Ranking Top 20 Guards of Draft

It's a top-heavy class, with two elite performers leading the way, and a bunch of small-school left tackles add to the outstanding depth.

Here is how Packer Report ranks this year's prospects at guard, based on conversations with three scouts, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they are forbidden from talking by their teams, and the NFL's longtime lead scout, Dave-Te' Thomas.

1. Chance Warmack, Alabama (6-2, 317): He's our cream of the crop.

2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6-2, 311): Consensus All-American, Outland Trophy finalist and winner of Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the ACC's best offensive lineman. Four-year starter at guard. Other extreme of Warmack with elite athletic ability.

3. Justin Pugh, Syracuse (6-5, 307): Pugh is this year's version of Bryan Bulaga. He was a two-time, first-team all-Big East selection and looked like an NFL-caliber left tackle during Senior Bowl week. However, with 31.5-inch arms, does he have the length to protect a quarterback's blind side? "There was a kid cartoon a couple years ago with a tyrannosaurus rex — big head, small arms — that's Justin Pugh," a scout said. The arms might send him to guard but he's worth a long look at tackle, first, another scout said. It wouldn't be a surprise if he's in the conversation for the Packers at No. 26.

4. Brian Winters, Kent State (6-4, 320): Four-year starting left tackle, earning first-team all-conference as a senior in lifting the Flashes to their first bowl game in 40 years. Quick and aggressive. "The guy I really like if they move him in from tackle is Brian Winters from Kent State," Thomas said. "I think somebody will get a high-value pick out of this guy and I see him being a steal in the fourth round. I like his tenacity, I like the way that he moves laterally down the line."

5. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee (6-5, 306): Started every game at left tackle as a sophomore and junior before moving to guard as a senior. "If you moved him into guard, I would really like that move," Thomas said. "I think he can play inside at guard. I like the way he fires off the ball. He plays with a low pad level, hands are always coming up on the rise. He's an attacking type of player. He has good angle conception, especially when trying to get into the second level."

6. David Quessenberry, San Jose State (6-5, 302): First-team all-WAC at left tackle and made 37 career starts. One of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy as best player to start career as walk-on. Played tackle, guard and center at Senior Bowl and has that five-position versatility in the eyes of many scouts. "He's a perfect technician. When you watch him, it's like watching a professor," Thomas said. "Whoever taught Quessenberry how to use his hands and how to retreat back in pass protection, they did an excellent job."

7. Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3, 332): First-team all-SEC and third-team All-American. He's the first All-American lineman for Kentucky since Mike Pfeifer in 1989. Strong and athletic but needs to control weight. Probably goes before third or fourth among guards and squarely in the middle of Day 2 but the Packers traditionally have valued college left tackles, so he ranks lower on our board.

8. Ryan Jensen, Colorado School of Mines (6-4 306): He's our sleeper.

9. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (6-3, 312): He's our overrated player.

10. Earl Watford, James Madison (6-3, 300) : First-team FCS All-American as a senior, a two-time all-Colonial Conference first-teamer and a three-year starting guard. Excellent in space, athletic, packs a punch and plays to the whistle. Perfectly suited to a zone scheme. Graduated with one major and three minors.

11. Hugh Thornton, Illinois (6-3, 320): Started at right tackle as a true freshman and at guard as sophomore and junior before making 10 starts at left tackle as senior. Second-team all-conference. Aggressive finisher of blocks but has some off-field baggage. "Buyer beware," two scouts said.

12. Mark Jackson, Glenville State (6-5, 328): Big-time sleeper. Kicked off the team at Illinois, matured into three-time first-team selection at left tackle in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. First-team Division II All-American, team captain and team MVP as senior. The Glenville coaches swear by his character. "These are two kids that are hungry that you'd be bringing to the program," Thomas said about Jackson and Watford.

13. J.C. Tretter, Cornell (6-4, 307): Former high school quarterback started his college career at tight end. Moved to left tackle, where he started last two seasons and was first-team all-Ivy as a senior. Some potential after a year in a strength program because he's quick and blocks well on the move.

14. Patrick Omameh, Michigan (6-4, 303): Three-time academic all-Big Ten with a 4.0 GPA in high school in Columbus, Ohio. Started final 41 games of career at right guard. First-team all-Big Ten as a senior. Athletic, and could develop into starting-caliber player with added strength and technique refinement.

15. Jeff Baca, UCLA (6-3, 302): Made 45 career starts, with 25 coming at guard and 20 at tackle. Made 11 starts at guard as a senior and was named the team's outstanding senior player on offense. Some view him as center. He needs to get his stronger but there's no doubting his tenacity. Coached by former Packers and Patriots lineman Adrian Klemm.

16. Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (6-3, 302): Two-time first-team all-ACC at guard and third-team All-American guard as senior in triple-option scheme. Quick off the ball and potential to be excellent in pass protection with athleticism and long arms. Had knee scoped in January, which is why he's rated so poorly by scouts. Worth a late-round pick, however, because he's so quick off the ball.

17. Matt Summers-Gavin, California (6-4, 310): Started 20 games at tackle and 12 games at guard over his career, but missed five games as a senior with a knee injury that sent his stock crashing. He's quick and and agile, and he plays with excellent leverage.

18. Garrett Gilkey, Chadron State (6-6, 318): Three-year starter at left tackle and Division II All-America as senior. Gilkey learned about Chadron State after talking to his coach at Aurora (Ill.) Christian High School, former Bills and Packers receiver Don Beebe. Beebe starred at Chadron. "Garrett Gilkey, could he move inside to guard? Absolutely," Thomas said. "Same thing with J.C. Tretter out of Cornell. You're going to see a lot of left tackles moving into guard."

19. Sam Brenner, Utah (6-3, 307): Started mostly at right guard in 2011 and mostly at left tackle in 2012, allowing two sacks. Second-team all-conference as senior. Versatility and athleticism are assets. Decent strength and athleticism. Thomas' biographical reports, which are supplied to the league, compare him to T.J. Lang.

20. Chris McDonald, Michigan State (6-4, 300): Started 39 games at right guard, including the final 30 of his career. Honorable mention all-Big Ten the last two seasons. Put up 31 reps on bench at pro day.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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