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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Guard sleepers and Broncos fits

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Depending on what the Broncos do with free agent addition Graham Glasgow, they may or may not need help at the starting guard position. Sure, there are other options on the roster to play guard if Glasgow starts at center, but the Broncos may want to add more competition at the position through the draft.

There are many versatile players in this draft class on the interior offensive line. From the first round through the seventh round, and even some priority free agents, there will be plenty of options for the Broncos to choose from.

In this article, I will look at the market for the position. I’ll also write about sleepers at the guard position and some players who could fit what the Broncos need in the 2020 NFL Draft.


Market Watch

The best offensive guard in this draft played tackle during his college career at Iowa, and that’s where Tristan Wirfs may get the first chance to start. Some scouts see him as a tackle, perhaps even the best right tackle in this class. Others in the scouting community think that his best fit is inside at guard.

Either way, I love what Wirfs does on the football field. He is truly a dominant player and played 693 snaps at right tackle in 2019 and 161 snaps at left tackle. Wirfs may lack the length to work against rushers on the edge and that’s why some think he’ll be a candidate to move inside at the pro level.

To be clear, I have Wirfs graded as a right tackle and I feel that he could go off the board in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft. He understands leverage and outright controls his man when he locks his hands on them. Wirfs can move with fluidity and does a good job of keeping his hands ready to punch. He can be a Pro Bowl guard easy in the NFL, but I would like to see him get a shot at right tackle first.

Opinions are split on Jonah Jackson from Ohio State. Some see him as a project while other scouts I talk to believe that he will be a second-round pick as the best guard on the draft board. Jackson is a late second-round pick to me, mainly because I like the athleticism and nastiness that he plays with. While he may not be as stout as you need as a run-blocker, Jackson is more than capable of handling his own in pass-blocking situations. He is tough and plays with a mean streak, so with better coaching at the pro level and some added strength from an NFL weight program I think he could improve his flaws.



I have a soft spot for Georgia players and that’s a small reason why Solomon Kindley is one of my sleepers at guard in this draft class. It also helps that he is 330 pounds and knows how to use leverage to win as a blocker. He is seen as a late-round pick and is a guard only at the pro level as he lacks the athleticism to move to the outside as a swing player.

Kindley showed well against likely first-round pick Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) in 2019 and does a good job of playing to the echo of the whistle. He’s big, wide, tough and powerful. I’d take a chance on that late in the draft.

John Simpson from Clemson is another mid- to late-round sleeper worth drafting. He is a patient player who plays with a calm mind in the chaos swirling around him. Simpson is your classic people mover at the guard position, and he is tough to move off the spot. He had the largest hands (11 ¼ inch) at the Scouting Combine and can grip an opponent to control them with ease. Simpson is slow out of his stance and he’s not much of a blocker when asked to go after a moving target.


Broncos Fits

One player who would be in the first-round conversation had he not missed most of the last two years is Netane Muti from Fresno State. Some in the scouting community believe he will be a mid-round pick despite an injury history that puts up a lot of red flags.

During his college career with the Bulldogs, Muti has had two Achilles’ injuries and one Lisfranc injury. In his only healthy season, Muti was able to garner honorable mention All-Mountain West honors. He is a bulldozer who wins with power, but he needs to work on his footwork as he does not yet win at the second level consistently. Muti would be a great project for a team like the Broncos where offensive line coach Mike Munchak could make the most of his natural skill set and power.

Logan Stenberg from Kentucky has been called “the most disliked player in the SEC” by players who went up against him in the nation’s best conference. He is 317 pounds of nasty and that demeanor should serve him well at the pro level. Stenberg was the No. 1 guard in this draft class by only allowing one quarterback pressure for the entire 2019 season.

Penalties are a huge problem for Stenberg because of his nasty attitude and he will obviously have to clean that up before he can become a quality pro player. He’s addicted to pancake blocks and going to be fun to watch in the NFL is a coach can get through to him and get him to play with more discipline while retaining his obvious edge.


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