NFL Draft Musings: Guards

Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs offensive linesman Gabe Jackson (61) in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

While this year’s draft is unlikely to feature any guards going in the top 10 (nor should it have happened last year), but there is at least one that warrants going in the first round and more could go there because of the overwhelming demand.  Gabe Jackson is unbelievably strong.  As good as he looks on tape, standing next to him, he is extremely well put together.  340lbs should not look like that on a person.  He has to take advantage of more technique in the NFL as he found out against Aaron Donald, but he should be a 10-year starter for someone who is a bulldozer.

John Halapio has become really intriguing as it turns out he was playing this past season with a torn pec.  He was freakishly strong with the injury.  It should be interesting to see what he can do healthy.  Most of his issues come down to his balance and are from the waist down, but Halapio will be an interesting player from an evaluation standpoint across the spectrum.  Teams and analysts could have dramatically different grades on him as a result.

Zack Martin is increasingly being slated to play guard.  He could be an outstanding guard but it seems really anxious not to want to give him every opportunity to play tackle first.  He is a better tackle prospect than Justin Pugh and Pugh went 19th overall, currently playing tackle.

I am wondering if Cyril Richardson’s bad week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl is going to swing the momentum on him too far down in the draft.  It remains to be seen if teams feel the same way but he had a pretty brutal week in Mobile, which had some unintended consequences.  First, he looked soft at the weigh-in and then proceeded to have a tough week at practice.  Now, Baylor’s struggles producing linemen come up and could have people questioning him that much more.  Baylor has produced two of the most spectacular linemen busts of the past decade and a solid career from J.D. Walton is not going to stem that tide right now.

Some had Richardson going in the first round not too long ago; it would not be a surprise when he is projected to go in the third round or even later.  It is difficult to imagine that a player with his upside will fall that far in spite of some technical question marks.  He could end up being Mike Iupati or Vlad Ducasse.

Topics: NFL Draft, Offensive Guards

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