football-fbs flag

Ralph D. Russo | Associated Press | May 11, 2017

Meet 7 of the nation's best offensive linemen

  Orlando Brown (78) paved the way for an outstanding Oklahoma rushing attack last season.

Two offensive linemen were selected in the first round of last month's NFL draft, the fewest since 1965.

In 2017, the big guys up front are positioned to bounce back.

With the help of former Auburn guard and ESPN and SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic, here's a look at some of the draft-eligible offensive linemen that will be vital to their team's performance in 2017.

Mike McGlinchey, OT, and Quinton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish are hoping the left side of their line can help lead a turnaround from last season's 4-8 mess. McGlinchey is a mountain at 6-foot-8 and 312 pounds, with potential to be the first offensive lineman taken in next year's draft.

The 6-5, 330-pound Nelson is a dominant run blocker. "He's an absolute mauler," Cubelic said.

Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Sooners have to replace some top-flight talent at running back and wide receiver, but the offensive line should make life easy on the new playmakers. Brown is the leader. At 6-7 and 340, Brown took a big leap forward from his redshirt freshman season to last year in fundamentals and technique. Athletically, he has all the tools. "He is your elite, prototypical tackle frame," Cubelic said.

Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson

MORE: Full football coverage

Hyatt was a huge recruit who has been starting since his freshman season. He has made steady progress from solid in 2015 to very good in 2016. This season the Tigers expect him to be one of the best offensive linemen in the country and a leader of an offense that will have plenty of new faces at the skill positions.

Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

Rankin is a junior college transfer who redshirted his first season with the Bulldogs in 2015. He needed some time to develop last season, but by the end of 2016 he was showing star potential. "He has some nasty when he gets latched on," Cubelic said.

Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

How important is Frank Ragnow to the Razorbacks? Arkansas coach Bret Bielema held his center out of full-contact scrimmages this spring to preserve a key asset. Ragnow is a three-year starter who passed on a chance to jump into the NFL draft after last season when he graded out as the top offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus.

Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Williams has grown into his massive frame during his two seasons at Texas while retaining quickness and athleticism. The 6-6, 320-pound junior is the best player on an offensive line that has experienced players but needs better overall play. Remarkably, Texas has not had an offensive lineman drafted since 2008. Williams is likely to break that string.

This article is written by Ralph D. Russo from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Undefeated college football teams in 2019

We're keeping track of all the remaining undefeated college football teams for the 2019 season. There are three teams that remain unbeaten.

Women's basketball rankings: Notre Dame's 12-year run in AP Top 25 comes to end

Notre Dame fell out of the AP Top 25 on Monday for the first time since the end of the 2006-07 season, stopping a streak of 234 consecutive weeks being ranked. It was the third longest active streak behind UConn’s (492) and Baylor’s (302).

Tennessee at Notre Dame women’s basketball: Preview, how to watch

The women's basketball teams from Notre Dame and Tennessee will meet for the 30th time on Monday in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN2. Here's everything you need to know about the game.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners