Tagged: Offensive Guard

RG AUNDREY WALKER, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

RG #70 AUNDREY WALKER, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

6’6” – 315 lbs. – 5.30e

Started eight games at left tackle as a sophomore, then transitioned to right guard in 2013, where he started ten games. Tall with long arms; built more like a tackle than a guard. Carries his weight well. Gets good arm extension on his blocks. Capable of generating push when he wins the leverage battle. Quick puncher who resets his hands quickly. Much better hand-use against rushers than as a run blocker. Creates pop on initial contact and keeps his feet churning, although he has a tendency to lower his head. Mobile enough to pull to either side on rushing downs; could potentially fit into a zone-blocking scheme. Effective double-team blocker. Can anchor against power in pass protection. Experience on both sides of the line and at both guard and tackle should appeal to teams seeking a swing reserve. May be too tall to play guard, as he doesn’t bend his knees particularly well and seems to have some trouble with leverage; a bit of a waist-bender. Temperamentally more of an offensive tackle. Doesn’t play with consistent balance or coordination; ends up on the ground too frequently. Mediocre lateral agility casts doubt on his ability to play on the outside at the next level. Has some problems with his awareness in pass protection, even on routine assignments. Hands find their way outside too often, generally when he’s attempting to compensate for being late to a spot. Struggles to sustain blocks. Durability could be a concern; injured his knee in high school, sustained a concussion in 2012, and broke his ankle in 2013. The type of prospect whose size, length, and experience at multiple positions at a major program should draw interest from pro teams on the third day of the draft, but who is something of a positional ‘tweener; is built like an offensive tackle, but moves like more of a guard and consequently may never develop into a starter at either spot. Some of his flaws may be masked more effectively on the inside, but plays more like a tackle, with a corresponding frame. Played his first season as an offensive guard in 2013; could dramatically improve his stock with further technical refinements, greater consistency, and a healthy year as a senior.

Games watched: Arizona (’13), Stanford (’13), Utah (’13)

LG JOSUE MATIAS, FLORIDA ST.

LG #70 JOSUE MATIAS, FLORIDA ST.

6’6” – 331 lbs. – 5.40e

Has started the past twenty-nine games at left guard for the Seminoles. Massive prospect with excellent height, bulk, and length; carries his weight well. When given the opportunity to attack an opponent’s outside shoulder, can drive his man well off the line of scrimmage. Keeps his feet churning after contact. Has a very strong grip; almost impossible to shed once he has his hands on an opponent. Physically overwhelming blocker who can finish snaps with knockdowns; rarely ends up on the ground himself. More athletic than anticipated given his size; works hard to get out in front of screens or to the second level on run blocks. Not just an obstruction down the field, but can actually engage second-level defenders. Bends his knees well in pass protection despite his height. Uses his arms to get good extension, albeit not on a consistent basis. Exhibits a superb anchor against power rushers. Gets caught bending at the waist too often for a player with his size and length. Lateral agility is generally adequate, but pass protection technique suffers the further he has to travel. Can be victimized by delayed blitzes and unconventional rush combinations. Would benefit from being more patient in pass protection; will overextend and make himself vulnerable to gap-shooting defensive tackles with quick hands. More comfortable anchoring than attempting to prevent rushers from attacking gaps; struggles to recover when he’s beat off the snap, where he exhibits a tendency to get grabby and potentially get flagged for holding. Consequently, despite being built like a right tackle, could be exposed if left on an island against defensive ends and outside linebackers. Benefited from playing between highly-touted left tackle Cameron Erving and 2014 fourth-round pick Bryan Stork. As it stands, however, is one of the most impressive offensive guard prospects in some time, a beautifully-built road grader who offers more range and a better work ethic than most players his size. Overextends a bit too often, but technique is actually pretty good overall as both a run blocker and a pass protector; with further tweaking, has the look of a quality starter at offensive guard.

Games watched: Clemson (’13), Florida (’13), North Carolina St. (’13)

RG TRE JACKSON, FLORIDA ST.

RG #54 TRE JACKSON, FLORIDA ST.

6’4” – 339 lbs. – 5.35e

Started in the Seminoles’ bowl game as a freshman, his only start of the year, then stepped into the starting lineup at right guard in 2012 and has remained there since. Has a thick build consistent with the pro prototype; nice overall weight distribution; could stand to lose a bit of weight, but doesn’t appear overencumbered. Capable of anchoring against bull rushers. Frame provides a considerable obstacle for smaller defenders. High-effort blocker with active hand use and who keeps his legs churning after contact. When positioned properly, is almost never overpowered by an opponent. Generates good pop on contact and can jolt opponents with his initial punch. Nasty blocker who is capable of finishing blocks. Very effective double-team blocker. Athletic enough in a short area to get out to the second level and secure blocks on linebackers, or obstruct their path with a cut block; impressive overall movement skills given his bulk. Also has experience pulling, particularly to the left side. Tends to lower his head on contact, which can lead to defenders crossing his face. Also bends at the waist too often, especially when trying to recover against gap-shooting defensive tackles. More comfortable when given a chance to drive or anchor against a lineman who’s lined up directly opposite him than he is against someone lining up on his inside or outside shoulder. Can be a split-second late to adjust to stunts and blitzes in pass protection. When beat off the snap, can be walked back farther than he should by defensive tackles who are smaller than him; problem is somewhat concerning given generally slow reaction time to the ball being snapped. Lacks elite grip strength and doesn’t sustain blocks quite as well as he should given his strength and large hands; will fall off on occasion. Will probably be limited to playing offensive guard at the pro level, but could realistically fit in either an inline or zone blocking scheme (more readily at the former.) Physical tools and temperament to become a quality starter at offensive guard are clearly there, but must play with more consistent balance, positioning, and technique on a snap-to-snap basis in order to avoid beating himself.

Games watched: Clemson (’13), Florida (’13), North Carolina St. (’13)

LG ARIE KOUANDJIO, ALABAMA

LG #77 ARIE KOUANDJIO, ALABAMA

6’5” – 315 lbs. – 5.30e

Brother of Cyrus Kouandjio, former Alabama left tackle who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Underwent multiple knee surgeries on both knees after appearing in two games as a redshirt freshman. Was utilized in a reserve capacity in ten of thirteen games in 2012, then stepped into the starting lineup as a junior, lining up at left guard next to his brother. During spring training, also received reps at right tackle. Really looks the part, with an extremely thick build for an offensive guard. Frame is very effective at preventing defensive linemen from finding their way around him against both the pass and run. Consistently plays through the whistle but lacks the speed to consistently secure second-level blocks or pull and reach a defender. Nonetheless, is capable of securing hook blocks in the run game. Can chip one defender and quickly reposition himself to block another rusher. Wasn’t asked to secure many cut blocks and pulled wide only a few times a game. Generates pop on contact and keeps his feet churning after engaging. When he has the opportunity to square up on a defender in the run game, is capable of driving them into the ground and flashes the killer instinct to do so. Knee-bender. Demonstrates impressive balance as both a run blocker and pass protector, rarely ends up on the ground. However, when he finds himself out of position, has a tendency to grab and pull, which could lead to penalties. Gets good arm extension in pass protection, with a strong grip to sustain his blocks. Mirrors very well in pass protection; good lateral movement. Assignment-sound. Also displays a strong anchor against opposing bull rushers. Somewhat susceptible to spin moves. Massive, battle-tested left guard who is equally impressive as a pass protector and run blocker and should be able to start as a rookie; more refined mentally and technically than recent Tide linemen Chance Warmack and Cyrus Kouandjio. Would fit best in an inline/power scheme, but is talented and polished enough to fit in a zone as well. Plays like a first-round pick, but medical evaluations may push him further down the board.

Games watched: Texas A&M (’13), Arkansas (’13), Oklahoma (’13)

OG BRANDON LINDER, MIAMI (FL)

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6’6” – 319 lbs. – 5.20e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 12 GP / 5 GS (OL6)
2011: 12 GP / 12 GS (RG)
2012: 12 GP / 12 GS
2013: 13 GP / 13 GS (10 RG, 3 RT)

OVERVIEW:

Started five of twelve games as a true freshman, lining up as the team’s sixth offensive lineman in jumbo packages. Took over the starting right guard spot in 2011, a role which he reprised in 2012. Started ten games at right guard as a senior, three at right tackle en route to all-conference second-team recognition.

POSITIVES:

  • Graduates having been a member of Miami’s starting five for the past three seasons.
  • Massive prospect whose size and bulk would be impressive at any spot along the line.
  • Arm length allows him to avoid letting opponents get into his pads and drive him back.
  • Previous experience at right tackle and as a jumbo package lineman adds versatility.
  • Combination of anchor and grip strength allow him to stonewall defenders in pass pro.
  • Can move pretty well given his size, is not necessarily restricted to an inline scheme.
  • A bit stiff when asked to pull, but has done it often and can make it out to linebackers.
  • Not a dominant run blocker but is pretty versatile in terms of executing different blocks.
  • Drives defenders back more successfully at tackle; athleticism is adequate outside.
  • Durability is a plus, especially considering the importance of developing line chemistry.

NEGATIVES:

  • Ends up overextending and consequently bending at the waist at times in the run game.
  • Falls off of a few blocks too many, those usually occurring on plays at the second level.
  • Doesn’t display much of a killer instinct, often content to seal rather than to pancake.
  • Susceptible to quick rush moves, generally sound but can be fooled by explosiveness.
  • Occasionally whiffs on his initial punch and struggles to recover, get back into position.

SUMMARY:

One of the bigger guard prospects in the class, Linder uses his massive build to his advantage, getting good arm extension in pass protection, which, coupled with his strong anchor and grip, make him a reliable blocker on passing downs. Although it doesn’t always look pretty, Linder is also capable of pulling, both on screens and in the run game, with decent success when it comes to securing second-level blocks on linebackers. In other rushing situations, he is more likely to seal defenders than to drive them into the ground, but generally gets the job done, if not with the dominance expected of a man his size. Linder functioned as an extra offensive lineman in jumbo packages during his freshman year, then played some tackle as a senior, making him an interesting swing reserve with starting potential. May make the most sense on a team like the 49ers which often works more than five offensive linemen onto the field.

OG JON HALAPIO, FLORIDA

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6’3” – 321 lbs. – 5.30e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 12 GP / 7 GS (RG)
2011: 13 GP / 13 GS (RG)
2012: 13 GP / 13 GS (RG)
2013: 10 GP / 10 GS (RG)

OVERVIEW:

Injury caused him to redshirt in 2009, then started seven of twelve games at right guard in 2010, missing one due to injury. Started every game at right guard in both 2011 and 2012, then missed the first two games of 2013 while recovering from a torn pectoral, returning to start for the remainder of the year. 2012 team captain with forty-three career starts in fifty-one games.

POSITIVES:

•    Will graduate with four years of starting experience in the NCAA’s premier conference.
•    Possesses excellent bulk for a pro guard, while his listed height is adequate as well.
•    A little bit more mobile than he appears, has been asked to pull on runs fairly regularly.
•    Frequency with which he pulls may earn him consideration from some zone schemes.
•    Has a pretty strong initial punch, can knock some defenders off-balance on contact.
•    Overall awareness in pass protection is sound, usually identifies correct assignment.
•    Intelligent, well-spoken player who may be able to benefit from different coaching.

NEGATIVES:

•    Has a squat build; arm length appears to be shorter than average for the position.
•    Still commits too many mental errors despite having started for the past four seasons.
•    Arms have a habit of getting outside, especially when he is asked to block on the move.
•    A strict offensive guard at the next level, not someone who can play various positions.
•    Often struggles to find someone to block when he pulls, coming up empty-handed.
•    Doesn’t handle power as well as you’d expect, can be knocked off-balance by power.
•    Lacks a killer instinct, finishes on rare occasions but is usually content to obstruct.
•    Despite his extensive starting experience, has had a few injuries requiring examination.

SUMMARY:

Typically spending four seasons as a starter in the SEC results in polished pro prospects, but Halapio offers an exception, a player who possesses a thick build and surprising mobility but whose game requires substantial refinement in every area. He commits too penalties, especially in terms of the frequency with which his hands find their way outside, with his mobility not exactly translating to effective blocking on the move. At best, a developmental reserve guard, although he exhibits a frightening number of bad habits at this point.

OG XAVIER SU’A-FILO, UCLA*

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6’3” – 304 lbs. – 5.15e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: 13 GP / 13 GS (LT)
2010: N/A (Mormon mission)
2011: N/A (Mormon mission)
2012: 14 GP / 14 GS (LG)

OVERVIEW:

Started all thirteen games at left tackle as a true freshman, then spent the following two years on a Mormon mission. Returned to school in 2012, starting all fourteen games at left guard and being named an All-Pac-12 First Team selection, which he was a member of in 2013 as well.

POSITIVES:

•    Would be leaving school with three seasons of quality Pac-12 starting experience.
•    Spent the past two seasons at left guard, but also spent 2009 as UCLA’s left tackle.
•    Even in 2013, spent a considerable amount of his snaps at left tackle rather than guard.
•    Quick off the snap, explosive enough to get to the second level and block linebackers.
•    Often asked to pull for screens in the passing game, possesses above-average range.
•    Feisty, physical player who plays through the whistle and isn’t afraid to mix it up a bit.
•    Puts a lot into his initial punch, helping him begin blocks in an advantageous position.
•    Has a pretty advanced kickslide given his time at tackle, controlled if somewhat slow.

NEGATIVES:

•    Combination of height and bulk is only adequate for a professional offensive guard.
•    Given his starting experience, still commits a staggering amount of mental errors.
•    A bit inconsistent in pass protection, has some trouble vs. quicker, one-gap rushers.
•    Can be embarrassed by explosive rush moves when attacking rather than waiting.
•    Must be more patient in pass pro; aggressiveness causes him to miss delayed blitzes.
•    Aggressiveness also causes him to overrun some defenders when pulling for screens.
•    Doesn’t sustain blocks for very long, better at chipping and getting to the second level.
•    Is a junior but isn’t any younger than other prospects due to two-year Mormon mission.

SUMMARY:

Su’a-Filo has received plenty of hype as a possible second-day selection, possibly because his above-average movement skills allow him to pull for screens as well as in the run game, but at this point he should be considered a developmental backup at best owing to his highly inconsistent play. Defenders have been consistently able to take advantage of his aggressiveness, particularly in pass protection, where his struggles versus speed are glaring despite having played plenty of left tackle at his time at UCLA. It’s possible that Su’a-Filo could eventually contribute to a pro team, but for now he projects as a swing reserve.

OG GABE JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI ST.

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6’4” – 340 lbs. – 5.25e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 13 GP/ 13 GS (LG)
2011: 13 GP / 13 GS (LG)
2012: 13 GP / 13 GS (LG)

OVERVIEW:

Redshirted in 2009, then started at left guard in 2010. Started all thirteen games at the same position in 2011. Started all thirteen games again in 2012, earning All-SEC First Team honors, a feat which he duplicated in 2013.

POSITIVES:

•    Will be entering the draft with four highly successful, decorated SEC campaigns.
•    Massive prospect with outstanding bulk; almost always possesses a size advantage.
•    Has added weight throughout college, playing at 305 (2010), 320 (2011, 2012), and 340.
•    Carries his weight well, doesn’t appear to have a sloppy build like some may expect.
•    Works hard to sustain blocks through the play, remembers to keep his legs moving.
•    Has been asked to make blocks on the move at times, more mobile than anticipated.
•    Ability to pull and to cut-block successfully may earn consideration from zone teams.
•    Reliable in pass protection, doesn’t make many mental mistakes, mirrors effectively.
•    Has a strong grip, can sustain blocks well in the run game once he’s locked on.
•    Capable of chipping an initial assignment and making his way over to another player.
•    Very durable, has more starting experience than almost any other guard prospect.

NEGATIVES:

•    Pro future is limited to offensive guard, where he’s played throughout college.
•    Overall on-field demeanor is a bit more passive than preferred, not a consistent killer.
•    Passivity occasionally leads to him being driven back a bit by opposing bull rushers.
•    Despite his size, initial punch doesn’t often have the force of a top offensive guard.
•    Bends a little bit at the waist at times; arm length may potentially be slightly short.

SUMMARY:

Listed at 6’4” and 340 pounds, Jackson is one of the biggest prospects in the draft, and with four years of starting experience in the SEC, he has an excellent resume as well. He looks as polished as expected given his credentials, with sound awareness in pass protection. However, he is a somewhat strange prospect because he is more of a finesse player with unexpected mobility than he is a powerful inline mauler who wins with his initial punch and drives defenders into the ground. Teams will have to draw their own conclusions regarding his temperament, but based on his consistency at Mississippi State, he profiles as a starter.

OG DAVID YANKEY, STANFORD*

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6’5” – 313 lbs. – 5.30e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 2 GP / 0 GS (Redshirt)
2011: 13 GP / 13 GS (LG)
2012: 14 GP / 14 GS (LT)

OVERVIEW:

Appeared in two games as a true freshman before being lost for the season; redshirted. In 2011, started thirteen games at left guard, then shifted to left tackle to replace Jonathan Martin in 2012, being named to the All-Pac-12 First Team after starting all fourteen games and allowing just one sack. Was named a team captain and All-Pac-12 First Team member in 2013 after transitioning back to left guard.

POSITIVES:

•    Would be entering the draft with three years of starting experience for a major program.
•    Has extensive starting experience at both left tackle (2012) and left guard (2011, 2013.)
•    Has prototypical size for the left guard position, as well as adequate size for left tackle.
•    Explodes into his blocks on rushing attempts, with an aggressive, physical demeanor.
•    Mirrors well in pass protection, maintains blocks vs. active defenders with active hands.
•    Sound awareness as both a run blocker and pass protector, doesn’t blow assignments.
•    Initial punch/contact is often sufficient to knock defenders off-balance, to the ground.
•    Tough player who does a nice job of finishing his blocks when given the opportunity.
•    Has been asked to pull in the run game, capable of consistently making it to his spot.
•    Anchors well; thick lower body, isn’t often driven back by defenders in pass protection.
•    Intelligent, respected leader who was named one of Stanford’s team captains in 2013.

NEGATIVES:

•    Season-ending injury in 2010 may be something to investigate medically at Combine.
•    Has some short-area quickness but isn’t an ideal fit for a zone-blocking scheme.
•    Needs to do a better job of keeping his head up while executing run assignments.
•    Ends up on the ground too much in the run game, partially because of waist-bending.
•    Could some slightly better arm extension to keep opposing blockers at greater length.
•    Probably not a left tackle at the next level despite having played there back in 2012.

SUMMARY:

Yankey’s fit at the next level may be limited to playing guard for a team with an inline blocking scheme, but there is a lot to like about his game. He is a big, nasty, and intelligent player with plenty of quality starting experience and who is productive both in pass protection and in the run game. Many of Yankey’s blocks are hard enough to hear on television, with his initial contact often sufficient to drive a defender into the ground. A long-term starter.

OG CHRIS WATT, NOTRE DAME

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6’3” – 321 – 5.30e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2009: Redshirt
2010: 13 GP / 0 GS
2011: 13 GP / 13 GS (LG)
2012: 13 GP / 13 GS (LG)

OVERVIEW:

Redshirted as a freshman, then appeared as a reserve in all thirteen games in 2010. Took over as the team’s starting left guard in 2011, starting all thirteen games. Fulfilled the same role in 2012. Had some minor knee and neck injuries in 2013. Graduate student.

POSITIVES:

•    Experienced player; three seasons of quality starting experience for a major program.
•    Possesses adequate height for a pro guard, as well as impressive bulk for the position.
•    Explodes into contact, has an effective initial punch when blocking in the run game.
•    Aggressive, nasty player who exhibits a mean streak and relishes recording pancakes.
•    Effective run blocker, gets leverage, keeps legs churning, and drives defenders back.
•    Patient in pass protection, waits for the rush develop rather than seeking out defenders.
•    Bulk and strength allow him to anchor well against opposing bull rushers in pass pro.
•    Has been asked to execute a pretty wide range of run-blocking assignments in college.
•    Intelligent, well-spoken player who commits few mental errors; is a graduate student.

NEGATIVES:

•    Combine measurements are important; height must be confirmed, arms may be short.
•    Not one of the most mobile players, although he exhibits some short-area quickness.
•    Perhaps because of scheme, isn’t asked to get to the second level with regularity.
•    Probably a better fit for another inline blocking scheme rather than a transition to zone.
•    Can occasionally be knocked back a bit in pass protection by explosive bull rushers.
•    Injuries sustained as a senior will draw increased medical scrutiny at the NFL Combine.

SUMMARY:

Watt’s professional future will be limited to working as an offensive guard, probably in an inline blocking scheme, but he possesses the potential to develop into an effective starter there at the next level, with impressive bulk for the position and outstanding mental tools. He is intelligent, tough, and aggressive, able to consistently create a push while run blocking while demonstrating good awareness in pass protection. He is as polished as you’d expect given the time he spent in Brian Kelly’s program, although he was originally recruited by, and redshirted for, Charlie Weis as the number two offensive guard ranked by Rivals. A safe prospect, although his upside is somewhat limited given his experience/athletic limitations.