I personally was dumbfounded and I'm sure most scouts and offensive line coaches throughout the league were frustrated by the lack of quality offensive guard prospects in this week's upcoming player draft. When watching many of the seemingly top players at the position, I literally found myself repeating the same three word phrase over and over again, "Finish the block!"
My top ranked prospect, Andre Smith (a guard projection) was a major disappointment. Although very effective in a limited area (handling bull rush and getting movement inline), I though he didn't come off the ball, lacked stamina, didn't fit on blocks and was a virtual spectator on the backside. I would really question his ability to handle the speed rush from the left tackle position (always in chase mode) and his ability to handle inside counters was disturbing. When his uneven 2008 season play is coupled with his very strange combine actions and poor school workout, one is left to wonder; can this player become the backbone of my offensive line?
I not going to be making that decision Saturday evening, but if I were, I certainly would be looking in another direction to upgrade my football club.
What's even more frightening to me was the fact that I saw many of the same shortcomings in my number two ranked offensive guard prospects, Duke Robinson from the University of Oklahoma. Both players are athletically gifted big men, but ultimately I believe both will ultimately break your heart.
Like the aforementioned Smith both my third and fourth rated guard prospects were college tackles. I don't think Eastern Michigan's Thomas Lang is the second coming of John Hannah, but I was pleasantly surprised with his balance points, striking power, use of hands, range, quickness and ability to adjust on the move. Oregon State's left tackle Andy Levitre is a knee bender with good feet, but I was concerned with his short arms, punch and hand placement. Both are in my opinion middle of the draft type players.
In my opinion, teams looking to upgrade or build for the future would be best served by adding a June cap casualty or continuing to work with practice squad or young back ups.
|3||Lang, Thomas||E Michigan||6037v||316v||5.24v||1.33|
|4||Levitre, Andy||Oregon St||6025v||305v||5.35v||1.35|
|8||Vasquez, Louis||Texas Tech||6046v||327v||5.29v||1.46|
|11||Isdaner, Greg||West Virginia||6034v||325v||5.48v||1.53|
|14||Allen, Roger||Mo Western||6033v||326v||5.29v||1.78|
|15||Person, Ben||Ohio St||6035v||302v||5.07v||1.79|
|Thompson, Ron||Abilene Christian||6023v||323v||5.41v||1.90|
|Fanaika, Paul||Arizona St||6053v||327v||5.61v||1.90|
|Dedrick, Doug||Iowa St||6036v||301v||5.13v||1.90|
|Rehring, Steve||Ohio St||6070v||332v||5.61v||1.90|
|Ryan, Greg||W Kentucky||6037v||305v||5.34v||1.90|
|Stanchek, Ryan||West Virginia||6033v||298v||5.36v||1.90|