A Look at Early to Mid Round Guards
With the unlikelihood of starting left guard Luke Joeckel returning for next season after a somewhat average (at best) 2017 season with Seattle, it seems ever likely that Seattle will have a starting spot open on the offensive line. With the coaching changes and Pete Carroll’s self-proclaimed ‘commitment to the run in 2018’, getting a new guard on the left side seems inevitable. There are options already on the roster in the shape of Jordan Roos, however, my bet is he continues as a backup in 2018 and the team either buys one in upcoming free agency, or, what would make more sense, drafts one early in April.
But who is available? Let’s take a look at the top five prospects that Seattle could likely get either in the first, second or third round. Please note, anyone with the faintest of interest in the draft will notice that Quenton Nelson is missing. This isn’t in error, he will simply be gone long before Seattle picks so I’d rather not get too interested in him for fear of disappointment, I’ve seen him projected as high as the 3rd overall pick to give you some idea of where he ‘should’ go.
Height – 6024
Weight – 308 pounds
Hands – 8 1/2
Arm – 33 1/8
Wingspan – 79 1/8
In my opinion, Wynn is the second-best guard available this year and would be a major upgrade to the interior of this line. He’s not the tallest lineman in the world (probably a bonus for Seattle) although did measure taller than expected at the combine yesterday but he’s an absolute rock with immense upper and lower body strength. He excels in the run game and was a major factor in both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb’s success at Georgia, if Seattle is serious at fixing the run game in 2018, drafting Isaiah Wynn would be a superb selection. He isn’t working out at the combine as he’s injured so I’d expect his stock to stay relatively even, too. You could likely get him even after a trade down but you can guarantee other teams will be interested so they will need to be careful. Trading back into the early second would be very risky. Trading back to around #24-26 probably secures him. Although far from ideal, he could also be used at left tackle if Duane Brown went down, however he doesn’t have the ideal measurements, so it may not be pretty.
Height – 6024
Weight – 340 pounds
Hands – 9 3/4
Arm – 32 3/8
Wingspan – 76 7/8
Hernandez would no doubt be a bit of a reach at #18, however if a trade back occurred and Price and Wynn were off the board Hernandez would be a suitable consolation prize. His team didn’t win a single game in 2017 but the start of the team was no doubt their left guard.
He also has an uneventful injury history, starting in 49 consecutive games, if it wasn’t for his team’s lacklustre record, he would have no doubt earned more awards and recognition, however he was invited to both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game. He plays nasty, something Seattle would love in him, he’s also quick and powerful, obvious traits of any successful lineman in the NFL. He also offers flexibility as he has a little bit of experience at center, although given how versatile many of Seattle’s lineman already are, I doubt this would rise him up their draft board on that reason alone.
A knock on him would be the level of his opponents. He has played against Big 12 opponents in Texas and Oklahoma, however the majority of his opposition has been small schools so he may get a bit of a shock at the NFL level. Still, to come from the school he has and to be pegged in the late first/early second round is impressive and deserving at the same time.
Height – 6041
Weight – 310 pounds
Hands – 10 5/8
Arm – 33 3/8
Wingspan – 78 ½
Corbett was a tackle in college however doesn’t have the freakish size to succeed at the next level so will 100% be used as a guard in the NFL. He has broad shoulders and monster-like hand size, a huge bonus for lineman given all the hand fighting they do, if often simply comes down to who is bigger so Corbett will likely win many a matchup in the NFL. He’s not as talented as Wynn or Hernandez but would be a great pickup at some point in the second round, I think he has a high ceiling and exactly the type of player that, in 4 years’ time, people would wonder how he wasn’t drafted in the first round.
He is also a leader of men and would be a voice for the inexperienced guys in the locker room, he was a captain in college. It goes without saying that a position switch in the NFL is a bit of a risk, even moving from LT to LG can have huge growing pains as the technique and footwork is so different, however he has good athleticism and fantastic durability for the NFL.
Height – 6062
Weight – 315 pounds
Hands – 9 3/8
Arm – 32 1/4
Wingspan – TBC
Smith will likely be selected at some point between and the mid second and early third round so could be a Seattle target with a trade pack to get day 2 picks.
Smith blocked for running back Kerryon Johnson in college and consistently opened lanes for him all the way through his three years as a starter. He is also a very likeable (and coachable) guy, which helps and will earn him respect from all levels of the team that drafts him. He has never missed a game due to injury either so his durability will be a big plus, obviously this isn’t the be all and end all as he may still suffer an injury in the NFL, however it’s good to know he doesn’t have any long term ‘niggles’ that will bother him moving forwards. He has fantastic core strength and good feet and is also remarkably flexible for his size, something that will benefit him when blocking against stunts or overly quick defensive lineman.
Height – 6044
Weight – 311 pounds
Hands – 10 1/8
Arm – 33 7/8
Wingspan – 81 ¾
He has great measurements, recording very high at the combine in wingspan, arm length and hand size, something that will likely raise his draft stock next month. He actually transitioned from the defensive line to offensive line in his second season at Virginia Tech and hasn’t looked back since. He is incredibly strong and started every game in college.
He is also all muscle, something that will help him once he gets into an NFL teams weight room. His feet are probably his biggest downfall, he isn’t particularly quick or agile which is why he could never be considered at tackle, but with the right offensive line scheme, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. He’s probably better suited in more of a power run offense as opposed to zone blocking. He will likely be available in the third round.
I can see any one of these players being selected by Seattle, unless of course, they pick up a starting calibre guard in free agency. Even if that did happen, I still wouldn’t be shocked to see them go guard early, however with all the other holes in the roster, it does make it far more unlikely.