By Dave Te Thomas
This is a rare year where there is an overabundance of talent at the offensive guard position. While the feature offensive lineman are tackles Bryant McKinnie and Mike Williams, there could be as many as four guards hearing their names called in the first round. With more emphasis being put on trap blocking, quite a handful of collegiate tackles are projected at this position in the pros.
Eric Heitman, Ed Ta'Amu and Victor Rogers head the next group of talent. A big sleeper, literally is Richard Williams, but he seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all with a poor week of practices at the Senior Bowl. Terrance Metcalf has made a good impression with his combination of size and quickness. Qasim Mitchell is the hard-hitting trap blocker, as is Martin Bibla. All should be gone on the draft's first day.
Teams looking for bargains in the mid-rounds will seriously consider Melvin Paige, Frank Romero, Jonathan Goodwin and college tackle Joaquin Gonzalez. Shannon Money, Artis Hicks, P.J. Alexander and Konrad Dean are others that are moving up on several draft boards.
Still, you can find bargains galore in the later stages of the draft, headed by Antwan Kirk-Hughes, Dwayne Pierce, Mike Pucillo and Pete Campion. Campion's work in the weight room and long arms makes him a very interesting potential find. He still needs to adjust to the passing game, but with his imposing strength, some team will be patient while he develops.
Free agent types that could earn a roster spot are Kevin Barry, Alonzo Cunningham, Howard Duncan, Steve Edwards, Tango McCauley and Marquise Muldrow. McCauley was at Texas A&M before transferring to Alabama State after several brushes with authorities back at College Station.
MAKING THE GRADE…A…There is a load of talent here, much more than in recent years. Look for Fonoti, Simmons, Jones and possibly Gurode as first rounders.
Cream Of The Crop
Positives: Has impressive quickness off the snap for a player his size…Generates a sudden surge off the snap to engage defenders with impact…Maintains position and uses his hands well to lock on a ride the opponent wide…Excellent flat back trap blocker who generates movement coming off the ball… Shows sharp movements coming out of his stance and an explosive initial step…Seals effectively, hitting his target with authority… Physical inside anchor setting up in pass protection, getting extension and separation due to proper hand usage…Shows good slide in his motion and great base strength in his legs and upper frame.
Negatives: Lacks the classic knee bend needed and the second gear to make downfield adjustments…Has adequate change of direction skills and keeps his feet too narrow on the move…Holds a little too often, resulting in costly penalties…Better suited for guard as he has problems containing the quicker pass rushers off the edge…Struggles to maintain body control coming off the snap, as his feet tend to get ahead of him.
One of only two starters to return to the offensive line in 2001, Toniu Fonoti (pronounced Toe-nee-YOU Foe-no-tea) emerged as one of the most dominating drive blockers in the collegiate ranks…Became the 21st player under offensive line coach Milt Tenopir's guidance to earn All-American first-team honors…He became just the fifth player in Nebraska annals to register over 300 pancakes (knockdowns) in a career, setting the all-time record with 379, topping the previos mark of 377 by Aaron Taylor (1995-97)…Also holds the school season-record with 201 pancakes in 2001, topping his own 2000 mark of 155.
REMINDS YOU OF… Nate Newton, ex-Cowboy. This kid is a human steamroller.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… Tennessee and Jacksonville are both in love with this guy. With Bruce Matthews retired, Fonoti is greatly needed to open holes for Titans' tailback Eddie George.
Best Of The Rest
Positives: Has a wide, thick chest with broad shoulders…Has outstanding strength, showing explosion with excellent power to move people off the line…Flashes sudden movements coming out of his stance…Keeps his feet moving upon contact, swiveling his hips fluidly to control and wall off the defender…Displays proper hand usage in reach blocks…Makes adjustments on the move, keeping his feet flat-footed while maintaining balance…Takes proper angles to the second level, neutralizing linebacker with brute force…Very aggressive cut blocker who has the nasty nature needed to combat the physical defenders…Delivers a punishing hand jolt, keeping proper placement to ride his man wide…His leg drive allows him to move the defender out of the gap and easily clears out his area on the double team…Quickly digests plays and is sharp at picking up stunts and blitzes…Displays excellent hand punch and lock-out ability…Has a very good sense of equilibrium, keeping his feet and regrouping quickly when he gets knocked off-balance.
Negatives: Lacks the lateral agility to get out on the edge to handle the speed rushers…Does not always finish his blocks (falls off them)…Good incline blocker, but works better in the short area rather than moving into space…Has goos pass protection promise, but can be exposed by the inside charge…Has a bilateral ankle condition that needs further evaluation (operated on in 1999, but still bothered by it)…Gets a little too high in his stance when protecting vs. the pass, which results in defenders being able to walk him back.
Regarded as the premier drive blocker in the collegiate ranks at his position…Well-respected by teammates and opponents, his trap blocking skills will see him shift to offensive guard at the pro level…Has experience at both guard and tackle…Allowed only one quarterback sack since his sophomore year and gave up only three pressures in the last two seasons.
REMINDS YOU OF… Ruben Brown, Buffalo Bills. Well, at least Brown in his prime. He is a liitle too short to play tackle in the pros, but like Brown, he has the knee bend to make things happen.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… The Patriots and Chargers are coveting this talent, but more and more teams are convincing themselves that he may make a better pro than Fonoti.
Positives: Smart lineman with a thick frame and excellent leg drive…Shows explosive initial movement off the snap…Very effective moving in the short area…Positions himself properly to wall of his man and follow through in run blocking… Slides his feet fluidly and mirrors the rusher's moves in pass protection…Uses his big hands forcefully to get control in the trenches…His explosive inside mobility allows him to gain position to easily sustain his blocks…Simply man-handles the pass rushers with his brute strength…Very adept with handling the speed rush, getting proper arm extension to wall off and lock onto his man…Has an incredible hand punch that simply stops the defender's momentum.
Negatives: Lacks foot quickness needed to be effective pulling on sweeps, laboring at times to maintain balance in the open field…Looks sloppy adjusting to moves upfield… Needs to sink his hips better when setting up in pass protection…Plays flat-footed, at times, causing him to look hesitant sliding laterally.
One of the best-kept secrets in college football by the media, but pro scouts are comparing his awesome power and potential to that of the Dallas Cowboys' Larry Allen… Three-year starter at offensive tackle after beginning his career as a nose guard…Could shift to offensive guard at the pro level…First player in school history to participate in the Blue-Gray Game…Also excels as a weight man on the school's track team.
REMINDS YOU OF… Larry Allen, Dallas Cowboys. Possibly the strongest player in the draft, he has as much upside as Allen did when he came out.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… Will probably still be on the board in the draft's second day, but with patient coaching, he has Pro Bowl potential.
Positives: Coachable team player with good functional strength…Effective in gaining leverage coming off the snap…Delivers a strong hand punch to generate movement coming out of his stance…Maintains position, using his leg drive to wall off and screen the defensive tackles…Has the ability to trap and gain control on linebackers moving upfield…Keeps his leg base wide, showing lateral agility in his slide…Uses his hands properly to lock on and extends his arms to get right into the defender's chest…Has the agility and quickness to mirror the rusher's inside moves in the short area.
Negatives: Does not show explosion coming off the ball…Keeps his feet too narrow at times, especially when moving upfield…Shows aggression in his blocks, but when moving out of the short area, he will frequently over-extend, knocking himself off stride…Has to show more consistency as a finisher, as he sometimes slides off his blocks too quickly, failing to pick up the opponent's redirection…Has poor timed speed, but shows the foot agility to compensate.
Two-year starter who uses his massive frame to simply engulf defenders…Creates huge rushing lanes with his explosion off the ball…Collegiate tackle whose trap blocking skills could dictate a move inside to guard.
REMINDS YOU OF… Frank Middleton, Oakland Raiders. Like Middleton, his weight problems pose a major issue.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… Lacks the lateral agility to play tackle is marginal working in space. His added weight causes problems getting into his stance and he has to stand off the ball, causing him to lose leverage.
First Day Possibilities
Positives: Large-framed with big muscle development in the chest and long arms…Has the foot speed to be sudden in his movements off the snap…Uses his strength and speed to impact with a good surge coming out of his stance…Maintains position with a wide leg base and keeps his hands in front to prevent defenders from getting into his chest…Makes good initial contact with power, using his leg drive to gain leverage…Very quick to pick up stunts and blitzes…Effective down blocker who can get to the second level to neutralize the linebackers…Good reach blocker who can pull and locate his target and block on the move…Shows a quick pass set, kicking and sliding to adjust to the pass rusher's moves.
Negatives: Not an every down performer, as he tends to get lazy…Light on his feet, but has balance problems when moving to his left…Has good lateral agility, but struggles to maintain contact with the speed rushers, possibly dictating a move inside to guard…Will take false steps coming out of his stance…While he generates power, he lacks explosion coming off the ball… More of a grab-&-extend type, rather than delivering a solid hand punch…Gets his feet crossed at times, causing his base to narrow and lose balance…Has good knee bend on the short pull and trap, but will revert to bending his waist instead, causing him to lose anchor.
Three-year starter who came to the program as a walk-on defensive end, coming to the school on an academic scholarship…Started as an offensive guard in his sophomore year before shifting to left tackle the following season…Started the last 35 games for the Sun Devils.
REMINDS YOU OF… Flozell Adams, Dallas Cowboys. Like Adams, his versatility makes him very inviting to the pros.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… His pass protection skills are evident, but his ability to pass block makes him an ideal fit for a team like the Jaguars.
Positives: Has a big frame with a barrel chest, thick arms and muscular legs…Gains advantage on the defender with his sudden moves off the snap…Fires out low and gets his arms up quickly, using his exceptional power to deliver a sudden force to rock the defenders back…Very light on his feet for a player his size, quickly gaining position to sustain and finish his blocks…Excellent on the trap and pull, getting to the second level in a flash to easily neutralize the linebackers…Shows impressive balance and proper use of his hands to position and cut off when making downfield adjustments…Has the strong set-&-punch ability to stop the pass rush charge and the foot agility to slide and adjust while mirroring the rusher's moves…Uses his hands to control…Plays flat-footed, displaying the flexibility needed to laterally slide to gain movement off the snap…Has experience at guard and could shift there at the pro level to take advantage of his quickness working in space…Very effective turning up and sealing and has the leg drive to run and impact at the edge.
Negatives: Can get a bit lazy at times, taking some plays off…Not the quickest to pick up stunts and needs time to digest a playbook.
One of the premier blockers in the country…"In my opinion, there is not a better lineman in this league than Andre Gurode," is what Colorado line coach Steve Marshall said about him…A versatile lineman, he has starting experience at both guard positions, in addition to playing center…Has allowed only 7.5 quarterback sacks in 2653 plays of action.
REMINDS YOU OF… Cosey Coleman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His barrel chest and ability to trap makes him still worthy of a first round pick.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… May have hurt his stock a bit with a poor showing at the Combines, but much like former New York sportscaster Warner Wolf would say, "let's go to the video tape." Watch this kid on the field before passing judgement.
Positives: Thick-framed athlete with broad shoulders, good quickness and smooth change of direction agility…Fires out of his stance in an instant…Shows the lateral foot movement and balance needed to get to the second level…Has the athleticism to stay up and play on his feet…Knows how to take proper incline blocking angles, positioning and working with his lower body to sustain…Shows good hand usage, locking on with good hand punch in pass protection…Uses his change of direction to slide and mirror in passing situations…Stays under control and gets out well on the pull, especially kicking out on short pulls…Gets to the set point quickly to combat the blitz…Rolls his hips and will deliver a strong hand punch with his initial step…Finds his target and lands crunching blocks on screens…Shows good knee bend with the classic wide leg base setting up in pass protection…Rarely is beaten by quickness or double moves from the defender…Is especially effective blocking in space, as he compensates for a lack of explosion with proper arm extension as he adjusts to stunts.
Negatives: More of a position blocker, who tries to compensate for no explosion off the snap with finesse, but has a tendency to lean and overextend…Works well in the open, but struggles at times to land on a moving target…Can be beaten by quick spin moves, as again, he will lean into his blocks…Can get leveraged and lose anchor vs. the strong power rush…Little undersized and could use 10-15 more pounds of bulk.
The anchor of the Cardinal's offensive line, he has been the team's starter at right guard the past three years, boasting a string of 34 consecutive starts…Eric has tremendous athleticism and is a great competitor, regarded as the team leader, both on and off the field…The three-time All-Pac 10 Conference selection has not allowed a sack in his last two seasons…Well-liked by his peers and praised by the coaching staff, he is also a very accomplished pianist (since age four) and composes his own music.
REMINDS YOU OF… Steve Hutchinson, Seattle Seahawks. Rarely makes mistakes and compensates for a lack of brute strength with intelligence.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… He's gone in the second round. His fundamentals are too good to bypass any further.
Positives: Wide-body type with a massive chest and thick arms & legs…Comes off the snap low, quickly getting his hands up and into the defender's chest…Has strength and explosion to shock defenders and neutralize the charge…Maintains balance on the move and plays at the proper pas level to gain leverage and control…Displays a quick first step, strong hand punch and powerful leg drive…Shows solid leg slide, base and knee bend anchoring in pass protection… Has good lateral agility and a feel for the pass rush, picking up stunts and blitzes quickly when dropping back and sinking his hips…Has excellent balance, keeping a very wide base…His hand punch simply stuns opponents, generally taking the defender down with one swipe…His low stance allows him to get a strong rise off the ball, using that initial step to easily control the defender.
Negatives: Still very raw, relying a lot on brute strength rather than technique…Shorter than ideal but his hand quickness could see him shift to center at the pro level…Needs to develop better hand usage (has a terrific punch, though) as he tends to hang on and lean into his blocks, rather that reaching out to redirect…Has trouble locating and landing on linebackers when on the move…Has a tendency to punch and push rather than sustain and position when blocking at the second level…Was suspended for the beginning of the 2001 season (see 2001 notes).
Late bloomer who finally was given an opportunity in the starting lineup the last two years…Made up for lost time by establishing himself as one of the most aggressive drive blockers in the West… Joined the Utes as an offensive guard, but was shifted to defensive tackle the following year… Moved back to the offensive line as a junior and then led the team in blocking consistency and knockdown blocks during his final two campaigns.
REMINDS YOU OF… Kendall Garmon, Dallas Cowboys. Ed simply blows people off the line of scrimmage.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… He almost came out last year. Good thing he didn't, as he would have been a free agent. Now? His domination in the trenches could see him get a second round call.
Positives: Has a massive frame with a thick chest and long arms…Flashes the quickness needed to gain quick advantage over the defender coming off the ball…Uses his hands properly to gain advantage and sustain blocks…Position blocker who takes proper angles for the ground game…Has that punishing hand set and punch to quickly stop the pass rush charge…Could shift to guard in the pros due to his long arms and ability to turn the run blocker…Can pull and impact on the edge and shows the agility to seal up the inside.
Negatives: Has poor muscle development and too much fat on his frame…His added weight prevents him from getting even adequate movement setting up in pass protection…For his power, he should show more explosion, yet prefers to position and wall off rather than manhandle… Added weight has caused him to be heavy-legged, resulting in his inability to get to the second level to neutralize the linebackers…While he delivers a solid hand jolt, he tends to catch the defender more with his hands rather that attempt to rock back…Lack of quickness to cover in passing situations makes him a better guard candidate…Needs to develop better weight room habits (certainly not a workout warrior)…Has had eight surgeries in the last four years.
Colorful character who was selected by Colorado beat writers (along with tailback Cortlen Johnson) as the team's best players to interview…Ovecame a rash of injuries (eight surgeries) during his career to develop into one of the premier offensive tackles in the collegiate ranks… Allowed only 4.5 quarterback sacks while participating in 2215 plays during his Colorado career.
REMINDS YOU OF… Stockar McDougle, Detroit Lions. Wide-body who does not look pretty, looks even worse in agilities, but what a beauty when he sets up in pass protection.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… Joe Gibbs would have loved this kid, as he was born to be a Washington Hog. He may still get that opportunity, as the Redskins need to replace Dave Szott by the third round.
Positives: Has a wide frame with good overall muscle development…Flashes quickness coming off the snap and utilizes that speed to pull and run…Adjusts his blocking angles to take out the linebackers at the second level…Has a strong hand punch to rock defenders on their heels… Shows good foot slide working in the short area…Does a fine job of down blocking and uses his size to control at the line of scrimmage…Has the foot shuffle needed to manage the high pass rush.
Negatives: Has some flexibility, but that is negated, as he tends to put his head down, letting defenders knock him off balance…Seems confused at times digesting the plays… Lacks explosion off the snap due to his inability to sink and uncoil his hips…Plays lock-kneed at times, causing him to lose equilibrium…Does not seem to be able to pick up the inside charge, as he struggles to bring his hips and explode on contact…Leg drive is marginal, as he tends to play at a high pad level…Plays on his toes too much, negating any ground force he can muster…Will fall off blocks as he overextends…Has too much of a narrow base and is a bit of a waist-bender… Struggles vs. the spin moves and speed rush, losing balance retreating in pass protection… College tackle whose lack of flexibility and inability to work in space will dictate a move inside to guard…Coaches say he easily retains a playbook, but one look at his Wonderlic test score makes one wonder.
Fifth-year senior who started all but five games during his career…Has not allowed a quarterback sack since the 1999 season…Hard worker in the weight room, increasing his bench press by over 60 pounds in the last two years (holds the school record with a 500-pound lift).
REMINDS YOU OF… Will Shields, Kansas City Chiefs. Like Shields, he excels at getting to the second level.
GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… His increased power and long history of protecting the quarterback makes teams looking for a solid pass protector take notice in the late second, early third rounds.
Second Day Possibilities
Positives: Naturally quick athlete who does an outstanding job staying with contact once he locks on…Has an above average burst, playing with awareness while neutralizing the linebackers on sweeps…Able to out-muscle & turn the defender at the point of attack…Combative and intense drive blocker who is a very strong finisher…Has the speed and power to ride defenders wide…Shows good pass protection technique, extending his arms and shuffling his feet while retreating…Does a nice job of out-muscling defenders on running plays, staying low in his stance while delivering a strong hand set and punch to rock his man back.
Negatives: Needs more upper body muscle refinement…Shuffles his feet quickly to adjust in pass protection, but needs to extend his arms better to prevent from delivering glancing blows… Gets a little sloppy late in the games, appearing to get too upright, failing to drive defenders off the ball…Despite his speed, is not consistent getting to the second level…Has to develop better arm extension to prevent defenders from getting their hands into his chest…Keeps his leg base too narrow, causing him to lose leverage…Lacks the lateral agility to be consistent working in space, as he tends to lose his base…Has to work on delivering a more explosive hand punch…Has knock-knees.
Regarded by teammates and coaches as the best pure offensive lineman on Miami's outstanding offensive line…Set the tone in technique, attitude and work ethic for the nation's finest offensive line…An outstanding guard who has been overshadowed by Miami's excellent tackles, but is just as deserving of accolades…Durable athlete who never missed a game due to injuries…Started 40 of 46 games he's played in for the Hurricanes and never allowed a quarterback sack.
Positives: Shows good hand explosiveness coming off the snap…Moves off the ball instantly and drives well with his feet, maintaining balance in the open…Has the quickness to adjust and reach the second level to neutralize the linebackers…Delivers a forceful hand punch upon initial contact…Extends his arms properly to get separation and sustain his blocks…Could shift to guard at the pro level due to his ability to open up and pull down the line while generating speed to reach his blocks…Well-liked player who will generally give a consistent effort in pass protection, keeping his feet flat-footed to prevent being knocked off balance…Uses his long arms to maintain contact on defenders in pass p[rotection.
Negatives: Needs to drop some weight and gain better flexibility, as it seems he struggles to stay low in his stance (plays too upright)…His rigid appearance causes him to lead with his head when committing to blocks…Lunges at times when trying to get out front on drive blocks…Slides late and is beaten off the edge by the quicker pass rushers, thus the possibility of moving inside to guard at the next level to compensate…Shows marginal footwork retreating to pick up the blitz… Makes passive attempts with his hands to redirect when the edge rushers beat him off the snap… Seems to hesitate at times coming off the ball, resulting in him looking "heavy" in his movements to recover.
Four-year starter who has anchored the Gamecocks' offensive line…Coach Lou Holtz recently stated, "Melvin has developed into one of the most consistent and physically dominating players on our offensive line. He has combined his physical attributes with a solid football awareness to raise his play to an elite level."
Positives: Shows good knee bend sand flexibility…Keeps a wide leg base with solid ankle flexibility…Takes proper blocking angles dropping back in pass protection…Lowers his hips and drives with his legs to move the pile…Flashes to the second level after the initial engagement… Locks on and keeps his feet moving when incline blocking…Very physical with his hand punch… Suddenly comes off the snap to gain advantage…Makes proper body adjustments on the move… Follows through with power and consistently finishes his blocks…Comes out quickly on the pull, adjusting to turn up inside…Has the balance needed to fluidly slide down the line…Plays flat-footed, which allows him to easily change directions.
Negatives: While he generates good power, he lacks explosion coming off the snap…Has to increase his lower body power in order to sustain blocks better and anchor to prevent the charge…Needs to add bulk (at least twenty pounds) to his frame, which is still undeveloped… Arms are shorter than ideal…While he does get physical with his hands, he will miss at times when trying to jolt…Lunges at times when incline blocking, as he does not always open his hips properly…Slow to react to the defender's spin moves and misses picking up stunts.
Two-year starter at offensive guard…Originally began his career at Ohio University, transferring to Michigan in 1998…Served as a backup in 1999 before earning a starting job the following year…Has played four different positions (center, right and left guard, right tackle) during his time with the Wolverines…Started 20 of 29 games he appeared in.
Positives: Has a thick upper body, hips and lower torso, with the frame that could easily add ten poundsof muscle with no dropoff in speed…Positions himself properly to wall ofd and sustain his blocks…Solid position blocker with good angle technique that negates the double moves by the defenders…Can pull and trap with very good speed, showing consistency on his kick-out…His kick step allows him to anchor firmly and show strength to hold off while extending his arms properly to maintain position as a pass protector… Has quick hands and good placement to keep contact on his man inside…Shows the lateral agility needed to slide and move quickly in order to pick up stunts.
Negatives: Struggles at times to come out of his stance, making him late to cut off inside… Lunges and overextends at times when trying to gain position…Too much of a waist bender to be effective adjusting to the linebacker's moves in space…While he gets good hand placement, he needs to develop a stronger hand jolt to keep leverage…Looks clumsy at times exchanging with the guard on inside sweeps…Despite his power, he is not that explosive coming out of his stance.
One of the fastest linemen in the country, Frank gained more than 50 pounds since coming to Norman but has dropped his body fat seven percent…He also has increased his bench press more than 130 pounds (435 pounds)…Originally recruited as a defensive tackle, he has been a mainstay in the starting offensive line since midway through his sophomore year…Has allowed only four quarterback sacks in 29 games as a starter at the demanding left tackle position…His quickness and agility will see him shift to guard at the pro level.
Positives: Collegiate tackle whose frame, bulk and trap blocking ability may be better suited for guard… Wide-body type with thick legs, long arms and a powerful upper body… Comes off the snap low, quickly getting his hands up and into the defender's chest…Very aggressive blocker who is always going after defenders…Maintains balance on the move…Has the quickness to get upfield to neutralize the linebackers and uses his hand set and jolt to gain leverage…Shows quick feet retreating in pass protection…Extends his arms well and explodes into his man at the point-of-attack…Has a good feel for the pass rush, dropping back and sinking his hips to gain leverage and wall off.
Negatives: Shorter than ideal to play pro tackle, but his hand quickness could see him shift to inside at the pro level…Little rigid in his knee bend when setting up his base in pass protection…Has to develop better arm extension as he sometimes leans into his blocks, rather that reaching out to redirect…Has problems with his lateral agility, causing him to lose balance working in space…Needs to get a lower pad level as he stands too high during inline blocking…Has good field awareness, but strangely, he has trouble reacting quickly…Takes too many arm swipes (and missing) at defenders…Does not have the feet to recover vs. stunts and blitzes…Needs to spend time in the weight room to add strength (see agility tests).
An outstanding scholar-athlete who has been the mainstay of Miami's outstanding offensive line the past four seasons…Set a Miami record for career starts with his 49th start in the Rose Bowl against Nebraska…Has developed into one of the team's emotional leaders and a stabilizing influence in times of need this season…An outstanding tackle who has been overshadowed by Miami's Outland Trophy winner Bryant McKinnie, but is just as deserving of accolades…2001 recipient of the HealthSouth Draddy Award, known as the "Academic Heisman," the ultimate honor a college football scholar-athlete can achieve, that provides the winner with a $25,000 scholarship towards postgraduate study. Since 1990, 11 scholar-athletes have been fortunate to walk away from the Awards Dinner with this much-acclaimed trophy…Epitomizes the term "scholar-athlete"…Dean's List member who is a three-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Team member, Gonzalez is a three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Conference selection and was an Iron Arrow inductee in 2000 (the highest academic honor bestowed to any UM student or staff member)… Received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in May of 2001…Big East Rookie of the Year in 1998 - the first recipient of the award to earn All-Conference Academic honors.
Positives: An outstanding scholar-athlete who has been the mainstay of Miami's outstanding offensive line the past four seasons…Set a Miami record for career starts with his 49th start in the Rose Bowl against Nebraska…Has developed into one of the team's emotional leaders and a stabilizing influence in times of need this season…An outstanding tackle who has been overshadowed by Miami's Outland Trophy winner Bryant McKinnie, but is just as deserving of accolades…2001 recipient of the HealthSouth Draddy Award, known as the "Academic Heisman," the ultimate honor a college football scholar-athlete can achieve, that provides the winner with a $25,000 scholarship towards postgraduate study. Since 1990, 11 scholar-athletes have been fortunate to walk away from the Awards Dinner with this much-acclaimed trophy…Epitomizes the term "scholar-athlete"…Dean's List member who is a three-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Team member, Gonzalez is a three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Conference selection and was an Iron Arrow inductee in 2000 (the highest academic honor bestowed to any UM student or staff member)… Received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in May of 2001…Big East Rookie of the Year in 1998 - the first recipient of the award to earn All-Conference Academic honors.
Negatives: Tends to be hesitant coming out of his stance at times (also gets too upright, allowing defenders to get into his chest)…While he shows good hand usage, he needs to show more power and tenacity with his hand punch…His upright stance also causes him to get outworked trying to anchor, which results in him being walked back due to soft shoulder technique…Bit of a waist-bender on the move, but can adjust to the linebackers downfield…Needs to show better awareness when blocking on the edge, as the quicker pass rushers do expose his "short arm" nature…Has to develop better knee bend to prevent defenders from getting him off-balance…Has smaller than ideal hands (8 7/8-inch length) for his position.
Four-year standout, who started all but one game (43 total and 41 consecutive) during his career…Versatile lineman who began his career as an offensive guard before shifting to tackle as a sophomore…Was moved back to the guard spot in his final campaign…Called by pro scouts one of the most gifted and athletic blockers in the collegiate ranks.
Positives: Mentally tough athlete who is very aware of the defensive schemes on the field…Takes proper blocking angles to neutralize linebackers upfield…Slides his feet effectively when shuffling back to prevent the inside surge…Has the speed to mirror the quicker pass rusher's moves…Stays after his blocks, working to finish, looking very comfortable getting into the open…Good wall-off type of drive blocker with effective hand set/punch coming out of his stance…Good competitor with the balance and body control to make blocks at the second level…His quickness off the ball allows him to gain advantage with his positioning.
Negatives: Has a noticeable lack of muscle definement and needs to develop better upper body power…While he comes off the snap with hands properly extended, he does not have the strength to consistently jolt the defenders back…Overextends at times when trying to contain off the edge…Not a classic mauler, preferring to finesse the defenders with his timely blocks…Struggles maintaining position when anchoring vs. the inside surge, despite nimble feet…Late to deliver the hand punch needed, but still gets his hands into the opponent's chest…May have a problem adding bulk to his frame, as the added weight in the past has resulted in a series of back woes…Collegiate tackle, but his inability to strike with force and his impressive foot speed may be better suited for an interior line position.
Versatile blocker who started part of his freshman year at center before taking over left tackle duties in his junior campaign…Also excels in the classroom, twice earning the school's Athletic Director's Honor Roll recognition…Started the last 22 regular season games he played in and answered the starting bell in a total of 25 contests during his career.
Positives: Has good initial quickness, playing well in the box…Effective pulling vs. the onside and short area…Very alert to the inline action, competing with solid effort…Has good balance on the move…Delivers a solid hand punch and jab…Shows adequate knee flexibility…Stays at a good pad leverage with a wide leg base…Blocks with power and is adept at picking up stunts.
Negatives: Health is a concern, as he has a history of asthma and was bothered by shoulder problems in the past…Body needs muscle refinement, as he's very soft in overall tone…Does not show much lateral agility or slide…Tends to get lazy at times…Must learn to sink his hips better in pass protection…Lacks explosion off the snap, relying on his power to sustain blocks…Needs to get his hands into the defender quicker, as he generally will try to lean into his man…Miust show more urgency in getting out to take on linebackers at the second level.
Steady, physical and intelligent offensive lineman who has earned honorable mention All-Big Twelve Conference honors in each of the past three seasons…Tough, intense and emotional leader of the Longhorns offensive line…When healthy, he has the ability to dominate…Athletic lineman who has a good low center of gravity and great quickness… Offensive coordinator Greg Davis calls him a "rock" because of his dependability and determination.
Positives: Uses his hands well and has an excellent feel for blocking angles…Very alert, always looking for defenders to hit…Smooth in reverse and stays in control when firing out to neutralize the linebackers…Gets a strong leg push coming off the snap, quickly getting his hands into a defender's chest to sustain…Shuffles his feet and extends his arms properly to contain the bull rush…Has the foot agility to slide and mirror a defender on stunts…Maintains balance on the move and does a good job pulling in the first phase.
Negatives: Needs to trim down, as the added bulk has caused stamina problems in the past…Gets out of control late in games, tending to use his massive frame to lean into defenders, rather than extend to gain leverage…Falls down too much due to a narrow leg base when asked to pull to the outside…More of a "grove" type player who busts a play at times…Needs to show more dedication and awareness on the field…Over-extends and shows inconsistency with his hand punch…Lacks classic knee bend and flexibility…Lacks the recovery quickness working outside the box, as he rarely sinks his hips or shows patience during incline blocking.
Emerged as one of LSU's top linemen last year…Is a workhorse on the offensive line and is LSU's best pure blocker…Outstanding at opening holes and was the lineman the Tigers will run behind in short yardage situations…Nicknamed "World" (for his round-shaped body), he allowed only five quarterback sacks in his last two seasons.
Positives: Intelligent lineman who compensates for a lack of an athletic physique with sound technical skills…Has effective linear speed…Shows good hand placement and takes excellent blocking angles with surprising quickness, despite his frame…Dominates defenders with his lateral agility, showing suddenness to reach and zone…Knows how to sink his hips to maintain balance…Shows good explosion coming off the snap…Makes blocks based on his very good use of his hands…Takes advantage of leverage to make up for a lack of brute strength…Can pull and connect on the move, using his techniques to defeat and control opponents.
Negatives: Needs to dedicate himself more in the weight room…Very weak in the lower body region…Has a tendency to put his head down, which causes him to lose balance…Struggles in pass protection when he stands too upright and must remember to keep his hips down low to be effective in this area…Marginal, at best, as an incline blocker…Has good awareness on the field, but this gets lost in his lack of lower body strength, as a strong power surge can send him back on his heels.
Versatile lineman with experience at both guard and tackle…Came into his own as a senior, establishing himself as one of the best drive blockers in the Southeast…Started 25 consecutive games for the Tigers.
Positives: Has good short area quickness, especially in his pass set…Stays low coming out of his stance to deliver effective cut blocks…Plays with a wide leg base, positioning firmly to sustain blocks in one-on-one situations (inline)…Locates the target and extends his arms to gain leverage on the trap…Displays the power to anchor vs. the pass rush… Uses his hands to grab and control…Has the foot agility needed to shuffle and slide to protect vs. counter moves…Has the intelligence and football instincts to quickly grasp the playbook…Keeps his leg base wide, showing a quick rise off the snap with hands properly extended to sustain blocks…Shows fluid lateral agility to mirror the defender's moves in pass protection.
Negatives: Weight control has been a problem…Too smooth and soft, body definition wise… Struggles maintaining contact on the move…Push-&-shove type that lacks the explosive initial burst needed to sustain…More comfortable blocking inline than in space…Good trap blocker, but needs to show more aggression to put defenders down… Keeps his arms too short, which causes him to latch on, rather than get a strong push off the defender in his pass block…Catches the defender with his hands instead of delivering the crunching jolt…Needs to develop better weight room habits, as his strength is suspect…Seems to lack confidence in his ability.
Unheralded athlete who moved into the starting lineup at offensive tackle during his freshman season…Projected as an offensive guard in the pros due to his short area quickness and trap blocking ability, he shifted to that position in his final campaign.
Positives: Shows very quick movement skills…Hits aggressively on contact, staying low in his stance with a quick arm rise to rock the defenders back…Does a fine job of getting position on the defender, using his hands effectively to turn and wall off…Simply mauls people with his straight-ahead blast in run blocking…Fluid in his retreat and kick-step, reaching and extending his arms properly to sustain and finish his blocks.
Negatives: Was suspended at Texas A&M in the off-season for off-field problems (marijuana)…Needs to show more maturity off the field…Not effective as a drive blocker, preferring to road grade over the opponent rather than use technique…Struggles to locate the linebackers when moving upfield, lacking the anticipation skills to adjust…Despite his strength, he does not generate a physical hand punch…Stays on his heels too much, negating his lateral slide (appears to be bouncing).
Former defensive lineman who was a two-year starter at Texas A&M before transferring to Alabama State for his senior year… Uses his great upper body strength to dominate as a pass protector…Collegiate tackle whose trap blocking ability could see him shift to guard at the pro level.
Positives: Has a thick chest, wide hips and muscular thighs with good calf development… Uses his leg drive to wall off with leverage and to sustain and anchor…Moves his feet to position properly and takes good angles blocking for the ground game…Effective when pulling and trapping, getting to the second level to neutralize defenders…Shows good short area quickness setting up in pass protection, sliding his feet laterally to help on the switch and work in combination with the center…Anchors firmly and extends his arms to hold off the pass rush…Competes in the open to hold off the defender…Gets his body onto his man, forcing the defender to shed and play off on his traps…Has effective pulling ability to turn and clog up the hole…Shows the knee bend and recovery ability to operate in space.
Negatives: Has natural strength, but does not always use it to the best of his ability…Not that quick coming out of his stance…Lacks proper hand usage to set and punch in order to rock defenders on their heels…Push-&-shove type who does not show explosion coming off the ball…Marginal drive blocker who tends to lean on his man, rather than extending his arms to sustain…Struggles to drive out of his stance and is a bit of a waist bender who will lunge at the linebackers working in space…Shows poor hand recoil, preferring to anchor in order to hold off the pass rush…Needs to improve his kick step and slide in order to show consistency as a pass blocker…Very inconsistent when making contact, needing to stay more flat-footed in order to gain leverage…Needs to improve his work habits in the weight room, as he tends to rely on natural strength rather than developing more.
Began his collegiate career at Butler (Kan.) Community College, enrolling at Oklahoma early in 2000, making an immediate impact after practicing in the spring and fall…A versatile lineman with experience at offensive guard, tackle and center, he moved to the United States in 1990 from Liberia…Allowed only five quarteback sacks in his two years with the Sooners.