While it might only be the first week of July, it’s still never too early to get started for the 2022 NFL Draft. While I’ve started to watch players such as Spencer Rattler from Oklahoma and Matt Corral from Ole Miss, there hasn’t been a player more captivating than Kenyon Green from Texas A&M.
It shouldn’t come to you as a surprise, though. Coming out of Atasocita High School in Humble, Texas, Green was a 5-star recruit. He had offers to schools such as Oregon and Alabama but originally he had committed to the LSU Tigers. During the process, he flipped his commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies. Since then, he’s become an even bigger stud on the football field than when he came out of high school.
He’s experienced, having started 23 games in his collegiate career. Despite playing both left and right guard, he’s expected to move to offensive tackle for the Aggies this coming Fall. Teams are going to fall in love with his positional versatility if he’s able to become just as solid at offensive tackle as he has been at guard. Let’s jump into some film to see exactly what Green provides for a team on the interior offensive line.
Climbing to the second level
It’s pivotal for a running back to have blocks made at the second level rather than just at the line-of-scrimmage. For an offensive lineman, there are times where they just base block and take the man aligned across from them. However, there are times where they’re needed to get up to the second level and take on a safety or linebacker. If these blocks aren’t made or sustained, most of those long runs we love to see from our running backs are rarely created.
Consistently on tape, you’ll see Kenyon Green begin to bully one defender and move onto another. Using the play above as an example, you can see Green (LG #55) step hard to his right before working his way upfield. Despite the play ending before it truly begins, watch Green’s feet and power behind his punch. His feet are quick and choppy. Lastly, he gives a good punch on the defensive tackle before getting up to the linebacker where he starts to move him effortlessly.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Kenyon Green didn’t give up a single sack (328 pass-blocking snaps) in 2020. They did have it recorded of him giving up a total of 10 pressures but given the responsibilities of interior offensive lineman, I’d suggest that it’s a feasible stat. Especially since Green has improved as a run blocker and pass blocker every single year for Texas A&M. In 2019, his run-blocking grade was 70.2 and improved to 77.2 in 2020. His pass-blocking grade improved from 40.9 (2019) to 63.0 (2020).
Watching the play above, you can see Kenyon Green (LG #55) set quickly inside with his post foot (inside foot) before transferring his weight to his set foot (outside foot). He does this well as the defensive tackle begins to cross his face and it allows him to prevent any type of outside rush or pressure. While he punches his hands on the chest plate, he begins to lose leverage but recovers well by resetting his hands. This allows the quarterback time to scan the field from left to right and complete the pass.
Against Alabama, Kenyon Green (LG #55) showed good instincts and adjusted to the different looks the Alabama defense threw his way. For example, the play above Alabama looks to execute a twist between their defensive tackles but Green handles it well. Certainly, the quarterback gets leveled from a blitz executed from the secondary but Green displays good grip strength once getting his hands on his target.
Pulling and operating in space
My favorite aspect of any offensive lineman’s game is when they’re able to pull and operate in space. For Kenyon Green (LG #55), it’s the aspect of his game that drew me into his tape. Watching him maul defenders makes him one of the most intriguing interior offensive lineman prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Looking at the play above, Green (LG #55) is damn-near perfect on this pull. Once the ball is snapped, Green steps back and runs behind the heels of the offensive lineman to his right. As he gets to the C-gap, he has an LSU defender (#11) in his path. With terrific pad level and hand placement, Green creates an opening for the running back for a long gain. These types of blocks happen consistently when watching the talented junior offensive lineman.
Beyond just making great contact or playing with consistent pad level, Green (LG #55) will look to finish his blocks. Against Alabama, he did just that on the block above. As the Aggies run a variation of a trap option, Green runs downhill on a defensive end that begins to crash down inside. Unfortunately for the defensive end, it’s like running into a brick wall. Lastly, watch how well Green rolls his hips on contact and then begins to drive the defender into the dirt.
It’s still very early in the process but so far, Kenyon Green is the best interior offensive lineman I’ve watched so far this summer. There’s plenty of time for that to change but there’s a reason to why he was a five-star recruit when he came out of high school. Whether it’s the way he reacts and recovers to what the opposition throws his way or just the way he mauls defenders in space, his game is growing to an elite level.
Keep in mind, there’s been speculation that he could move to offensive tackle for Texas A&M and if that’s the case, it could help him solidify his status as a potential first-round pick for the 2022 NFL Draft. For now, he’ll stay listed as an interior offensive lineman but his value is on the rise!
For more from Russ, be sure to find him on Twitter and on the Cover 1 NFL Draft Podcast!