It was a chaotic day at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, and while general managers and head coaches were getting grilled on the main stage, offensive linemen and tight ends were the real main event. I decided to focus in on the offensive line group in particular and it’s a fairly deep, talented and diverse group of players this year.
Making the jump to the pro level is difficult for any position group, obviously, but when it comes to the trenches, a solid understanding of fundamental techniques of playing offensive line is an absolute must. You’re no longer consistently bigger or stronger than the guy in front of you, and the margin for error becomes razor thin. So, what skills, attributes, or talents do you have that sets yourself apart from other players in the draft? It was a question that fellow media members and I made sure to ask of just about every one of these linemen.
“I think I play at a very low level, and I think I’m athletic and strong,” said South Carolina guard A.J. Cann. “For a guard, I think I’m really athletic. I’m quick, and I think I can basically block anybody if I put my mind to it.”
Cann also talked about another fundamental aspect of guard play picking up slants and twists by defensive linemen. “We are taught that if you are blocking somebody and your man slants out, you have to have your head on a swivel because anybody can be coming at any different angle so you have to be ready to block. A lot of guys [in the SEC] run stunts, especially in pass situations. You have a lot of twist games and a lot of slants on a angle. That’s why your head has to be on a swivel.”