2021 NFL Draft: What Offensive Guards Will Help Improve Your Team?

By Michael Williams March 30, 2021 0 Comment
Please Share!

The Quarterback and Tackle positions are the two most important slots to fill for any team trying to build a consistent championship contender. When those two positions are secured, some wonder what is the next position of importance on offense? Building up the interior offensive line helps and luckily there is no shortage of 2021 offensive guards that will be available in the NFL draft.

The offensive guard position is important for any quarterback no matter if they are mobile or not. If a quarterback is continually being pressured up the middle, they will never have time to set their feet, move up in the pocket, scan the field, or make an accurate pass. For running backs, not having solid guard play will diminish their value and talent as they won’t be able to find running lanes to gain yards on the ground.

 

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG/OT, USC

Height: 6-4 Weight: 315 – Projected Round: 1-2

Embed from Getty Images
Vera-Tucker is one of the most versatile offensive tackles in this class, along with Rashawn Slater from Northwestern. Tucker made the switch to left tackle this past year after playing guard for his first two years at USC. While playing left tackle, he was able to show teams his incredible athleticism and the ability to hold his own on an island by himself.

While playing guard, Tucker displayed his amazing strength going against some of the nation’s toughest interior defensive linemen. His strength and toughness were validated this past season when he was awarded the Morris Trophy for being the hardest offensive linemen to go up against in the Pac-12 conference.

As a run blocker, Tucker displays good hand placement has the strength to move defenders out of the way to create rushing lanes for his running back. His athleticism is shown off when he works his way to the second and third levels of the defense. In pass-protection, Tucker displays the lateral quickness to be able to play guard or tackle at the NFL level. His ability to set an anchor and prevent himself from being pushed back into the pocket is impressive. Even though Tucker has shown he can play tackle, he will be more valuable as a guard playing in a zone-schemed offense, especially since he does not have the height or adequate arm length NFL teams covet.

Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
Height: 6-5 Weight: 330 – Projected Round: 2

Embed from Getty Images
Aaron Banks is another solid offensive line prospect coming out of Notre Dame. He has the prototypical size with great power and technique to go with it. Banks arrived at Notre Dame in 2017 but would not see the playing time until 2018 due to a redshirt year. When he earned a starting role, Banks showed his time spent adjusting his game paid off. In 2020, it would all come full circle as he would earn First-Team All ACC honors and receive an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

As a guard, Banks displays power and the ability to explode off the line of scrimmage. At Notre Dame, he played left guard but has the ability to play both sides. He also plays with an aggressive nature that teams like to see from their interior offensive lineman. As a pass-blocker, he can set anchor and stun the defensive lineman with his ferocious punch. In the NFL, Banks will need to improve his blocking in space and lateral movement to become an effective starter. He will fit perfectly in a power scheme where he could use his straight-line speed, physicality, and power.

Quinn Meinerz, C/OG, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Height: 6-3 Weight: 320 – Projected Round: 2-4

Embed from Getty Images
After having no Divison-III football this past season, Quinn Meinerz depended heavily on his performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl to boost his draft stock. While scouts could go back and watch his 2019 tape, his practices at the senior bowl really put him on the map because he was nothing short of dominant.

He displayed his aggressive nature, strength, and ability to compete against higher-level competition. After his performance in Mobile, Meinerz caught the attention of many teams. He is now considered one of the top interior linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Meinerz can be considered a mauler in the run game and his burst off the line of scrimmage is something out of this world. At the point of attack, his goal is to bury defensive linemen into the ground. As a pass-blocker, he does well setting his anchor and getting his hands on the inside to hold up defensive linemen.

Once he is drafted, Meinerz will need to improve his footwork and flexibility. He is not as quick on his feet as other linemen which means he should benefit from being drafted by a team that runs a power-based scheme. Having the ability to use his power in the run game for a team that is run-dominant would be the best-case scenario. He could be a day-one starter.

Robert Hainsey, OG, Notre Dame

Height: 6-4 Weight: 302 – Projected Round: 2-3

Embed from Getty Images
Robert Hainsey has been a constant on the Notre Dame offensive line for the last three years. He saw early playing time early during his freshman year as a role player. As a sophomore, he took over the starting role and never looked back. Due to an ankle injury suffered during the 2019 season, Hainsey only played in 8 games. He returned for the 2020 season showing improvement in his game and helping the Irish reach the College Football Playoffs.

On the field, Hainsey displays the physical attributes to play in the NFL. With his physical nature and a relentless motor, Hainsey dominates when it comes to run-blocking. He is able to move defenders out the way while also being able to get to the second level. His pass protection skills are solid. Hainsey rarely gets pushed back off his set and anchors down to prevent any penetration. He will need to improve his pulling skills at the next level to help him earn a starting spot early in his career.

Hainsey’s impressive 2020 season earned him an invite to Reese’s Senior Bowl where he worked out as a guard. Scouts believe that is his best position due to average athleticism and his 32″ arm length. That the transition did not seem to affect his play. He continued to dominate in the run game and show more fluidity in his movement when in space.  With a good showing, Hainsey now becomes a Day-2 pick and will fit well in a power scheme using his physicality to move defenders off the ball. He is a rotational player that has the potential to start early in his career.

Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee
Height: 6-6 Weight: 320 – Projected Round: 2-3

Embed from Getty Images
Trey Smith is no stranger to the spotlight. Coming out of high school in 2017, he was rated the number one prospect in the country and highly recruited by power-5 programs. He ultimately chose to stay home and play for the Tennessee Volunteers. His college career was full of ups and downs, but Smith overcame all the adversity to churned out a pretty good college career.

Smith started all 12 games his freshmen year and was named to the Freshmen All-American team, while also earning 2nd Team All-SEC honors. His sophomore season was cut short after seven games due to blood clots in his lungs. When Smith returned for the 2019 season, he made the switch to left guard where he was able to take advantage of size and strength as an interior blocker. Smith would on to win multiple awards in 2019 and show scouts he can play through a whole season. In 2020, he continued his dominance as a guard allowing no sacks.

On tape, Smith’s strength and athletic ability really shines. He’s very good at pulling and getting to the second level to block outside defenders. Another outstanding trait is watching Smith finish blocks and playing through the whistle. He loves to bury defenders and show his mauler-like attitude. Smith is constantly looking for work and getting involved whenever he can find someone to hit. In pass protection, his hand strikes are lethal and make it easy for him to control defenders. Smith has the talent to be an early day-2 pick and best fits in a power-scheme offense. He could start in the league sooner than expected.

Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
Height: 6-4 Weight: 315 – Projected Round: 2-3

Embed from Getty Images
Wyatt Davis is another player who has been in the national spotlight since he was in high school. After being the number-1 offensive guard in the nation in 2017, Davis committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes where he would continue to succeed at the guard position. He redshirted his freshmen year, then would make his debut during the 2018 season. After playing a small role in 2018, Davis then took over the starting guard position in 2019. Since then, he has done nothing but dominate his competition.

Davis is an athletic guard that moves and blocks well in space. He has a quick burst off the line of scrimmage that allows him to block at the second level and create running lanes. Another glaring attribute to Davis’ game is his hand placement. He is great at hand placement on defenders and moves them to where he wants.

Davis displays an above-average football IQ by showing how quickly he picks up new systems. If there was one concern about his game, it would be his ability to finish blocks. With some coaching, Davis can improve on this minor glare. He will fit well in a zone-oriented scheme.

Royce Newman, OG/OT, Ole Miss
Height: 6-5 Weight: 305 – Projected Round: 3-5

Embed from Getty Images
Royce Newman may not be at the top of most teams’ draft boards, but his versatility brings value to his draft stock. During his college career, Newman played both guard and tackle. He thrived at both positions, giving up only three sacks in two seasons. On top of his physical abilities, he also has sneaky athleticism. Newman’s mobility, quick feet, and balance allows him to recover easily in pass sets.

Newman’s versatility is a valuable asset because it provides depth at multiple positions. As a pass-blocker, he demonstrates the quick feet to mirror defenders and the hips to drive them past the quarterback pocket. In the run game, he has the ability to pulls and get to the second level. Once he locks on to a defender, Newman is good at keeping his legs moving to finish the block. He will need to play with more power and upper body strength to compete in the league.

Newman currently projects as a late day-two, early day-three pick. He would benefit ina a zone scheme where he can utilize his athleticism and wall off defenders. Newman will start off as a rotational player that can develop into a starter with some time to develop.

David Moore, OG/C, Grambling State University
Height: 6-3 Weight: 320 Projected Round: 3-5

Embed from Getty Images
David Moore is one of the more intriguing small school prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Moore decided to opt-out of the 2020 season in order to prepare for the draft. During his time off, he trained with Hall of Fame Guard, Bruce Matthews. The aim was to improve his technique and knowledge of his position. Moore’s athletic ability is one of his biggest strengths. According to his former teammate, “Moore can run like a deer, do backflips with ease, and can dunk a basketball.”

At 6’3″, 320 lbs, Moore is a massive human being that loves to move people out of his way. He plays with the grit-and-grind attitude every team covets. You will not see him back down from any competition. In the run-game, Moore displays out-of-this-world strength at the point of attack. He carves out running lanes while being able to block at the second level. As a pass-blocker, Moore packs a heavy punch that can stun defenders. He will need to improve his footwork and balance to help him against speed rushers.

Luckily, Moore was invited to the Senior Bowl after not playing in 2020. There, he showed he can play with top-level competition. He was able to win in some 1-on-1 matchups and show his versatility by taking some reps at center. With a good showing at the Senior Bowl, Moore could go as high as the third round. Being in a power gap scheme will benefit him the most. He can be a starter one day in the NFL.

Sadarius Hutcherson, OG, South Carolina
Height: 6-4 Weight: 321 – Projected Round (2021): 4-6

Embed from Getty Images
Sadarius Hutcherson isone of the best late-round gems buried in the draft class. His size and strength are some of his biggest assets that separate him from others. During his time at the University of South Carolina, he played multiple positions on the offensive line. This helped develop his skillset as a player who could add depth along the offensive line. Hutcherson returned to his natural position at left guard during the 2020 season where he earned All-SEC honors.

Hutcherson’s power and strength are the foundation of his game. As a run-blocker, he can create holes and move defenders out of the way. His short-yard burst is quick, which makes it hard for interior defensive linemen to get push back on him. Hutcherson’s athleticism is good enough to where he can pull and block out in space. As a pass-protector, he can mirror interior rushers while maintaining good pad level. His hands tend to be in the correct position to gain leverage. He will need to work on having leverage throughout the entire play though.

Hutcherson is going to be a solid day-three pick. He will benefit in a power-scheme and can be a starter later in his career.

2021 NFL Draft: Late-Round, High-Value Running Backs

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
    Height: 6-3 Weight: 310 – Projected Round: 3-5
  • Robert Jones, OG, Middle Tennessee
    Height: 6-5 Weight: 319 – Projected Round (2021): 5-7

Please Share!

Seeking employment opportunity in the Sports Management Arena as a NFL Scout or General Manager for a professional NFL team where I can utilize my theoretical and practical knowledgeable skills and work experience; hence having, attained such skills while working various versatile internships while also obtaining my undergraduate degree, having specialized in statistical analysis, reviewing and critiquing football film footage and writing articles for various social media. Along with my internship experiences, I also have 6 years of coaching experience. I have coached both youth and high school sports. I am currently the Defensive Coordinator for Slaughter Community Charter School. I am seeking an opportunity to work in the NFL.

0 Comments

Write A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *