Arie Kouandjio   OG   Alabama

TALENT BOARD ROUND 3

STRENGTHS
Arie uses excellent technique and has the right size to become a dominating run blocker for the team that drafts him. He is powerful and once he gets his hands on you, itís all over. He does a solid job when pass blocking and works well with his teammates to minimize his lack of pure athletic talents. He is very smart and his lateral agility for his first step is adequate enough to play the center position as well as guard in a system that uses tight splits. He is not a spread offensive lineman, but he is a good one and in the right system could become a Pro Bowl guard. Arie can be used for short pulls and, because of his football intelligence, can be used at more than one interior line position. If he is worked out at the center position and can make all the snaps, I would think his value would be greater than just playing a guard in the NFL. Arie has the best punch out of most of the offensive linemen coming out in this draft and with his lower body and upper body strength, thatís one technique that will serve him well at the next level. That strong and powerful hand punch at the snap to his opponent is what sets Arie apart from most offensive linemen in this draft.

CONCERNS
If Arie doesnít have the skills to play center in a pinch, then I suspect he might be selected in the later rounds, but like I said, he has enough athletic talent to play more than one interior offensive line position.

BOTTOM LINE
Arie is a pure guard and as most of the members know, I prefer to draft and select offensive linemen who play tackle at the college level, but donít really have the talent to do that in the NFL, so they move inside. The reasoning behind that is that most college tackles are more athletic than college guards and I like that athleticism on the offensive line at all positions to cut down on injuries and because, when I change a coach and they have a new system, I know all of my offensive linemen can handle (athletically) any system. After all, most offensive linemen out-live the coaches they play for in the NFL. The life of the average coach with one team might be four to five years and the average life of a good offensive lineman with one team is more like ten years. Nevertheless, sometimes a player will just be a good player like Arie and when that happens, I look to see if they can play center in a pinch. If they can, Iím more than willing to select them in the first three rounds of the draft. Arie is good enough after the draft to start as a right guard and that might be his best position at the NFL level. Even if he is ďonlyĒ a right guard, I figure selecting Arie means you have a right guard for the next ten years. Although Arie might not be as athletic a player as I might like, selecting a player who you think might play one position for the next ten years might not be a bad thing after all.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2015