NFL Draft’s Justifiable Jets: Larry Warford
Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com
With the 2013 NFL Draft less than a month away, TJB will offer some daily insight on players in this year’s draft class. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Jets to make a selection.
Position: Offensive Guard
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 333 pounds
Third Team All-America (2012)
Second Team All SEC (2012)
Sophomore All-America (2010)
SEC All-Freshman Team (2009)
Where the Jets could get him: Round 2. In any other year, Warford might be the class’s top option at Guard, but this year with Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper in the same class, Warford will likely slide to the second round. Many have projceted Warford to land in the mid-40s to mid-50s, so taking him at 39 might be considered a reach or need-based pick for the Jets.
Explaining his game: Warford has a massive frame and is able to generate tremendous power based on his speed and strength. Has a good football IQ and can see blitzes developing before him. Warford has been incredibly durable during his time in college, a huge plus for offensive linemen. Even though he’s about where most guards would get drafted in a normal draft, Warford is still considered an underrated prospect compared to a Chance Warmack, but it still makes him about as good as a DeCastro, Iupati or Grubbs. While Kentucky had a bad 2012 season, Warford was still one of the SEC’s best linemen in 2012 and as his underclassmen awards prove, in previous seasons as well. Warford has seen the best interior defensive line play, but Warford did well to limit them all. In 2012, Warford played against Mizzou’s Sheldon Richardson, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd and Georgia’s John Jenkins and none overpowered him.
The guard spot is usually where teams “hide” their inferior linemen, but Warford has all the required skills to play at the spot and projects to be an elite talent at the spot in the NFL. Warford’s agility and hand-work allows him advantages as well against speed rushers and his size and strength makes him almost impervious to bull-rushes. Warford can use his power and leverage to move defenders out of the way to open lanes for running backs. It need be mentioned specifically that Warford is excellent at getting to the second level or pulling laterally, something the Jets used to do to devastating effect with LG Alan Faneca.
Notes: The Jets have addressed the Guard spot already in the signing of Willie Colon, but Slauson signing in Chicago and Brandon Moore’s unlikelihood of return will force the Jets to consider the spot through the draft. Vlad Ducasse might push to start, but the expectation is that Colon won’t be able to play all 16 games due to his history of injuries, so the Jets might need one more starter quality interior lineman. Warford projects to be a starter-ready NFL prospect and can be effective because of his power and speed skillsets in either a zone or man-blocking scheme.
Articles on Warford:
Video: A compilation of Larry Warford highlights as a Wildcat.