Top Preseason Grades: Guards
We don’t know about you, but we’ve had some with preseason. It’s not the best way of seeing who will succeed when win-loss records start to matter, but it has given us a first look at some players and really gives second- and third-stringers a chance to prove their worth.
So with three weeks of action in the bag we’re going to be looking across all the positions to let you know who have earned the grades in the Top 5 at each position.
Now of course there’s a lot more than five players at each position we’ve graded. We’ve run every player to play a single snap on offense or defense through the grading process so if you want to see how they’ve fared this preseason, and get access to seven seasons worth of historical grades and access for 365 days which will include the entire 2014 season (and postseason) then you’ll need a PFF Premium Package. At only $26.99 you won’t get better value.
1. Matt Tobin, PHI: +8.5
Breakdown: Playing behind one of the league’s best guards in Evan Mathis, Tobin has started to make a name for himself this summer. His +6.0 run block grade leads all offensive linemen.
Signature Stat: Tobin is one of only four guards that is yet to surrender a pressure this preseason (59 pass block attempts).
2.T.J. Lang, GB: +5.8
Breakdown: After having success moving from left guard to right guard last season, Lang continues to excel in his new home. He is also perfect in pass protection while tying for second with a +3.9 grade in the run game.
Signature Play: Early in the first quarter against the Oakland Raiders, Lang tossed defensive tackle Pat Sims to the side, making for an easy 3rd-and-1 conversion for running back James Starks.
3. J.R. Sweezy, SEA: +5.1
Breakdown: After an up and down 2013, Sweezy is off to a good start here in 2014 as he looks to help solidify the guard position in Seattle, one of the team’s few weaknesses. He’s surrendered only two pressures on 52 attempts while moving defenders in the running game with a +3.9 mark to match Lang.
Signature Play: Against the San Diego Chargers, Sweezy teamed up with RT Justin Britt to maul LE Tenny Palepoi into the ground to open up room for RB Christine Michael’s 8-yard gain.
4. Gabe Jackson, OAK: +5.0
Breakdown: Oakland’s third round pick has done his work against backups to this point, but Jackson is making a push for serious playing time. His +3.6 pass blocking grade leads all guards while he’s been stellar in the run game at +1.0.
Signature Stat: Jackson leads all guards with 75 pass block snaps without surrendering a pressure.
5. Louis Vasquez, DEN: +5.0
Breakdown: Our third-highest graded guard a year ago, Vasquez has done his best work as a run blocker this preseason as his +3.9 grade matches Lang and Sweezy. He’s also posted a less noteworthy +0.3 mark as a pass blocker.
Signature Stat: Vasquez has given up just one hit on his 56 pass block attempts, good for a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 98.7.
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