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Friday, March 21, 2014

Around The Draft: Xavier Su’a-Filo

Leading up to the draft, I’m breaking down (roughly) one prospect a day until I make it to 60 or the draft comes. 

Today’s prospect is Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA. The junior lines up at 6’4, 307, but being a junior doesn’t make him green.  His 40 starts are more than most high end linemen, and he’s probably the most mature junior in the draft class.  Spent two years on a Mormon mission, was an Eagle Scout, and is a leader.

He provides the best of both worlds as a guard.  He has shown the ability to force movement as a man/drive blocking guard and has shown it can translate to zone as well.   Physically, there’s a concern he’s not as filled out as he could be because of his mission (between his freshman and sophomore years, and he wasn’t in a training program). 

As a tackle?  Su’a-Filo filled in admirably, remaining a dominant run blocker and showing exceptional ability to anchor.  He showed lateral agility and balance in his slides.  There wasn’t a lot ‘wrong’ with him at tackle, but he felt like a more natural guard and he was there when the team had a healthy tackle.  If Carolina pushed him back out there, he’s a player that would get it done, but he bends at the waist a bit and might struggle to deal with double moves.  It’s more risky, with existing tackles already slated to be there at 28 (where Su'a-Filo is expected to be available).

So, a Su’a-Filo pick would mean that at least one of the guards would move out to tackle – and most of them have tackle experience.  It might be a lot to rely on any of them, since every guard Carolina has outside Nate Chandler (who I’d already expect to be a tackle) has been either hurt multiple times, or hasn’t been here long enough to be hurt multiple times.
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