not going to be an issue. Heck, even some of his “losses” in one-on-one drills this week have looked good. You can’t teach the type of mindset Meinerz has shown and he’s doing a phenomenal job of giving 110 percent in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.