By Rich Tandler
The Redskins could come to the NFL combine this week looking to upgrade the center position by getting a new left guard.
Will Montgomery started 14 games at center in 2011 (he started the other two at left guard) and while he performed respectably, many believe is that the team could do better. The thought is that they could move Kory Lichtensteiger from left guard to his natural position at center and then get a guard in the draft.
That plan is one of those that looks good on paper but may not work in reality. This draft is very thin at the guard position. Even though the Redskins’ zone blocking scheme can utilize players who might not be rated highly by other teams, it might be difficult to pluck an immediate starter at guard in this draft.
Going by the ratings assigned by Wes Bunting of the National Football Post, only three players who are invited to the combine as guards grade out as potential NFL starters. The top player at the position, and one of the top five players in the entire draft, is David DeCastro of Stanford. Despite his lofty ranking, he is likely to be drafted somewhere in the middle of the first round since the position is not highly valued. While he could be plugged right in and start immediately, there is no chance the Redskins will look at him with the sixth overall pick.
Lucas Nix of Pitt is the second-rated guard likely to be available in the second round and maybe even the third. At 6-6, however, he may be too tall for fit the zone scheme, although he is athletic. Next on the board is Kevin Zeitler of Wisconsin, who is limited athletically but has a nasty streak.
That is about it as far as prospects who are likely to be able to start on opening day. Certainly the Redskins could use some depth at guard and they will be looking to identify some late-round gems. To pluck a name from the lower-rated prospects, the Redskins could give Adam Gettis of Iowa a good look in Indianapolis. Some scouts say that he needs to add weight but at 6-4, 280 he wouldn’t have to bulk up much to play for the Redskins. Gettis is a good athlete and someone to keep an eye on as the draft process unfolds.
Several of the players invited to the combine as tackles might end up playing guard in the NFL so there are more possibilities than are listed here. We will look at the tackle position here on Tuesday.
The complete list of guards invited to the combine is below. They are in the order of Bunting’s scouting grades.
CSN Washington will have wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL Combine starting Feb 23 and our Rich Tandler will be in Indianapolis. If there are any players on the list you’d like to know more about, let us know in the comments or hit Rich up on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.