Breaking Down What Makes Chance Warmack the Best Offensive Guard in Years
Measuring in at 6'2" and weighing 317 pounds, Warmack seeks to dismantle defensive linemen with each block and snack on linebackers every chance he gets. He's consistently paved the way for some of college football's most talented ball-carriers, including Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and most recently Eddie Lacy. He's been able to create alleys because he's big, strong, light enough on his feet and experienced—what else is there to ask for from an offensive guard?
The closest there's recently been to the Alabama guard is David DeCastro, who was selected No. 24 overall last year by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he's not as strong as Warmack. Some feel there hasn't been a prospect at the position like Warmack in more 20 years, as respected draft analyst Tony Pauline noted (via SI.com).
Chance Warmack, guard: Warmack approaches April as the most dominant guard in the draft since Steve Everitt, who was selected with the 14th pick in 1993. Warmack is big, strong and controls everything he gets his hands on. He's effective at the line of scrimmage or at the second level blocking in motion. Warmack will be an early first-round choice if no medical red flags are raised at the combine. 1st Round
Warmack will be coming into a league that has recently started valuing his position more. With more teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers, running the ball downhill from the Pistol formation, scouts will be looking for road graders who can anchor and create running lanes at the guard position. That's what this Alabama left guard brings to the field.
And he brought it on a weekly basis against tough SEC competition. Against LSU, Warmack easily dominated every defensive lineman that came his way. On one particular play, he showed how light he can be on his feet, despite his hefty weight.
The Crimson Tide offense lined up with 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) on the field and Warmack was at his usual left guard position. Outside his left shoulder was defensive tackle Bennie Logan, a potential second day selection in this April's draft.
When the ball is snapped, Warmack slid past Logan and worked to the second level. He moved quickly and smoothly, identifying middle linebacker Kevin Minter as his target. When a guard has the size of Warmack, they tend to miss the moving target because they lack agility.
Although Warmack doesn't have great feet, he's still light enough on his them to hit moving targets and that's what he did here. He put his hands on Minter, who is arguably the best run-defending linebacker in this year's class, and engulfed him.
While that block was impressive, some still have concerns over just how good his feet are. Watching him a few plays later pull for running back T.J. Yeldon should quell such doubts.
This time, the Crimson Tide had 21 personnel on the field, featuring two backs and one tight end. LSU loaded up the line of scrimmage with eight defenders.
Once the quarterback got the snap, Warmack released away from the line of scrimmage, opened his hips and started moving laterally. Unlike guard prospects in recent drafts, such as Idaho's Mike Iupati (now with the 49ers), there was no wasted movement by Warmack, showing once again just how complete a player he is.
Continuing laterally before cutting downhill, he took a proper angle in attacking the filling linebacker. Instead of being too wide and giving a lane inside for the linebacker to sneak in, he attacked inside out and crushed the defender, creating an alley for Yeldon.
The two blocks above are the kind that teams are looking for in a mauling guard, but it doesn't stop there. They also want to see how well he can block in the passing game, which is stressed more in the NFL now than ever before.
Offensive line play in the NFL has been poor the last few seasons. Tackles lack the athleticism to win against explosive defensive ends and linebackers on the edge and guards are simply too slow to handle quick 3-technique defensive tackles.
For a team like the Arizona Cardinals, who are picking No. 7 and have a dire need at every position on the offensive line, Warmack should be welcomed with open arms.
He has no real weaknesses in pass protection. His technique needs to be cleaned up, but that's a minor concern and one shared by virtually every player coming out of college, regardless of position. His aforementioned strength and length is particularly impressive in this area of the game because he's flexible enough to sit in his stance and keep pass-rushers at a distance.
Warmack demonstrated that flexibility in the same game (and every other) against LSU. Facing Bennie Logan again, Warmack got out of his stance and was immediately ready to deal with the defensive tackle.
He split his feet to form a wide and strong base while extending his arms to control Logan. He also played with proper pad level, bending at his knees and creating a leverage advantage.
When Logan tried to move around and separate from Warmack, he had no luck. The Alabama guard slid his feet, locked out his arms again and walled off the defender.
And just like that, it was all over.
Warmack has frequently been compared to former Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard and future Hall of Fame inductee, Will Shields, because of how well-rounded of a player he is. Like Shields, Warmack is mobile, powerful and technically sound, which has combined to make him arguably this year's top draft prospect and certainly the best at his position in a long time.
The soon-to-be first-round selection has said he models his game after the Dallas Cowboys' legendary guard Larry Allen, who also had a rare combination of heavy hands and mobility. If Warmack is anything like Allen or Shields, he'll be a fine pro.
For now, he'll have to settle for just being one of the best guards to ever come out of school.
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