We are exactly a week away from the 2013 NFL Draft and we here at NFL Spin Zone are still giving you a list of the top five prospects who are entering this years draft class. Now, if you haven’t seen any of my colleagues top fives, or my article on the top five tackles, please do so and come back to this article.
So continuing my piece on the tackles and guards for this years draft, this year’s class has a lot of promising talent. Quarterbacks and half backs who should have one of these tackles or guards on their teams, should have consistent protection throughout their tenure with their respected franchise.
Now since we got the top five for tackles listed, let’s start on the guards who will be looking forward to having their names called in next weeks draft, shall we? Starting off with #1 on the list
- Chance Warmack, Alabama (6’2 317 lbs) - Combine Grade: 95.9 - Out of every offensive linemen who participated in the combine this year, he had the highest grade. He even had a slightly higher grade (but not by much) than potential 1st round pick Luke Joeckel who posted a 95.3 combine grade. He ran a 5.49 40 yard dash and posted a 110 inch broad jump. Finishing his senior season with the Alabama Crimson Tide, he was 3 national championships (2010, 2012, 2013) and 1 Capital One bowl (2011) along with teammate D.J. Fluker who played tackle. I have going at the 7th overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals who need help with their offensive line and should either take Warmack if available, but should draft an offensive linemen either way. He could very well slip into the Top Five picks which will include Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher. He is a big boy, so he does have a strong punch and good extension of his arms. Good lower body strength so he shouldn’t have a problem with taking on strong defensive tackles. Doesn’t have quick feet but keeps them moving. Needs to work on his agility, it will more than likely be a key focus for coaches who get to work with him, so I think he will become lighter on his feet as time goes on.
- Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6’2 311 lbs) - Combine Grade: 86.9 - A top performer in reps, where he completed 35, is a guard who could be a great pick up for any team if he isn’t selected within the first 15 picks. I have him going to the Chicago Bears at #20 overall but based on his combine performance, he should go a few slots ahead of that, if not, sooner than expected. He was a key anchor for one of the best rushing games in the country last season, where 3 Tarheel half backs rushed for over 600 yards or more. He wrestled in college, being an athletic big man, endurance shouldn’t be an issue. A very strong run blocker, quick feet and arm extension and comes off the ball pretty quick. Needs to add on more weight so he can handle the stronger defenders he will face in this league, other than that, Cooper has everything he needs to be a successful offensive guard in the National Football League. One kid I am very excited to watch play, no matter what team he is on.
- Larry Warford, Kentucky (6’3 332 lbs) - Combine Grade: 88.3 - I never really realized this but, Kentucky hasn’t had an offensive linemen selected in the NFL draft since 1993, thank you internet for that. After checking out some of his numbers from the combine and watching video clips from the senior bowl, he could very well be an early pick in the 2nd round, maybe either the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets or Cincinnati Bengals. He finished his senior year with the University of Kentucky Wildcats where he began as a reserve at right guard, then starting the remaining 37 games he spent in Kentucky. Possesses quick feet and can stay move for move with his assignment when it comes to pass protection. Can reach the 2nd level of the field and clear some extra room for ball carriers. Has a strong punch, but needs to work on his hand speed. Gets off the snap and into oncoming tackles/defenders beautifully.
- Barrett Jones, Alabama (6’4 306 lbs) - Combine Grade: 71.1 – Another senior from Alabama who played all 5 positions on the offensive line for coach Nick Saban. He was of course, apart of 3 national champion teams and 1 Capital One bowl victory. He won the Outland Trophy in 2011, which was awarded to Luke Joeckel last season, which is given to the best interior linemen in college football. Great run and pass blocker, keeps his feet moving and arms extended. Has the ability and quickness to reach the 2nd level of the field but can have trouble putting in a block on a quick target. Needs to work on his placement a little more and eliminate lunging into oncoming defenders, as they can get around him quicker. A good thing that should benefit him, is he played every position on the offensive line, so he could possibly go to the Chicago Bears who would definitely use him with all the troubles they have had in the past with their offensive line.
- Brian Winters, Kent State (6’4 320 lbs) – Combine Grade: 71.1 – A surprise entrant on my list, a big offensive guard who can finish plays and keeps everything in motion as soon as the ball is snapped. Uses his foot work to help turn defenders away from either the quarterback. A very quick man for being as big as he is, should benefit him as it could get him into the mid 2nd or early 3rd round. He should either go to the Washington Redskins in the 2nd round or Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers somewhere in the 3rd. Needs to work on his balance and to continue to keep his feet moving while delivering punches to defenders, needs to seal off both the inside lane and outside corners.