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This Offensive Tackle Might be The BEST in The Class

By Peter Andrisani (The Mock Draft Guy)


In my short time of making NFL Draft content, this is easily the best tackle class that I’ve ever evaluated. So much so, that one elite member of the class has eluded my prospect profile series, until today. That Prospect is Alabama’s J.C Latham.


So if you are new to my channel, or new to this series, the purpose of these prospect profiles is to evaluate a player's strengths, areas to improve upon, scheme fit, team fits, pro comparison, and overall draft projection. So if you enjoy this article, be sure to leave a like and subscribe to my channel, so you don’t miss out on any NFL Draft Content.


STRENGTHS


J.C. Latham possesses some drool-worthy measurables. The former Crimson Tide offensive lineman is 6’6” and is a lean 342 pounds. His arm length and hand size are incredibly impressive as well, with 35 ⅛ inch arms, and huge 11” hands. Latham also possesses some superb quickness and athleticism, running one of the fastest forty times for the positional group, at 4.85.


These Numbers are great until they don’t show up on tape, but that’s not the case with Latham. His athleticism, strength, and leverage advantages are evident on game film. Latham truly possesses the Size and athleticism to develop into an elite cornerstone franchise talent. 


As a run blocker, Latham showcases his natural athletic ability, by effectively blocking defenders in the zone run game. Latham consistently showcases the ability to reach-block defenders, thanks to his arm length and wingspan. Latham also does a good job of sealing off the backside of runs.


On inside zone runs, Latham effectively works the double teams and climbs to the second level, using his speed, control, and overall power to be a lane-clearing lead blocker. Latham brings a tone-setting, physically dominating demeanor to his run-blocking reps, and in my opinion, run-blocking is his stronger area of the two. 


As a pass blocker, Latham shows his great quickness and athleticism by quickly getting depth in his pass set, while not oversetting. Latham often beats pass rushers to the top of the arc and is ready to engage. Latham is a great rhythm pass blocker, he gets off the line with a great tempo, and his timing and cadence are nearly pristine.


Due to his large frame, Latham rarely loses the leverage game and is even able to keep leverage when not squaring up to his assignment. When Latham engages, he has great punch timing and immensely strong hands. When Latham latches, he often dictates the defender's pass rush. Latham shows the ability to anchor on defenders when they go to convert speed to power, he also shows the ability to move his feet laterally while engaged, keeping his legs driving throughout the rep. 


WEAKNESSES


Now J.C Latham, like every other prospect, comes with his fair share of areas that he can improve upon. Latham’s Aggressive, attacking nature can backfire on him at times in run blocking. On angle driving blocks, Latham tends to attack his blocks while dipping his head and engaging in initial contact.


Especially on angle-driven blocks, Latham risks losing across his face while dipping his head, dropping his hands, and playing a little too far over his toes at some points. In the power run game, Latham needs to do a better job of sustaining his blocks. Latham does a good job in displaying initial power in his block, but often disengages too quickly, and allows a window for the defender to still make a play on the ball carrier on the back end of the play. 


Another area Latham needs to improve upon is pass protection, Latham needs to work on keeping himself balanced, and not lunging forward to engage too quickly. Latham needs to do a better job in consistently closing the distance to avoid the inside or outside counter move. Latham can sometimes get away with relying on his wingspan and strength to be effective on counter moves, but closing the distance and keeping the defender in frame would make his impact blocking much more effective. 


SCHEME FIT


In terms of a scheme Fit for J.C Latham, I would say he is best suited for a run-heavy, zone-run scheme. Latham has 25 career starts in Alabama’s 64\36 run-pass split and possesses the quickness, athleticism, and overall strength to play in this scheme effectively at the next level. Latham is also well-versed as a pass protector as well, so a pass-heavy attack would be perfectly fine, but to maximize his strengths and abilities, a run-heavy attack would be best. 


TEAM FITS

Here are 5 teams that I think could look to Draft J.C Latham in the 2024 NFL Draft:


The New York Jets. The Jets should probably be in the market for a Left Tackle at this point, but Latham’s overall ability and Intangibles might intrigue Joe Douglas. 


The Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders are in serious need of an upgrade on the right side of their offensive line, and their lust for Alabama players is well-documented. 


The New Orleans Saints. Stuck in salary cap purgatory for the last 5 years now, the Saints need to get younger and cheaper in expensive positions. 


The Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have invested in keeping Matthew Stafford Upright over the past two off-seasons, a franchise Tackle could just be the last piece of the infinity gauntlet. 


Finally, The Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles love their lineman, we all know that. With their Stout offensive line not getting any younger, it might be time to find a Lane Johnson replacement. 


PRO COMPARISON


My pro comparison for J.C. Latham is Christian Darrisaw. I know Darrisaw is a left tackle, but the two players show a similar proficiency in their pass-blocking and run-blocking abilities. Darrisaw is a slightly better run blocker than a pass blocker, just like Latham. Both are still very good in both areas, however. Latham is the thicker of the two players and possesses a bit more quickness and overall speed in his game. Let's see if it translates to the NFL like it did for Darrisaw/ 


DRAFT PROJECTION


Overall, Latham is a physically dominating tackle, with the quickness, speed, and overall power to be an impact player right away at the NFL Level. He is also still very young, as he will only be 21 throughout his rookie season, so there is a ton of room for growth and polish. Latham has all the makings of a Franchise-caliber, Pro Bowl right tackle in the NFL, which is why I think he will be selected inside the top 20 of the 2024 NFL Draft. 




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