Offensive guards are never highly ranked top-10 prospects when it comes to the draft normally, but they are a vital position that paves the way for a rushing attack. There may not be any guards taken in the first round this year, but there will definitely be starters picked. Here’s my breakdown of the top 5 guards in this years draft
- Cody Whitehair: Whitehair is a three year starter for the Kansas State Wildcats and served as a captain this year. Whitehair has played both of the tackle and guard positions which is one of the reasons he’s the top guard prospect. He’s extremely versatile and could slide over to tackle at the next level if his team needs him too due to injury or other circumstances. Whitehair’s best attribute is his ability to block speed rushers. He gets low upon contact and rides them down field. His only problem is his affinity for catch blocks. Far too often he allows the defender to come to him but if he can sure up this problem he should be a successful starter for many years.
- Vadal Alexander: Alexander was great creating holes for Leonard Fournette. After his initial blocks Alexander uses his impressive speed to make second level blacks on linebackers and occasionally defensive backs. He has also taken a massive step forward in his awareness this year reading defensive stunts more easily and consistently being ready to pick up assist on a blitz. His only true concern is his hand technique. Often times it still looks very sloppy and he’ll be prone to holding penalties when he first gets in the league but as he gets more practice and coaching this is a problem that should go away.
- Landon Turner: Turner has a massive frame coming in at 6’3” 325lbs. This allows him to move people with ease. He is a great drive blocker and once he gets his hands on opponents he’s going to execute the block. He’s phenomenal in the run game and that’s what he’ll be known for. Hsi biggest problems are he isn’t very mobile so he struggles picking up linebackers or edge rushers when pulling and can at times hold up the running backs. He also relies on his size too much letting it take away from his form because people just aren’t as strong as him. Turner has starting caliber talent but it could take maybe a couple of weeks before he sees the field, and a couple of years before he realizes what he is capable of.
- Spencer Drango: Drango is extremely quick, which leads to him often making first contact in blocks. This also helps him combat spin and swim moves from more finesseful rushers. He is a great pass blocker and is also extremely versatile capable of playing tackle as well as guard. He had back surgery a couple of years ago which is still cause for concern and he’s from Baylor so teams are cautious about his ability to succeed in an NFL offense. Whichever team pick him should find out that those are not real problems and they could leave the draft with a day 1 starter realistically.
- Joshua Garnett: Another large frame Garnett also posses great strength and uses his frame and length well to take away pass rushing lanes and make it extremely difficult for people to get around him. He has also shown enough quickness to pull and make second level blocks. When he gets into the second level he almost always makes the block utilizing great hands and overpowering strength on defensive backs. The one knock is he just is not that athletic and he struggles to combat that at times. It can be seen in openfield blocks and against speed rushers. If he can improve his technique it will diminish his athletic shortcomings and could turn him into a mid level starter in the NFL