The foundation of any home is of the utmost importance to stabilizing the structure and ensuring it lasts for years and years. The roof stands firm against the outer elements and shields and protects the entirety from sun, wind, rain, snow, hail and everything else nature has to throw at it. But it’s the framework which connects the strength of the foundation to the safety of the roof overhead. How many of us even think about the inner-structure of our homes when assessing strength and stability as it relates to overall endurance?
No, our focus is usually on the cracks in the floor or the leaks in the ceiling. Rare is it to shift our attention between drywall and brick. Until you get termites or moisture up inside! Then the whole place could come tumbling down.
Same goes for the offensive line. We’ve already talked about the importance of building your front five around the “nails” of a strong Offensive Center (reference to our former great Tom Nalen) and just about everyone would agree the need for over the top protection with a dominant Offensive Tackle. But what about in between? What about the strength in the structure we don’t most commonly see? Offensive Guards.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Next to the holder on placekicks, OG’s may get the least mention and or recognition of anyone on the field. From the sideline view on television, they’re obstructed by the high priced and at times larger Offensive Tackles. Seems about the only way they garner attention is through unkept facial hair or unflattering nicknames such as “Stink”. But just try building a competitive Offensive Line without talented and dependable Offensive Guards and find out how quickly that fancy terracotta roof (OT’s) comes crashing down on your rebar enforced concrete slab (OC).
Rare is it to find OG’s at the top of an NFL team’s draft board, only slightly higher than OC’s because of the need for at least two. But the Offensive Guard talent pool is hard at work with NFL Combine Preparation as well. And like a good homebuilder, NFL scouts should take key note of the quality and makeup of the framework of their Offensive Guard prospects.
You’re Not Boxed In
The Landers study to “Relevance of the Combine” reveals that OG’s are more likely to succeed and indeed start in the NFL if they Exceed Peer Average in 4 of the 6 Physical Attribute Tests (again, OL’s don’t participate in the Long Shuttle). There’s much more room and range with interior linemen when it comes to athletic ability, but OG’s circle back to the importance of short area balance, quickness and flexibility through performance in the 3-Cone. 65% of 1st string players excelled in this event, compared to 53% in the short shuttle, vertical jump and 40 yard dash.
Quality Can Run Deep
This wide range of aptitude allows for professional football front office management to find quality players at Offensive Guard much later in the draft and even undrafted free agency. On average, 44% of OG’s are taken after the 5th round. 27% of two-deep players from ’05-’07 were found in rounds 5 through 7, another 20% in the undrafted market. There’s a good chance that if you know the grade of lumber you’re looking for, you can build a solid frame on a budget.
So all you prospects at Offensive Guard, don’t fret over the sleek athletic prowess of some of your exterior buddies. Just find a combo of three things you can master in NFL Combine Prep and make sure the fourth is the 3-Cone. Then your chances of being a “stud” in an NFL mansion franchise will be nailed down for sure.