Heading into the offseason, the Buffalo Bills have big question marks throughout the offensive line as left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Richie Incognito are unrestricted free agents and right tackle Jordan Mills is a restricted free agent. While the Bills invested a third-round draft pick on right guard John Miller and are reportedly looking to bring Incognito back, the team may look to add depth and an eventual replacement. Today, we’ll look at Stanford left guard Joshua Garnett in this scouting report of a potential Bills 2016 NFL Draft target.
Joshua Garnett was a key cog in the Stanford Cardinal offense that produced a Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Christian McCaffery, seeing action in 41 games throughout his career. He was awarded the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman and was named first-team All PAC-12.
Joshua Garnett Size/ Athletic Ability
At the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl, Joshua Garnett measured in at roughly 6’5” and 317 pounds with 33 3/8” arms. He’s a big, powerful man with a stout, thick frame that make him a problem for opponents—particularly in the run game. Garnett doesn’t have the athleticism of a Jonathan Cooper or Zack Martin—two guards who were recently selected in the top half of the first-round, but he moves well for his size and can get out to the second level as a run blocker.
Joshua Garnett Run Blocking
Joshua Garnett is a joy to watch in the run game, playing with a mean streak and a maulers mentality. Stanford runs a pro-style offense that features multiple tight ends, a fullback and often uses unbalanced formations in their power rushing attack, so Garnett won’t have a big learning curve as he adjusts to the next level.
Garnett routinely looks to destroy whoever is in front of him and when he does a good job moving downhill, locating and sealing off linebackers at the second level as you can see in the following play against Southern California.
Garnett uses his long arms to get inside the pads of defenders and his core play strength and leg drive allow him to control his man and move them backwards. In the following play Garnett blocks down and drives the defender eight yards off the ball before pancaking him onto the pile.
Joshua Garnett is always looking for work, something that NFL Scouts and evaluators will love about his game. In the following clip against Oregon, quarterback Kevin Hogan keeps it while the left side of the offensive line is zone blocking. Garnett moves DeForest Buckner, a projected top-10 draft pick, off the ball before disengaging and working to the second level, delivering a bone-crushing knockdown hit to the scraping linebacker.
Garnett is often used as the pulling lead blocker on power runs and he’s extremely effective at it. He shows the ability to wrap around the offensive line quickly, while locating his target and sealing the edge for his running back.
Joshua Garnett Pass Protection
Joshua Garnett’s appeal is as a run blocker but he can hold his own in pass protection, as he has the strength to sink his hips and anchor against the bull-rush. At times, his aggressive mentality can get the best of him, as he’ll bend at the waist and lunge at defensive lineman, causing him to lose balance.
However, he’s often able to recover from this due to his length and power, as you can see in the following play against Southern California. At the snap, Garnett bends at the waist, rather than with his knees, losing the leverage battle against the defensive tackle. He’s able to plant his feet and anchor while extending his arms to keep the defender at a distance and allow the quarterback to get the pass off with a clean pocket.
There’s times when Joshua Garnett doesn’t get out of his pass set quick enough, which allows quicker defensive lineman to get inside his pads and beat him. This is the case in the following rep against DeForest Buckner, who absolutely destroys him, throwing him to the ground before getting a shot on Kevin Hogan as he gets the ball out.
Just like in his run blocking, Joshua Garnett is always looking for work. He isn’t content just sitting in his gap and will look to provide help to his left tackle or center once his assignment is cleared.
Joshua Garnett’s Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
Joshua Garnett is one of the best guard prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft and comes from an offensive system that’s very similar to the one that Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman runs. He’s a mauler in the run game that’s effective as a pulling lead blocker on power runs—a staple of Buffalo’s rushing attack. While he needs to clean up his technique in pass protection, Joshua Garnett is an ideal fit for the Bills’ offense if they look to upgrade the interior offensive line in the draft.