In the land of the milk-eyes, skim is king
Even as the Cowboys have signed two giant walking question marks to the guard position, BTB nation is hungry for an offensive linemen in the draft. I could not agree more my friends. We are looking for security at those positions, much like I assume Romo does. It is kind of a sticky situation on the interior. No one is quite sure what to make of last years draft picks and Phil Costa as far as development and readiness are concerned. Signing unheralded guards does nothing to satiate our concern. Perhaps the front office will be smart and look to the draft to find us at least one guard/center we can rely on. The good news is, the pool is deep.
Guards and Centers
Let's find a player who we can compare combine stats to. For this exercise I'm going to use this years FA OL king Carl Nicks. Don't lie, lots of us here at BTB coveted bringing him in to solidify our line. So, let's go ahead and use him as a measuring stick for these offensive line prospects.
|40 Time||Bench Reps||Vert||Jump||3Cone||20 YD S|
Firstly, I'm going to throw out the 40 times. Why? Everyone in this class ran adequately for a guard/center. It would only serve as a red flag if someone ran above 6 seconds.
Instead, let's start with upper body strength, with which you need to push those huge defensive linemen. Bench at over 30 reps.
Onto explosiveness/leg strength. Carl Nicks appears to lack a bit of explosion based on his numbers. Which of these guards did better than him? Vert = above 29, Broad Jump = 8' or better.
It's important for guards to be as agile as the defensive linemen and linebackers they're trying to mirror. 3 Cone at under 7.8. Short Shuttle at under 4.7.
Brooks and DeCastro have elite agility.
* Note: Peter Konz, David Molk, and Desmond Wynn are all out of this exercise for not participating at the combine. As far as rankings go, if I included Konz, it would probably be a conversation about him vs. Zeitler.
Lets look at the overview of all the OL's benchmark hits. X = Benchmark hit, X+ = preferred benchmark hit, and D for a decent score.
Based on benchmarks hit, here is my ranking of this year's interior OL class. This is just my opinion based on the data range. You won't find a ranking like this anywhere else.
Oh boy, that right, I put Brandon Brooks ahead of DeCastro. Cause heck, might as well be different. If you factor in technique and experience, DeCastro probably is the best guard. But, after looking at all the numbers, Brooks is really good, even athletically better than DeCastro. Fan favorites Osemele and Kelemete rank lower to make room for Brewster and 'new faces' Miller, Gerhart, and Johnson. As you can see, I am not high on Cordy Glenn at all. He is the Brockers of the guards in my opinion.
Lets look at where these boys are projected to go. *All projections come from the most recent Nfldraftscout.com big board relative to the Cowboys picks. I'm going to exclude the bottom 3.
- David DeCastro
- Kevin Zeitler
- Amini Silatolu
- Brandon Brooks
- Kelechi Osemele
- Michael Brewster
- Ben Jones
- Phillip Blake
- Josh LeRibeus
- Senio Kelemete
- Lucas Nix
- Ryan Miller
- Rishaw Johnson
- Garth Gerhart
Simply stated, you can find an interior offensive linemen in any round this year. Though, if you want instant starters, you're going to have to look no further than probably round 3-4. However, plenty of good options, even if some of them are projects. Only 4 of them really impressed with their combine performances.