LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 17: Joker Phillips the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats is carried off of the field by Matt Smith #69 and Larry Warford #67 after the game against the Samford Bulldogs at Commonwealth Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. It was Phillips last home game as the Kentucky head coach. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Guard Larry Warford is a physical interior lineman who played in 47 games at Kentucky. He’s the consensus No. 3 guard on the board.
Warford is a relatively short and stocky interior lineman (6’3’’, 333 pounds). He doesn’t carry that weight extremely well—he has extra bulk in the midsection that slows him down—and his arms are rather short at just under 32 inches. That would be a major concern if he played on the outside, but even at guard you’d like to see arms in the 33-inch range.
Warford does a good job of using his strength to negate any advantage defenders with longer arms might have. He gets into their chest and then controls them with ease so that they can’t extend to get separation. Warford’s strength is superior to that of fellow guards Jonathan Cooper and perhaps even Chance Warmack, allowing him to win in short-yardage situations. That’s a really important and underrated trait for guards.
Warford is aggressive in both the running and passing games. He’s relentless once he gets his hands on a defender, staying on his blocks until the whistle. That’s something he needs to do because he’s a slow player, struggling in space. He actually does a decent job pulling because he can move well laterally, but he’s not good moving forward, such as when he’s asked to get to the second level.
Warford is going to get drafted by a team that runs a man blocking scheme, and he can succeed in that position. He’s capable of delivering knockout shots on the inside; he’s a mauler all the way. He could potentially benefit from losing some weight to help him keep up with the quick defensive tackles in the NFL—ones he can’t necessarily overpower.
NFL Comparison: Ben Grubbs
Like Grubbs, Warford is a short, stocky guard with power in the running game and a surprising ability to mirror defenders in pass protection.
I’ve seen Warford as high as Dallas in the first round, but I don’t think there’s any way that happens. Interior linemen fall on draft day and both Warmack and Cooper will be rated ahead of Warford on most boards. I think Warford is a mid- to late-second round talent who will get drafted somewhere in Round 2.
Fit In Dallas
Depending how the draft unfolds, I really think the ‘Boys have a shot at getting Warford in the second round. I don’t believe the value to be tremendous there, but most would. Warford is the prototypical Cowboys interior linemen, although I think the offense should and will transition to seeking more athleticism from their guards, in which case Warford wouldn’t be the answer.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.