2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Hernandez

  • Will Hernandez, 6-2/340

  • Guard

  • UTEP

  • Will Hernandez Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Rare blocker with a mean streak
  • Road-grading run blocker
  • Heavy hands
  • Generates movement in the ground game
  • Sustains blocks
  • Physical
  • Can manipulate in the ground game
  • Bullies defenders and blocks through the whistle
  • Frustrates defensive linemen
  • Has quality technique
  • Good hand placement
  • Good at pulling
  • Agile in space
  • Awareness
  • Anchors well against bull rushes
  • Steady pass protector
  • Intelligent

  • Weaknesses:
  • Lacks length
  • Short height
  • Short arms (33 1/8-inch)
  • Athleticism
  • Quickness
  • Can struggle to hit blocks in space

  • Summary: Every year in the NFL draft, there are some smaller-school prospects who end up rising into the early rounds of the draft. The NFL also has found a lot of good offensive linemen from smaller schools throughout the years, and Hernandez will continue that trend after staring at UTEP.

    As a run blocker, Hernandez has heavy hands with sheer power at the point of attack to generate movement. Hernandez can get under defensive tackles’ pads and use his strength to manipulate them out of their gaps. Finding nasty bullies up front is getting more difficult as the up-tempo and spread offenses have changed the collegiate game, and Hernandez is a rare college blocker who enters the NFL with a mean streak to set a physical tone at the point of attack. Hernandez blocks through the whistle, pushes defenders around, buries them into the ground, and finishes them off with violence. Hernandez has developed strength to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes in the ground game. Hernandez can sustain his blocks after shocking defenders back.

    Hernandez does not possess elite quickness and athleticism, however. While he can pull, he doesn’t have great movement skills and would be better off in a power-man scheme rather than being a zone blocker.

    In pass protection, Hernandez has a strong anchor and can stand up bull rushers. Quick interior defensive linemen with length can give him problems, as they can fire by him and use their length to keep him from getting a hold of them. Fast interior defensive tackles or defensive ends who move inside for passing situations could give Hernandez problems in the NFL, especially early in his pro career. Those issues were visible at the Senior Bowl, and that is the biggest point of improvement for Hernandez entering the next level.

    Hernandez’s strength and power make him a perfect guard to be a bulldozer in the ground game. He will have to play guard only though, because he doesn’t have the length or movement skills for offensive tackle or center.

    Team sources say that Hernandez has interviewed well with teams. If Hernandez was taller with longer arms, a little quicker, and a little more athletic, he would be a sure-fire first-round pick. As it stands, he is likely to go in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Richie Incognito. Hernandez has a similar skill set and style of play to Incognito. After being a third-round pick out of Nebraska, Incognito has been a four-time Pro Bowler. He is a good run blocker and reliable pass protector. Hernandez also should go on the second day of the draft, and I could see him being an NFL blocker similar to Incognito.

    NFL Matches: Denver, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Houston

    There are a lot of teams that could be a fit for Hernandez in the 2018 NFL Draft. Denver or Tampa Bay could take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in the first round. Whichever doesn’t land Nelson could target Hernandez in the second round. Cincinnati definitely needs to improve its offensive line, so Hernandez could be in play for the organization as the true replacement to Kevin Zeitler. Hernandez could help the Bengals establish better run blocking for Joe Mixon. The Bears also could consider looking to get a guard upgrade.

    Dallas could use a new starter at left guard, and Hernandez could be a bull as a run blocker for Ezekiel Elliott.

    Seattle had Luke Joeckel starting for the team last year, and he was a liability. Hernandez probably isn’t in contention or would not be a good value for the Seahawks in the first round, but if they move down and pick up a second-day pick, Hernandez could make sense for them to help them reestablish their rushing offense while providing better protection for Russell Wilson.

    Baltimore could use an upgrade at right tackle and could consider more talent at guard. Hernandez could make sense for the Ravens on Day 2.

    One of the biggest needs on Miami’s roster is guard talent. If Hernandez is there at the Dolphins’ second-round pick, he could be a great fit for them.

    The 49ers need multiple upgrades to their offensive line. Hernandez could make sense for San Francisco in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Hernandez has a few potential landing spots in the AFC South. The Jaguars’ offensive line still needs work. Hernandez could be a quick upgrade over A.J. Cann. The Colts continue to need more talent on their offensive line, and if they lose Jack Mewhort, a guard like Hernandez could make a lot of sense on Day 2. If Hernandez slips to the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, he would make a ton of sense for the Texans as they needs upgrades at guard as well as offensive tackle.


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