Scouts Inc. on guards

Most players that line up at offensive guard in high school are the least athletic players along the offensive front. This leads to a big misconception on the offensive line: The philosophy that if a guy is big, but limited athletically, he can play offensive guard.

When programs evaluate the position, they look for guys with some versatility, the ability to line up on both sides and hopefully enough athleticism to eventually move to center if needed.

A lot of high school programs traditionally utilized the 4-3 defense or "50" front. This allignment is anchored by two defensive tackles who line up over the offensive guards usually shaded as a one technique or a three technique.

The ability to trap, pull and block angles is very important, but at the college level, these defensive tackles are usually 285-pound or more power guys who are also explosive and quick, and are often good penetrators. To match up physically, programs look for bigger and stronger offensive guards who can anchor at the line of scrimmage. They might be forced to give up some of the pulling and trapping qualities.

However, the offensive guard must have enough quickness to cut off the defensive tackles and still be able to angle block and short set on pass protection. There are plenty of big, stiff guys playing, but programs are looking for a size guy with some athletic ability. Many kids who are playing offensive tackle in high school usually fit that bill and make the move once they arrive on campus.

Offensive Line Grading System
Scouts Inc. will evaluate the offensive guards on the following criteria:

1. Initial quicks: Are they quick when coming off the ball? Do they have good footwork? Are they faster than the DL?

2. Run block: Do they control the opposition at the point of attack? Are they balanced? Do they play with leverage?

3. Pass block: Do they have good footwork? How quick is their set up? Can they adjust and mirror the pass rusher? Do they sustain their blocks?

4. Pull and trap: Do they have the athleticism to get to a moving target? Can they adjust in space?

5. Use of hands: Do they get separation? Can they keep defenders away from them? Do they play with good leverage?

6. Strength: Do they play with leverage? Can they move the pile in the run game? Can they anchor in pass protection?

7. Explosion: Do they finish their blocks? Do they play low and show some pop at the point of attack?

8. Long snap: Do they have the ability to long snap, and are they proficient at it?