There’s no replacement for good play in the trenches. It’s where games are won, at both the collegiate and NFL levels. Consequently, finding worthwhile prospects in the trenches is a valuable endeavor. With his scouting report, can Georgia OG Justin Shaffer be one of those prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Justin Shaffer NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Guard
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Redshirt senior
- Height: 6’3 5/8″
- Weight: 326 pounds
- Wingspan: 81 1/8″
- Length: 33 3/4″
- Hand: 10 3/8
Justin Shaffer Scouting Report
If you came here wondering who the left guard — No. 54 — on the Georgia offensive line is after he finished a rep pile-driving his opponent, you’re in the right place. This is the scouting report of Justin Shaffer, a Georgia OG who’s seen his stock rise quite a bit after a standout season.
After earning second-team All-SEC honors and helping his Bulldogs make the CFP National Championship Game against Alabama, Shaffer will soon set his sights on the NFL Draft. When he does, will he have the talent to command interest in the early rounds? Here’s a review of his film and whether he has that potential.
Shaffer’s athletic profile
Shaffer is listed at 6’4″, 330 pounds, with the same relative dimensions as his teammate, Jamaree Salyer. However, Shaffer has a much different body type than Salyer. He sports a low-cut, athletic frame with decent length, and he carries his weight rather well. That low-cut frame allows him to utilize short, energetic strides in space to build up pace. He’s also fairly explosive off the line, and he can get to the second level with ease. He’s able to find space and surge forward as a motion blocker.
Shaffer’s hands are violent and powerful. He can stack violent extensions and pave open lanes in the running game. By the same virtue, he can replace his anchor with exceptional quickness and force. He has legitimate mauler moments in a phone booth, as he’s able to finish opponents that lose their balance. He also has a flexible upper body, which allows him to absorb power a decent amount and keep his balance.
Going further, the Georgia OG is fairly light on his feet in his stance, and he transfers his weight well laterally. He flashes decent mobility in space as well. He’s at least able to keep his legs churning, and with his dense frame, he brings a lot of force as a pulling guard. Additionally, Shaffer flashes the initial burst necessary to shade across techniques and adjust his attack angles.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Most notably, Shaffer generally plays with good leverage, and he can generate good power at the point of attack. He can lean into opponents and channel his power without losing his balance. Moreover, he can keep his base strong while extending forward and walling off defensive linemen. He plays with good knee bend, and he can load up a lot of potential energy in his lower body.
Shaffer has an aggressive help mentality. He’s able to lower his pads and carry force into blocks, and he generates good torque from his upper body on reps. He has the power capacity to get displacement, as well as the ability to latch quickly off the line and drive his defenders into the dirt.
In pass protection, Shaffer’s feet and hands mirror each other fairly well. He can lessen impacts with a strong, stable base. Additionally, the Georgia OG employs grip strength well in pass protection. He can anchor and neutralize with that grip strength, and he also has the awareness to handle stunts and recognize rushers flanking him.
Areas for improvement
There’s a lot to like with Shaffer, but he isn’t perfect. While he’s solid in many areas, it’s worth wondering if he has an elite trait. His core strength isn’t elite, as his anchor can get warped and deconstructed by opponents. He also lacks elite range as a pulling guard. He can run a bit upright at times, sapping momentum, and the longer he has to last in space, the less effective he is. He’s better in short areas, as his initial burst fades in space.
Going further, Shaffer doesn’t have great recovery athleticism or change-of-direction capacity. He’s also not elite at absorbing power, as power rushers can get inside his torso and knock him off-balance. Technique can contribute to this as well. While Shaffer can keep a strong base, his feet aren’t always controlled. His occasional lack of steadiness can make him easy to direct at times.
Continuing with Shaffer’s shortcomings, the Georgia OG can improve his hands. His hands don’t always strike cleanly. He sometimes whiffs on blocks and loses his balance. Shaffer can also have some wasted movement in his hands, as he doesn’t always lock and launch. He can get a little grabby when he loses leverage, drawing penalties. Furthermore, he can do a better job latching and sustaining when setting his anchor. Especially against more agile defenders, Shaffer struggles to correct laterally when his anchor is broken.
Among other things, Shaffer can improve his communication when responding to stunts. He can also improve his angles in space at times. And finally, there are instances when his pad level is too high. This impacts his leverage and can contribute to minor lateral stiffness.
Shaffer’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
Shaffer likely isn’t an early-round guard prospect. While he’s been a solid starter at the collegiate level, he lacks an elite trait to build around at the NFL level. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a starter. However, Shaffer’s inconsistency in space and lack of elite play strength will serve as diluting factors for his ability early on in his career.
Nevertheless, Shaffer still has enough play strength and athleticism to get by, and he stores great amounts of power within his frame. What’s even more promising is that the Georgia OG plays with exceptional knee bend and natural balance when he’s congruent mechanically. He can lower his shoulders and generate ample force with proper leverage. And he has the explosiveness off the line to supplement that.
Shaffer can still round out some rough edges with his hands and footwork. But there’s enough there for him to grow into a solid starter at the NFL level. He may never be a Pro Bowler or an All-Pro, but good starting guards don’t need elite athleticism to navigate the interior. And Shaffer is above average in that department, either way.
Shaffer presents plenty of appeal in the middle rounds as a forceful, well-leveraged guard prospect with starting potential across schemes. And until he becomes a starter, he has the experience and left-right versatility to be a valuable depth piece.
Shaffer’s Player Profile
Born in June of 1998, Shaffer has always been bigger than others. It’s a prerequisite for offensive linemen that the Georgia OG never had to worry about. He towered over his opponents heading into high school, and by the time he hit the recruiting trail in 2017, he stood at approximately 6’5″, 356 pounds. He also logged decent size-adjusted testing numbers, with a 5.41 40-yard dash and a 25.8-inch vertical jump.
Despite his numbers, Shaffer was only a three-star prospect and barely in the top 30 at his position. But it didn’t take long before some of the nation’s top schools caught on to his talent. In the end, Shaffer would receive scholarship offers from Michigan, Wake Forest, Kentucky, and Louisville, among others.
Shaffer originally signed with Louisville in January of 2016. But when his in-state Georgia Bulldogs approached, Shaffer seized the chance to join the storied program.
Shaffer’s career at Georgia
Teams like the Georgia Bulldogs are so laden with four and five-star talent that it can be rare for three-star recruits to break out on the college football stage. This was the case for Shaffer, who had to wait his turn and pay his dues before he got his chance to start.
For the first three years of his career, Shaffer was a reserve offensive lineman. He played in eight games in 2017 and all 12 games in 2018, but never saw extensive action. That changed somewhat in 2019. Although still a reserve, the Georgia OG would see reps at left guard against Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Tennessee — getting his first start against the Volunteers.
2020 was the turning point for Shaffer as he was elevated into the full-time starting lineup. He played the entire season at left guard, shifting to right guard in the bowl game. Shaffer reprised his role in 2021, starting in all 14 games ahead of the title game. He earned all-conference honors for his play — a sign that the three-star from Ellenwood, Georgia, had finally made it.
Shaffer’s NFL Draft ascension
There was a time when the NFL Draft itself was uncertain for Shaffer. Now, however, the Georgia OG has leveraged two solid seasons as a starter into definite draft buzz. He’s worked his way into the draft conversation, and he’s earned an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
The Senior Bowl will be key for Shaffer if he wants to potentially elevate his stock into Day 2 range and prove he can be an NFL starter for teams. If he can show better, longer-lasting mobility in space and anchor more consistently against top-tier opponents, he can take the next step in boosting his stock ahead of April’s showcase.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Justin Shaffer
Positives: Nice-sized offensive lineman with an underrated game. Sets with a wide base, sinks his butt at the line of scrimmage, and bends his knees. Strong, keeps his feet moving, and easily turns defenders from the action. Plays with a nasty attitude and always looks to hit someone. Shows great awareness, works well with teammates, and displays the ability to bury defenders and engulf them from plays altogether. Flashes quickness pulling across the line of scrimmage and blocking in motion.
Negatives: Struggles adjusting to the blitz. Overextends on occasion and must improve his blocking balance.
Analysis: Shaffer was a solid offensive lineman for Georgia and comes with size, growth potential, and underrated athleticism. He needs to polish his game, but if he does, Shaffer could be a surprise starter for a power-gap scheme.