QUINTON SPAIN- 6’5, 332- RS SR.
After a guard-heavy draft that saw impact players like Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack, and Kyle Long go early in 2013, the NFL Draft was much more unfavorable for the guard position in 2014, as UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo was the first guard selected at pick 33 (of course, that’s not counting Greg Robinson, who played tackle throughout his college career but will shift inside to left guard as a rookie). This year, however, guards could again be at a premium. One of the most talented draft-eligible guards who could make a solid argument as the best lineman in the draft class is West Virginia’s Quinton Spain.
There’s no reason that those who have drooled over the potential of Warmack and Robinson in the past couple years shouldn’t be equally enamored with Spain. Just like those two, Spain is an insanely big road grader whose college game tapes look like a never-ending highlight film. He’s consistently physical, and he plays to the whistle all the time, finding another defender to try to run over if he quickly carries out his initial assignment. As if that’s not enough reason to like Spain, he also possesses versatility: he started 18 games at tackle for the Mountaineers before moving to guard full-time early last year.
The only thing that looms as a question for Spain seems to be his level of conditioning. He wasn’t on the field in some key situations late in games last year, and when he was, he seemed to be less effective. If he wants to be consistent as a pro, Spain might have to cut a little bit of weight or work hard improve his endurance. Regardless, Spain’s physicality should enable him to be a first-rounder in this year’s draft.
POSITIVES: has played both tackle and guard at the college level; huge frame; uses his leverage well, really knows how to drive people, frequently runs opponents into the ground; highly physical; gets solid arm extension; dominant when doubling down on angle blocks; goes hard to the whistle, looks for additional blocks once he covers his first assignment.
NEGATIVES: movement isn’t fluid, kind of waddles at times; possible conditioning issues, seems to wear down later in games; doesn’t always bend his knees enough, particularly on pass blocks; struggles to carry out cut blocks.
2014 Outlook: Spain and the Mountaineers will have a challenging schedule in 2014, going through the usual Big 12 conference slate and also opening the season against Alabama, where Spain will get to face Brandon Ivory, one of the most talented nose tackles in the nation. In his first full year as a guard, Spain has the opportunity to establish himself as the best player at his position in the nation.
Talent Grade: Early-to-Mid First Round
Rams Role: It would seem somewhat unlikely that the Rams would invest another first-round pick in a guard after taking Robinson and having built a solid collection of developmental linemen. However, it’s not completely out of the question that they could consider selecting one if they lose right tackle Joe Barksdale in free agency and kick Robinson back outside to tackle. In that case, they’d need a new left guard, and Spain would be a great candidate to fill the position if available.
Film Watched: vs. William & Mary (2013), vs. Oklahoma State (2013), vs. Baylor (2013), vs. TCU (2013)