With all the QB and RB chatter floating around before next week’s draft, the Offensive Guard spot isn’t the most exciting to talk about – but help along the interior line remains one of the Miami Dolphins dire needs.
It won’t matter who’s in the backfield or taking snaps if the offensive line is as leaky in 2011 as it was in 2010.
Florida’s Mike Pouncey seems to be the consensus #1 Guard in this year’s crop. He (or RB Mark Ingram) gets my vote for being the Dolphins first pick especially if the pick remains slotted at 15. Yes, 15 may be a bit high for Pouncey, but if Miami is without a second rounder, they must make Round 1 count by providing the offensive with instant help in 2011, rather than roll the dice on a QB that will sit. Those of you drinking the Mallett / Kaepernick Kool-Aid may disagree, but that’s a whole different conversation.
If the Dolphins don’t go with Pouncey or another O-liner in Round 1, they’ll need to address the spot later on.
Georgia’s 6’5 310-pound Clint Boling – a 4 year starter in the SEC – might be a name to watch on Day 2 or 3 of the draft. He’s big, fits the mold, and has built a reputation as an incredibly smart, high character guy with tremendous inside strength.
I’ve seen Boling mocked as early as Round 2 and as late as Round 4, so there’s a chance he could be there when Miami’s on the clock in the third. If the Dolphins are looking to come away with a player that could challenge Nate Garner or John Jerry for a starting spot, waiting later than the third round will diminish their chances greatly. Most draft gurus are calling the Guard class relatively weak, and there are several scouting reports out there that seem to think Boling could be starter caliber from day one.
Here’s what some of the reports are saying:
Positives: Athletic… Versatile… Reasonably good strength… Very solid pass blocker… Quick pass set… Good short area quickness and footwork..Can control his man once locked on… Good run blocker…Plays with a mean streak…Will get looks at Tackle as well.
Negatives: Gets too upright in pass protection and moved off the LOS… Hands get a little wide at times… Can be beat by good outside speed… Will lean and lunge to make contact on the outside edge… Can be pushed back by a strong bull rusher.
From Pro Football Weekly:
Upside: Outstanding work ethic – is self motivated and driven….Solid, functional run blocker…Patient in his sets and doesn’t give up ground when he locks up…Great instincts and feel for the game…Light on his feet and can adjust well to movement.
Downside: Plays a bit straight-legged and tall…Can improve his punch strength – tends to catch and steer…Not an elite foot athlete and could struggle with top speed…Average arm length.
Draft sites and publications have Boling ranked between 3 and 6 in this year’s Guard class, usually in the company of Lehigh’s Will Rackley, Wisconsin’s John Moffitt, and FSU’s Rodney Hudson.
Before the combine, Boling stated he wants to play OT at the next level, but he seems to be better suited inside. If he’s there in the third or fourth round – we’ll see if Miami is interested.