No. 4: Offensive Guard Will Hernandez, UTEP
6-foot-3, 340 pounds
The 49ers shouldn’t bank on a completely healthy return from Joshua Garnett this season, and his rookie year wasn’t enough to suggest he’s a viable starter at the NFL level anyway.
Right guard Brandon Fusco has been a nice fill-in option, but he’s also a pending free agent. Like the case with Daniel Kilgore, it might be smart for the Niners to see if they can land an upgrade with at least one of the two guard spots this offseason.
UTEP’s Will Hernandez is built like a bowling ball, giving him excellent leverage in both run blocking and pass protection. He’s also a three-year starter, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see his stock value climb between now and draft day.
What He Does Well
Hernandez is excellent in run support and does a solid enough job in pass protection. And one of the big things standing out in his tape is the sheer physicality at which he plays:
Additionally, Hernandez also looks natural in pulling out from the guard position to engage defenders on the outside. He’s surprisingly nimble on his feet and hits defenders converging on open lanes with relative ease.
Hernandez lacks length, which could open up some problems if he is in isolation, especially at the pro level.
Over-committing on his blocks can sometimes lead to trouble.
The tape also showed occasional inability to react to quicker moves, and the periodic bull rush caught Hernandez off guard at times. Most of this is technique, though, so it’s not something to worry about too much.
Projected Round: 2