The Best Of The Rest: Alabama's Offensive Line
Across both the FBS and the FCS, there are superstar players that lead a very talented positional group. Yet with the superstar getting all of the press, the other prospects are often overlooked. On Football.com we like to celebrate those other players who also will make teams very happy in the NFL Draft, either next year or the coming years. So, we take a look at "The Best Of The Rest," starting with the Alabama offensive line.
Following the 2012 NFL Draft, the Crimson Tide's offensive line appeared to take a huge hit in talent after sending three starters to the NFL, including two in the top 11 selections (left guard Chance Warmack at No. 10 and right tackle D.J. Fluker at No. 11). Even with three starters making the leap to the NFL, the Tide are still loaded with talent heading into the 2013 football season and the 2014 draft.
As most everybody knows by now, the 2013 Tide offensive line will be led by one of the best draft prospects, Cyrus Kouandjio, who is ranked as the No. 2 tackle prospect by draft senior editor David Seigerman in the early Football.com position rankings. But much like this past draft, Alabama has the talent to send more than one player to the NFL via the first round.
Anthony Steen, G: Steen is the most well known of the Alabama offensive linemen not named Cyrus. Steen was overshadowed last season by Chance Warmack but has all the tools to be a dominant guard this season. He has a big frame (6-6, 310 pounds), long arms and very good athleticism, which allows him to pull with a good deal of success. Expect "The Steen-roller" to make a big impression on NFL scouts this season.
Ryan Kelly, C: Kelly has the tough task of likely taking over for Barrett Jones, a two-time consensus All American. Kelly appeared in nine games last season for the Tide and showed that he is ready for his turn. The 6-5, 290-pound redshirt sophomore has an explosive first step and is quick to the second level. Kelly has been named to the Rimington Trophy watch list and will bolster another explosive offense.
Arie Kouandjio, G: The left side of the Alabama offensive line will be held down by the Kouandjio family as Arie will play next to his brother, Cyrus, Alabama's starting left tackle. The lesser known of the Kouandjio has suffered through injuries but is a mammoth guard who uses his size (6-5, 315) to overpower defenders, especially in the run game. Kouandjio will benefit from playing next to his brother and could see a huge rise in his stock during his redshirt sophomore season.