Ground Rules on this NFL Combine preview scouting:
-- Looking at the initial performance data from their college years in our system.
-- Watching 10-15+ minutes of tape
-- Giving an initial knee-jerk reaction to what I am seeing/feeling.
-- Will rank them as if I am drafting them for the dynasty rookie draft, and I will also break them into tiers
-- We don’t have the full host of measurables, so my reactions could change when I see the physical times and attributes. Sometimes your scouting eyes deceive you on how fast a player is moving, etc. We will be doing all the full-fledged scouting of these players after the Combine data is in.
-- This ‘draft’ and analysis will drop in a player at a time at various times throughout the day. Check the clock on the title to see when the latest post was made.
-- Height/weight is latest estimates we have from their listed info or all-star games, etc. Not official.
-- Going prospect by prospect in alphabetical order.
The NFL Combine O-Guards…
Current consensus top 5 OG prospects in the mainstream…
1) Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
2) Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
3) Will Hernandez, UTEP
4) Braden Smith, Auburn
5) Billy Price, Ohio State
*Five Tiers: A, B, C, D, F…like school grades. Players listed in ‘my favorite’ order.
Will Hernandez, UTEP (6’2”/348)
The guy simply never gets beat by his opposing defender. He moves people back in run blocking and he’s got quick feet for 345+ pounds and is just impenetrable as a pass blocker. He may be the one of the 3-5 best players, regardless of position or economics, in this entire draft. He is a ‘can’t miss’ prospect. I watched him at the Senior Bowl take on every size, shape, and accolade of DL prospects in the one-on-one drills and Hernandez never lost. The advantage is usually to the defense in those Senior Bowl drills, but Hernandez was stunning. Rarely does a ‘guard’ catch your attention but Hernandez is that good. Multiple time award winner for O-Linemen. Many time student-athlete awards. He’s a near perfect prospect. A++…the only player at any position I awarded an A++ to in my Combine previews. I think he and McGlinchey the only A+’s, but I’d have to go back and check.
Braden Smith, Auburn (6’6”/303)
Perhaps, the most powerful blocker among the guards that I’ve seen so far. Smith has a big upper body and muscular, long arms and just pushes defenders away. He shields them nicely in pass coverage and bulldozes many of them in the run game. If his Combine numbers are interesting he might get a look at RT, but he looks like a terrific guard. A
Austin Corbett, Nevada (6’4”/305)
Played LT for Nevada and is expected to move to guard for the pros. Corbett is one of the better OL prospects I’ve watched the last few days, regardless of position. A great, physical run blocker…excellent in sensing the opposing players momentum and using that to his advantage to flip them into a pancake block. He’s one of the best in-tight/hand-to-hand combat blockers, on an intuitive level, in this draft…maybe the best. He’s a touch slow getting into pass protect but he’s not bad and is sound blocking once back in position. He could work as a OT if needed in the NFL, but he might be a star OG. A-
OG Wyatt Teller, Va Tech (6’4”/301)
Does a great job getting where he needs to go. If he needs to get out ahead on a run block…he’s there and hits the defender in the right spot to move them out of the way. When he drops back into pass coverage he gets back and set up and is in front of his guy dancing squared up most every time. I didn’t really see him get out of position, or too late, or ever getting manhandled. At first, I thought he was passive in his movements…but the more I watched I saw that it’s that he moves fluidly with purpose. He’s subtly very good, smooth. I don’t know if ‘great’ is on the table but ‘good’ for sure is. B
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (6’2”/300)
Solid run blocker. Solid pass blocker. I didn’t see many mistakes, but I also wasn’t blown away by anything I saw. Average speed. Average strength, and a little small these days for the NFL. He’s solid all the way around but I don’t see any ‘great’ in my first introduction. B
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (6’5”/329)
I can see he’s pretty good but not as good as I was led to believe. Before watching the tape, I doubted his teammate Mike McGlinchey, fearing Notre Dame hype, but in about a minute I realized McGlinchey might be the best non-QB in the draft. I had the same ‘Notre Dame’ concerns ahead with Nelson, but I was a little more open since McGlinchey proved my skepticism wrong. I just didn’t ‘feel it’ with Nelson when watching his tape. He’s a sound player but not the ‘wow’ player I thought he might be. Decent run blocker. A little slow in pass protect. Smart player. Solid hand at OG. B
OG Salesi Uhatafe, Utah (6’4”/295)
Very quick guard prospect. May be the fastest guard at the Combine. Really nice feet. Moves well when pulling on a run block. Solid tape. Not the biggest or strongest but one of the quickest. B-
K.J. Malone, LSU (6’4”/321)
Son of former NBA great Karl Malone. Left school, after graduating early, to be a U.S. Marshall. He returned to play in 2017. Battled injuries 2016-2017. He played a lot of LT for LSU, but he has the quintessential OG body and movement. I think he’s a pretty good technical blocker, but most scouts think he’s not so hot. I think he has skill and upside, but you have the injuries and a concern on whether he wants to grind as a low-pick in the NFL Draft trying to make an NFL roster. C+
Jamil Demby, Maine (6’5”/335)
Solid guard prospect. Hard to scout because he squashed FCS competition…but he did OK at the Senior Bowl. Definitely looks like more guard than tackle. He might be more of a ‘B’ grade but I’ll go with a ‘C’ until I see his measurables. C
Colby Gossett, Appalachian State (6’5”/315)
Good technique, good effort…not a great body for the NFL. Definitely needs weight room work. He might build himself into a starting guard in the NFL someday but he’s not instantly ready to go from what I watched. Limited ceiling. C--
Taylor Hearn, Clemson (6’5”/330)
Looks like a top heavy, ‘waddler’ to me. Carries too much weight which slows him down but does give him good mass to push college defenders in the run game. I see Hearn as a warm body backup in the NFL at best. D
Sam Jones, Arizona State (6’5”/290)
A little thinner-framed for an NFL OG, and he doesn’t have the speed of an NFL tackle or maybe even a guard. He’ll have to add some weight/bulk and that might slow him down even more. College good, but not a big upside prospect for the NFL. D
K.C. McDermott, Miami, Fla (6’6”/300)
Plays with a lot of finesse -- he’s not super aggressive and that is a turnoff for most scouts looking at OL prospects. McDermott is not a great athlete, but he has long arms and uses them to block/shield nicely. He is a little clunky coming off the snap but gets back OK in pass coverage. He’s not a great prospect but wasn’t totally bad. Might be backup/serviceable depth guy in the NFL. D
Skyler Phillips, Idaho State (6’3”/324)
Big, NFL-sized OG. A little slow to get out of the gates. A bit imbalanced when moving…isn’t a fluid athlete at the take off. Gets going to block downfield with a head of steam but in the trenches he just seems a bit slow…and that’s at an FCS level. He may get blown up in the big leagues. D