Latest posts by Joe Broback (see all)
- NFL Power Rankings Week 3 - September 20, 2019
- Georgia Bulldogs vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Game Preview - September 19, 2019
- Texas A&M Aggies vs. Auburn Tigers Game Preview - September 19, 2019
We’re talking guards today. No, not Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook, but the guys who get far less recognition from their NBA counterparts. Today, we take a look at guys who move mountains (not really, but some guys they block look like mountains). Quentin Nelson became one of the most recognized linemen ever when he turned pro. His nasty but clean play made highlight reels and caught NFL scouts’ attention. That became the standard, and there are many players this year who fit that description as well. Maybe not quite to Nelson’s level, but they still have it.
15. Cole Schneider, UCF
Versatile guard that can play either side (started eight games at left guard and three at right guard). Schneider played in all 13 games last year for the 12-1 Knights and made First Team All-AAC. The skill positions get most of the credit for UCF’s success, but they’ll have a stellar line once again that will create openings.
14. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
One of the bigger (6’6″, 322 pounds) guards in the country that moves bodies with ease. Quarterback Terry Wilson will feel comfortable knowing Stenberg and center Drake Jackson are keeping him protected. Those two must find three new starters to join them this year.
13. Trey Smith, Tennessee
Came to Knoxville as a tackle, but moved inside to to fill a need at the time. Now, he’s found where he belongs. The Volunteers line has underperformed the last few years, but Smith’s a great talent worth watching.
12. Jack Anderson, Texas Tech
It’s a good thing Alan Bowman is 6’3″, because there’s not a single starter on the Red Raiders offensive line that’s under 6’5″. Anderson is one of three linemen that’s 320 pounds, and gives them one of the better guards in the country. If Tech’s line can’t move anyone this year, it will be a shame. Four returning starters give the Red Raiders a great group.
11. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
If there’s a Crimson Tide lineman returning, you can bet there’s a good chance people know his name. Leatherwood moved from tackle to right guard last year, and won the starting job. He made the Second Team All-SEC, and gets to block for the best Crimson Tide quarterback ever.
10. John Simpson, Clemson
The only concern for the Clemson Tigers offense is…..well there’s not really much to be concerned about. Simpson has 36 games worth of experience, including 15 starts (all last year). Trevor Lawrence should feel comfortable in the pocket, and Travis Etienne also knows he’ll have plenty of running room.
9. Dallas Warmack, Oregon
Brother, Chance Warmack, was a star at Alabama. Dallas committed to the Tide originally, but transferred to Eugene when he didn’t see much playing time. Now, he’s part of one of the best offensive lines in the country. His brother’s iconic look (letting his gut hang out underneath his jersey) didn’t follow with him, but his play certainly did.
8. Ben Cleveland, Georgia
Speaking of great offensive lines, Georgia’s up there as well. Cleveland’s 29 games of experience are through just two years, and he could play another two. A lot of the offensive success can be attributed to this line, and Cleveland is a steady force for the Bulldogs.
7. Tommy Kraemer, Notre Dame
Started at tackle before sliding inside to guard. Kraemer enters his second year at the position, but he’s already proven to be great. After only playing in 11 games (starting nine), staying on the field the entire year will be the goal. That should yield solid dividends for the offense.
6. Luke Wattenberg, Washington
Fans have their eyes on the quarterback situation, but they shouldn’t have to worry about who’s playing in front of them. Wattenberg started all 14 games for the Huskies last year after starting five in 2017. This offense won’t take steps back because of the big boys up front.
5. Ben Bredeson, Michigan
There are a handful of offensive lines that will be elite heading into this year, and Michigan adds to that list. Bredeson is a returning captain of the Wolverines, and brings back 33 career starts. A new offense won’t change a ton for him, and his approach won’t be different either.
4. Darryl Williams, Mississippi State
Williams most likely heads over to center this year, but he proved to be a great guard. He returns for his third year as a starter, and gives the Bulldogs versatility to utilize him at either guard or center.
3. Shane Lemieux, Oregon
Did we mention that Oregon’s line would be good? Good, because they’re loaded. Lemieux returns with 38 consecutive games started at left guard, and has no problems having his way in the trenches. As you can see, both guards for Oregon will be forces in the Pac-12.
2. Parker Braun, Texas
Texas needed to ensure that Sam Ehlinger would be able to run the ball efficiently this year. They weren’t taking any chances, and brought one of the best guards in Braun to Austin. He comes from the Georgia Tech triple option, so you know he understands how to run block well. A former First Team All-ACC player who can improve his pass blocking to get even better. Scary.
1. Solomon Kindley, Georgia
Hopefully you’re seeing a trend here. Georgia’s linemen are outstanding, and they have a backup who could take over and be just as good. Kindley’s game screams NFL potential, and he’s got a little bit of nasty in it as well. Georgia must replace nearly all of its receiving production, but there won’t be many concerns about blocking up front (especially with their guards).
Others to Watch
Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, Missouri: He didn’t allow a sack or commit a penalty last year. That’s as reliable as it gets.
Michael Onwenu, Michigan: Remember when we said Michigan’s offensive line would be good? Onwenu may not be in the Top 15, but he can play.
Josh Sills, West Virginia: Mountaineers lose nearly every elite weapon offensively, but they’ll have a guard that will compete for postseason honors.
Cade Mays, Georgia: Mays gives the Bulldogs versatility to play either guard or tackle (and he’s good at both). There may not be enough reps to go around with all of this talent, though.
Jaxson Deaton, Army: If you run the ball as well as Army did last year, you must have a good line. That’s the law.