Is UConn’s Christian Haynes the best pure offensive guard prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft?
After a dominant Senior Bowl performance, many are starting to view him in that light, along with the college tape to validate that standing as well.
Christian Haynes Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 6’2 1/2″
- Weight: 318 pounds
- Length: 33 7/8″
- Wingspan: 80 3/8″
- Hand: 8 7/8″
- Position: Offensive Guard
- School: UConn
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
Few 2024 NFL Draft offensive line prospects can say they were a mainstay as college blockers for as long as Haynes was.
Haynes joined the UConn Huskies as a mere two-star recruit in 2018 and preserved his redshirt after playing in just two games. But from that point on, he was a full-time starter on the line and only got better with each passing season.
Save for the 2020 campaign, which UConn canceled due to COVID-19, Haynes started 49 straight games. And in 2023, he was a third-team College Football Network All-American, distinguishing himself as one of the best players in the league.
Being at an Independent school, Haynes sometimes fell under the radar early in the 2024 NFL Draft process, but the Senior Bowl brought him to the forefront as a legitimate early-round prospect. Here’s how he projects and how highly he could go.
Haynes’ Scouting Report
- Has a utopian combination of natural leverage, mass, and proportional length.
- Extremely explosive, energized mover off the snap, who gains ground with ease.
- Has the searing explosiveness to work across-face against nose tackles and seal off.
- Quick, fleet-footed lateral mover who flashes impressive recovery capacity on counters.
- Can generate elite knockback power at contact, expertly channeling force from his hips.
- On gap runs, has the hinge flexibility to swivel around and seal front-side defenders.
- Has the flexibility to bend and redirect upfield with speed after pulling across the line.
- Assignment-sound run blocker with great spatial awareness, angle IQ, and efficiency.
- Latches with violent energy as a run blocker and relishes the chance to bury opponents.
- Can sequentially wrench down opposing anchors and re-anchor with ruthless force.
- Able to anchor with a wide base and tight hands, using suffocating core strength.
- Can envelop rushers with his width while maintaining synergy between hands and feet.
- Latches with precision in the pass and run game and can control reps from the start.
- While in phase, can use his hips to torque through extensions and displace rushers.
- Can effectively pass off rushers inside and gather delayed blitzers while keeping base.
- At times, diverts too far upright at the snap, allowing defenders into his frame.
- Can be a bit more consistent sustaining base load and power drive through contact.
- Occasionally lurches past his center of gravity as a backside blocker, eroding balance.
- Sometimes widens his hands too far off the snap, exposing his torso to power.
- Can more consistently load elbows and keep arms tight to maximize potential energy.
- Occasionally resorts to wrapping and grabbing rushers when they get a step up gaps.
- Can be baited into setting his feet and extending too early against counters and swims.
- At times, can better load his base beneath him to maintain balance against power.
- Sometimes narrows his base when adjusting positioning, exposing himself to power.
- Can sometimes be reckless blocking in space, knocking defenders into rushing paths.
- At times, can be more proactive using his base to seal off defensive angles in space.
- As a center, still improving at balancing the snap and initial leverage acquisition.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Haynes grades out as a fringe first-round prospect and a top-50 talent in the 2024 NFL Draft. For teams in need of an offensive guard, he’s worth late first-round capital. In the second and third rounds, he’d be a tremendous value addition with schematic versatility and impact starter potential.
Across Haynes’ game, there is an over-arching need for greater control. As a run blocker, he sometimes drifts past optimal angles and can pass up opportunities to correct leverage with over-aggression. And in pass protection, that same overaggression can leave him in the lurch against rushers who know how to set up blockers.
All this being said, there’s a passable operational foundation present to cement Haynes as a starter early in his career, and his ceiling is one of the highest in the 2024 NFL Draft interior offensive line class. He could experiment with a switch to center, but he translates best at his most natural position: Guard.
At 6’2 1/2″ and 318 pounds, with near-34″ arms, Haynes has an elite combination of natural leverage, mass, and proportional length.
His physical profile and raw strength allow him to control reps in pass protection, but he also has the high-end explosiveness, flexibility, and power output to be a road-grader in the run game.
Haynes functions as a high-floor pass blocker with good anchor timing, placement, and awareness. Meanwhile, in the run game, he has versatility across gap and zone variations, and his verified mauler mentality makes him a tone-setter and a brutal finisher in space.
As a sixth-year senior, Haynes may be an older rookie, but he has the traits to make a Day 1 impact, and the runway toward being an impact two-phase starter shouldn’t be a long one.
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