Knowing Your Guards: A look at the 2012 Prospects

As many of you know one of the biggest need for the Pittsburgh Steelers is at the guard position. Whether it is because both Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky are Restricted Free Agents or because Chris Kemoeatu has arthritic knees and a deteriorating mind, the Steelers will need to address the guard position in the draft. However I am sure most of the average fans only see the names of these players and don't know why they are rated as they are, Having played on the offensive line and specifically the guard position I love watching good guard play. I have watch a lot of video on each guy I am talking about. ( except one who literally has like two videos since he plays at no where state) The following is my analysis of the the guards and how I would rate them and why. (with links to video of them playing) I will also include the consensus on where the "experts' believe they will be drafted.

#1 David DeCastro, OG Stanford-

I am sure this is no surprise to anyone who has been reading any draft analysis on this site or others. DeCastro is by far the best guard prospect in this years draft, but how many of you know why. When watching DeCastro two thing stand out immediately the first is his intial quickness off the line. DeCastro is rarely beaten off the line, he fire into his opponent fast while still staying low to keep leverage. Once he gets his hands on his opponent his opponent rarely stands a chance. The second is his motor. DeCastro never quicks on a play and love to finish his blocks. He always seems to be looking for someone to block whether it is the begining of the play or the end. This is the type of player you want on your team. What are other things DeCastro does well? He has very quick feet and violent hand. He can use his hand to keep opposing D-linemen off his body and restore leverage. He has great understand of how to block a guy always putting himself in between the defender and the hole. DeCastro pulls extremely well getting around the corner astonishingly fast and keeping his head up to see the defender. The only problem DeCastro has is against some of the larger stronger DT. He is 6'5" 312lbs so is lighter than expect and because of that may not be able to drive the 350lbs tackle off the ball as effectively. However because he get off the ball so fast and bescause he understands how to block he can still prevent the player from being a factor in the play. During the off season if he put on roughly 10lbs he is going to be dominant in any scheme. He will easily be a top 15 pick.

Here is a link to a breakdown of David DeCastro's play. He is #52 the RG for Standford.

#2 Peter Konz, C Wisconsin-

After now officially declaring for the draft Peter Konz is the number one center in the draft. I really like this player and not just cause he wheres the best interior O-linemen number ever #66. He is also my number two guard. Why? Well when watching Konz play again two things stood out to me immediately. The first was his abilities in pass blocking. Konz does an amazing job recognizing defensive pressures. He sit in a chair well and uses he arms and upper body strength to stalemate rushers. He has nice footwork and good balance while using his hands well. He is rarely beat in the pass. The second was Konz awareness when blocking. Like DeCastro, Konz understands where the run is designed to go and places himself in between the defender and this hole. This mean that even when beat it is very difficult to make a play with out running through Konz which is near impossible because his size and strength. Other things I like about Konz. Obvisously his lower body strength, he can anchor against any tackle. When ask to pull he is athletic enough to get out in front though since he does this rarely he does not have the recognition to find defender like DeCastro. This should improve with more practice pulling. The only flaw in Konz game is his ability to stay low. He is a taller center at 6'5" 315 pounds so staying low can be difficult. Sometimes he can play high becasue of this. He need to become more consistent at keepig his pads low and he would be good, he also does have the same elite get off on the line that DeCastro has but this can be scewed being a center. He is easily going to be a first round pick if not a top 25.

Here is the link to Konz playing again he is #66 for Wisconsin.

#3 Brandon Washington, OT Miami (FL)-

This is where I begin to differ from the normal draft analysis. I have Brandon Washington over Cordy Glenn, Washington actually started for Miami at both the Guard and Tackle position. He is a very string muscular player. He has very good quickness off the line and stays low. Like the other two prospects Washington won't give up on a play. He has a good quickness to pull and excels at drive blocking. He will keep his feet moving and dominate at the point of attack. Does an excellent job at keeping his pads low and has a mean streak to finish blocks. He played tackle and is good in pass protection but is two slow with his kick step and will not make it at tackle in the NFL. Overall though Washington need work on his technique. This is because he has switch back and forth between OT and OG often. Washington is heavy handed and will not use his hand to continually punch or hit off his opponent hands to regain the at vantage.However this is a very teachable skill. Washington actually reminds me of his teammate Orlando Franklin who was drafted at 14 by Denver. Franklin however had the body and quickness to play tackle in the NFL. Both however have that nastiness. Washington is 6'4" 320lbs ideal size for a guard and because of his think body, great base and power he can succeed in the NFL. The Expert have him as a mid second round I would take him in the high second and well over Cordy Glenn.

Here is the link to Washington playing. They don't have a edited version so this is an entire game. He is #72 for Miami

#4 Cordy Glenn, OT/OG Georgia-

Cordy Glenn is seen by many as a first round prospect but not to me. I'll give you the positives first. The first positive thing that stands out when watching Cordy Glenn is his ability to pass block. He is very patient and sit in a chair keeping a low center of gravity. He has quick feet in pass blocking and a good kick step. He uses his hands well to keep the defenders off of him in the pass. He did start at LT in the SEC all year and I think there may be a team that takes him as an RT. Glenn is also strong very strong. However despite these positives the first thing that stood out to me was Glenns motor or lack of one. He will give up on plays when he thinks he is out of the play, He has lazy feet in the running game not moving them. He plays very high and to me bends at the waste too often when tired. He will lean to much on defenders because he seems lazy. Too often will he get out worked and beat. He doesn't have the initial quickness off the ball because he comes off late too often. This is not the player that I would want on my offensive line. He however because of size and power rarely get beat at the line. The "expert" have him as a first round pick to high second. I think he may be taken there by a team sees him as a RT but I would go any where near him. I want my O-linemen to want to punish a guy and punish them until the whistle.

Here is a link to Glenn video. He is the LG, #71

#4 Kevin Zeilter OG, Wisconsin-

Again I go against the quote experts becuase I value motor over physical ability. Zeilter in my opinion would be a very good option at guard. Two thing stood out right away when I saw Zeilter play. The first was his his ability to stay low at the point of attack. He can drive block very well for someone who is slightly undersized. He has very good technique with hands adn is ideal in short yardage situation where he excels with his knowledge of the "tools" at his disposal. The second was his ability to pull. He pulls much like Chirs Kemoeatu meaning he isn't the fastest at getting around the edge and will put his head down but he more often then not will blow up the defender and create a whole. Zeilter mirrors very well in pass blocking and play with a good center of gravity. He has good quickness off the line but not as elite as someone like DeCastro. He has a pasion for the game and a great work effort. On the field he has a great motor and won't quit o n a play till the whistle blows. He major flaws can be against smaller quicker defenders. He doesn't maintain the block well against say a safety down field would rather punch then latch on to him. He will need to bulk up about ten pound or so to effectively anchor against NFL DT. He is 6'4" 318 and will need to get to about 328 with strength however he is a no nonsense type worker who works hard in the weight room. The "experts" have him going in the late third early fourth. I would like it if the Steelers got this blue collar guy.

Here is a link to Zeilter's play. He is #70 the RG.

#5 Amini Silatolu, OT Midwestern State-

This was the prospect I was talking about having little film on. However I believe I have enough to make comment on his play. The first thing that stood out when watching Silatolu play is his quick feet in the passing game. He mirrors extremely well and bends at the knees and sits in his chair patiently. he won't be able to play LT in the NFL but he will have exceptional pass blocking skills for a guard. Silatolu has a very good frame at 6'3" 324lbs. He has a nastiness and will hustle down field very well. In my viewing he does play high which effects his leverage. Being from Midwestern he hasn't had talent to play against. The Senior Bowl will be very intersting for Silatolu. He has never played in a three point stance so will need to show he can effective get off the ball quickly in the three point, He has good quickness and was ask to pull for screen a lot at Midwestern. Over all I think Silatolu compare a lot to Cordy Glenn except for the fact that he doesn't have the motor issues. This guy could become the next great guard form a small school. He has a strong thick frame that lead many to believe he can play in the NFL very well. He is project by the "expert" any where from the third to the fifth depending on how he plays in the Senior Bowl.

Here is a link to Silatolu playing he is the LT #57 for Midwestern in red.

#6 Kelechi Osemele, OT Iowa State-

Osemele is a player many have rated as the third pure guard prospect. Not me. When I watch Osemele I see another lazy player, who won't play to the whistle. He has slow feet and poor technique. Osemele also shows poor judgement in his blocking assignment. Missing some of the key blocks at times. He doesn't use he hands well and relies too much on his thick body and strength to make blocks. It has been speculated that his work ethic is very poor and he lacks a passion for the game. He has a strong upper body and a good ability for a guard in pass blocking. Osemele can be very quick off the snap but because of motor issues will be inconsistent in this area. Like Glenn I wouldn't touch this guy. He has the body type and experts have him going in the mid to late second round.

Here is a link to Iowa State game. Osemele is the LT #72.

#7 Senio Kelemete OT, Washington-

Here is the link I won't wate your time analyzing him but you can look your self. He might be able to become a starter some day at guard. He is the LT for Washington #56.

#8 Lucas Nix OG Pittsburgh-

He is too slow off the line for me won't make it in the NFL if he doesn't improve.

#9 Philp Blake, C Baylor-

Just had to throw him in their though I didn't want to add in many centers. I like Blake think he could become a good guard, but he will be 26 next year. This is the full Baylor v. Washington Alamo bowl and him against Alemeda Ta'amu.

#10 James Brooks OG, Virginia Tech-

Need to gain more weight, he is light and doesn't have great strength could be a reliable back up with improved strength and coaching. Don't see a starter here though.

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