As the season winds down to the big game in the desert I wanted to take some time to break down some positions of need for the Colts. These are players they can obviously pick up through the draft. In the first of this little mini-series I will go over some of the guards who will be available in the 2015 NFL Draft.
So here is my small list of people that the Colts could take a crack at:
1. La’el Collins (G/T LSU)
This is a name that I have heard associated with the Colts a couple of times. Collins is a big kid with a lot of aggression. He is a left tackle at LSU but as he makes his way to the NFL he will be like Zach Martin. He will have to move to guard.
Collins, as I said, is very aggressive in run block and pass blocking. He does both well and if you had to pick one he does better it would be run blocking. In the little bit of film that I watched I saw where his aggression got the better of him and he slipped off his blocks or was unable to seal his man to create a running lane. He will have to learn to channel his aggression properly in the NFL if he wants to succeed. As I said he will need to make the positional change to guard as well. He has good feet but not good enough to handle speed rushers in the NFL. He is big, powerful and will be able to handle many of the top DT’s in the NFL.
Round to Draft: 1st
2. Arie Kouandjio (G, Alabama)
Arie Kouandjio, younger brother of Bills tackle Cyrus, is an interesting guy. Big brother got drafted last year and this year it’s his turn but he is getting more hype than his brother. Arie is a powerful guard who can move just about anyone.
What are the knocks on Arie? Well for one he has had a couple of knee surgeries which can throw up red flags quickly. An offensive lineman with bad knees is like having a dance partner with two left feet. Also, his pass blocking is something that needs to be improved upon as he enters the NFL. He is a great run blocker which is something the Colts need on the right side of the line. He could play right tackle but is more suited for guard.
Round to Draft: 2nd
Josue Matias (G/C Florida State)
Josue, along with Kouandjio, are the two top rated guards coming into the off season workout and pre-combine. Matias is another big and powerful guard who plays left guard at FSU but shouldn’t have to much trouble transitioning to right guard. His run blocking is above average and his pass blocking is above average.
The things that I saw about this kid I didn’t like is the fact that he over runs defenders and misses too many blocks that way. When he gets his hands on a defender they have a hard time getting away from him. To give that a positive twist, if he does miss a block he makes sure to get to the next level and find someone. He could be a starter but will have to work on getting over powered by defensive lineman by standing up while blocking.
Round to Draft: 2nd-3rd
Tre Jackson (G-Florida State)
Jackson played right guard at FSU, opposite Matias. Of the two I prefer Jackson. Jackson seems to be a nastier blocker if I can use that term. In the film that I watch he met his defender at the point of attack almost every time. Unlike Matias, Jackson doesn’t wait in pass blocking. He makes a good kick step and attacks the pass rusher. He does much of the same in his run blocking.
Now, being an aggressive blocker has it’s down falls. Like I said about Collins above, he can be overly aggressive and can get beat from time to time or completely miss his blocks because the defender knows what he is going to do. The only big knock that I could really see on him is that his feet aren’t very fast. That could be a problem in the NFL. He will have to work on his foot speed and getting out of his stance a little faster. If he works on these things he could be an immediate starter.
Round to Draft- 3rd
Max Garcia (G/C-Florida)
Garcia is a guy that many NFL teams want on their roster. He is intelligent and a proven leader. He has the ability to play either guard positions or the center position without missing a beat. He made the transition from guard to center at Florida pretty seamlessly and could probably do the same at the next level.
The only problem I really see with Garcia’s game is that he has trouble with more powerful defenders. He doesn’t get knocked back all the time but there are times where he can get pushed back into the play. He also is someone who waits for his block at times. I don’t think it’s that he is scared but I do think some defenders intimidate him. He will need a confidence boost at the next level for sure. However, drafting a player that can play three of the five positions on the offensive line is very valuable. Just ask any Colts fan.
Round to Draft-4th
Shaq Mason (G-Georgia Tech)
Mason is a guard that you want on your team if you run the ball a lot or want to run the ball more than you have before. His size allows him to move more smoothly than a big mauler in the middle. Standing at only 6’1 and 311lbs., Mason doesn’t have typical size for a NFL guard but that is something that could be changed. He run blocks well and is always looking for someone to block.
The bad side is that his size does allow him to get over powered at times and when he pulls out to lead a run he likes to chop block more than putting his hands on the defender. That is something that won’t work out well for him in the NFL. The things he will need to work on are his strength and his pass blocking. The pass blocking isn’t bad but it’s not that great either. If he wants to play at the next level he will need to get to work before the combine and/or the Georgia Tech pro day.
Round to Draft-4th-5th