2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings | Offensive Guards
Guards in the NFL are the hogs in the interior line who generally get a great push in the run game. They generally need to be strong, and able to hold the point of attack well off of the snap. They need to make sure they don’t over extend their arms, and stay in tight with the defender.
In the run game, they need to be able to finish the block and move to the second level quickly, the second level being the linebackers. Often they are required to pull in counters, traps, and sweeps, so agility is a plus. Guards really need to stay low and keep their hands inside in the passing game.
1) Mike Pouncey- Florida- 6’5 303
Pouncey is playing center in his senior campaign and is struggling with the transition. Although his blocking hasn’t been terrible, he’s had problems in popping up right after the snap, and it’s led to fumbles for Florida. He’ll switch back to guard in the NFL and be a force in the run game. He gets great leverage and stands up defenders well, keeping them from pushing him back.
2) Danny Watkins- Baylor- 6’3 3/8 310
Watkins has been a nice surprise for Baylor fans. Watkins is 27 years old, but he’s still playing like he’s 20. He’s got a very wide upper body and he’s very strong. He is solid in both pass protection as well as getting to the second level in the run game. He’s very strong, and gets good leverage on even the strongest defensive tackles. He has quick feet, and is a very hard worker.
3) Rodney Hudson- Florida State- 6’2 299
Hudson is a great talent and has helped bolster what could be the best left side of the offensive line in college football with Andrew Datko. Despite his lack of weight, which is a big of a concern, he’s got good strength and does well standing up defensive tackles using his leverage to his advantage. Hudson is also solid in pass protection, as few defenders have gotten through him to register a sack. He needs to bulk up a bit and maintain his athleticism.
4) Benjamin Ijalana- Villanova – 6’3 5/8 317
Ijalana is one of the best interior line prospect in this draft. He’s severely underrated do to playing in the FCS, but he is best known for his ability in the passing game. He has good strength in the run game, and finishes blocks quickly to get to the next level. He’s a fantastic overall guard with great leverage and balance, beating up on even the biggest and strongest defensive tackles in the game.
5) Marcus Cannon- TCU- 6’5 358
Cannon is an offensive tackle right now, but his best play could come at guard in the NFL. He is athletic enough to play both guard and tackle positions and has quick feet to guard against even the quickest defenders. He rarely gives up sacks and is a big reason for Andy Dalton’s success. He’s one of the most NFL ready offensive lineman in the draft. Cannon excels in the passing game, and could bolster the run game for many teams.
6) John Moffitt- Wisconsin- 6’4 319
Moffitt is a big time mauler who punishes opposing defensive tackles. He gets low, and keeps his hands inside getting a big time push, paving the way for the talented backs of Wisconsin. His footwork could use some work in the pass, as he tends to stand straight up in pass protection. Moffitt’s agility allows him to move well laterally on pulls. With the talent in front of him, a first round projection is doubtful as he’s best off at the end of the 2nd round.
7) Orlando Franklin- Miami (Fl.)- 6’5 1/2 316
Franklin played guard in 2008 and 2009, and played it very well. Had he left for the 2010 NFL Draft, he could have been the second or third guard off the board. Unfortunately, he got moved to left tackle and has been exposed, particularly in the passing game. He’s not very athletic, and needs to become more agile if he wants to even think about playing left tackle. Franklin could still be a very good guard in the NFL, but will need to improve his footwork.
8 ) Justin Boren- Ohio State- 6’3 309
There’s a lot of upside in this top notch guard who’s experienced two Big Ten schools in their prime. Boren started off at Michigan, and transferred to Ohio State in 2008 despite being successful as a Wolverine. Boren gets a great burst off the snap, quickly punching the opposing defender and finishing the block to move on to the second level. In the passing game he’s above average, as he needs to position his hands better, sometimes getting caught with his arms on the outside of the defender. There is a large amount of upside here.
9) Steve Schilling- Michigan- 6’4 308
Schilling is a strong offensive guard who holds the point of attack well. He’s not the most athletic player, but he’s smart, and stays square in pass protection. A project left guard and a potential starting right guard at the next level.
10) Zach Hurd- UConn- 6’6 3/4 316
Hurd’s athleticism is nothing spectacular, but he gets a good enough push in the run game to be a right guard or tackle candidate at the next level. Tight hips, and lack of quick feet will prevent him from being great aginst the pass rush.
11) John Bender- Nevada- 6’8 325
Bender is a physical player who’s versatile enough to play both guard or tackle. Likely a right tackle project at the next level, Bender can get a good push in the run game.
12) Andrew Jackson- Fresno State- 6’5 299
13) Joel Figueroa- Miami (Fl.)- 6’6 323
14) Zack Heberer- USC- 6’5 300
15) Bryant Browning- Ohio State- 6’4 313
16) Butch Lewis- USC- 6’5 295
17) Carl Johnson- Florida- 6’5 350
18) Anthony Morgan- Oklahoma State- 6’3 310
19) Caleb Schlaudeaff- Utah- 6’4 305
20) Will Rackley- Lehigh- 6’3 1/4 309
21) David Arkin- Missouri State- 6’4 7/8 300
22) Thomas Claiborne- Boston College- 6’3 322
23) Rod Huntley- UTEP- 6’3 320
24) Alan Pelc- North Carolina- 6’6 305
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