Summary: When Jim Mora, Jr. was hired by UCLA to be its new head coach, he made it his first order of business to recruit Su'a-Filo back to the Bruins. As a freshman in 2009, Su'a-Filo set a UCLA record with 13 starts at left tackle. The true freshman was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 and was on numerous All-Freshman teams.
Su'a-Filo was out of football in 2010 and 2011 while serving on a Mormon mission. With that completed, he returned to the Bruins with Mora running the program. Instantly, Su'a-Filo was a force for the UCLA in 2012. He had an excellent season as a run-blocker for Johnathan Franklin. Su'a-Filo also was good in pass protection for Brett Hundley. Su'a-Filo started at left guard but chipped in some time at left tackle because of injuries. He was named a First-Team All-Pac-12 pick by the coaches and media publications.
2013 was more of the same. Su'a-Filo had another strong season and looked good in games against Nebraska, Oregon, Stanford and USC. Once again, injuries forced him to play some left tackle. He did well as protector for Hundley, but was most effective at guard.
Su'a-Filo is a well-rounded blocker in the run game and pass protection. He is very athletic and quick. After taking on defensive ends, Su'a-Filo is well equipped to go against speed-rushing defensive tackles. He has good technique to anchor and bend his knees to hold up against bull rushers. Su'a-Filo uses his athleticism in the ground game to get to blocks on the second level and pulls well. He is very fluid and agile for an interior blocker.
One of Su'a-Filo's best traits is his versatility. He could play left guard or right guard in the NFL and would fit in any offense. His athleticism makes him a natural for a zone-blocking system. Su'a-Filo also could move to left tackle if there was an injury, but his home should be at left guard in the NFL. Left guards are required to be more athletic than right guards.
The only thing that Su'a-Filo could stand to improve would be to add a little more power to move NFL defensive tackles. That could make him better in short-yardage situations. He has the frame to add on another 10 pounds if his team wants him to.
Su'a-Filo is the top-rated guard in the 2014 NFL Draft and should be selected late in the first round or early in the second round. He should be able to start immediately and could lock down a starting spot with quality play over the next decade.
Player Comparison: Ben Grubbs. Su'a-Filo's game reminds me of Grubbs. Grubbs (6-3, 310) is similar size and both are very athletic for their size. They are quick and agile to defend speed rushers while also being strong enough to get movement in the ground game. After being a first-round pick for the Ravens in 2007, Grubbs has had a good career for Baltimore and New Orleans. Su'a-Filo could turn into a similar Pro Bowl guard in the NFL.
NFL Matches: Kansas City, Denver, Seattle, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Minnesota, Buffalo, Miami, New York Jets
There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Su'a-Filo. Late toward the end of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Kansas City could be a prime candidate to take Su'a-Filo to bolster its run game and add an athletic pass-protector. Denver also needs a replacement for Zane Beadles, and Su'a-Filo could be a good value for the Broncos. The Seahawks could consider adding some offensive line help to improve the right side of their offensive line.
A number of teams picking in the top-20 selections of Round 2 that need interior offensive line help are likely to draft for defense or a quarterback in the first round. Thus, Su'a-Filo shouldn't last long if he doesn't go in Round 1.
Carl Nicks may never play again for Tampa Bay, while Davin Joseph was cut; Jeremy Zuttah may be the next to be let go. The Bucs could consider a guard to pair with new center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Cleveland could use an upgrade over Shawn Lauvao and Oniel Cousins, while Oakland has to find a replacement for Lucas Nix. Su'a-Filo could make sense for the Browns or Raiders.
Minnesota could use a run-blocker in front of Adrian Peterson even though Charlie Johnson was re-signed. A guard who can pull like Su'a-Filo could pay dividends for the Vikings.
In the AFC East, Su'a-Filo has three potential landing spots. Buffalo never replaced Andy Levitre adequately. I think signing Chris Williams isn't enough for the Bills to pass on Su'a-Filo if he's the best player available. The Jets need help at guard, while Miami also has to improve its guards. Any of those teams could target Su'a-Filo in the second round.