Draft 2001: Guards Analysis



A very weak position in this year’s draft, Steve Hutchinson will be the only guard taken in the first round and quite possibly the only guard taken in the first two rounds. The majority of the players here are seen as projects that either can’t play offensive tackle at the pro level or have some other baggage that has dropped their stock. The Vikings need depth at the position, but can likely snag a guard on the second day of the draft that appears in the middle of this list.

STEVE HUTCHINSON, Michigan, 6-5, 315 —
Fifth-year senior...Four year starter who also saw time at center...Two-time All-America...Had shoulder surgery following his junior season...Had 45 career starts for the Wolverines...Credited with helping Anthony Thomas become Michigan’s all-time leading rusher...Has a mean streak that had helped him dominate the best DT’s in college football...An incredible run blocker who has really come into his own in pass protection as well...Not an ideal pulling guard on sweeps...Ran a 5.09 40 at the Combine, did 31 reps with 225 pounds and had a 23-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: The only sure first rounder among the guard crop, which typically gets ignored among offensive linemen, he could go as high as the top 10 picks, but more likely in the middle part of the first round.

MIKE GANDY, Notre Dame, 6-4, 310 —
A fifth-year senior...Only started two years after missing most of his sophomore season with ankle surgery — an injury suffered as a freshman...He made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl, dominating a lot of the first-round DT’s...Didn’t play guard in high school...An intelligent player, he graduated last May with a 3.1 Grade Point Average...Excellent trap blocker...Has size to be dominating guard at next level...Likely can’t play any other position in NFL, despite not playing guard except for the last three years...Has some physical limitations that have allowed very quick DT’s to get an advantage...Did not run or lift at the Combine, but did post a 30-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: He’s still a little raw around the edges, but hasn’t always played as well as his measurables would indicate, which should be enough to drop him well into the second round.

KENYATTA JONES, South Florida, 6-3, 310 —
A four-year starter at offensive tackle, but projects more as guard at the NFL level...Has excellent pulling guard abilities...Bench presses almost 500 pounds...Has incredible speed for a big man, running a sub-5.0 40-yard dash at the Combine...Durable player who only missed parts of four games with ankle and knee injuries in four years...Looked a little flabby as a senior, but came prepared for the Combine...Will have to learn at the pro level to modify what he did well as a tackle and transfer that over to the guard position...Played for a short time on South Florida’s basketball team...At the Combine, he ran a 4.96 40, did 31 reps, but didn’t jump.
PROJECTION: A guy who will have to develop his skills at guard, he’ll likely be around early in the third round and, if he hooks on with the right coaches, could be a draft day steal.

MATT LIGHT, Purdue, 6-4, 312 —
Fifth-year senior...Began his college career as a tight end and redshirted as a sophomore, turning into an offensive linemen after that...Started every game as Drew Brees left tackle the last three years...When he came to Purdue, he weighed 255 pounds and has gained about 10 pounds a year every year...Hard worker who has done a lot to improve his draft standing...Solid pass protector at left tackle, but it looks like he projects much more to a guard in the NFL...Not as quick off the snap as most NFL left tackles need to be...Has become a better run blocker, which should help his stock...Ran a 5.21 40 at the Combine, as well as doing 26 reps — he didn’t jump.
PROJECTION: Guards who have played left tackle and tight end in college have historically made the transition pretty well to the NFL, because they have been required to learn different blocking techniques. Light could go as high as the third round, because teams scouting Brees couldn’t help but notice him along the way.

BILL FERRARIO, Wisconsin, 6-2, 313 —
A fifth-year senior who came to Wisconsin as a defensive line prospect...Started every game the last four years...Two-time All-Big Ten...Intelligent player who was the leader of the offensive line, which had other talented players on it...Credited for success of Wisconsin running backs Ron Dayne and Michael Bennett...He, Chris McIntosh and Jon Jansen are only players in Big 10 history with 50 or more career starts...Doesn’t have pure strength, which he showed at the Combine...A potential boom or bust type of player...Didn’t run or jump at the Combine and maybe shouldn’t have lifted either, since he only did 17 reps.
PROJECTION: A real guessing game, since he has the numbers and looks good on film, but doesn’t have the pure strength needed for the NFL and may never have it. He might go late in the third round, but a lot of teams likely won’t consider him until much later in the draft.

RYAN DIEM, Notre Dame, 6-7, 338 — Fourth-year senior who became a starter midway through his freshman year...Monstrous frame, including a 43-inch waist, 32-inch thighs and 19-inch neck...Two-time All-MAC selection...Enormous player who combines size and strength...Very intelligent — has a 3.23 GPA in mechanical engineering...Very durable, he started 35 straight games to end his college career...Isn’t the best at pulling from the guard spot...Has some trouble with very quick DTs...Ran a 5.09 40 at the Combine, as well as doing 26 reps and a 32-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: A guy who has all the physical tools, but isn’t seen as a workout guy and that will affect his draft standing and probably drop him into the third or fourth round of the draft.

Jonas Jennings, Georgia, 6-3, 332
Omar Smith, Kentucky, 6-1, 298
Matt Lehr, Virginia Tech, 6-2, 291
Kynan Forney, Hawaii, 6-2, 307
Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack, Mississippi State, 6-3, 345
Victor Leyva, Arizona State, 6-3, 312
Paul Zakauskus, Boston College, 6-6, 315


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