Monday, May 27, 2024

Alabama Offensive Tackle JC Latham

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Playing tackle at the University of Alabama has always been a privilege. Playing tackle at the University of Alabama under head coach Nick Saban has often meant a big payday in your future as he’s produced seven first round draft picks from the position during his tenure, making playing the position an all the more coveted opportunity. Thursday night Saban seals his legacy with his final class going into the NFL Draft as he retired in January. This class will likely settle his record at 47 first round draft picks while coaching at the Capstone and features JC Latham as his eighth tackle to be taken in the first round.

Latham follows Andre Smith, James Carpenter, D.J. Fluker, Jonah Williams, Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood and Evan Neal as first round draft picks but his Thursday won’t come without uncertainty.

The 6-foot-6 gargantuan tackle is one of four tackles with first round grades. His two seasons starting at right tackle may diminish his value in the eyes of teams looking for an option on the left side, but Latham’s been adamant in his abilities to play either side.

Meanwhile, complicating the draft is a deep quarterback class that is sure to disrupt the natural order of flow on Thursday night’s proceedings as teams maneuver up and down the draft board searching for a signal caller to change their franchise’s hopes.

Latham came to the Crimson Tide as a 5-star prospect and played admirably at right tackle for the last two seasons. The “Trench King” saw action as a reserve as a true freshman in a Heisman Trophy winning campaign season for quarterback Bryce Young and then grew into a leader taking the Crimson Tide back to the College Football Playoffs as a junior this season.

On paper, Latham looks like a sure-fire top-ten NFL draft pick, but a loaded tackle class featuring Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu and Taliese Fuaga could see teams go in a different direction, even if tackle was the position of choice on Thursday.

Player Info
Jersey: No. 65
Position: RT/LT
DOB: February 8, 2003
Hometown: Oak Creek, Wis.
High School: IMG Academy, Bradenton Fla.
Recruiting Class: 2021
Recruiting Rating: Consensus 5-star, No. 3 overall, No. 1 at position, No. 1 in the state
Did he play in an All-Star Game? Under Armour All-America Game

Accomplishments
The mammoth offensive lineman started 27 games at right tackle while appearing in 41 total games for the Crimson Tide across three seasons in Tuscaloosa. Latham’s been a part of two SEC championship-winning teams, one as a starter and one as a reserve. In his most recent season, he allowed just two sacks on 408 pass sets, was named All-SEC First Team, and was selected a second team All-American by the Associated Press, FWAA, The Sporting News, Walter Camp, CBS Sports, Pro Football Focus, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.

NFL Combine/Pro Day
Height: 6-6
Weight: 342 pounds
Hand: 11 inches
Arm: 35 1/8
Wing: 81⅜”

40-yard dash: DNP
10-yard split: DNP
Vertical jump: DNP
Broad jump: DNP

What They’re Saying

“Bulldozer in human form with the upper- and lower-body power to forcibly evacuate run lanes and instantly upgrade a team’s ground attack. Latham’s body type is girthy, and he has elite drive-blocking talent. He has operated in a variety of run schemes but will be an average move blocker both laterally and when climbing to the second level. His pass sets are well-balanced with good initial quickness and active hands. He unleashes lefts and rights and mirrors effectively after contact but gets beaten by inside moves when he over-sets. He has the length and hand strength to shut rushers down but needs to become more comfortable setting diagonally rather than vertically to avoid sinking too deeply into his own pocket. Latham’s size, strength and talent give him a chance to become a heralded right tackle or Pro Bowl-caliber guard.”
–– Lance Zierlein, NFL.com Draft Analyst

Mock Draft

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: 18th overall prospect in the class
The Ringer Mock Draft: 11th Overall Selection by the Los Angeles Chargers after a trade down.
Josh Carney Steelers Depot: 16th Overall Selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade up.
The Mock Draft Database: selected anywhere between 12 and 21.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: 11th Overall Selection by the Los Angeles Chargers after a trade down.
Jordan Reid, ESPN: 16th Overall Selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a trade up.
Eric Edholm, NFL.com: 18th Overall Selection by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Projection 

First round

The Last Word 

“Yeah, so just knowing you’ve got a lot of guys who’ve been through it and really just having a lot of communication with them and just really understand what’s going on. Even though it’s my first time, it’s not my first time knowing it. I was here last year watching it and the year before that and I got a lot of time to just talk to the guys on like what to expect.”
-JC Latham at Alabama Pro Day on how other Alabama players have paved the way for him.

This is the fourth story in a series of profiles of former players who could be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

Terrion Arnold
Jermaine Burton
Christ Braswell

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