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NFL Draft Prospects by Position: Offensive guard

Few could have predicted the Steelers' selection of OG David DeCastro with the 24th overall pick in 2012. Now, at 17, there are a few outstanding guard prospects who may be available when the Steelers go on the clock.

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

You didn't hear many talk in 2012 about the Steelers need to, without fail, land a guard with the 24th overall pick.

But no one would have argued with the selection of David DeCastro at that spot.

Thought to have been a sure-fire top 15 pick, the Steelers even tried to trade up to land DeCastro, getting denied by the Jets a chance to move up to 17 to take him.

Here it is, a year later, and without the need to trade to draft at 17. It's even less likely the Steelers aim for a guard with their first round pick, but we've seen it happen.

Offensive Guard

1. Chance Warmack, University of Alabama

There may not be a better player in this draft than the 6-foot-2 317 pound Chance Warmack. He is one of the best drive blockers I have seen on tape. He plays with a strong, wide base and moves defenders of the line at ease. He is just fast enough to pull but it would be recommended that he not pull farther than the B gap and he is just quick enough to peel off blocks and get to the second level. Warmack has very few flaws in his game. He will miss blocks in the open field with less than desirable quickness. In pass blocking his feet are slower than desired but he uses his long almost 35 inch arms to counter that. He plays low and is hard to move backwards. Warmack looked like a man among boys on tape while his athleticism is in questioning it is good enough to be successful in the NFL. While he may fit best in a power man blocking scheme Warmack can play a zone scheme as well (he did in college). Expect Warmack to make an All-Pro early and often because he is that impressive on tape.

2. Johnathan Cooper, University of North Carolina

The further teams get into the evaluation process the more teams will notice the shortening gap between the 6-foot-2 311 pound Johnathan Cooper and Warmack. Cooper is scheme diverse. On tape he shows great balance and a strong base in drive blocking, he has the athleticism to pull and get out on screen plays. Cooper fires out of his stance and can get on linebackers quickly. In pass protection he slides well and with a low center of gravity early but will start to rise as the game continues. Cooper doesn't possess Warmack's over powering strength and can get pushed back by stronger defensive tackles. He also has a tendency to stop his feet when engaged in pass blocking. When it comes down to it, Cooper should be a great fit for a zone scheme. He is flashes some nasty in the run game, shows football intelligence on tape and is quick enough to make all the blocks. Don't be surprised to see a few accolades for Cooper in his career.

3. Larry Warford, University of Kentucky

Larry Warford weighed in at 6-foot-3 331 pounds. On film he shows the ability to run block well. He is a big bodied player and can over power defenders at time. Warford is a very heavy footed waist bender and slow. At this point in time I don't think Warford has the ability to keep up with the much faster defensive linemen in the NFL. Warford needs to drop some more weight to gain some better mobility. Warford is best suited as a RG in a power man scheme.

4. Brian Winters, Kent State University (Expected to convert from LT in college to OG in NFL)

Brain Winters weighed in at 6-foot-4 320 pounds. He played left tackle at Kent State by I expect him to move to guard in the NFL. On tape he is incredibly physical. He has a good burst off the snap and plays with a wide base. He also shows some nastiness and willingness to finish his one-on-one blocks. He doesn't have the foot quickness to play LT in the NFL but it will be good for an interior player. Winters might be a sleeper for a starting guard that a team could grab in the late third or fourth round.

5. Alvin Bailey, University of Arkansas

Alvin Bailey measure 6-foot-3 312 pounds. He is a very good run blocker and fires of the line low and quick. He needs to remember to keep his feet moving when engaged and will tend to rise in his stance through contact. Bailey isn't a good pass blocker. His feet are slow and he will lean to get to the defender. Overall Bailey needs some work but could eventual become a starter in a year.