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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Top five OG comparisons

By Craig Haubert

As each and every new evaluation period begins for our staff, we always try to use today’s college football stars and apply some of their best traits when describing the next generation of prospects. All prospects are different from one another, but many share similar characteristics that stand out in relation to their styles. In this edition of the series, we take a look at a group that often gets little fanfare but is still essential to an offense’s success. Here are the top five offensive guards in this class and who they remind us of in college football at this time.

Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory) -- Oregon State’s Isaac Seumalo: The top-rated OG possesses a little better size and natural strength at this stage, while Seumalo was arguably a little sharper with his technique coming out. While they do have differences, these two also share some similarities. Both are physical and tenacious blockers as well as smart players. A coach’s son, Seumalo had a good feel for the game when he came out, and while he might not have that same background, Brumfield displays very good awareness as blocker. In pass protection, both set quickly, deliver a good punch and can slide and mirror rushers. In the run game, both can create push as well as be effective second-level blockers. Both were high school tackles projected as guards at the college level. Seumalo arrived at Oregon State and has started at center since his freshman year. We feel Brumfield will develop at OG at LSU, but he can also offer some versatility, which helped him rise to the top guard spot. With some added size, he could potentially contribute early in his career as well.

Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Callaway) -- Baylor’s Cyril Richardson: Like Richardson, Taylor can develop into a massive, powerful and physical presence at the guard position. The Ole Miss verbal has very good size and playing strength, and like Richardson, is capable of pushing defenders around in the run game. While big bodies, both have good pull/trap ability and are nimble on their feet for their size. Taylor needs to work to improve hand placement, but he's big and strong like Baylor’s senior OG. Taylor has an ideal anchor while also being light on his feet to shadow rushers. Taylor needs some further development but is capable of developing into one of the top guards in college football like Richardson has.

Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa) -- Notre Dame’s Zack Martin: Martin lined up at tackle for Notre Dame, but is a bit undersized and will likely make the transition to guard in the NFL. While Pierschbacher is rated as a top OG, he could, like Martin, play tackle in college and be effective. But at Alabama, we feel his best fit will be inside. While they’ll likely end up playing different positions at the college level, they still compare favorably. They each lack great size, but play with great effort and some nastiness. In the run game, both are capable of firing off the ball and driving defenders back. Like Martin, Pierschbacher is also a good athlete with the lateral quickness and mobility to be an effective zone blocker as well. In pass protection, the No. 3 OG needs to continue to improve his hand usage, but like the Notre Dame senior, he moves laterally with ease and can shuffle and mirror rushers.

Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./Saint John Bosco) -- Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson: The immediate comparison that came to mind for Mama was Vaughn Dotsy, a promising guard prospect out of the 2008 class. Also out of California, Dotsy was a massive, but nimble-footed big man who went to Arizona, but unfortunately had his career cut short due to back problems. Pulling from today’s current pool of college players, Mama reminds us some of talented Mississippi State OG Jackson. Mama is a big-bodied dude, carrying around a lot of mass on his frame, and like Jackson, he’ll need to watch his weight as well as his pad level. While the massive pair needs to monitor aspects of their games, they can also be very productive in the trenches. In pass pro, each can deliver a strong punch and with their size and lateral mobility, they can present a tough obstacle for pass rushers to work around. Both, not surprisingly, are also capable of being road-graders in the run game, and despite their size, can still be effective second level blockers.

Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo: The USC commit reminds us of one of the top O-Line prospects in the 2009 class, who has gone on to build a successful career at cross-town rival UCLA. Both possess adequate height with powerful builds and have the ability and experience to play either tackle or guard, though the ideal fit for each is inside. In pass protection, Talamaivao can stay low to the ground and like the talented Bruins OL, he can quickly get hands on and use good upper body strength to lock on and slide with rushers. A player with some nastiness, Talamaivao can also be effective as a run blocker and can quickly get into defenders, deliver a pop and drive them off the ball. Su’a-Filo plays for the Trojans' rival, but if Talamaivao can produce a similar career while in Los Angeles, as he is capable of, USC fans would gladly take it.