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To all those who don't think Ben Grubbs is a 1st round talent.


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Draft preview: Toe line no more, guards finally getting love

April 11, 2007

By Pete Prisco

CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

Guards are the grunts of the offensive line, situated next to the glamour boys at tackle and the guys who run the show at center.

Longhorn Justin Blalock is among the prospects who might cash in on the new emphasis on guards.

For many years, scouts and personnel people considered guards to be way down on the value board when compared to tackles, rarely taking a guard in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Every year the guards hear the same refrain: You're just not worth it.

Since 2002, there have been 10 guards drafted in the first two rounds, four in the first round. That includes Shawn Andrews of the Eagles and Darryn Colledge of the Packers, two players who actually came into the league as tackles.

Compare that to the tackles drafted in the first two rounds since 2002 and it's a significant difference. We've seen 25 tackles drafted in the first two rounds the past five years, including 13 in the first round.

The last time there were two pure guards taken in the same first round that peanut farmer from Georgia was President. That was 1980 when the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Brad Budde and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Ray Snell.

"It just hasn't been a premium position up until now," Auburn guard Ben Grubbs said. "I really never understood that, either. Anyone who protects your most valuable player and helps the running backs run has to have value. For some reason, we just don't get any recognition in the first round."

That could change in this year's draft. With a new-found premium on guards -- look at the money tossed their way in free-agency -- there's a chance that two could go in the first round. Grubbs is the top-rated guard on most boards, but Justin Blalock of Texas and Tennessee's Aaron Sears, a college tackle who will move inside, also have a chance to go in the first round.

"That kind of talk makes me feel good," Grubbs said. "It's time we got some attention."

That's happening. The big reason for it is the importance for an offense of handling the inside people on a team's defense. To run the ball, you have to push around 320-pound tackles and you don't do that without quality guards. Cracks and creases in the middle have to come with movement by the inside people, especially the guards.

"Look at when you play a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars," one AFC scout said. "If your guards can't handle those two big guys, it's going to be a long day for your offense."

Those two big guys are 320-pound Marcus Stroud and 330-pound John Henderson. They are just one pair of quality tackles around the league. As that position has grown in both size and stature, the guards have become more valuable.

It's why guards Kris Dielman (San Diego), Derrick Dockery (Buffalo), Leonard Davis (Dallas) and Eric Steinbach (Cleveland) all received huge contracts in free-agency this year.

You know how many Pro Bowl appearances the four have? Not a one.

Yet the teams that signed them were so desperate to improve the interior of their lines that they anted up the big-money deals.

"That's really great for those guys," Grubbs said. "It also means when I get to my second and third contract, I'll have a chance to get that kind of deal."

Grubbs is a 6-3, 315-pound player who has nice athleticism, but he's also a player who plays with a mean streak, according to scouts. He won't back down from anybody, which is a must from the guard position if you want to run the football. Easy-going and laid back off the field, Grubbs plays with a nasty style on the field.

"You have to be aggressive to be a great player," Grubbs said. "When I get between the lines, it just comes out."

Some personnel people still react with shock when teams draft guards in the first round. When Mike Ditka used the 10th overall pick to draft Chris Naeole when he was the coach of the New Orleans Saints, everybody said he overdrafted him. Truth is, he probably did. Naeole was a so-so starter for the Saints, but has developed into a quality guard for the Jacksonville Jaguars since signing with them as a free agent.

The only three other guards drafted in the top 10 of the draft since 1980 were Mike Munchak (eighth by the Oilers in 1982), Bruce Matthews (ninth by the Oilers in 1983) and John Rienstra (ninth to the Steelers in 1986). Munchak is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Matthews is going in this year. Rienstra was a good, solid player.

"As a guard, you just know you're not going to be a top 5 pick," Grubbs said. "But with the way things are going, the value of guards does seem to be going up."

It's not quite there with those glamour-boy tackles, but it's getting there.

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I think Revis will be gone by #25.

I don't know I think there is a good chance he'll be there at 25. There are two corners rated higher than Revis, Hall and Houston, 3 if you count Laron Landry who can play corner.

If Grubbs is anywhere near as good as Marcus McNeill no doubt he is worth a first round pick.

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Most of the mocks I've seen have Grubbs going to Chicago. I think it would be a great pick for them, especially since that offensive line is showing some serious age. Ruben Brown did resign for one year, but they will need a replacement, and Grubbs would be perfect.

Bears fans were killing the team over the Thomas Jones trade, but, if the Bears were able to land Olsen at 31(IF Carolina doesn't nab him first), then Grubbs at #37, then I think people would be at ease.

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I think Revis will be gone by #25.

There is no question Revis will be gone by #25. He is neck and neck with Hall for best CB. There is an excellent chance they will both be gone by #15.

I think realistically the Jets will be choosing from among Ross, Olsen, some O-lineman, Harrell and maybe (hopefully) Spencer or Moss. Obviously, some of these guys will be gone too.

Jet fans need to hope for a nice long run on WRs before the #25th pick. IMO.

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You can get very good Guard play AFTER the 1st rd.

It's why guards Kris Dielman (San Diego), Derrick Dockery (Buffalo), Leonard Davis (Dallas) and Eric Steinbach (Cleveland) all received huge contracts in free-agency this year.

You know how many Pro Bowl appearances the four have? Not a one.

Yet the teams that signed them were so desperate to improve the interior of their lines that they anted up the big-money deals.

Kris Dielman was an UDFA. Dockey was not a 1st rd pick, neither was Steinbach.

Leonard Davis has been a bust and he was drafted as a tackle, not a guard.

And Grubbs should be solid, but not great. He's just not that good, not better than Blalock either.

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Draft preview: Toe line no more, guards finally getting love

April 11, 2007

By Pete Prisco

CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

Guards are the grunts of the offensive line, situated next to the glamour boys at tackle and the guys who run the show at center.

Longhorn Justin Blalock is among the prospects who might cash in on the new emphasis on guards.

For many years, scouts and personnel people considered guards to be way down on the value board when compared to tackles, rarely taking a guard in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Every year the guards hear the same refrain: You're just not worth it.

Since 2002, there have been 10 guards drafted in the first two rounds, four in the first round. That includes Shawn Andrews of the Eagles and Darryn Colledge of the Packers, two players who actually came into the league as tackles.

Compare that to the tackles drafted in the first two rounds since 2002 and it's a significant difference. We've seen 25 tackles drafted in the first two rounds the past five years, including 13 in the first round.

The last time there were two pure guards taken in the same first round that peanut farmer from Georgia was President. That was 1980 when the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Brad Budde and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Ray Snell.

"It just hasn't been a premium position up until now," Auburn guard Ben Grubbs said. "I really never understood that, either. Anyone who protects your most valuable player and helps the running backs run has to have value. For some reason, we just don't get any recognition in the first round."

That could change in this year's draft. With a new-found premium on guards -- look at the money tossed their way in free-agency -- there's a chance that two could go in the first round. Grubbs is the top-rated guard on most boards, but Justin Blalock of Texas and Tennessee's Aaron Sears, a college tackle who will move inside, also have a chance to go in the first round.

"That kind of talk makes me feel good," Grubbs said. "It's time we got some attention."

That's happening. The big reason for it is the importance for an offense of handling the inside people on a team's defense. To run the ball, you have to push around 320-pound tackles and you don't do that without quality guards. Cracks and creases in the middle have to come with movement by the inside people, especially the guards.

"Look at when you play a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars," one AFC scout said. "If your guards can't handle those two big guys, it's going to be a long day for your offense."

Those two big guys are 320-pound Marcus Stroud and 330-pound John Henderson. They are just one pair of quality tackles around the league. As that position has grown in both size and stature, the guards have become more valuable.

It's why guards Kris Dielman (San Diego), Derrick Dockery (Buffalo), Leonard Davis (Dallas) and Eric Steinbach (Cleveland) all received huge contracts in free-agency this year.

You know how many Pro Bowl appearances the four have? Not a one.

Yet the teams that signed them were so desperate to improve the interior of their lines that they anted up the big-money deals.

"That's really great for those guys," Grubbs said. "It also means when I get to my second and third contract, I'll have a chance to get that kind of deal."

Grubbs is a 6-3, 315-pound player who has nice athleticism, but he's also a player who plays with a mean streak, according to scouts. He won't back down from anybody, which is a must from the guard position if you want to run the football. Easy-going and laid back off the field, Grubbs plays with a nasty style on the field.

"You have to be aggressive to be a great player," Grubbs said. "When I get between the lines, it just comes out."

Some personnel people still react with shock when teams draft guards in the first round. When Mike Ditka used the 10th overall pick to draft Chris Naeole when he was the coach of the New Orleans Saints, everybody said he overdrafted him. Truth is, he probably did. Naeole was a so-so starter for the Saints, but has developed into a quality guard for the Jacksonville Jaguars since signing with them as a free agent.

The only three other guards drafted in the top 10 of the draft since 1980 were Mike Munchak (eighth by the Oilers in 1982), Bruce Matthews (ninth by the Oilers in 1983) and John Rienstra (ninth to the Steelers in 1986). Munchak is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Matthews is going in this year. Rienstra was a good, solid player.

"As a guard, you just know you're not going to be a top 5 pick," Grubbs said. "But with the way things are going, the value of guards does seem to be going up."

It's not quite there with those glamour-boy tackles, but it's getting there.

So the f uck what, you can make fancy little articles about any player in the NCAA... that doesn't mean he's better than B-lock..or beekman, or marshal yanda.

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So the f uck what, you can make fancy little articles about any player in the NCAA... that doesn't mean he's better than B-lock..or beekman, or marshal yanda.

Dude, this is not the only article claiming that Grubbs is one of the top Guards in the draft, there are several and most draft sites have Grubbs graded out as a legit first round talent.

Grabbing Grubbs or Blalock at #25 would be another crucial step in buiding a young elite O-Line.

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Dude, this is not the only article claiming that Grubbs is one of the top Guards in the draft, there are several and most draft sites have Grubbs graded out as a legit first round talent.

Grabbing Grubbs or Blalock at #25 would be another crucial step in buiding a young elite O-Line.

I agree with that 100%...

We really need a young gaurd.

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Dude, this is not the only article claiming that Grubbs is one of the top Guards in the draft, there are several and most draft sites have Grubbs graded out as a legit first round talent.

Grabbing Grubbs or Blalock at #25 would be another crucial step in buiding a young elite O-Line.

I can find an article boasting about and advertising a player like I can find a hooker in the streets of NY...

So showing me one of a specific player and telling me that there are more where that came from is incredibly irrelavent.

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I wouldn't have a problem with Grubbs in the 1st but I'd lean more towards Blalock because, while Grubbs is the better pass-blocker, Blalock's a better run-blocker and might have the ability to play RT. Grubbs seems like he's strictly a guard in the pros.

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I wouldn't have a problem with Grubbs in the 1st but I'd lean more towards Blalock because, while Grubbs is the better pass-blocker, Blalock's a better run-blocker and might have the ability to play RT. Grubbs seems like he's strictly a guard in the pros.

I'd be happy with either one.

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