With February winding down, we are getting closer and closer to NFL Draft season ramping up. The NFL Combine will be back at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana during the first week of March. That leads to College Pro Days and everything culminates at the 2022 NFL Draft from Las Vegas, Nevada that begins on Thursday, April 28th.
Last season, Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC was the lone offensive guard taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and he wound up on the New York Jets. Aaron Banks out of Notre Dame went to the San Francisco 49ers in the second round. If last year is any indication, the third round seems to be the sweet spot for impactful guards with four guards taken in the third. It seems like recent draft classes have been deep at the tackle position, this year being no exception, but don’t overlook the offensive guards in this class for offensive lineman-needy teams.
Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M or Zion Johnson from Boston College will likely be the first two offensive guards taken in the draft. The question is when they will start coming off the board. They have been projected in the first and the second, but really their Combine performances could help move them into the middle of the first if other players don’t perform well. For example, at the time of this writing, the Washington Commanders could use a quarterback and offensive guard help if they lose Brandon Scherff to free agency. If they don’t develop a love for a quarterback that they want to use at the No. 11 pick, don’t be surprised if they take a chance on a guard replacement.
There are going to be two guards out of Georgia that are going to be taken highly in the draft, Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer. I give the edge to Salyer because he is a better combination of strength and agility. Shaffer has the size, and he will be able to block very well, he just doesn’t move his feet as well under him. Salyer could be taken by a team that needs depth at guard and he could also slot in at tackle if needed. While Shaffer has some experience playing outside, he will likely need to remain an interior lineman at the next level.
Other names to keep in mind will be Cole Strange out of Chattanooga, Marquise Hayes out of Oklahoma and Zach Tom out of Wake Forest for guards that will go in later rounds and have an early impact for their respective landing spots.
2022 NFL Draft Prospects: OG rankings at Combine
|1||Kenyon Green||OG||Texas A&M|
|2||Zion Johnson||OG||Boston College|
|8||Joshua Ezeudu||OG||North Carolina|
|14||Zach Tom||OG||Wake Forest|
|16||Lecitus Smith||OG||Virginia Tech|
|18||Mike Miranda||OG||Penn State|
|19||ZeVeyon Furcron||OG||Southern Illinois|
|20||Marcus McKethan||OG||North Carolina|