BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino
After failing to replace free agent departure Andy Levitre at guard, Colin Brown has been the weak link on the Buffalo Bills’ offensive line through the first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season. Brown’s Pro Football Focus rating for the season is -16.1, which ranks him last among all guards in the NFL.
The Bills may be looking to the 2014 draft to replace Brown and fill the void on their offensive line. The following five offensive linemen who have notable matchups this week are among the players who the Bills could look to in the early rounds of the draft to help solidify the offensive line.
Jon Halapio, G, Florida, Sr. (6’3’’, 321 lbs)
Halapio has already started 33 games for the Gators heading into the 2013 season, and owns the Florida record for most consecutive starts by an offensive player with 27, but has missed the first two games of this season coming off a torn pectoral muscle. He will make his season debut this Saturday against a solid prospect in Tennessee nose tackle Daniel McCullers.
The first thing that stands out when studying Halapio’s film is his demeanor and the way he competes when run blocking. He is an extremely physical blocker who looks to bury people. When Halapio gets his arms extended and feet chopping, he is able to dominate in the run game. Halapio traps and pulls frequently at Florida, which he does with success. His footwork is a bit odd, but he can really get the job done when pulling.
Halapio has some balance issues to tighten up when pass blocking. He tends to get his weight out in front of him due to bending at the waist, which leads to an inconsistent base while pass blocking. I’d also like to see him drop his hips and anchor better.
If you are looking for a guard in the second-to-third round range, Halapio is a physical run blocker with a great deal of experience against elite SEC competition.
David Yankey, OG/OT, Stanford, Jr. (6’5’’, 313lbs)
Yankey is an extremely versatile offensive lineman for Stanford. He started every game for the Cardinal at left guard as a sophomore, and then every game at left tackle as a junior, although he frequently kicked back inside to guard last year as well. He has moved back inside to left guard for his senior season, as his skill set is better suited as an interior lineman.
Yankey will square off against Arizona State on Saturday, which will create opportunities for him to face playmaking defensive tackle Will Sutton.
Yankey is a well-balanced player who can both run and pass block extremely well.
As a run blocker, he plays with great pad level and generates good movement with his powerful leg drive. He can get to the second level and seal off linebackers very successfully. When pass blocking, Yankey can quickly get good depth on his kick step and anchor. He has flashed good ability to set up his opponent and cut block effectively.
Overall, Yankey is very technically sound and has no real holes in his game when projecting him as a guard. He does not the foot quickness, bend and flexibility needed to play tackle in the NFL. But with his consistent play, experience and versatility, Yankey has a chance to be selected in the late-first to mid-second round area of the draft if he declares in 2014.
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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Antonio Richardson, Colin Brown, David Yankey, Florida, Ja'Wuan James, Jon Halapio, Notre Dame, Offensive Linemen, Potential Bills, Prospects to Watch, Stanford, Tennessee, Zack Martin