The NFL draft is just days away, and by this point each player has been analyzed, scrutinized, and romanticized by every NFL guru from Kalamazoo to Calcutta. We here at pigskinpress.com turn once again to our director of scouting Nathan Cooper to help us look deeper into the draft at some guys from the group of five that may be a real steal on draft day!
Will Hernandez College: UTEP
Position: Left Guard
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Games Scouted: 2017 #1 @ Oklahoma, #3 Arizona, #5 @ Army (Live), #6 Western Kentucky, Senior Bowl Practices (Live), Senior Bowl (Live) 2017 Stats: 12 GP, 12 Starts Career Stats: 49 GP, 49 Starts All-Star Game: Senior Bowl
Started all 49 games at Left Guard
2x Second Team All-American (2016, 2017 – Associated Press)
2x First Team All-Conference-USA (2016, 2017 – Coaches)
Member of wrestling and track & field teams in high school
Character – A
2017 Game Captain
Medical – A
Excellent power and play strength
Very good awareness and instincts
Mauler in the run game
Plays nasty with sustain and finish
Feet stop at the POA
Struggles to adjust and get to the 2nd level under control
Hernandez projects as an All-Pro Left Guard at the next level. He could get by for a few games playing Right Guard, but he would need a couple of seasons to learn and practices the nuances of the position. He could be a solid Center if he could learn to snap. He doesn’t have the size or the arm length to be able to play either of the Tackle positions. He played his entire UTEP career, 49 games, at Left Guard. He is a good athlete for his size and moves very well. In terms of toughness and compete level, he has it and brings it on every play. He makes sure the guy opposite him doesn’t and can’t get to the ball. He finishes every block not only to the whistle, but through the whistle and plays with nastiness. In the run game, Hernandez is an absolute mauler. He gets his hands on with power and violence and drives defenders off the LOS. He does very well on combo blocks and shows good power at the POA. Pulling around and getting into space isn’t his game, but he is effective on occasion. He does a solid job pulling and leading the way into the holes on power runs. Once he gets to the 2nd level, he shows inconsistency in adjusting and being under control at the POA and will sometimes overrun his man. In the passing game, he is a very good pass blocker and does a great job mirroring defenders. His short-set anchor ability is very good and rarely gets pushed back into the quarterback. He’s normally keeping his man at the LOS or beyond it on most passing plays. He’s effective and plays well in a phone booth. He does a great job passing off and taking on defenders and shows very good awareness and instincts to what is taking place around him. He fires off the ball with explosion and reacts quickly to blitzing defenders. He shows strong, violent hands at the POA and rarely lets go, but does struggle at times due to his short arm length. Although he has great upper-body strength, he relies on it a bit too much at times. At the POA, he will stop his feet and try to rely on his arms and upper body instead of keeping his feet moving to stay in front of the defender. Hernandez should come in right away and solidify himself as a starting Left Guard and turn into an All-Pro within just a few years, while having no problem playing for 10+ years in the league.
NFL Comparison: Richie Incognito, Bills (3rd Round, 2005 – Rams) Hernandez and Incognito compare favorably in a few different aspects. Not only are they both similar in size, but they play with outstanding strength at the POA and they show a nasty edge to their game by finishing their block on every play.
Grade: 7.4 (Early-Mid 1st Round)
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