2012 NFL Draft Analysis - Offensive Guards
Stanford OG David DeCastro
Stanford OG David DeCastro
Posted Apr 16, 2012

Guards might not be exciting, but David DeCastro is a franchise prospect. The college football perspective on the top offensive guards.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Offensive Guards

By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Offensive Guard Rankings - No. 11-20

- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Inside LBs
- Outside LBs
- Cornerbacks
- Safeties


2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss

2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
- Top 32 Talents
- 2nd Rounders
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- 5th Rounders
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2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
This Class Is … Terrific. Guard just isn't a position that energizes the fan base, but from David DeCastro, to Cordy Glenn, to Kevin Zeitler, the position has some of the safest picks in the draft. There isn't a lot of versatility and there aren't a lot of tackle prospects, but there's good size across the board and plenty of good prospects, but it all starts with the top talent up top.

Stanford's DeCastro is considered by most to be among the 15 best players in the draft, if not among the top ten. He's the best pure guard prospect in at least a decade and, barring injury, has Pro Bowl potential as a ten-year plug-and-go starter who'll be a fixture for any line. He's as safe a pick as it gets, but is he a lock to go in the top ten to a team that could use an upgrade at guard – which is everyone?

No, and why? Because he's a guard, and infrastructure isn't sexy.

Teams picking in the top ten want to make a huge splash to change around the attitude of the franchise by charging up the base, but it's hard to sell a guard.

If DeCastro is doing his job, outside of a big running play now and then, he'll never be noticed from a position that isn't valued highly enough. But considering the loaded class of defensive tackles this year, and with the need to slow down top interior pass rushers, DeCastro has to be seen as a franchise pick.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … David DeCastro, Stanford
Most Underrated … Senio Kelemete, Washington
Most Overrated … Brandon Washington, Miami
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Cordell Bell, Minnesota-Mankato

1. David DeCastro, Stanford (Jr.) 6-5, 316
Possibly the safest offensive lineman in the draft, he's a dominant force and a pounder of a run blocker who was one of the key parts to the Stanford offensive machine. No, he's not a tackle, and yes, no one drafts guards high, but he's worth the price and can't be overdrafted if he falls outside of the top ten. Consider it a complete and total stunner if he's not a ten-year starter at the highest of levels, and be floored if he's not a perennial Pro Bowl performer. A dominant force, there are few weaknesses. Ready out of the box, his technique and feet are nearly flawless and he knows how to both pass protect and run block equally well. Athletic, smart, and with the right attitude, it's all there to be dominant for a long, long time. Fine, so he'll play a relatively light 315 pounds, and he's a bit more of a finesse blocker than a throw-you-in-the-fifth-row type of blow-up hitter, but this is a special prospect who'll make some quarterback very, very happy.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Cordy Glenn, Georgia (OT) 6-6, 345
While he played tackle in college he's considered to be a lock to move inside and work as a guard at the next level. Don't be so fast to assume he'll stick at guard after showing off the feet in offseason workouts to be someone's right tackle if needed. However, he's huge and built to be a dominant force at guard for a long, long time. Relatively athletic for his size, he moves with the quicker defenders without a problem, and he can bury his man when he engages. The key will be the training table. He needs to be best friends with the strength and conditioning coach to keep his weight in check, and he needs to bring the attitude play-in-and-play-out. Keeping the fire lit will be a must, and he could stand to lose at least 15 pounds of bad weight, but he's a tremendous talent who can be tried out in a variety of ways.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin 6-4, 314
He's a Badger run blocker – there's almost zero bust potential. He might be a bit tall and he might be built like a tackle, but he pushes and mauls everything in his path. As reliable and as consistent as any blocker in the draft, he's nearly flawless when it comes to his assignments and he has the work ethic and fire to get better. Cranking up the calories is going to be a must, and it might be hard to stay high above the 300-pound mark, but his strength isn't going to be a problem. While he won't be the sexiest pick, he'll stick inside someone's line for the next ten years, and like most great interior linemen, he won't be noticed. No, he's not David DeCastro in terms of talent and upside, and he might not be for every offense, but in the right fit, he'll be a mainstay.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Brandon Brooks, Miami Univ. 6-5, 346
Really, really big, he has the prototype body for an NFL guard with a wide frame and the strength to go along with it. Forget about pushing him around, not only does he take two hours to get around, but he'll blast away with his raw power, throwing up 36 reps on the bench at the Combine. Stunningly, considering he's not all that quick, he blaze a sub-5.0 40 in workouts and proved he could be thrown outside at tackle from time to time. However, Miami's running game was among the worst in college football over the last few years even with him blasting away, and if he can't keep his weight in check and gets over 350 pounds, forget about ever moving him to tackle. There's massive bust potential depending on the scheme that drafts him, but if his job is to line up and get someone out of the way, he can do that.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. Senio Kelemete, Washington 6-3, 307
Yes, being under 310 pounds is too small now to be a star NFL guard, but he's versatile enough to work at right tackle if needed as well as at either guard spot. He played left tackle in college and moves well for a guard prospect, and he's tough enough to overcome his lack of bulk. However, he's about maxed out after beefing up to get over 300. The 20 reps on the bench in Indy were a massive disappointment, and he needs a lot of refinement as a guard – he'll catch too much instead of blast – but there's a world of upside. It might take a year in an NFL strength program, but he should be fine with a little bit of work. He won't be special without the raw athleticism or the girth, but he'll work to become a player.
CFN Projection: Third Round

6. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State 6-4, 312
Versatile, he's athletic for his size and could easily fit at tackle without losing any of his power. Phenomenally strong and with good explosion, the raw tools are there to go along with a mauling attitude. Getting him fired up to bury his man isn't an issue. A D-II product, he'll need some work, but there's nothing major that needs tweaking or working; he just needs a little bit of technique work to harness his talent. If anything, his mistakes usually come from trying too hard. There are durability concerns, and schoolwork was an issue, but he's a promising developmental pick with excellent upside.
CFN Projection: Third Round

7. Lucas Nix, Pitt 6-5, 317
A good-sized blocker who got bigger, bulking up even more this offseason, he's large, but he can move. Versatile enough to be kicked out to right tackle in a pinch, he's a good athlete who pulls like a much lighter blocker. Physical, he has no problem fighting and he'll deliver the big hit for the big run. Not enough of a pass blocker to be a regular tackle - he's a guard even though he looks like he should be playing on the outside – but the biggest concern is his durability after suffering a torn pectoral muscle and with an ongoing foot problem. While he might not be a perfect prospect, he has the right attitude and the right temperament to be a strong, reliable fixture for a long, long time.
CFN Projection: Third Round

8. Desmond Wynn, Rutgers 6-5, 303
While he's still too light and too thin, he's bulking up a bit and still has room to grow a bit more. Athletic, he moves as well as any guard in the draft and has the strength to match. More of a technician than a blaster, he's not going to bury his man and he doesn't quite have the temperament to throw a guy in the parking lot, but the biggest issue is his size. He gets the job done, but he could use another ten pounds or so of good weight, but even then that could be an issue considering staying healthy has been a problem – he always seems to have a ding of some sort. There's big upside, but he has to be taken by the right team.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

9. Ryan Miller, Colorado 6-8, 323
A superstar offensive tackle prospect, he has the size and the length to work at right tackle if needed, even though his career will be spent as an athletic guard. While he's too tall for the position – he's way too tall to throw over – he's a bit too upright and can't quite get the leverage needed. Even though he doesn't look quite right, he'll beat people up and there's no problem whatsoever lighting his fire. While he's strong, he's not going to flatten anyone and tends to work better when he gets to maul. There's a lot to like and he'll work to make himself into a regular, but he needs to be on a line where he can zone-block and not be a power blaster.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

10. Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech 6-2, 310
A swing player for the interior, he can handle himself at either guard position or center if needed. While he's short, that's actually a plus since it allows him to get great leverage and generate a good push. A pure run blocker with the right attitude and fight, he'll blast away on the speed rushers, but he also has just enough quickness to make things happen on the move. The Virginia Tech coaching staff liked him and knew that week-in-and-week-out he was as reliable as they come. His problem will come against the monster defensive tackles. He'll get shoved a bit by the 300-pounders inside considering he just doesn't have the bulk, but eventually he'll likely find a niche as a key backup for several spots.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

- 2012 NFL Offensive Guard Rankings - No. 11-20