If there is one position in this year’s draft class that is being swept under the rug more frequently than others, it’s the guard spot. These maulers in the trenches won’t get any headlines and definitely won’t look great in their suits on draft day, but rest assured that they will show up and get the job done on the practice field and on gameday. The St. Louis Rams could use some depth along the offensive line from this year’s draft crop, and thankfully they should be able to find a player that fits their style in the second round.
Larry Warford, Guard
Let’s just begin with he is a pure, unapologetic mauler. Size is clearly an asset as Warford is built thickly and can anchor quite well. His lower body has some serious mass to it making him very difficult to move. His strength is obvious on film with tremendous power in his initial punch to defenders. Despite being massive, Warford has quick feet which allow him to pass block efficiently. He is a relentless blocker who plays with a real attitude. As an in-line power blocker, it’s hard to find anyone as well suited as Warford. Awareness is a definitely positive as he shows the ability to adjust to oncoming blitzers in a flash.
Conditioning could be a problem as he does appear to have some excess body fat. He is probably limited to the right guard spot because he isn’t well suited to pull block. More athletic pass rushing moves can be successful against him due to a lack of quickness. Warford is not very effective as a short yardage blocker which may make him a situational liability as a full-time starter. There is a lack of explosion coming out of his stance that allows defenders to gain the upper hand at times.
WHY DOES HE FIT?
In the second round, the Rams could snag Warford with the 45th overall pick and let him compete for a starting role at right guard. The team really doesn’t have much depth at the guard position, and adding Warford into the competition with Harvey Dahl, Rokevious Watkins, Shelley Smith, and Chris Williams would ensure that the two best options end up starting the 2013 NFL season. His in-line blocking style definitely fits with the punishing, straight ahead blocking that Jeff Fisher prefers to run.
He may not be one of the top-tier elite guards in this class, but in the middle of round two, Warford is certainly worth adding as a developmental piece. The Rams would benefit from the additional competition and could wind up with a steal after some initial grooming.