As I move through more tape study of the 2018 NFL Draft, it’s becoming obvious to me that if the Cowboys plan to fill their hole at left guard through the draft, they’ll have ample opportunity to do so within the first two rounds. After round two? Well, then things will get a little dicey. But I have three names which are atop my guard wishlist for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2018 NFL Draft.
OL Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Georgia Bulldogs’ guard Isaiah Wynn is my second favorite offensive lineman in the 2018 draft class.
Each year solid offensive tackle prospects move inside to guard and find themselves taken within the first few rounds of the NFL Draft. Georgia Bulldogs’ left tackle Isaiah Wynn is the next tackle who is set to have a successful NFL career on the interior rather than at his collegiate position.
Wynn started his entire senior season at left tackle, and performed at a high level at the spot. He projects as a guard in the NFL, however, and should be a plug-and-play starter on the interior.
Wynn’s best trait is his footwork. Balanced, smooth, and fluid with his feet, Wynn has the athleticism to get to the second level, as well as pull from the guard spot. Wynn looks natural in space, but he’s no slouch in the trenches either. He is also an effective pass blocker, possessing a strong punch and showing off patience in his kick-step.
Isaiah Wynn is absolutely an option at 19th overall, as I believe he is a top-20 player in the draft class, and is “OL2” behind Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson on my board.
OL Will Hernandez, UTEP
The original OL2 on my board, UTEP Guard Will Hernandez, is also a late-first-round offensive lineman. At 6’3″ 340 pounds, Hernandez is an absolute monster in the middle, and uses his size as a strength.
While offensive tackles typically receive the most buzz pre-draft, there are two interior offensive linemen that may be the two most NFL-ready OL prospects in the entire class. The first, of course, is Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson. The next best, however, just might be UTEP Guard Will Hernandez.
His hands are incredibly strong, and once he gets those hands inside of the defender, it’s all over for the pass rusher. Hernandez is also instinctive when it comes to positioning his body as a run blocker, works well in double teams, and can effectively get to the second level.
Despite Hernandez’ huge frame, I never noticed a lack of movement skills in his game.
In fact, I believe his footwork and agility as a blocker are strengths to his game. I believe he can excel as a guard in any blocking scheme, and would be another plug-and-play option at left guard for the Cowboys next season.
OL James Daniels, Iowa
While I’m sure you’ve heard of the first two names on this list, Iowa Center James Daniels is the wild card on my board. And to be honest, he could be the best option in terms of value in round two.
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Unlike Wynn and Hernandez, Daniels declared for the draft as a junior and did not get the chance to impress the masses at the Senior Bowl.
Daniels’ impressed me most with his movement skills. He excels on outside zone and sweep plays, and is an excellent reach blocker. Daniels is also effective working off double teams and cutting off linebackers at the second level. James Daniels is a prototypical zone-blocking interior offensive lineman, and would be a great addition to the Cowboys’ vaunted line.
While you might have to take Wynn or Hernandez 19th overall in order to get them, James Daniels could be a realistic option at 50. If the Cowboys can pull off a Vita Vea/James Daniels haul in the first two rounds, I’d be ecstatic.