JC Latham a potential late riser into the top 5 of the NFL Draft according to insiders

Alabama's JC Latham has yet to be considered OT1 in the 2024 NFL Draft process, but on the day of the draft, two plugged-in league reporters have him mocked to go in the Top 5 and be the first tackle selected.
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (J.C. Latham),
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman JC Latham (J.C. Latham), / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s offensive line class in the NFL draft is just too good for a consensus to emerge. Many evaluators have glommed onto Joe Alt from Notre Dame as OT1 after Olu Fashanu from Penn State spent much of the year in the slot. However, on draft day, multiple NFL insiders have released their final mock drafts and have Alabama’s JC Latham as OT1 and a top-five pick. 

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager is as plugged in as anyone, so if he’s saying that Latham has a shot to go No. 5 to the Chargers and Jim Harbaugh, then the claim has serious validity. The same goes for Daniel Jeremiah, who is not only a draft analyst for the NFL Network, but also calls games on the LA Chargers radio network. 

At the start of the 2023 season, Alabama’s offensive line was a huge issue for Jalen Milroe. Though, by the end of the year, the Latham-led group was a strength of the Crimson Tide and many of the sacks were either the fault of Milroe or Latham’s counterpart on the other side of the line. 

Alabama allowed 120 total pressures on the quarterback last year and left tackle Kadyn Proctor was responsible for 36 of those. Latham only allowed nine pressures across 874 snaps at right tackle. The 6-foot-5 342-pound tackle would also fit perfectly in Harbaugh’s run-heavy scheme. 

The Chargers have lost both Mike Williams and Keenan Allen this offseason, which makes wide receiver a position of need, but so is right tackle. The Chargers have struggled to fill the spot opposite Rashawn Slater, who has been a dominant left tackle since coming out of Northwestern in 2021. Latham, who is a traditional right tackle may be LA’s preference over players like Alt and Fashanu who spent much of their collegiate careers on the left side.

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