<
>

Eyeing the draft: Xavier Su'a-Filo

5/9/2014

Even though the draft is finally underway, there are still players who will be available for the Redskins on Friday that are worth analyzing. I won't get to them all, but I'll get to a few. The reports are based on watching multiple games on draftbreakdown.com; I'll let you know when there is an opinion other than my own. I'm not a fan of having to only watch them off a TV feed -- you don't always get the best angle, or see all the players -- but it's the best I can do now and it helps provide a snapshot. The draft analysts -- especially those from ESPN.com, NFL.com and CBSSports.com -- help fill in the gap, especially in terms of where they are projected.

Player: Xavier Su'a-Filo

College: UCLA

Position: Guard

College production: Started 13 games at left tackle as a freshman, then served as a missionary for the next two seasons. Started 27 games the past two seasons, at both guard and tackle.

How he'd fit: Plug him in at right guard and let him go. Or they could keep him at left guard, where he played in college, and shift Shawn Lauvao back to right guard, where he mostly played in Cleveland. Su'a-Filo seems to be a player who could start much sooner rather than later. The odd man out in this scenario would be right guard Chris Chester.

What I liked: Another guy who blocks to the whistle and plays with intensity and always was looking for someone else to block. I like guys like that. Worked well to the second level and showed a lot of versatility. Had to play left tackle on occasion (six starts at left tackle in 2013), including against Stanford in 2012 and had some positive moments when facing pass-rusher Trent Murphy. But it's not his spot and he had to rely more on competitiveness to survive there. However, in the couple games I saw him at left tackle he did not embarrass himself. I saw other analysts rip him for how he fared at left tackle, but I did not see enough to go there. Defended one spin move by Murphy by knocking him off stride to negate the impact after the spin. Awareness improved this past season. Drives well off the ball. Seems to have a strong base (big butt; that's good). Good athleticism. Intangibles.

What I didn't: Inconsistent in pass protection, thanks in part to his hands. Inconsistent placement and would get driven back on occasion; but he could anchor eventually. Saw more refinement in him as a run-blocker for now than in protection. Missed some stunts, often, it seemed, out of awareness. However, that seemed to improve this past season. But it will be a big test for him against more complicated NFL schemes and blitzes. Has to work on being consistent when he bends.

Projection: Second round. Su'a-Filo has experience in both man- and zone-blocking schemes and offers versatility, again having played left tackle on more than a few occasions (it's what he was as a freshman, too). But his size is more suited to guard (6-foot-4, 308 pounds). He's the top-ranked guard by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.