In an unusually deep offensive tackle class, one prospect that has been flying under the radar — but is beginning to pick up some steam as the draft nears — is the University of Florida’s Stone Forsythe.
The Baltimore Ravens need to come away with at least one offensive tackle in this year’s draft, whether they oblige Orlando Brown Jr.’s trade request or not. Forsythe could be a steal on day two that would provide an immediate upgrade at swing tackle if Brown Jr. stays put. He could also be groomed next year to be the right tackle of the future behind the two-time Pro Bowler.
Forsythe has started the last 25 games as the blindside protector for the Gators but has experience playing on both the left and right sides. He started 15 games at right tackle, including all 13 in 2018 as a red-shirt sophomore in his first opportunity as a full-time starter.
Last season, he helped keep 2020 Heisman finalist Kyle Trask upright for the best year of his collegiate career. With Forsythe protecting his blindside, Trask was able to throw for 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, and guide the Gators to the SEC title game — where they went toe-to-toe with the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
He went up against two edge rushers projected to come off the board in the Top-50 picks in 2020 — Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari and Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins — and neither recorded a sack or more than four solo tackles in the game.
Ojulari will likely hear his name called in the first round and is one of the most explosive and freakishly athletic prospects in the entire class. However, he wasn’t able to get around Stone in a lopsided 44-28 loss where Trask threw for a career-high 474 yards.
Stone Forsythe basically eliminated Ojulari from the game. He had a few fringe pressures but that's it. pic.twitter.com/9EZ5Qjjd3O— Josiah (@RainingGamess) March 24, 2021
Stout pass protection is considered his greatest strength coming out of college and he isn’t as highly-touted as a run blocker. However, I believe that was more of a reflection of the type of offense that the Gators ran with Trask under center the past two seasons.
In 2018, when he was the starting right tackle and with a more mobile quarterback, Florida averaged 213.3 rushing yards per game and had a pair of rushers eclipse 750 apiece.
Forsythe weighs 307 pounds which is much lighter than Brown Jr., who is currently listed at 345 pounds on the Ravens’ roster. Both are 6-foot-8 and possess great length but Forsythe wins with athleticism and strength while Brown Jr. uses strength and his overwhelming size to his advantage.
Forsythe tested extremely well at his pro day, showing off his athleticism and agility with a superb 7.47 in the 3-cone drill and a respectable 5.14 mark in the 40-yard dash. He is powerful at the point of attack and can deliver a punishing block and move to the second level in almost the blink of an eye on run plays and screens.
One area where he needs to work on is consistently playing with good leverage. When he gets too high in his pass set, he can sometimes get stood up by smaller rushers with better leverage and lower pad level. It’s a trait that can be coached up and corrected and I have the utmost faith in Ravens offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris’ ability to fix it if they draft him.
Forsythe is one of several second generation aspiring NFL players whose fathers played in the league during the 2000’s. His father, Ray, played for the Cincinnati Bengals at several different positions and spent some time playing in NFL Europe and the Arena League as well.