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Scout’s Eye: Nwaneri’s Strength Is Pass Protection
Uche Nwaneri, Guard
6-3, 303 - Purdue - Drafted: Jacksonville Jaguars 5th round, 2007
Games Studied: 2013 Seattle, Denver and Houston
Nwaneri was the starter at right guard for the Jaguars in these games. He doesn’t have the physical appearance of the other guards on this current roster, and he is not a thick or strong-looking player.
There is length in his arms and lower legs -- rangy and long. He is a narrow-based player. He had some snaps where he got thrown off his blocks because of his foot work. He is a much better blocker when his man doesn’t have much movement to his game. He was able to hold up much better dealing with a guy like Kevin Vickerson of the Broncos better than he was guys like Michael Bennett and Brandon Mebane of the Seahawks.
He had a couple of nice pass sets when he had to pick up J.J. Watt of the Texans. Is the type of blocker that goes for stalemates and holding his man at the line of scrimmage moreso than trying to drive them off the ball. If he can get his hands inside on a defender, he has a chance to control and stay in position.
He will give the effort to finish the block, but when his hands are not in the proper place, he has no shot. Much better pass blocker than run from what I was able to observe. Not really sure how well he is going to fit in this scheme when it comes to making those blocks on the second level. He doesn’t play with much smoothness or athletic ability. Was used as a short puller but there was always something on the path that was keeping him from targeting his man and completing the job.
There were times where he was just a one-shot blocker. Seattle and Denver were games where this happened much too
often. Fast flow linebackers were a nightmare for him. As mentioned, his best trait is that of a pass protector. I wouldn’t say that he has great lower-body power because there are snaps where you see him give ground to the quarterback inside. Legs will become straight, but to his credit, he is able to hang on and stay in front of his man. He is aware to pass stunts with the tackle and keep himself in position.
In these games, he showed the ability to adjust to his man quickly, which was a trait he didn’t show much as a run blocker. There were snaps where he would bend at the waist and become overextended instead of sitting down on his man but somehow he managed to get away with this.
I have a feeling the plan for this player is to have a veteran on the roster to play in the second half of these preseason games so the front office can evaluate the young offensive skill players and not get the quarterback hurt. Nwaneri will be steady and workman-like but in my opinion, he is not as good of a player as Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary, who will be battling for the starting job.