Updated Apr 19, 2013 - 9:02 am
NFL Draft: Breaking down OG Chance Warmack
The Cardinals must be sending out a lot of signals. Heard these names in last 24 hours: Lotulelei, Warmack and Fluker. #ThatTimeOfYear— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 17, 2013
Three more prospects that could hear their named called when the Arizona Cardinals walk up to pick on April 25th.
On my big board, I have Warmack ranked one, and most of you are well aware of my feelings about him. I want him to be the pick, but I don't see it happening if the Cardinals stay at seven.
What does Warmack bring to the table that makes him the number one prospect on my Cardinals board?
Excellent pass and run blocker
While Warmack has made his name as a road grader in the run game, his exploits in pass protection often go woefully underrated.
Warmack is a bit undersized at only 6-2 320lbs, but he has extremely long arms at 34¾", and shows an elite explosiveness to his initial movements.
In pass pro, Warmack uses a strong punch to initially stun his defender then locks them out and "holds" them at bay with his length.
Warmack has quick enough feet in the short area to move into and take on blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.
What Warmack does so well is maintain excellent technique and footwork. He consistently stays square to the line of scrimmage, keeps his feet in a solid base, and doesn't bend at the waist, but instead shows a solid balance and a good ability to move laterally and mirror a defender in pass protection.
In the run game, Warmack makes you understand why so many have him as a top-10 prospect in this draft class. Warmack does a great job at firing out and locking onto his assigned defender and then driving him out of the play.
Gets across the defender's face when need to reach block with an explosive first step, then gets his body around and fights the defender instead of just walling them off.
When asked to trap or pull, Warmack shows good feet and a comfort level in moving in space -- but isn't at his best.
Warmack wins at the second level consistently by getting his helmet in the defender's chest and continuing to drive the defender off and away from the ball.
Not elite in space
In today's NFL, many of the run game schemes ask for their guards to be able to pull and win in space. That isn't Warmack's forte. It is something that he can do, but you won't be utilizing his strengths to their fullest.
His foot quickness in space isn't great, although he doesn't appear to be a plodder. But when asked to get out and block defensive backs in space, he typically will look to cut them instead of taking them on in their chest like he does with defenders in the box.
His lack of foot speed and athleticism means he is strictly a guard prospect, and that could turn off some teams, especially in today's evolving NFL game.
He's a guard
In the ever-changing NFL one thing remains a constant: guards get no love.
The Cardinals' guard play over the last couple of seasons has been bad. Warmack provides an immediate upgrade at a position of "need" but he doesn't play a position of premium value.
This may not seem like a big deal to us, the fans, but the reality is NFL teams don't draft interior offensive linemen in the top 10.
Warmack is one of the best overall prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft, and the best combination of ability, scheme fit and need fulfillment in the draft for the Cardinals, in my opinion.
The Alabama All-American can come in and immediately upgrade the Cardinals' running game by teaming with an elite run blocking tackle like Levi Brown or a guy who showed in the second half of 2012 that he can hold up pretty well in run blocking, in Bobby Massie.
The problem will be -- does that impact hold enough value for the Cardinals to pull the trigger at seven? I don't see it, no matter how much I want it to happen.
Seth Cox/The Sports Headquarters, Editor-in-chief of The Sports Headquarters
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