With the trade of Branden Albert to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins LT position improved with his replacement, the insanely-talented Laremy Tunsil. However, it left a gaping void at the guard position. My favorite sexual innuendo inducer, Jermon Bushrod, is a free agent; Kraig Urbik may provide solid depth, but I believe both guard positions are in need of upgrade. With the amount of holes to fill on the front 7, we need to be savvy in addressing the holes on the roster.
Free agency comes first, so let’s take a quick glance at 5 of the top free agent guards (in no particular order). I will provide PFF rankings, but that doesn’t mean I “S PFF’s D”, just providing a little more context than my conjecture. Here we go:
Kevin Zeitler, 6’4”, 320 - PFF #7
The Cincinnati Bengals guard had an impressive year.
He’s started all but one game in his 5-year career, has missed 8 games over the course of those 5 years, and he’ll turn 27 in a couple of weeks. There’s a reason this guy is gonna get paid. Equally legit at pass and run blocking.
(Spotrac market value: $11.6 million)
We're looking for guards, right? Let's take a look at a few. Here's Kevin Zeitler (#68) 1-on-1 against Suh. Solid anchor and plant. pic.twitter.com/0gLz4c4V19— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 23, 2017
T.J. Lang, 6’4”, 318 - PFF #8
The Green Bay Packers guard will turn 30 shortly after the beginning of the 2017 NFL season, but guards have a greater longevity than other positions. He began starting regularly in his 3rd year, and has started every game since then, injuries notwithstanding. He has missed 5 games in the last 6 years.
Perhaps the best pass blocking guard in the NFL; his run blocking is above average, but not elite.
(Spotrac market value: $8.4 million)
Here's TJ Lang (#70) on a stretch run. Great initial burst to cross point of the snap, continues to fight and show some nasty through play. pic.twitter.com/GrLsT5wV5F— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 23, 2017
Ronald Leary, 6’3”, 320 - PFF #24
Undrafted out of college for fear of a degenerative knee issue that supposedly compromises his longevity, and aside from 2 games early in his rookie season, his injury concerns haven’t dealt with the knee ironically enough in his 4 years of starting for the Dallas Cowboys. He played every game except 1 in 2013 and 2014, but had a rough 2015 with a groin injury, missing 12 games. 2016 saw him miss 3 games, 2 of which were earlier in the year with...you guessed it...a groin injury.
From the little tape study I’ve done on him, he attacks the 2nd level with reckless abandon. He is one of the better run blocking guards in the NFL, and his pass blocking is above average, but not elite.
He’ll turn 28 in a couple months.
(Spotrac market value: $9.1 million)
Guard play is suuuuuper sexy. Here's Ronald Leary of the Cowboys (#65), gets to the 2nd level quickly. CJ Mosley has NO chance. pic.twitter.com/fg3JwX35Z9— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 23, 2017
Larry Warford, 6’3”, 317 - PFF #20
The Detroit Lions guard has faced average injury concerns over his 4-year career, starting in every game that he has played since being drafted, but missing 7 games over that 4-year span. He won’t turn 26 until right before training camp.
He is high quality at both pass and run blocking, but not dominant.
He’s my personal favorite of the guard class, as I don’t think he’ll command as much dollar compared to Zeitler or TJ Lang, and has a lot of football in front of him.
(Spotrac market value: $6.2 million)
Here's one of my favorites Larry Warford (#75). Stays close to center's outside shoulder, climbs second level. Finishes with power. pic.twitter.com/t993eigM92— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 24, 2017
Chance Warmack, 6’2, 323 - PFF Unranked
The Tennessee Titans had one of the best OL’s in football, and the former 1st round pick might be expendable. He missed only 2 games in his 1st 3 years, but played only 2 games last year after injuring his right hand and going on IR to perform surgery.
Warmack struggled in run blocking in his 2 appearances in 2016, but graded well in pass protection. Historically, the opposite was true (better run blocker than pass blocker) but has been above average in both.
(Spotrac market value: N/A)
Had to go on IR last year to undergo surgery on his hand, but Chance Warmack (RG, #70) is another guard with potential. Powerful dude. pic.twitter.com/Xy9tXWW78V— Aaron Sutton (@Suttonlacesout) February 26, 2017
Anyone have under-the-radar guards worth pursuing or someone else not mentioned in the article? Send it to the Comments Section! Fins Up!