Detroit Lions 2016 Draft Overview: Offensive Guard

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In this series, I’ll be looking at five college players that might get drafted by Detroit position-by-position, breaking down the positives and negatives of each player and projecting if Detroit were to take them, which round they would be taken in. The position I am looking at today is:

Offensive Guard

Detroit could always use some help on the offensive line. Offensive Guard had some rotating with Larry Warford, Manny Ramirez and Laken Tomlinson coming in and out. On Wednesday Detroit signed Geoff Schwartz, a player that can play either offensive guard or tackle. While he will most likely play tackle with Detroit being stable at guard, Detroit does only have one backup in Darren Keyton. Detroit should be looking at the draft for a possible backup in the later rounds. Offensive guard isn’t the biggest need for this team, but coming into training camp, we should have more than three guards on the roster. Let’s take a look at who Detroit could possibly take.

Offensive Guard Options:

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1. Spencer Drango – LG (Baylor)

Like Geoff Schwartz, Drango is able to play offensive guard and  tackle. While playing at tackle, he’s good at keeping his arms extended and making sure the defender is blocked, but when the defensive end has speed, they can get around him easily. Playing as offensive guard fits him better. He loves to finish his blocks and plow defenders into the ground. If he gets an early lead in the rep, he is able to push players around easily. He has a strong upper body, although his punching on the line is easily beaten by defenders, who can knock his arms away, giving them an easy rush to the quarterback. While run blocking he does have trouble with his hand placement, never getting a full grip on the defender. During passing plays though, Drango has a good setup as his weight is distributed evenly and he can seal his down blocks with power.

Drango in the fourth round is the earliest Detroit should take a offensive guard. There are bigger needs and if Detroit wants a solid backup at offensive guard, Drango could fit the role well.

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2. Isaac Seumalo – RG (Oregon State)

A powerful blocker is what Seumalo is. He can push players back and on screens he can get around and find his defender to stop. His footwork is good, along with being able to lock up blocks, keeping them out of the rushing lane. He can wait for the players to come to him, waiting for his feet to nestle in the ground before he starts to block. Seumalo does lack the skill of using his hands to create space and get the defender away, along with the speed of his hands. At times it seems that he has the defender held up, but the player ends up being able to get free. He has experience at all five position spots on the line, so he is versatile. He is a team player and does what needs to get done. In passing situations, he does very well with the arm extensions out, having his back flat and bends his knees just enough.

Seumalo getting taken in the fifth round would be a good pickup. The lack of hands makes him a project as you need your hand skill to be high in the NFL. Being versatile is a plus as he could move around to other positions if a fellow lineman gets injured.

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3. Joe Dahl – LG (Washington State)

Dahl has the skill to drive right into a defender and get some good push behind him to send the defender back a few yards. He uses a wide base on rushing plays and he has a strong grip to make sure the first block is secured. His hands are quick so he can move inside easily. For cutoff blocks, he doesn’t have that quickness to engage in them. Being slow at directing blocks can lead to chances for the defense to get to the quarterback; he also has short arms which put him at a disadvantage. While he isn’t quick, he can shift his weight on the inside defenders. Coaches say he has a strong work ethic and understands the game well; when Dahl gets beat in a passing play, he works his ass off to recover and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Dahl in the fifth round can also be a good pick for Detroit. An offensive guard who is good at run blocking is what Detroit needs with the run game taking a dive in recent years. Having short arms will be a challenge, but he will have to find other factors to help out his game.

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 4. Joe Thuney – LG (NC State)

Another mix of offensive guard and tackle comes in at number three with Joe Thuney. As a run blocker he’s precise with his blocks at the first engagement on the line, which helps the run game find its holes as he can hold his blocks for a decent length of time. He has a good understanding of the game so can change who he needs to block on certain run plays. He likes to lower his head into pass rushers, which throws off his balance, and once contact has been reached, his feet aren’t usually underneath him. Having short arms and small hands is a disadvantage as well. While defenders try to spin around him though, he is able to catch up with them and make the stop. He has the athleticism to be quick and step inside when it is necessary.

Thuney in the sixth round for Detroit makes sense because of his physical limitations with the short arms and hands. He doesn’t get caught up in the spins and twists defenders try and use on him which is always a nice thing to have. Sixth round pick for him isn’t a gamble, so it is a low risk pick here.

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5. Jordan Walsh – RG (Iowa)

Walsh has some experience under his belt. He was a full time starter his sophomore and junior year, while getting 13 starts in 2015. Walsh is able to bend his knees and take the contact that comes at him. His body control is well and can take it to the second level if he needs too. While he can take the blows that come at him, he still isn’t as strong as he could be. He tends to bend his knees too much and squat in his stance which puts him at a disadvantage. One on one battles are in Walsh’s favor most of the time and he always looks to block someone, never taking a play off.

Walsh in the seventh round is where he could end up. Detroit doesn’t need an offensive guard that badly and while taking one this late may be too late, he could still end up being a part of the team and contributing.

There you have it, another installment in this series. Next I will be looking at centers. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter@BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.