Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Weight: 310 pounds
2016: 14 starts
Bench press: 25 reps
Is Ryan Ramczyk the next Lane Johnson, or is the 2017 NFL Draft prospect another Danny Watkins? Because even the mere possibility of the latter might be enough to convince the Eagles to keep their distance.
Much like the last two offensive linemen the Eagles selected in the first round of the draft, Ramczyk’s college football career evolved from modest beginnings. Johnson played tight end at a community college before making the jump to Oklahoma, where he became an offensive tackle. Watkins was a Canadian training to become a firefighter at a junior college in Texas before finding his way to Baylor as a 25-year-old junior.
Ramczyk made the jump from Division III to the Badgers in 2015, where after a redshirt year, he wound up playing only one season. Obviously, it was impressive, because he earned first-team All-Big Ten and All-American honors. Still, the small body of work is concerning.
Actually, there’s even less tape of Ramczyk at a major college program than there was of Johnson or Watkins, who each spent two seasons as a starter before making the leap to the NFL. And like Watkins, scouting reports question Ramczyk’s passion for football -- though say nothing about a predisposition to firetrucks over playbooks.
Despite the unconventional background, Ramczyk could be the first offensive lineman off the board this year. There is not much in the way of consensus over who the top offensive tackle is in the draft, but his name often at the top of the list. Ramczyk may be the only one who potentially warrants a top-15 pick, too.
Tackle could certainly be viewed as a need for the Eagles. At this point, you never which season could be Jason Peters’ last. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection rebounded after a disappointing and injury-riddled 2015 campaign, but the writing is on the wall. Peters will be 36 in January and entering the final year of his contract, and already isn’t as dominant as he once was.
The Eagles might not want to make too many assumptions about Johnson, either. While he’s been groomed to eventually take over for Peters at left tackle, some feel the four-year veteran is better suited for the right side, while recurring PED suspensions threaten to knock him out action.
Under optimal circumstances, Johnson takes Peters’ place on the left, but who replaces Johnson? The Eagles have some candidates on the roster, notably Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Right tackle isn’t necessarily a first-round type of need, either. Regardless, it’s a question mark.
In theory, Ramczyk could play on the left or right, providing the Eagles with options when Peters is finished. Taking a player who isn’t expected to play or contribute with the No. 14 pick in the draft probably isn’t ideal, but it certainly goes a long way toward bolstering Carson Wentz’s protection for the future.
That is, if Ramczyk is more Johnson than Watkins. To be fair, Watkins was sort of a unique case in that he was literally going to school to follow his dreams and accidentally became a football player. Ramczyk was never really sure what he would do after high school, according to Rob Rang for CBS Sports, so why not play football professionally?
No doubt, those are the kinds of questions NFL teams are asking, along with checking into his medical history after undergoing offseason hip surgery. Perhaps then it’s notable the Eagles did not have Ramczyk in for an official top-30 pre-draft visit.
Other Eagles draft targets at No. 14:
Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
Alabama LB Reuben Foster
LSU RB Leonard Fournette
Alabama TE O.J. Howard
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
Washington CB Kevin King
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell
Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
Washington WR John Ross
Clemson WR Mike Williams