Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
Reasons: Versatility, Usage of Hands
Games watched (2021): Arkansas, Missouri, Prairie View A&M
His reputation precedes him, but Green is a two-time All-American, a first-team All-SEC lineman, and a Lombardi finalist in 2021. The Aggie came to College Station as a five-star recruit from neighboring Humble, Texas, and started on the line for three years. In 2020, after being an integral part of the Maroon Goons, the best offensive line in the country, he came back for his junior season with heavy expectations.
Fortunately, he didn’t disappoint!
He came into the 2021 season projected as a first-round pick and now leaves Texas A&M as a likely first-round pick. He is incredibly dense and is oozing with play strength. An effective driver in the running game, he has experience playing in Gap and Zone running schemes and can stay engaged at the point of attack because of his good grip and core strength. It also translates nicely in the passing game as he confidently anchors against defensive linemen with good size attempting power moves and bull rushes.
But what’s the problem?
Green isn’t super consistent with his hand placement while run blocking or pass protecting. A&M’s run blocking technique is different compared to other schools of thought, but in a system that preferred having the inside hand attack the sternum, Green’s inside hand, in fact, did not find the opposition’s sternum with great success. Green’s ability to reach and drive defenders was a testament to his grip strength and lateral mobility as he could remain engaged at the POA with some lackluster hands.
By the same token, Green would struggle with his hand placement in pass protection. He knew when to initiate contact after reaching his set points, but the hands didn’t attack the breastplate instead opting for the shoulder pads instead. To his credit, this didn’t affect his play strength in pass protection as he could still counter various power rushes without the full ability to control and steer his defender.
In addition, Green being advertised as a versatile offensive lineman might be a bit exaggerated. Green didn’t play a significant snap count at offensive tackle this year, and when he did, he struggled in pass protection. There’s a certain timing to playing each offensive line position and Green’s rhythm is set to playing guard. That’s fine because he’s extremely good at it! But it’s also just kind of what it is at this point…
Green in limited action at offensive tackle mistimed his pass sets and it allowed edge defenders to challenge his half-man relationship before he could reach his set points. Speed moves were effective because of this and he got beat more than I would like to admit…
While Green might have experience playing tackle and the requisite athletic ability to do it, he does have the athletic makeup to be a standout at offensive guard. Maybe with further instruction, he can become versatile and play tackle, but for the time being that’s just not in the cards.
The Dallas Cowboys rarely prioritize offensive linemen that don’t provide positional versatility. Tyron Smith is an elite tackle, but Connor Williams, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins have played different positions before. Even in their reserves, Connor McGovern has played four positions, Terrence Steele can play left and right tackle, Matt Farniok can play across the interior offensive line. This team, rightfully, covets positional versatility; Green might not be as advertised in this area. (Just an inkling)
Now onto wide receivers!