The Underrated And Overlooked Position In The 2018 NFL Draft
Interior offensive linemen get something of a bum rap from NFL fans. They never touch the ball. They don’t score touchdowns. They don’t sack the quarterback. They don’t lay huge hits on anyone with the ball. They don’t even protect the quarterback from the most feared edge rushers in the NFL.
But interior offensive linemen are like the transmission of your car: the common person doesn’t know its even there when everything is working correctly, but when it isn’t working correctly, you suddenly find yourself in a very costly situation.
For all the attention paid to the quarterbacks, running backs, and a few select positions on defense which feature a rich class of talented college prospects who’ll be playing in the NFL next year, the group of interior offensive linemen – guards and centers – available in 2018 NFL Draft are as intriguing a group as any.
That’s why we wanted to introduce you to three big “hog mollies” who could very well be keeping the lap of your favorite quarterback clean this Fall, and for many years after that:
Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame University: Nelson is a generational talent that’s making NFL scouts question their longstanding belief of never selecting a guard early in the first round of the NFL Draft. Nelson was an absolutely dominant player in college, and could easily be the highest-graded player in the entire 2018 NFL Draft. He was one of the best run blockers and pass blockers in the nation last year. He has the hands, strength, intelligence, footwork, and nastiness needed to be one of the best at his position from the day he walks into the NFL.
Isaiah Wynn, Guard, University of Georgia: Wynn is the “dancing bear”-type offensive lineman that’s a perfect fit in today’s NFL. At 6’3 and 313lbs, he has the combination of strength and athleticism that makes him an intriguing prospect, because he has tantalizing upside as both a guard and a tackle. At Georgia, Wynn started out as a guard, and then moved over to left tackle last season, without any dropff. He shows a level of polish in his footwork and technique that will allow him to contribute to an NFL team from the moment he gets to training camp.
Will Hernandez, Guard, University of Texas – El Paso: The best way to describe Will Hernandez’s mentality when he steps on the field is comparing him to an angry bodyguard trying to protect his client (aka his quarterback) from impending harm (aka the defensive player trying to reach said quarterback). Hernandez is just a flat-out nasty mauler who wants to impose his will on anyone who dares stand in his way, or tries to lay a finger on the guy he’s protecting. He’s a guy who took up powerlifting and boxing as hobbies, just for fun. The only reason that NFL scouts aren’t putting Hernandez in the same vein as someone like Nelson is because he has less than ideal arm length (32″) desired from someone at his position. Otherwise, his combination off size (6’2 and 327lbs), strength, and shocking lightness on his feet make him a highly coveted prospect.