Draft outlook: Offensive guards

Though not a top heavy group, the guards available next April offer depth with six prospects who could be in the starting line-up by the end of their rookie campaign and another half dozen that have first team potential in the future.

 Though not a top heavy group, the guards available next April offer depth with six prospects who could be in the starting line-up by the end of their rookie campaign and another half dozen that have first team potential in the future. Here's a closer look at the Top 10:

 1 – Torrin Tucker, Southern Mississippi

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Southern Mississippi is a college football program that gets no respect. A team that plays most of its' games on the road due to budgetary concerns, the Eagles are consistently competitive and quietly put solid prospects into the NFL Draft. The next big name, almost as big as his picture, is a dominating blocker names Torrin Tucker.

 The Good:  Massive thumper on the inside that also has possibilities at tackle.  Plays with forward lean, powerful at the point, gets movement from his run blocks and looks to bury opponents.  Strong in his base, jolts defenders with his arms and hands also displaying the ability to kick out or trap and block linebackers on the second level. 

The Bad: Lacks body adjustment, overweight and lumbers late in the game as he tires. 

The Skinny:  Can be a dominant force at the next level if he decides to make football a priority and condition himself.  Good pre-draft workouts will thrust him into the first day.

Projection: Second round

 2 – Wade Smith, Memphis

 Projection: Third round

 3 – Derrick Dockery, Texas

 Recently, the Longhorns of Texas have put talented linemen into the early part of the drafts first round, the very early part. Leonard Davis and Mike Williams seemingly set the trend prospects like Derrick Dockery hope to follow.

 The Good:  Dominant lineman continuing what has been an exceptional trend of blockers out of Austin recently.  Big, massive yet relatively athletic and moves well.  Powerful at the point, easily rides opponents out of their angle of attack or handles one-on-one blocking assignments.  Quick setting in pass protection, stays square and keeps the opponent in front of him.  Adequate footwork with some lateral range and the ability to get out front on the second level effectively. Looks for someone to hit and cognizant of his blocking assignments.   Has played right tackle in the past and did so with a good degree of success. 

The Bad: Not quick into his blocks and has trouble with nifty, agile, opponents. 

The Skinny:  His dominance, versatility and upside make him a solid first day choice.

Projection: Third round

 4 – Vince Manuwai, Hawaii

A much celebrated lineman, Vince Manuwai is a talented blocker that can play in multiple systems at the next level. His athleticism and intelligence has caught the eye of many scouts, setting him up for a long career in the NFL.

 The Good:  Tough, athletic lineman with the potential to play in a number of offensive schemes at the next level.  Explosive off the snap into his blocks, quick getting out to engage linebackers on the second level and an agile lineman that adjusts or redirects to defenders well.  Blocks with forward lean, effectively uses both body positioning and his angles to wall opponents out of the play, staying with the action until the whistle blows.  Quick with his hands, stays square and keeps opponents in front of him.  Solid footwork, can slide laterally and nice blocking range.  Always looking to hit someone and quick in his head. 

The Bad: Gets a little tall as the play proceeds and though strong, not dominant at the point of attack. 

The Skinny:  Will only get better as he matures physically and should battle for the top guard spot in next April's draft.  Late first day pick.

Projection: Third round

 5 – Garry Johnson, Arkansas State

 A left tackle for the Indians of Arkansas State, lineman Gary Johnson has been compared to Orlando Pace by former ASU coach Joe Hollis, who taught Pace when the first pick of the '97 draft played for Ohio State.

 The Good:  Terrific young prospect that plays left tackle in college but may ultimately find his way to guard.  Strong, fundamentally sound and tough.  Blocks with forward lean, knee bend and leverage.  Naturally strong, stays square keeping opponents in front of him and easily rides them out of their angle of attack with a jolt of his arms. Quick setting in pass protection, works his hands throughout the play and anchors not giving any ground to defenders.  

The Bad: Not light on his feet but gets out to the second level and destroys opponents.  Blocks with balance, uses his entire body to engulf opponents and also plays smart football.  Does a bit of bending at the waist and not the most agile athlete and tends to get overweight, then sloppy. 

The Skinny:  If he turns it up a notch could be an immediate starter at the next level.

Projection: Fourth round

 6 – Montrae Holland, Florida State

 Known for maulers in the middle of the line, the Seminoles offer Montrae Holland next April, a stout blocker built low to the ground with adequate skills blocking on the move.

 The Good:   Stout, explosive lineman that dominates opponents when he puts his mind to it.  Quick off the snap, blocks with forward lean and turns opponents off the ball.  Keeps his feet moving, jolts defenders with hand punch and works to stay square.  Quick in his head and immediately picks up his assignments.  

The Bad:  Does not break down well, lacks the dominant base and gets sloppy as he tires.  

The Skinny:   To his credit, picked up the intensity this season but still a marginal first day choice.

Projection: Fourth round

 7 – Anthony Davis, Virginia Tech

 Projection: Fourth round

 8 – Jamil Soriano, Harvard

 Projection: Fifth round

 9—Gus Felder, Penn State

 Projection: Fifth round

 10—Cedric Williams, South Carolina

 Projection: Fifth round

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