Xavier Su'a-Filo, LG, UCLA, (HT: 6'4⅛", WT: 307 lbs)
Second Round: 33rd Pick
+ Powerful, athletic prospect with very explosive movements.
+ Elite bend and general flexibility.
+ Has strong, heavy hands.
+ Excellent feet, lateral agility and consistency in movements and power steps.
- Not patient or naturally balanced as a pass protector.
- Can struggle to control his momentum in downhill run-blocking situations.
- Has relatively short arms.
- On occasion, will give up disruptive penetration to talented interior line presences.
|6041||307||33 3/8"||9 3/8"|
|40-yard dash||10-yd split||Bench||Vert||Broad||3-cone||Shuttle|
The NFL combine served as a reinforcement to evaluators regarding an opinion they surely had coming in—that Xavier Su'a-Filo has great feet. He ran the seventh-fastest 40-time, the 11th-best three-cone drill and tied for third best in the short shuttle.
Here we witness a common sight when evaluating Su'a-Filo. He is a prospect with a keen understanding of positioning in space and one who seems to give relentless effort in the execution of his assignments. As the pulling guard here, Su'a-Filo (LG No. 56) is tasked with the assignment of not only getting across the formation to the opposite defensive end, but also turning him inside once he gets there.
Evaluators will notice Su'a-Filo's feet gliding smoothly underneath his hips as he engages the edge threat as he continues pumping his feet. Su'a-Filo is seen driving as his power base swivels and pivots to seal off the outside. The act of gaining position to make the key block and spring the nice run was made possible through Su'a-Filo possessing the fleetness of foot to keep up with balanced and athletic rotation of the hips as a run-blocker in space.
MOTOR, TOUGHNESS, EXPLOSIVENESS AND POWER
Su'a-Filo plays with, arguably, the most high-octane motor of any offensive lineman in the 2014 NFL draft. Su'a-Filo's former UCLA teammate, DE Datone Jones of the Packers, described Su'a-Filo's motor and effort level as a competitor to me in a private conversation this March as being "relentless and maniacal."
Su'a-Filo has short arms and makes up for it in his play by getting his nose into things and imposing his will from the get-go. Su'a-Filo possesses great functional strength, power and explosiveness on the football field. This makes his relatively disappointing, 16th-worst combine performance in the bench press and his pedestrian 12th-worst showing in the vertical leap misleading in their below-average indications for Su'a-Filo's functional power and explosion.
QUICKNESS, AGILITY AND BALANCE
Su'a-Filo's quickness and agility as an athlete and open-field blocker are consistently on display through games, and his combine numbers in the agility tests coupled with his impressive on-field display in drills again served as positive reinforcement.
An issue with Su'a-Filo that stems from his relatively short arms and propensity to punch violently can be balance in pass protection. Here we see Su'a-Filo having to take on a bull rush to his outside half. Once the defensive tackle pops him with the bull move, Su'a-Filo reacts by getting his feet in cement, punching from too wide a base and getting overextended forward. The defensive tackle swims right over.
RUN BLOCKING AND PASS BLOCKING
We've seen that Su'a-Filo is great at pulling out into space and gaining favorable positioning to finish well on pull and trap concepts in the run game. As a pass protector, Su'a-Filo has great awareness and understanding of assignments. He slides well and clearly has a great swivel through his core to re-adjust to delayed and/or disguised pressure from the defense. His issues with balance and recovery as illustrated above will be remedied at the NFL level in short order.
Su'a-Filo has also consistently shown the ability to latch on to defenders and get them off their spot with motor on the interior of the offensive line, not just out in free space. He fires out of his stance with good pad level, he always has a great first step and he'll usually finish well.
Su'a-Filo projects at the NFL level as a prototype prospect to play guard in a zone-blocking scheme where his toughness, functional power, understanding of leverage, great use of angles and ability to engage in free space will translate seamlessly.
Alex Dunlap is an NFL Featured Columnist. All quotes and information gained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Alex Dunlap on Twitter - @AlexDunlapNFL
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