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2018 NFL Draft Profile: Will Hernandez, Offensive Lineman, UTEP

The Miners’ stud guard looks set to be a first round selection.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas El Paso Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Will Hernandez

College: UTEP

Position: Offensive Guard

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 348 lbs

Combine Measurements/Stats: 32” Wingspan, 9 & 7/8” Hand Size, 5.15 40 Yard Dash, 37 Bench Press Reps, 24” Vertical Jump, 104” Broad Jump, 7.59 second 3 cone drill, 4.7 second 20-yard shuttle

College Stats: 49 starts at left guard. UTEP allowed 1.47 Sacks per game during his career and ranked first in CUSA in sacks allowed in 2014 and 2015. UTEP allowed zero sacks in 27 of those games.

A Las Vegas native, Hernandez was a mainstay on the Miners’ o-line from the moment he set foot in El Paso. While he redshirted his freshman year in 2013, he started in every game UTEP played following that season. His list of college career accolades is incredibly long and includes multiple All-C-USA First Team selections, multiple AP (among other outlets All-America Second Team Selections, and being name PFF’s Best Pass Protector in 2016. If his performance in college is any indication, he’ll be a mainstay on an NFL line in just a few short months.

Pros:

This guy is a dream offensive lineman in many aspects. He’s big, he’s mean (on the field), and he’s surprisingly mobile. When he pulls, he does a great job keeping his balance just long enough to lay out smaller/faster targets. He’s also got some of the most impressive upper body strength in this draft class. That strength makes him very hard to bull rush. UTEP’s offense certainly had its problems, but their quarterbacks were usually protected very well. In other words, there’s a reason PFF thought this guy was the best pass protector in the nation in 2016.

Cons:

Most scouts seem to agree that he’s a tad undersized. This could be an issue if any team ever decides to move him to one of the tackle spots. There’s also instances every now and then where he gives up pad positioning and leverage to try to outmuscle defensive players at chest level. While that may have worked against (mostly) G5 and FCS competition, that might not work out too well at the professional level.

Who’s going to take him and where?

Plenty of teams could use this guy, but only one can draft him. There are several spots in that 15-32 range where I can see Hernandez going, honestly. Jacksonville has the 29th pick and a quality guard would certainly help them build on what they have going. Cleveland has multiple picks in that range, and they always need offensive linemen. There have been rumblings that Dallas may keep in the state of Texas with the 19th pick. In my eyes though, Buffalo could absolutely use him with that 22nd pick considering they have to replace two of their better interior linemen from last season’s playoff run. So once again, for the sake of making predictions, I’m saying...

Buffalo in the late first round