2024 NFL Draft Guard Class Preview
Top Player: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
The past three years, we have watched an offensive guard drafted in the top 15. The player who could go that high this year is Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe. In 2022, Beebe was named an All-American and the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
When looking at how his game translates to the NFL, the first thing that stands out with Beebe is his strength and how physical he plays. He also shows a high football IQ and has no trouble identifying defensive stunts or understanding his assignments. Another positive with the Wildcat standout is the fact he has never allowed a sack during his college career.
Guy I Would Stand on the Table for: Troy Fautanu, Washington
Teams that like mobile offensive linemen are going to love Washington’s Troy Fautanu. Fautanu is an impressive athlete who has even played left tackle for the Huskies. However, due to his lack of length, he will likely play inside in the NFL.
The reason I am so high on the Washington lineman is how well he operates in space, showing the ability to be a lead blocker as a pulling lineman, get to the second level as a run blocker, and slide in pass protection. He should be an ideal fit in a zone-blocking scheme and absolutely has the skillset to start in the NFL.
Overrated: Connor Colby, Iowa
One of the most overrated players in the 2024 NFL Draft currently is Iowa offensive guard Connor Colby. Last season, while playing both offensive tackle and offensive guard, he had a 37.4 pass blocking grade by Pro Football Focus. Furthermore, his film leaves a lot to be desired. The biggest concern is how often he allows defenders to get into his body due to his poor hand use. Colby also lacks power on his initial punch and overall shows poor technique.
Despite these concerns, and the fact he was listed as a second-teamer after spring practice, he is widely rated as a day-two prospect by other draftniks. I see Colby as more of a late-day three pick and that is only due to his impressive athletic ability and intriguing potential.
Sleeper: Marcus Tate, Clemson
Perhaps it is due to the season-ending knee injury he suffered last season, but people are overlooking Clemson’s Marcus Tate. Tate, who is only the third true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener for Clemson, shows the traits to be a starting offensive guard in the NFL.
The area he excels at is run blocking using his size (6-foot-6, 325 pounds) and impressive strength to drive his defender off the ball on a routine basis. While he is a better run blocker than a pass blocker, Tate does hold up in this area by showing quick enough feet to keep up with most defensive tackles. The teams that will really like Tate are the ones who play a gap scheme and really emphasizes a power-running game.
Biggest Risk: Christian Mahogany, Boston College
A player who would carry a first-round grade if not coming off a serious injury is Boston College’s Christian Mahogany. Unfortunately, Mahogany is coming off a torn ACL, which caused him to miss all of last year. When on the field he is one of the better guards in college football, being named second-team All-ACC in 2021, and showing the athletic ability, strength, and toughness to be a high-quality NFL starter.