The 2011 Oakland Raiders free agency train has yet to reach full speed. In fact, I am not even sure it has left the station. We just previewed the possible offensive tackles on the market. If I've said it once, then I have a horrible memory because I've felt like I've said it a bunch, but I want a tackle up I'grade first and foremost. If not than I'll settle for an upgrade at guard.
And to be honest, at this point I'll settle for an upgrade at any position. In light of that lets take a look at some guards. The scouting reports on each player comes to us via ESPN.
1. G Justin Blalock Falcons 6'4" 330 lbs
Blalock is a massive lineman with a lot of natural power and strength. He has above-average initial quickness and does a good job of getting initial position on blocks, but can struggle when trying to react and adjust to movement in space. He is not a natural knee bender but does a decent job of working to keep his pad level down to leverage and sustain blocks. He can be a road grader who engulfs opponents but still needs to improve his competitiveness and do a better job of finishing blocks off. He has heavy hands that can shock and stymie pass-rushers, but could be a bit quicker at getting refit after opponents get free of his fit.
Blalock is a solid guard. He would be a great addition to the run game.
Jump over for the rest....
2. G Alan Faneca 6'5" 315 lbs
Faneca's skills have diminished over the years, but he still plays at a very high level and brings more than just his playing skills to the game. He is a leader both in the locker room as well as on the football field. He is a very smart player who understands blocking schemes and angles and knows how to use his hands to shock opponents and steer them on by the hole or the pocket. He is an aggressive blocker who will finish blocks off when he can get the advantage and does not spend time standing around spectating when not occupied. He can struggle when trying to react and adjust to counter moves and is starting to show limited lateral range.
Faneca would not only be an upgrade he would be a great mentor to the Raiders young linemen.
3. G Mike Brisiel 6'5" 305 lbs
Brisiel is a five-year veteran who has been a starter for the past four years, when healthy. In 2010 he played in 12 games, starting nine, and finished the season on IR with a shoulder injury. He is an adequate athlete with above-average initial quickness and marginal agility. He is not a natural knee bender and will struggle to keep his pad level down to leverage blocks, but he has the kind of competitive nature that allows him to work and finish blocks off.
4. G John Greco 6'4" 330 lbs
Greco has been a quality role player who has the ability to back up multiple positions and even provide the occasional start. He is a good-sized lineman who probably fits the mold of a guard better than tackle and could, in time, develop into a capable starter. He has above-average initial quickness, agility and body control and is a decent knee bender, allowing him to leverage his blocks. He will get a good fit with his hands but appears to have rather short arms, making it difficult to control opponents. He understands blocking angles and knows how to get initial position on opponents, but will struggle when reacting and adjusting to movement in space.
Greco has his limitations, but I'd prefer him over Loper.