This is the second in a 20-part series examining some possibilities for the Browns in the 2013 NFL Draft, including extensive looks at the most likely prospects for the No. 6 overall selection, potential targets later in the draft, trade-down scenarios, what the other teams in the AFC North might do and the top players coming out of Ohio State and the Mid-American Conference.
Each morning will bring a new, daily posting leading up the NFL Scouting Combine on Feb 20.
Today, we continue with a player who finds himself in a similar situation as Trent Richardson in last year's draft — one who plays a position not normally taken in the top five or 10 picks but has transcendent talent that could buck the trend. And he happens to be from the same school.
Chance Warmack, Alabama, Senior
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 322 pounds.
Stats: 2012 Consensus First-Team All-American, 40 career starts.
Current overall prospect ranks: NFLDraftScout.com: 3rd; Scout's Inc: 4th; ESPN's Todd McShay: 3rd; ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr: 5th.
Current projected draft position: McShay has the Browns selecting Warmack, but when he did his first mock, the season hadn't yet ended and he had Cleveland picking 10th. Kiper currently has Warmack going the highest at No. 7 overall to the Arizona Cardinals, one spot after the Browns. Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com has the Tennessee Titans taking him with the 10th overall selection, and Rob Rang has him falling to the St. Louis Rams with the 16th pick.
Overview: When it comes to offensive guards, Warmack is about as good as you're going to find. McShay has called him the best guard he's evaluated in the past decade. Warmack was the best lineman on one of the best lines in college football this past season, and put on a show in the national title game (on one play, he pushed Notre Dame's Louis Nix clear out of the play with one arm). Like Richardson, a running back from Alabama whom the Browns picked third overall last year, many talent evaluators think Warmack has the kind of rare blend of size and athleticism to sneak into the top-10 or even further, even though he plays a position not normally thought of in that range. He's also as durable as they come and started Alabama's past 40 games at left guard.
What they're saying: Warmack has a strong upper and lower body. ... Impressive initial quickness, light on his feet. ... Explosive punch. ... Good balance in space and can hit a target at the second level. ... Very good football IQ, knows his opponent's tendencies and can locate his assignment. ... Classic, tough offensive guard that chops away at his opponent each play, country strong. ... Not satisfied until he buries his defender. ... Can sometimes be beat by bull-rushers in pass protection, but often regains leverage.
NFLDraftScout.com player comparison: Will Shields, Kansas City Chiefs.
Why he fits the Browns' needs: John Greco and Shawn Lauvao are adequate guards, but aren't near the caliber of the other members of the Browns' offensive line and don't have as high of a potential ceiling. And Jason Pinkston will need medical clearance to return to the football field after a blood clot in his lung ended his 2012 season. Pairing a guard like Warmack with Joe Thomas, Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz likely gives the Browns one of the top two or three offensive lines in the NFL, and one that will continue to grow as a unit for new head coach Rob Chudzinski. Warmack is also a guard that helps in both the run and passing games, improving the entire offense. And he's blocked for Richardson before.