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Potential Pick: UCLA G Su’a-Filo Has A Mean Streak
Name: Xavier Su’a-Filo
Honors: Su’a-Filo was a three-year starter at UCLA, where he was named first-team All-Pac 12 in both 2012 and 2013. He started all 13 of the Bruins’ games in 2013, and he earned the Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman – despite playing out of position at tackle because of injuries.
Key stat: Su’a-Filo started every single game of his UCLA career, beginning in 2009. After starting all 13 games as a freshman, he took a two-year Mormon mission. When he returned in 2012, he started 14 games at guard before shifting to tackle for the 2013 season.
Where He’s Projected: If you’ll remember, the 2013 NFL Draft was a banner year for guards, as both Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack were taken in the top 10 picks. Su’a-Filo is widely considered one of the top two guards in this draft, but it’s unusual to see the position valued as highly as it was last year. He might be a first day pick, but likely closer to the end of the first round – or perhaps in the second round.
How He Helps the Cowboys: We’ve discussed ad nauseam how the Dallas offensive line improved by leaps and bounds in 2013. It still might not be a bad idea to bolster the depth on the unit, however. There isn’t much in the way of depth on the interior line, so at the least Su’a-Filo could be a useful (and cheap) backup for Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau. At best, he could push the veterans and become a starter himself.
Scout’s Take: This is one of those types of players that scouts fall in love with. When you study him on tape, he can play either tackle or guard, and I wouldn’t put it past him to even be a guy that could line up at center.
I feel like his best position would be to play inside – whether that is as a guard or center. He has the size and the mental toughness to handle those battles inside. He has showed some initial quickness out of his stance and into his blocks -- nice hand use and control. There is some stoutness to his game, and I don’t see him getting walked back in the quarterback’s lap.
He did a really nice job of handling the depth of the pocket. Showed the ability to sit down and play with knee bend. Hands and feet worked very well together, and it was rare if he was out of position or knocked off balance. Importantly for an interior lineman, Su’a-Filo showed the ability to play in a small area, one-on-one. He can secure his man, then if he has to work to the next level, he can do that too.
This was one of the top linemen at the NFL Combine when it came to his time for the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.44. You see this type of lateral quickness in his game. He plays with a nasty attitude in the games and when you talk with him, you can see why: there is an edge to himself and his game.
He’s always working to finish his blocks, and he plays with smarts and awareness. He didn’t appear to struggle with his assignments and was able to pass stunts, pick-up man and do it comfortably. It didn’t matter whether he was playing guard or tackle, he was smart enough to make those adjustments -- run or pass.
I love this player’s attitude when I had the chance to visit with him -- there is just something about this kid that makes me a fan of his. He could be a player that would be selected late one or very early in the second. Looks like one of those guys that you just plug in and go play with. Read