Last week, I broke down UNC guard Jonathan Cooper as a potential pick for the Cowboys. Cooper is the consensus No. 2 guard on the board behind today’s feature—Alabama’s Chance Warmack. I liked Cooper so much when I watched him that I thought he had a solid chance of being the top interior lineman on my board. Having watched Warmack only when I caught Alabama games this year, that idea changed once I studied the guard in greater detail.
Warmack looks like a short offensive tackle on the inside. He’s 6’2’’, 322 pounds with an outstanding all-around game. In terms of technique, Warmack is the top guard I’ve studied in four years, beating out former Stanford guard David DeCastro. Warmack is a good athlete; although not to the level of Cooper, he can still pull and get to the second level. Warmack maintains proper pad level and leverage in both the running and passing games almost flawlessly, which is something Cooper doesn’t do to the same degree.
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Warmack is strong at the point and can win in short-yardage situations, although he actually doesn’t generally overpower defenders. Instead, he uses his incredible technique and body positioning to wall off defenders from getting to the ball-carrier. It’s really amazing to watch because Warmack is such a technician on the field, always understanding the play design and how he can most appropriately implement his block. He’s really quite cerebral.
Warmack still fires off of the ball very well, and once he engages a defender it’s lights out. He doesn’t overextend on his blocks and he continues to drive while keeping perfect position. He never sacrifices technique for the knockout shot.
If there’s an area where Warmack could struggle right away it’s against power rushers, such as certain 3-4 nose tackles. Warmack can add some strength, though, and it’s worth noting that he’ll still be only 21 when the 2013 season begins while Cooper is already 23.
NFL Comparison: Marshal Yanda
Like Yanda, Warmack can do it all. Both players are excellent as run blockers and in pass protection, and both could play in any scheme.
Warmack will be a first-round pick, probably in the top 15. Guards rarely get drafted that high, so it shows you how dominant Warmack can be. There’s always a chance he could fall to the Cowboys with the No. 18 selection if there’s another run on quarterbacks.
Fit In Dallas
Traditionally, the Cowboys love interior linemen like Warmack who are big and will win in short-yardage. It’s interesting because the guard most likely to be there for them—Cooper—isn’t necessarily what they’ll want. Nonetheless, Warmack would be a massive upgrade over Mackenzy Bernadeau or Nate Livings.
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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.