Class Review: This guard class is one of the best to come out in recent years, just based off its top talent. Toniu Fonoti will probably be a first round selection, and other guards like Kendall Simmons and Andre Gurode are looking to sneak into the first round late. Fred Weary and Terrance Metcalf (Mississippi) are the rest of the talent, and will probably be selected anytime between the late second and early fourth round. Martin Bibla (Miami FL), Qasim Mitchell (North Carolina A&T), Michael Collins (Wake Forest), Jonathan Goodwin (Michigan), and Eric Heitmann (Stanford) make up the crop of middle round talent. There are some solid late-round prospects too.
(6'4" 340) Nebraska (5.5)
Fonoti gets first round grades by most, but I just do not see it. Offensive guard is not a first round position, and you must be very, very good to get that kind of grade. Steve Hutchinson was there because he was an excellent all-around player who was smart. He was the complete guard. Fonoti is not. Fonoti may be the most dominating run blocker to come out in a long time, but that's all he has going for him. Considering that he played at Nebraska, he lacks experience as a pass protector. He has overpowering strength and will probably be serviceable as a pass protector, but he won't be good initially. And I don't think he'll ever be a good pass protector. Fonoti definitely has first round potential, but I don't think he deserves a first round grade.
(6'4" 316) Colorado (5.35)
Gurode's best attribute is his run blocker. He can really move the pile. He has power and pop as a run blocker. He is competent in pass protection since he has nice feet and good strength, but he's nothing special. He is a good all-around blocker. Gurode can be dominating on some plays, but most times he's just good. That's what holds him back.
(6'3" 311) Auburn (5.3)
Simmons has a lot of upside. He played left tackle at Auburn and played the position well. There's not a whole lot I can say about Simmons that is bad. He has the feet and strength to play well at guard, and will probably be able to fill in at left tackle in a pinch. But when he went up against Julius Peppers in the Peach Bowl, he showed that he wasn't ready to handle the top talents in the NFL. Simmons is very good, his versatility makes him a good prospect, but he's not a great prospect.
(6'4" 308) Tennessee (5.35)
Weary is solid who does not excel in any particular area, is just good in most. He does not have a lot of power or quickness, but enough of both to match-up against almost all opponents. He needs to work on his technique, since he's a waist-bender. He has good upside. He'll probably never be a great guard in the NFL, but an above average to good starter.
(6'3" 318) Michigan (5.05)
Goodwin played among two first rounds and a second rounder last year. Also throw in an undrafted free agent who became a semi-starter, and Goodwin played on possibly the best line in recent college history in 2000. But he could not carry the 2001 line, like he was carried by the previous years. Goodwin is good and has nice power and strength. He is a solid run blocker and pass protector, and you have to assume that since his four former teammates adjusted to the NFL so well, similar adjustment should be seen from Goodwin. He may not go until the fifth round, but his "Michiganness" alone may merit him a third round selection.
(6'4" 300) Oklahoma (5.3)
Romero was a solid left tackle at Oklahoma. But Romero lacks the size and strength to play that position in the NFL, and is also not the quickest on his feet. Romero will make a living as a pass protecting guard. He is a solid pass protector, but needs to get stronger and become a better run blocker. Romero should be able to fill in at left tackle in a pinch. Romero was a solid college player that doesn't project well to the NFL. But as soon as he finds his niche, he should be a good player.
(6'3" 319) Texas (5.4)
Kirk-Hughes played beside Mike Williams at Texas, making them one of the best right sides in the country. He's round and powerful and can be an excellent run blocker. He can move for a player his size, but is not overly quick. His pass protection is decent, if not great. Kirk-Hughes does not play up to the top talents. He is decent, but will need some time to develop into an NFL starter. He's a quality player that can be found in the latter rounds.
(6'3" 295) Oregon (5.2)
Adams protected Joey Harrington's blindside at Oregon. Adams has decent enough feet to play right tackle in the NFL, along with decent strength. But he's undersized, and fits best as a guard. He is an above average run blocker who is a good pass protector. He needs some work in all areas, but he could become a solid player.
(6'4" 313) Iowa (5.45)
Cunningham has upside, but the word on him is that he's too inconsistent. That's definite, as you can see that he has the skills to play, but plays down to his competition. He has good strength, mobility, and quickness, but is not overly impressive in anyone of those categories. He plays just enough to get by. Could be one of the more talented guards in this class, but will probably never be more than a marginal starter/backup.
(6'3" 319) Florida (5.25)
Moody played left guard at Florida, which is beside Mike Pearson. He has good strength and decent feet. He is pretty good in pass protection, but there is a lot of room to improve. He uses his strength well. He can get to the second level and block. Is a pretty good all-around guard, but nothing special. Benefited a lot from Pearson's presence.
(6'3" 310) East Carolina (5.25)
Walker is a good run blocker, but needs a lot of work in pass protection. He has nice power and can move people. Not very mobile or quick, but can get the job done downfield. Has poor balance and technique as a pass blocker. His strength as a run blocker is not used correctly in pass protector. He is a decent prospect, but nothing special.
(6' 300) Texas Christian (5.1)
Payne is a decent prospect. He lacks strength, and will need to add some. He is a decent pass protector and can get to the second level and block. Has some talent, but probably won't be more than an average backup.