Kevin C. Cox
Continuing our look at some of college footballs elite, we move onto the SEC and Alabama's left guard Chance Warmack.
Todd McShay has described Chance Warmack as the best interior lineman he has evaluated in the last decade, the greatest prospect since Steve Hutchinson in 2001, and he is absolutely right. Most of you should be aware of Chance Warmack, Alabama are on TV pretty much every week and you will have a chance to see him again in the national title game.
Interior lineman don't tend to warrant too much pre-draft hype, it's usually the blind-side protecting tackles or the centres who gain most of the lines in the press. However this year could be different as Chance could be the 2nd or 3rd best player in this draft full stop.
Taking over from All-American Mike Johnson at left guard on the Alabama offence, Chance had some pretty big boots to fill and boy has he done it. Alabama consistently rank among the nations leaders in offence, especially on the ground, when you watch them play football it's no surprise that there are some gaping holes. It's also no surprise that in 2012 Alabama had two 1,000 yard backs on their team in Eddie Lacy and impressive Freshman T.J Yeldon (Heisman in his future).
Like a lot of SEC teams, it all starts up front. Alabama has a lot of talent on that offensive line, but the most talented is Chance, at 6'2 and 325lb's he is a big frame if a little short, but he moves extremely well and has the strength to play inside.
Although he may be a little shorter than some guards, he has great movement and has been described as 'Country strong' which isn't a bad thing. He has no durability concerns and has started at LG for the past three seasons. Has no off the field issues which is important, especially for the Jets. The best thing about Chance for me? his toughness and desire. He never quits and plays to the whistle every single snap of every single quarter. His coaches has commented that he is a perfectionist who works at his craft day and night. Appreciates the little things about his position like hand placement, and understands the importance of footwork and leverage. Excellent awareness in pass protection, and doesn't get beat with fancy pass rush moves, has the strength to hold up against any bull rushes* and quick to pick up any blitz that is coming from the second level. However his real calling is in run blocking, has a great first step and keeps his legs moving to drive defenders out the way. Has excellent balance and a thick lower body, constantly generates a surge and Alabama run to the left for yardage consistently. Will finish his blocks and then move to the next level if possible. Good overall athleticism, with a good punch and good lateral ability and short area quickness. As you have probably gathered, he is an elite talent.
* In relation to bull rushes, although he does have the strength to stand up against them, can be slightly knocked back on initial contact and can play with his pads too high in pass protection. Apart from that there really isn't a great deal not to like about Chance.
There is a reason why he is gaining momentum within draft circles as a top 10 selection. He can be a consistent performer for the next 10 years and for a team like the Jets who need some interior lineman, this probably would make a lot of sense. It's not the 'sexy' selection that some will want but it's a footballing selection, he could really help us with our run game and if we are going to draft a Running Back like many want us too, having a guy like Chance on board will increase their chances of instant success. I love his run blocking ability more than anything and the fact he is a film room guy, who takes pride in his craft. I think he'll likely go between 10-20, and could be around where Steve Hutchinson went in 2001 (#17), so he is right around where we will be selecting. I think this would be a 'safe' pick and his 'bust potential' is extremely low. I would certainly consider Chance if he is there when we select.