Had rough spells during sophomore season and end of senior year
Displays some heavy feet at times, but light feet at other times
Had season-ending knee surgery in 2011
Summary: In the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Alabama featured one of the top offensive lines in the history of college football. Both years, the Crimson Tide won National Championships as that line paved the way for some tremendous rushing attacks that controlled games from start to finish. Cyrus Kouandjio was known as a special player because he bumped the starting left tackle from 2011, Barrett Jones, inside to center. Kouandjio took over at left tackle for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Kouandjio's potential convinced the Crimson Tide to move its All-SEC and First-Team All-American Jones to center for 2012. Jones was excellent against elite defensive ends in 2011, so obviously Alabama regarded Kouandjio highly. Kouandjio didn't disappoint as he had a strong 2012 season. By the end of the year, the sophomore was a superb run-blocker and a reliable pass-protector. Kouandjio had some early mistakes, but improved steadily. Alabama averaged 224.6 yards per game on the ground and 439.1 of total offense. He finished the season in impressive fashion with excellent outings against Georgia and Notre Dame.
As a junior, Kouandjio had a rough start to the 2013 season in the opener against Virginia Tech. There were times when he dominated the Hokies, especially in run blocking, but he was flagged for two holding penalties and almost gave up a sack. After a rough beginning, Kouandjio spent most of the season improving week by week. He had perhaps his best game of the season against LSU. All night, Kouandjio blasted open running lanes and didn't allow any pressure on the quarterback. The junior was superb against the Tigers.
Kouandjio's success dipped late in the year, and he had a mixed outing against Auburn. It got worse in the Sugar Bowl. Kouandjio was abused by Oklahoma edge rusher Eric Striker. Striker beat Kouandjio for multiple sacks, including a sack-fumble late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Sooners. Kouandjio did some real damage to his draft stock with that performance and should have returned for his senior year.
Many were expecting Kouandjio to impress at the Combine, but he had a bad workout. Kouandjio had a much slower-than-expected 40 time of 5.56 seconds and showed some hip tightness coming out of his stance. Sources told WalterFootball.com that Kouandjio didn't appear as athletic in person as they thought he would. With his rough finish to the season and poor Combine performance, Kouandjio looks more likely to be a second-round selection.
Entering the next level, Kouandjio is a strong run-blocker who opens up holes at the point of attack. He can push defensive linemen around and is quick to hit blocks on the second level. As a pass-blocker, Kouandjio is inconsistent. At times, he shows nice quickness and athleticism; other times, he seems to have heavy feet and lunges after rushers. Becoming a more consistent pass-blocker is goal No. 1 for Kouandjio.
For the NFL, Kouandjio is an interesting prospect. He has upside to develop with the athletic ability to be a good left tackle. However, his struggles with speed rushers are a big concern. In the early going of his career, Kouandjio should start on the right side if he's a starter. If Kouandjio develops and improves over time, he could flip over to left tackle. Right tackle could also be the spot that is his best fit and maximizes his talent. Kouandjio's landing spot could have a huge impact on if he pans out. If Kouandjio lands with a good offensive line coach and some talent around him, he could end up being a steal and a very good offensive lineman.
Player Comparison: Michael Oher. Kouandjio is a little bit bigger, but both Oher (6-4, 315) and Kouandjio have a nice athletic skill set. However, they also haven't always played up to their respective athletic potentials. Oher and Kouandjio haven't been as consistent as needed in pass protection. Kouandjio probably won't go in the first round like Oher did, and in the NFL, Kouandjio could end up being a better fit at right tackle like Oher has been.
NFL Matches: Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Miami, St. Louis, Tennessee, New York Giants, Baltimore, San Diego, New Orleans
There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Kounadjio late in the first round or on Day 2. The defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks could consider taking Kounadjio at the end of the first round to fix their hole at right tackle.
The Texans could use a right tackle to replace Derek Newton and Kouandjio could be a nice fit for the first selection of the second round. If anything happened to Duane Brown, Kouandjio could move over to the blind side as well.
In the NFC South, Tampa Bay and Atlanta could both consider adding some offensive tackle help. Donald Penn is slowing down for the Bucs, and Sam Baker hasn't been consistent enough for the Falcons. The Saints could lose Zach Strief in free agency, and landing Kouandjio in the second round would be a great fit for New Orleans. If Terron Armstead struggles in his second year, the Saints could move him to right tackle, and hopefully, Kouandjio improves enough to be reliable at protecting Drew Brees' blind side.
Buffalo needs a new right tackle ,and if the Bills take Kouandjio, they could flip him and Cordy Glenn in time if Kouandjio reaches his potential. Miami has a ton of holes on its offensive line and needs two new tackles.
Tennessee has to find some long-term answers at tackle for Ken Whisenhunt's offense. The Titans went to Alabama last year for Chance Warmack. Warmack and Kouandjio were a tremendous tandem at left tackle and left guard in the Crimson Tide's ground game. Reuniting them in Tennessee would make sense.
The Giants could target some offensive line help with one of their first picks. Landing a tackle like Kouandjio in Round 2 could be a nice value.
Many expect St. Louis to draft a tackle in the first round, but if the Rams go another direction, they could target Kouandjio in the second round. That would make sense as St. Louis could develop Kouandjio behind Jake Long for a year or two.
Baltimore could lose its starting tackles in free agency. Even if the Ravens re-sign one of them, they'll still need another starter. Kouandjio could be a nice fit for Baltimore in the second round.
San Diego could reunite Kouandjio with D.J. Fluker. The Chargers need a long-term starter at left tackle, and they did a great job of improving Fluker's pass protection in his first season. Koundjio would be a nice value pick for San Diego in Round 2.