Offensive line play is one of the biggest indicators of success for NFL teams. As such, building from the trenches is a key factor for many teams on draft day. While much attention is paid to tackles, interior line play is just as necessary to keeping your quarterback upright. Teams protect from the inside out and guard play is right at the heart of that.
McClendon Curtis is one of the top-rated guards in this year’s NFL draft, and should expect to hear his name called within the first two nights. Below is everything you need to know, detailed in our McClendon Curtis scouting report.
McClendon Curtis NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Guard
- School: Tennessee at Chattanooga
- Year: Fifth-Year Senior
Curtis attended Central High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was a three-star recruit once colleges began to take notice of him. He didn’t start as a natural offensive lineman in college, but once Curtis grew into it and began dominating his opponents, he received 10 scholarship offers — five from FBS schools.
Curtis, however, decided not to attend a large FBS program, but to stay in the city he and his mother had lived in for most of his life. He gave an insightful answer to The Touchdown as to why he chose a smaller program to begin his college career.
“The funny thing is, I truly didn’t know the difference between the FCS and FBS. That was one of the things that affected the decision…Chattanooga had originally offered me, but had a coaching change themselves…and I guess it just all worked out. I got to stay at home and play ball.”
Curtis started all 11 games at right guard this past season. He helped anchor an offensive line that paved the way for a rushing offense that averaged over 205 rushing yards per game. In pass protection, that same offensive line surrendered only nine sacks all season.
Curtis has been named to various on-field performance lists, beginning in 2021, when he was named first-team All-Southern Conference. He was also appointed to the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee Student-Athlete Connection Group, which he was reappointed to for the 2022 season. Off the field, through the 2022 spring semester, Curtis was a Dean’s list and A.D. Honor roll member with a 4.0 GPA.
Coming out of the NFL Combine, Curtis has a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 7.65. That ranks him 320th all-time for guards out of 1,360 guards with measurements in this database since 1987.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for McClendon Curtis
Strengths: Large, wide-bodied lineman who blocks with terrific fundamentals. Starts with good knee bend, sinks his butt at the line of scrimmage, and stays square. Displays terrific awareness as well as blocking vision. Effective and strong with his hands.
Controls defenders once engaged at the point, effectively places his hands into opponents, and has enough power to recover. Quick to the second level and engulfs opponents or knocks them back with violent hand punch. Shows great run-blocking power and consistently opens up lanes.
Weaknesses: Lacks range in pass protection. Ducks his head on occasion. Not quick or fluid pulling across the line of scrimmage.
Overall: Curtis is a nasty blocker with an NFL body and decent upside. While he played at 350 pounds on the college level, Curtis would benefit from losing about 20 pounds, and he has the tools necessary to line up in a power-gap system.
McClendon Curtis Combine Measurements and Results
The NFL Scouting Combine gives a unique look at athletic testing for the various scouting prospects. PFN has a full database of both NFL Combine measurements and NFL Combine results. Below are the measurements and results for Curtis.
- Height: 6057
- Weight: 324
- Arm: 35”
- Hand: 10 ¼”
- Bench Press: 25
- 40-Yard Dash: 5.24
McClendon Curtis’ Current Draft Projection
According to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Curtis has a third-round draft grade. Pauline grades at 3.64, which puts him on the cusp of being in fourth-round territory. Tony has him as the sixth-highest-graded guard, just behind Cody Mauch of North Dakota State, and just ahead of Nick Broeker of Mississippi, who projects to go in Round 4.
One potential landing spot for Curtis that is in need of an interior offensive lineman is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills had a lackluster rushing attack last season. They struggled to find any offense that was directly provided by Josh Allen, including rushing.
Curtis could help get the ball moving for them as they look to upgrade the position. Pick 91 seems perhaps a little early for McClendon to go, but if the board falls a particular way, as it did in one of the PFN MDS run-throughs I did, that could be the earliest we see his name called.
Another interesting home for Curtis could be the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones recently declared both Tyron Smith and Tyler Smith will be their starting tackles, while Terence Steele will serve as a swing tackle, rather than having one of them play guard. If Tyron Smith is the RT, that would be a mistake, in my opinion, as Steele is the better right tackle.
This means a hole at guard remains. If Dallas can’t get a good value on one in Rounds 1 or 2, they may have a tough choice to make at pick 90. If the Cowboys wait until pick 121, Curtis could be gone. You could see Atlanta scoop him at 113. Nevertheless, Curtis falls right into that range between 90 and 121.
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