It’s no secret the Arizona Cardinals need help along the offensive line. I personally believe they need the most help in the interior of the unit.
While the Mike Glennon speculation runs rampant, I’ll be much happier if they go after a guard in the second round.
Kentucky’s Larry Warford could be the man to fit the bill.
Larry Warford, Guard, Kentucky – 6-3, 340 pounds
Warford is built like a prototypical NFL guard, with good size and a large frame that doesn’t seem to have issues carrying his weight.
Thickly built from top to bottom, Warford is in no need of gaining weight or adding mass throughout his frame. In fact, there may be concern at the NFL level about him getting too big, something that will need to be closely monitored once he gets to the league.
For being such a massive, powerful man, Warford uses excellent hand placement, keeps his shoulders square at the line of scrimmage and continues to carry a low base which allows him to transfer the technique into power in the run game and in straight-line blocking.
Footwork within the phone booth of the guard position is ideal, but when he is asked to pull or move in space his footwork doesn’t look nearly as fluid.
Pass pro technique leaves a lot to be desired…at times. Warford can pop upright out of his stance instead of staying low and keep himself in a good position. Lunges at defenders, can get pushed back with speed and then is not able to recover because of poor technique, where he bends at the waist and loses his solid base.
Warford looks comfortable initiating contact in pass protection. He anchors well and the old cliché of “once he gets his hands on you it’s over” is very true here.
One of the concerns about Warford is that when he accepts contact in pass pro he can get beat with a punch and move because he can get tall at times and doesn’t get back to the strong anchor that he is known for when he is creating contact.
Warford can be beaten with speed moves when he drops into pass pro instead of firing out and controlling the contact from the snap of the ball.
When I watch Warford go against elite SEC defensive lineman that are likely to be drafted in the first round and I see him bully them, I wonder why he doesn’t get more recognition. Then I realize we are talking about the pass-happy NFL and it all makes sense.
Warford is a true road grader at the guard position, driving the defensive lineman off the ball, staying engaged with strong hands inside the pads and controlling, turning and moving the defender where he wants them to go.
Warford roots the defender out of the running lanes and creates open space for the running back.
He can get lazy finishing blocks too often, as he controls a player to a point and then allows them back into the play.
On pulls he is highly effective…at times. There are issues with Warford too often attempting to cut down defenders instead of engaging them in space. This is why he works best in a power-based run blocking scheme and shouldn’t be asked to get out on the corner or to the next level, but rather to win consistently one-on-one in the run game.
Moves well on pulls, gets to the corner and turns well, but isn’t the most agile man in space as he tends to dive at the ankles on pulls instead of finishing through the defender.
Can be caught off-guard on blitzes and gets beat with speed too often to be called an elite athlete at the position.
Warford is a mountain of a man who can hang with any defensive tackle in the league in a one-on-one battle.
I have seen him on numerous occasions use a strong punch to rock a defender back and allow his teammate to get to him on a reach block and Warford to get to the second level where he can engulf the linebacker.
Larry Warford is an old school guard, in the mold of a Leonard Davis. Line him up, let him hit the man in front of him and run the ball behind him.
He needs to work on his motor when it comes to finishing blocks, as he wins too often initially and then allows the defender to get back into the play.
The overlying thought is he has so much power and does such a great job in the run game that his technique problems can be overlooked and coached up at the next level.
Warford will be a solid second round guard that can go in and not just compete from day one, but start for a team with a dynamic power run blocking scheme, something the Cardinals will be looking to employ.