Some football players seem to have it all at an early age. Most of those players never pan out for a wide variety of reasons. One player who did pan out is Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green. Green was considered the best offensive line prospect in Texas and one of the best in the nation when he was a junior in high school. He was considered a 5 star prospect, the #1 prospect of any position in the state of Texas. Texas is one of the biggest states in the nation, where football is more like a religion than a sport. Green was an Under Armor and US Army All American. He was the Houston area player of the year. It seemed like the accolades would never stop coming in.
Kenyon Green learned a lot of what he knew from his dad, who coached him right up to high school. During his senior year with the Atascocita Eagles his father, Henry Green, recalled “I saw a lot of maturity from Kenyon this year. I used to tell him ‘hey you need to get that block here, you need to take him and drive him more to the ground.’ This year you could see all that he was doing on the field. I was very proud of him this year.”
Kenyon’s dad gave him some tough love in his coaching. When he went to college he felt he needed the same type of tough love. Whereas many top recruits feel entitled, and want to be treated with respect they have yet to earn on a college field, Kenyon was different. The reason he stayed home to play football in Texas had more to do with the coach (offensive line coach Jim Turner) than the state. “Coach Turner is a hard-nosed coach,” Kenyon said. “He’s a military style coach, and I like that. I can’t have a coach that’s nice to me, and I have never had that. I’m glad that I got a chance to know coach Turner more.”
The Greens as a family made the decision as to where the best place was to nurture Kenyon. The family is very close, they let their faith guide them. Henry Green said “It was actually pretty simple. We put God first in everything that we do. We tell him to stay humble. If you stay humble and trust in God’s word everything is going to be alright and come out alright. He made a very wise decision in his life. My wife (Shalonda) and I stand by him 100 percent. We think Texas A&M is the perfect spot for him.”
In College Station Green started all 13 games as a true freshman and was voted to the All SEC freshman team playing at right guard in 2019. As a sophomore he started 10 games at left guard and was voted an AP 2nd team All-American. He was an AP 1st team All-American in 2021 playing at four different line positions (all except center). He started 2 games at RT, 2 at RG, 7 at LG and a single game when needed at LT. He was also selected to the All Academic team as well.
The first thing you see with Kenyon Green is that he is a massive man at 6’ 4,” 325 lbs. He is extremely powerful, with quality technique to get atop and move players out of the way. He has great balance and uses his hands well, but he is also very athletic. Green moves like a man 100 lbs lighter, with great speed and agility. Here he is pulling from the left guard position to kick out the defensive end. Green is #55.
Green gets out of his stance quickly, then pulls outside amazingly fast. That is outside linebacker Jeremiah Moon who is 6’5”, 245 lbs that Green is charged with blocking. You see Green eye his target, then get low, even though Moon drops his shoulder down to accept the blow. Green is able to stay under the shoulder of Moon, then lift him slightly off the ground. By doing so Green has effectively taken away all of Moon’s leverage. Green then pushes Moon 5 or 6 yards back away from the play.
You can see the play is not really successful as other defenders come over to seal the hole. Yet Green is still knocking his man back after the RB has been tackled. That is termed “blocking until the echo of the whistle.” It makes your offensive line coach very happy. Everything done by Green on the play is excellent.
This is a play in the same game against the same player who this time is lined up on the 2nd level of the defense. Moon is about 80 lbs lighter than Green so he should have a serious edge in agility and mobility against the big lineman.
As Green comes off the ball, he knows the play is being run off his backside so Green wants to clear the area. He uses a wide base with quick, choppy steps to ensure that Moon doesn’t “ole” him, pushing him by as he makes the tackle. Green widens the base, gets a 45 degree angle on the block so he can keep Moon moving back plus away from where the play is run. Green is able to move his man 5 yards horizontally plus 5 yards vertically downfield. This is a long way to stay connected while making an effective block of a defender who is fighting to get into the play.
These plays are remarkable because interior linemen are usually pitted against a burly defensive tackle who is either strong as an ox or quick as a cat. They are all big with power to use against their opponents. The guard has his man within a foot or so from his nose so the collision is nearly a split second after the snap. What is extraordinary is when that same interior lineman can move out around the edge, leading the way on the play. Green finds his man he needs to block, who is 100 lbs less than himself. He finds him, targeta him and makes the block. Whiffing the block is not unusual, dominating, then flattening, is unusual.
Here against Florida Green is off at the snap, with impressive quickness and speed to get around the corner before the linebacker can make it into the backfield. That is LB David Reese, who is 6’ 2” 230 lbs. Reese is strong, quick and fast. Green gets on him quickly, dips that shoulder again to gain leverage, then knocks him out of the hole. Green then is able to control Reese, power him back, and like his father mentioned to him earlier, “drive him more to the ground.” Green drove him down so hard he even got one of his own men as well. This block could use some syrup with the pancake.
When viewing a prospect you want to see him against some of the best teams, teams who are competitive with the highest quality athletes. In college no team fits that description better than the University of Alabama. Green has played all over the offensive line in his brief career in College Station. Here as a right guard he is on a short pull to kick out the contain man on the end of the line.
That player Green is forcefully kicking out is Alabama linebacker Christian Harris, who is 6’ 2”, 232 lbs and very athletic and strong. Harris is probably a solid day two selection in the upcoming draft. Again you can see Green drop that shoulder, then rock Harris back and into the air. He is moved back about 3 yards from the collision. This block is effective in keeping Harris out of the play.
This again is against Alabama with Green at the left guard position. This is the same play as before but for some reason they motion their receiver towards the play side instead of away from it. Green is on a long pull, he wants to take out the edge defender from the play. The edge defender has other plans, he wants to make a scrum in the backfield which will bottle up the RB until his friends can make the tackle.
The edge rusher does his best, he comes in hard and low, but Green also comes in low. They meet in a massive collision just behind the line of scrimmage. That’s as far as the edge rusher makes it. The RB sees this, then cuts off the backside of Green into the clear. That wasn’t the end for our two combatants. Green stays with the block, moving the defender almost 10 yards back from where they collided. To stay connected to the block on a smaller man for 3-4 seconds while driving him downfield is incredible. The running play was successful (8-9 yards) despite the defense having 9 men near the line of scrimmage with an attacking style defense. Green’s relentless pursuit of the block is what inspires other players to their best. It’s why he was voted team captain.
This next play looks like the same play action and it is. The only difference is that it is an inside trap play instead of an off tackle play. Green is blocking the same man, the outside edge defender. Watch how again he gets low just before contact so that he has the leverage advantage that he uses quite well.
This play even has the same motion action to the right so everything looks the same on a completely different play. The problem for the offense here is that the defensive line is pinching in so there is little running room. Also Jalen Wydermyer shows you why he is known for his pass catching and not his blocking. Wydermyer comes through the line high then gets blown up by a freshman linebacker, Deontae Lawson.
No matter as Green takes care of his man in impressive fashion. After that good low contact he presses his man up, keeps his legs moving, then drives him backward and into the turf. This is how you pancake a defender.
In 2021 Green showed his versatility by playing four different positions on the offensive line. He played 81 snaps at left tackle, 106 snaps at right guard (he played 747 snaps at right guard in 2019), 408 snaps at left guard (he played 690 at left guard in 2020) and 142 snaps at right tackle. Here is one of those snaps at right tackle
You can see on the edge Green is a little like a fish out of water. He is hesitant, not sure exactly what his keys are. At the snap he looks back inside when the defensive tackle feigns a move to his side. He slows for a split second allowing his man a lane around him. Fortunately the defensive end is tasked with slowing Jalen Wydermyer first, then pass rush second. This allows Green all the time he needs to get back into the correct position.
Green doesn’t appear to have great length, so the defensive end tries to one arm him (what I refer to as the pole move,) but Green is able to fight through this attempt and keep his man moving backward. Green at least shows a good wide base with the ability to move well from side to side. This is not a position Green will be in much as a pro unless there are dire circumstances. Still, it’s nice to know he won’t flounder even if he is out of water.
Again showing versatility against Alabama, Green is working as a left tackle this time with a much quicker opponent in Will Anderson Jr., a 6’ 4”, 243 lbs linebacker on the rush.
Green actually looks more comfortable on the left side since he has played over 1,000 snaps as a left guard. His slide step is fairly smooth without giving up the inside lane to the rusher. He is even confident as he is not angled at the line, something he will not be able to get away with if he plays there in the NFL. He stones the rusher without a problem, it allows all the time needed for the tight end to get around his man on the wheel route for an easy toss and score TD pass.
Again as a left tackle he is further tested with a line stunt with the defensive tackle D. J. Dale coming around with speed. The 6’ 3”, 300 lbs defender was hoping to race around the outside but was handled easily.
Green is able to get his hands inside on the big defensive tackle to slow his rush. He then is able to steer him around the edge, far away from the QB. Green’s versatility is a plus, but it has hurt his development. By playing in so many positions (he even played a single snap at center in 2020) he has never been able to work on one skill set. As a tackle he has to slide step while keeping his hands out in front of him to catch the speedy defender. This is a completely different technique than when he is inside as a guard.
If there is one thing Green needs to work on it is his punch and hand placements. When he misses with his hands inside he is going against very powerful players. By missing his target he at times will hug the rushing defensive tackle, which can cause penalties. This year Green had 7 penalties in his first 8 games because of this. I am sure once he is in the NFL and is put in a single position he will rectify this situation. I’m sure his O-line coach will work on it excessively since he has few other flaws.
This last clip has Green back at his left guard position against LSU. He is working against an experienced grad student in Glen Logan who is 6’ 5”, 303 lbs.
The LSU line is slanting to their right so Green does the smart thing and just keeps him moving in that direction. Logan has superior length which he tries to use to separate himself from Green with the old “pole move.” Green is able to hold him off as the play is being run off of Green’s backside into a gaping hole.
Green is one of the cleanest players in this draft in terms of being pro ready as well as having superior intangibles. He is a plug and play guard prospect. Green will need some NFL coaching but all college players need that.
I have Green along with Zion Johnson as guard prospects 1A & 1B. The only difference is Johnson I believe is a little more stout in his ability to anchor but Green has the advantage as a player who can do more as a pulling guard. Both can handle those duties but each is superior in many ways to the next level of guard prospects.
Prospects Darian Kinnard, Jamaree Salyer and Ikem Ekwonu are slightly more powerful but they lack the superior movement skills of Green and Johnson. They will also be moving positions from tackle to guard which like I said earlier has a whole different set of skills needed. Ikem did play as a left guard for 239 snaps in 2020 so he does have some experience as a guard. This is one of the best guard classes in many years. I have all 5 in my top 100 players. The difference between all these players will be found 5 years from now in how they develop. Each has skills but who will take their skills to the next level remains to be seen.
That’s what I think.
What do you think?