As we head into the last few days before the draft, it is important that we take a look at the right guard position. Our guard tandem was as strong as anyone’s least offseason. The group featured TJ Lang and Josh Sitton who were both considered to be in the upper echelon of NFL guards. Before the season, Sitton was cut with the clear replacement of Lane Taylor getting a shot at the starting job. The experiment worked well as Taylor exceeded expectations.
Jump to this offseason and you would see both JC Tretter and TJ Lang depart in free agency. The departure of long time starting guard TJ Lang left a massive hole at right guard. Unlike when Sitton was cut, the Packers did not have a clear replacement on the roster to my knowledge. They will toy with the idea of moving 2nd year tackle Kyle Murphy to guard and practice squad holdover Lucas Patrick will get his shot as well. While I cannot say for certain that a guard will be drafted by the Packers this weekend, I am fairly confident that it will occur. One thing I can also say is that Bryan Bulaga is an elite caliber right tackle and will continue to be a right tackle. That is not up for debate in my opinion. So now that we got that out of the way, here are some prospects could start at right guard for the green and gold…
Dan Feeney 6’4″ 305Lbs. – Indiana
Dan Feeney played on the same line as OT Jason Spriggs at Indiana. After some deliberation, Feeney decided to return to Indiana to finish his senior year rather than entering the draft with Spriggs. Feeney started off with a bang as a true freshman, starting in all 12 games. After a redshirt in year two resulting from a foot injury, he returned to the starting lineup as a redshirt sophomore. With his quality showings his first two years as a starter, he earned honorable mentions in Big Ten. He made a big leap in his junior season, finishing first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-American. Feeney continued to build his body of work in his final season at Indiana. He finished his career off with first-team All-American honors. Probably the most accomplished player on this list. His competitive spirit on the field tells me he will go all-in to become a better player in the NFL.
Athleticism: I won’t dive to far into the athleticism of a guard, but Feeney certainly has the length to play in the NFL. His arm length is solid. While Feeney is no small man, he could absolutely stand to gain some lower body mass. At his height, only weighing 305 pounds could be an issue for some teams early in the draft.
Run Blocking: His run blocking ability has improved throughout his career, which suggests he may be able to continue to become better at the next level. He is by far best suited to be in a zone blocking scheme, as he can make reach blocks in zone. He isn’t a guy who is going to move a lot of people, but he doesn’t allow guys to get off of him. Some would consider him a “zone only” guard. He would have to improve his run blocking to shed that label in my opinion. Poor leverage at times.
Pass Blocking: Feeney played some right tackle this past year because of injury. I will say one thing upfront: he is good as a pass protector at guard, not so much at tackle. When playing guard, he allowed 2 sacks, 4 hits, and 19 hurries overall on 1239 pass blocking attempts his final 3 years in college, per Pro Football Focus. Possesses a strong punch from his upper body.
How He Fits in Green Bay: If drafted by the Packers, it is my belief that he would start at right guard week one. His skill set features a good fit both in the offense and what the team likes to draft in a guard. The Packers offense features a lot of passing compared to running, so drafting a player like Feeney who can pass protect well would be a solid fit. There is no denying that Ted Thompson likes to draft linemen who have tackle experience, and while Feeney was never a full time tackle, he has playing time there. As far as draft stock goes, his is kind of up in the air. If I had to predict his current stock, I would say early round 2 to early round 4. While I do not expect Feeney to slide overly far down the board, some would stay away from a so called “zone only” guard early on in the draft. With this poor offensive line class, expect Dan Feeney to be picked up before the Packers pick in the 3rd round.
Dion Dawkins 6’4″ 314Lbs. – Temple
Dion Dawkins played left tackle at Temple, and who do we know that likes to draft tackles to convert to guards? Mr. Ted Thompson, that’s who. Dawkins is viewed by most as a guard in the NFL. Much like Dan Feeney, Dawkins suffered a foot injury early in his career, but was never plagued by any other serious injuries. There are some minor character concerns with Dawkins. Along with fellow Temple prospect Haason Reddick, he was charged with assault outside a nightclub in early 2015, but served no suspension. He finished his career at Temple with a second team ALL-AAC honors his junior year, and first team honors his final year on campus. Experience is in his favor, having started 3 years in college.
Athleticism: Dawkins was just .01 seconds away from having the fastest 3 cone time of any offensive linemen at the combine. That says a lot about his agility and acceleration as a player, and it shows in his tape. He certainly has the size and strength to move inside to guard, but some question his ability to keep up in pass protection at the next level. One thing his for certain, he will be able to hold his own athletically in the run game.
Run Blocking: I am more confident in his ability to run block than pass block for sure. While his tape shows him playing tackle, he is a powerful guy who should handle the transition inside just fine. Explosive. Showed a capability to learn a system well and thrive in it. He was a nightmare for opposing defenders one on one in college, but he did not play against overly talented players in the AAC. Agility and acceleration allowed him to get to the second level and finish blocks. There is not a whole lot of bad things to say about his run blocking performance.
Pass Blocking: Dawkins was out of his element at left tackle, he really is best suited to play inside. Despite this, he only allowed two sacks this past season. If he could play that well at tackle, there is little doubt in my mind he would have an easier time pass blocking at guard given his size and strength. He uses his strength and balance well in pass pro. Quick kick slide. Shows weakness to inside moves. Stiff hips at times. The physical tools are there, he just needs to improve in some raw areas. The coaching staff in Green Bay could easily coach up a guy like Dawkins.
How He Fits in Green Bay: This is another guy I believe would make a week one start against Seattle if drafted by the Packers. His proven run blocking ability could make him the best run blocker on the Packers line in the near future. Dawkins preformed well at the guard position at the Senior Bowl, in my mind that is his most natural position in the NFL. Dion Dawkins is a good project. I have little doubt he’s a teachable player in pass protection, and that is what he needs to be to succeed at the next level. Look for Dawkins to go on day two of this weak offensive line draft.
Danny Isidora 6’3″ 306Lbs. – Miami
I watched this guy hold down the right guard spot for my hurricanes these past three seasons. He comes out of college a 5th year senior. Despite starting for 3 years, his play was not recognized until last season when he was awarded 2nd team ALL-ACC. He is known as more of a balanced guy between the run in the pass This is not as highly touted of a prospect as most guys on this list, but a real talent at guard nonetheless.
Athleticism: He meets guard size requirements. Not a guy with extreme height or weight, but he has good arm length. He ran a 5.0 flat 40 time, which tells me he can make it to the second level in run blocking. He shows his athleticism in his pass pro as well. He will not be held back because of a lack of athletic ability.
Run Blocking: Uses quickness to be an effective pulling guard. Great at getting blocks in the second level. Stays on his blocks. Best in zone scheme when on play side, poor on the opposite side. His biggest knock his that he plays much too wide, which causes him to get overpowered. Doesn’t possess the strength to move NFL defensive tackles. Little exposure to gap scheme run blocking.
Pass Blocking: Miami ran a predominately pro style passing offense in the ACC, so Isidora has seen it all in terms of pass protection. One game in particular, he went up against Florida States DeMarcus Walker and allowed zero pressures. Quick mover. Good at stunt recolonization. Finds someone to block each play. Blocks till the whistle. Again, plays with too wide of a base causing him to struggle against the power rush he would see in the NFL. Struggles early on in the play.
How He Fits in Green Bay: This is one guy who has done both run and pass blocking well at times, but hasn’t put together a season of doing both. Right now his pass blocking looks better which the Packers can work with. He offers teams a cheaper option on day three than guys like the first two on this list. If drafted to the Packers he could compete for the starting job with Lucas Patrick and Kyle Murphy, but it would be tough competition overall.
Taylor Moton 6’5″ 319 Lbs.- W. Michigan
You won’t find a player with more starting experience than Taylor Moton. After a redshirt year, he was a 4 year starter at Western Michigan. He started at right tackle every year beside his junior season when he played right guard. Moton is viewed as a guard in the NFL by most everyone. He earned third team all conference honors as a guard in 2015. His move back to tackle this past season saw him earn first team All-MAC honors. Moton played for a successful program, but it was in a small conference.
Athleticism: Moton is a very large human being. His build is proportionate throughout his body. He is a bit tall for a guard, but with his height comes long arms and large hands needed at the next level. Showed some quickness at the Senior Bowl.
Run Blocking: Controls his blocks using his big frame. A good fit in most any scheme. Good pad level off the line. Has the tools to move defenders, especially on down blocks. Can get to the second level. Most guys will not get off him once he latches on. Raw footwork. Not a whole lot bad to say about his run blocking.
Pass Blocking: Won’t be pushed around by power rushers at the next level. Gets himself into trouble leaning forward. Susceptible to being being beaten by speed rush at tackle, he shouldn’t have to worry about that as much at guard. Struggles against stunts. More raw footwork. Takes bad angles.
How He Fits in Green Bay: Another guy who played tackle in college, fits the type of guard Ted almost always drafts. He has the benefit of having tape at guard and tackle. There are some pass blocking concerns that could go away with the move to guard. Moton brings a lot to the table as a run blocker, and that is why he will likely be snatched up on day 2. While the talent level he faced in college wasn’t always all that consistent, he did well when tested. Look for him to be in the mix for the green and gold on Friday. Taylor Moton has the best potential of anyone on this list, and I would be a big fan of the pick.
Jermaine Eluemunor 6’4″ 332Lbs. – Texas A&M
This man’s journey to the NFL is unlike that of the average prospect, this I am certain of. He grew up in North London, later moving to the US at age 14. He began his college career at Lackawanna College for two seasons. It was not until his senior year that he cracked the starting lineup, so he has small amounts of tape. In 2016 he made 3 starts at right guard and 9 at right tackle. Eluemunor is viewed as somewhat of a day 3 project at guard.
Athleticism: Instantly you notice his size on paper. Good length and over 300 pounds. He is a big strong guy that moves well. Showed off his exceptional strength at the combine, bench pressing 225lbs 34 times. Well conditioned big man. Features shorter arms and small hands.
Run Blocking: Power will be his best friend in the NFL. Locks onto opponents well to sustain blocks. Kind of a lunger. Over-pursues blocks in the second level. Poor pad level. Because he is relatively new to the game he will have plenty of raw traits in both the passing game and running.
Pass Blocking: Solid lateral quickness. Good punch. Bad against twists. Slow to react to changing directions. Raw footwork.
How He Fits in Green Bay: I almost want to compare him to the German wideout (Moritz Boehringer) from last draft. I could name raw traits about him until I ran out of breath, but he is new to the game so they could be worked through. He is a project, and a cool story at that. Look for him to go in rounds 4-6. If he finds himself headed to Green Bay, he is unlikely to play in his first year. This would be a Ted Thompson project pick that could have some big payoff with his combo of size and quickness.
Ethan Pocic 6’6″ 310Lbs. -LSU
Ethan Pocic comes from a long line of offensive linemen, specifically centers. Ethan started three of his four seasons at LSU. He began starting at guard and finished at center, but we know our team would have no problem moving him or having him play both. This past season Pocic was first team all conference as well as second team ALL-American. He has played every position along the line, just like our friends Donnie Barclay and JC Tretter.
Athleticism: A bit tall to play inside, that will allow him to play outside in a pinch however. Not a quick guy. Bad with change of direction. Average strength.
Run Blocking: Uses length well. Locks onto blocks and keeps them. Smart enough to play the center position well. Outstanding pad level for such a tall player. Good balance. Patient to block at the second level. Poor reach blocker. Not a great zone fit. Could benefit from lower body strength improvement.
Pass Blocking: Good punch. Not beat off the snap as a center. Not bad in snaps at tackle and guard. Good base width. Vulnerable to allowing players to get into his chest and shed him. Good body control. Could have trouble against bigger defensive tackles at the next level.
How He Fits in Green Bay: Great football attitude, led a good line at LSU. Experience and versatility should move him up draft boards he wouldn’t normally be as high on. I would project him in the 3rd or 4th round, but he is a bit of a mystery. I put him on this list because of my knowledge that the Packers love a player who can move around like JC Tretter, who they lost this offseason. If a Packer, look for Ethan Pocic to bounce around the line like Tretter did in his time in Green Bay.
Now I’ve covered the last of the Packers 4 primary needs in the draft (CB, EDGE, RB, G) and I had a fun time doing it. If you want to brush up on prospects at the other primary areas of need, you can look back at my other posts on the site. A fan of a particular guy on this list? Like another guard prospect? Don’t think we need to draft a guard? Let us know in the comments or tweet at us @PTTF_Podcast. You can also tweet at me directly @TrackOnPack. As long as you don’t try to tell me that moving Bryan Bulaga to guard is a good idea, I’ll be happy to hear from you! Thanks for reading, Go Pack Go!