When looking at the offensive guard (OG) class this year, it’s hard not to get caught up in the big names. When you see the Cyril Richardson’s, Xavier Su-a-Filo’s of the world, it’s tough to want to focus on the other guys that are in the class. There’s one name that sticks out to me, and he deserves better publicity than he currently has. That name is Jon Halapio, the right guard from the Gators.
Halapio isn’t the star-studded player that everyone covets, and frankly he’s a bit under the radar. It certainly didn’t help that he played with a torn pectoral muscle his senior year as well. What many don’t realize is that Halapio is truly a pretty impressive player when you sit down and watch his tape and compare it from the junior years and senior years. Halapio’s ability to make plays on the move, and as my friend Jeff Risdon said “he’s a pancake machine”, allows for Halapio to be an attractive commodity to many NFL teams moving forward. Below I’ll dissect both Halapio’s run blocking as well as pass blocking to give truly a good glimpse into what Halapio does well, as well as struggles with.
For my money, this is what Halapio excels in overall. He may not be the best player on the field and not the most gifted athlete, but he will pile drive you into the ground with no remorse. Halapio’s ability to finish plays with authority and open lanes up for his running back’s (RB) make him someone that players as well as fans can enjoy. While he does finish plays and he makes plays happen, Halapio does have technique flaws with his run blocking. When looking at film, you can notice early on that Halapio has a little bit of a habit of lunging at players when they aren’t lined up directly across from him. This tends to Halapio basically taking himself out of the play because he’s now on the ground and can’t make his blocks. What is impressive is Halapio’s leg drive on run plays. Halapio’s got a great knack of never letting his feet stop moving and usually it leads to him being the winner of the battle against his opponent. If Halapio can work to improve his overall technique and get away from lunging at his opponent, then he very well could become one good starting guard in the NFL.
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If you were to compare run blocking to pass blocking with Halapio, pass blocking would be the weaker of the two. It’s not so much that his ability is lacking, it’s more that his technique flaws really lead to a lot of his downfalls. Watching Halapio on film, it’s apparent that his lunging issues in run blocking extend some into his pass blocking ability. Instead of staying in his base and not trying to overextend or do too much, Halapio does end up lunging and overextending from his base and can get caught off-guard. This ends up to the better defensive tackles (DT) getting by him without much resistance. This though is more of a technique flaw and you can get that fixed with proper coaching and ability, but it will take more time to get it done because it’s going back to the true fundamentals of the game. I do enjoy watching Halapio when he stays truly in his base, because it can be a thing of beauty to watch. His punch and power is impressive and when he stays right there can make the best players stop dead in their tracks. The question with Halapio will come down to fixing the core technique flaws that he has in pass protection. The inconsistency will drive offensive line coaches crazy, but if they stay patient with him, then it’ll pay off quite well
The question now comes, what do we make of Halapio as a player and where can he projected? Well Halapio is that guy who you can take in round 4, let him learn and refine his flaws, and then watch him in year two make a significant impact. The inconsistencies are maddening on film, but the flashes of brilliance show just how much he can provide when he stays true to his game. Because of those inconsistencies, I’ve stayed pretty true to that 4th round grade mentioned above. If you have a good OL coach, then watch out because he could end up being one of the better offensive linemen of this class.