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NFL: Player Headshots 2020 Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Aug 28, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants, Guard, Will Hernandez, (71) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta

When Cardinals’ offensive line coach Sean Kugler was asked prior to the 2022 NFL Draft what his thoughts were about highly-touted 1st round guard prospects Kenyon Green of Texas A&M and Zion Johnson of Boston College, Kugler indicated how much he loves his newly acquired, former UTEP All American, Will Hernandez.

Well, it appears that Sean Kugler isn’t the only NFL employee who thinks very highly of Will Hernandez.

Per The Athletic, with regard to polls recently given to Pro Bowl players, Will Hernandez was named one of the league’s most underrated players: “I think he’s a way better player than people think,” one Pro Bowler said in naming him. “I think he’s a pretty solid player.”

https://theathletic.com/3108574/2022/02/05/pro-bowl-confidential-players-picks-for-mvp-worst-city-to-visit-coach-theyd-like-to-play-for-covid-19-suggestions/

More than likely the anonymous player who named Hernandez is a defensive lineman who has played opposite him.

The “Prescient” Professor, Joe Comeau, taped this episode of The Cardinal Rule prior to the draft and made the comment that if Will Hernandez’s season with the Cardinals goes as planned, and the Cardinals add a guard in the draft who fits their mold, then perhaps the Cardinals could enter the 2023 season with a new and promising guard tandem of the future.

As The Professor points out, Hernandez played very well as a rookie , but his grades have declined over the past three years. Could it be that the Giants’ head coaching change and change in starting QB from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones likely had a great deal to do with why Hernandez’s level of play slipped? As Cardinals’ fans have seen, Daniel Jones tends to hold on to the football longer than most QBs which has led to high numbers of sacks and turnovers.

Have a close look at some of Will Hernandez’s talents:

Being reunited with Sean Kugler and playing in Kliff’s offense, which emphasizes getting the ball out quickly to the playmakers, should help Will Hernandez play what could amount to be the best football of his NFL career.

What is especially appealing about Will Hernandez is his awesome strength at the point of attack. Look at this pancake:

Look at how physically Will Hernandez plays versus Aaron Donald:

That is what “Will Power” looks like, Birdgang!

Want to get fired up? Listen to this:

The 2022 NFL Draft Additions at Guard:

As we now know, the Cardinals selected Lecitus Smith and Marquis Hayes in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here are PFF’s evaluations of them:

Lecitus Smith, 6-3, 314, Virginia Tech

Player Comp: “A more nimble Sebastian Tretola”

PFF Grades past three seasons: 70.3 71.4 63.6

PFF Player Ranking: 147

Draft Projection: 5th Round

PROS:

  • Balance and fluidity that you don’t often see on the interior.
  • Sends shivers with his punch. NFL-caliber violence in pass pro.
  • Finds linebackers better than his testing numbers would suggest.

CONS:

  • Length below where you’d like it for the guard position.
  • Could stand to sustain blocks longer.
  • Zero bigtime blocks in the run game last year,

Marquis Hayes, 6-5, 318, Oklahoma

Player Comp: Larry Warford

PFF Grades past three seasons: 75.3, 71.7, 61.1

PFF Player Ranking: 103

Draft Projection: 4th Round

PROS:

  • Continually works upward into contact as a run-blocker.
  • Very good at gaining leverage.
  • Long arms for a guard and plus-latching ability.
  • Some of the best independent hand usage in the class.

CONS:

  • Slowly narrows his base and gets more upright in pass sets as the play develops.
  • Lethargic out of his stance.
  • Just not a particularly explosive player.
  • Nine penalties in 2021.

Interesting Development:

Word is that Will Hernandez’s center with the Giants last year, former 2018 1st round pick of the Bengals, Billy Price 6-4,3 08, is headed to Arizona for a meeting with the Cardinals. Price had the highest graded season of his career with the Giants. 2021 PFF Grade; 62.3.

Adding Billy Price as the team’s backup center would certainly fill a need.

Question 1: Are you feeling excited about the Cardinals’ addition of Will Hernandez?

Question 2: What ten offensive linemen do you want to see the Cardinals keep on their 53 man roster this season?