+Uses solid fundamentals
+Good lateral agility
+Good run blocker
+Gets above average leverage
+Plays with above average on field intensity
+Extremely wide base
+Gets an excellent initial punch, especially as a pass blocker
-Average on field awareness
-Will miss blocks in the second level
-Mediocre body control
-Will lean on his hands in the second level
-A bit false start prone
Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is a good player. He’s far from perfect, but I’d be pretty stunned if he didn’t become a starting tackle at the NFL level, and he should make a couple Pro Bowls along the way.
Kouandjio has solid measurables. He has solid height at 6’5, solid bulk at 310lbs, and solid speed with a 5.12 40 yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com. You can tell by looking at him that he also possesses extremely long arms for his size.
Kouandjio is a respectable pass blocker. One thing in particular stands out about Kouandjio when I watch him play; he’s equally successful against 4-3 defenses compared to 3-4. This shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s really hard to find an offensive tackle both athletic enough to block 4-3 5 techniques like Cameron Wake but also strong enough to block 3-4 5 techniques such as Justin Smith. Kouandjio is adequate against both. He’s not dominant against either, but good enough against both that it’s hard to find someone who really is a mismatch for him. To me, it feels like that, over the last few years, as the 3-4 has become more prevalent in the NFL, teams are failing to adjust to it when picking offensive linemen on draft day, ignoring the fact that guys like Eric Fisher have no experience blocking 3-4 linemen in their college careers. The only conference where you see good 3-4 defensive linemen in college football is in the SEC (and any team that faces Stanford), and Kouandjio has proven to me that he can block both. As a pass blocker, his athleticism is fairly mediocre by the lofty standards set by first round offensive tackles, but he makes up for it by using his long arms and strength to get a tremendous initial punch that knocks speed rushers far enough back for him to fairly consistently seal the outside. Once he gets that good initial punch, it’s hard to get the outside against Kouandjio. At times, he will play too high against speed rushers though. Against 3-4 ends, he’s excellent at using his length and strength to contain the bull rush as well as his wide frame to prevent successful inside counter moves, even though his lateral quickness is merely average. He’s fundamentally sound and he plays with good on field intensity. His hand usage is quite good. His on field awareness as a pass blocker is quite mediocre, though, as he rarely displays much awareness of the quarterback’s position in the pocket and doesn’t always seem to be in sync with his teammates picking up defensive line stunts. However, he has made improvements in this area as his career has progressed and he should be respectable in this area in the long run in the NFL.
Kouandjio is a good run blocker. He has one major weakness as a run blocker, and it’s fairly significant. He’s below average in the second level, showcasing mediocre body control, below average balance, and an inability to engage in blocks when he’s 5 yards downfield. It’s tough to use a lot of zone blocking with him on the field, because, if you can help it, you’d really like to see him blocking a defensive lineman, or anyone in a 3 point stance. If asked to zone block every once and a while he’ll get stuck blocking a linebacker, and that’s something you’d like to avoid if you can. Against down linemen, he’s terrific. He’s as strong as an ox, good fundamentals seem to come naturally to him, his arms are incredibly long. He’s a little bit top heavy and he can get caught leaning on his hands every once and a while, but, bottom line, when he successfully engages in a block, he rarely fails to drive his man far off the ball. He plays with above average on field intensity, he has solid stamina, and he gets a good initial punch. He lacks the quickness needed to make good cut blocks, and he doesn’t always get great position on double teams, but he’s still a net positive in this area since his ability as a one on one run blocker assuming he can engage in the block is hard to overvalue. It’s quite tremendous. However, that inability to block linebackers in the second level does carry over into the screen game as well.
Ultimately, I like Kouandjio. I think he’s a safe pick due to his incredible length, solid strength, and good fundamentals. He should be a starter for many years in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Anthony Davis. No, not the New Orleans Pelicans power forward. San Francisco’s right tackle, Davis is probably among the top 15 tackles in the game. Unlike Kouandjio, Davis had some character issues out of college, but he’s put them aside and has a nice career going so far. Kouandjio should be just as successful.
Grade: 97 (worthy of a late top 10 pick)
Projection: 96 (will be a mid to early first round pick)