From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, we’ll be profiling TCU OL Steve Avila.
#79 STEVE AVILA/OL TCU – 6031, 332 pounds
Senior Bowl Participant
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Steve Avila||6034/332||9 1/4||33||79|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Solid frame for an interior OL with a lot of mass in both his upper and lower body
— Plays low with good natural knee bend
— Solid first step out of stance with little wasted movement
— Keeps good pad level, generating solid play strength with leverage
— Good contact balance, uses short choppy steps to stay upright and square to defenders
— Good anchor against power in his pass set when he can keep defenders away from his chest
— Good inside hand placement with his two-hand strike
— Does not give ground against the run big-on-big
— Good latch strength to stick on blocks
— Very durable with no injuries of note through 46 games
— Positional flexibility between all three interior OL spots
— Just adequate at moving in space
— Marginal mental processing, doesn’t see the field well on the move
— Play speed is adequate, not quick enough to consistently pull or move in space
— Doesn’t reset his hands well with marginal independent hand usage
— Lacking competitive toughness to finish blocks to the whistle, caught looking back at the play at times
— Anchor falls apart when defenders get to his chest
— Late to blocks when climbing to the second level or moving in space
— Doesn’t generate a ton of displacement when run blocking
— From Arlington, Texas
— Four star recruit out of South Grand Prairie High School
— Redshirt Senior prospect, played in the Senior Bowl
— 23 Years old
— Started one season mostly at center (2021) and one mostly at guard (2022), also started some games at tackle.
— Played in 46 games, starting 35 (17 at center, 2 at tackle, 15 at guard)
— Started at left guard his entire senior season, logging 899 snaps and allowing zero sacks
— Played in the National Championship game his senior season
— 2021 1st-team AP All-Big 12 (C)
— 2022 1st-team AP All-Big 12 (LG)
— 2022 Consensus All-American
Avila’s best trait is his anchor, which he is able to consistently achieve with quick choppy steps, good pad level, and square hips. He does have the latch strength to stick on a block and make it very difficult for the defender to disengage. His lateral movement is good enough, especially when he latches onto his target, to prevent any kind of penetration. A few clips strung together here to illustrate what it looks like when Avila’s play goes according to plan.
It doesn’t always go according to plan, though as he struggles to use his hands and feet independently of each other. In these clips, he stops his feet when he engages with his punch and the defender is able to shed him easily. Avila’s wide base that is normally an advantage becomes too wide with the lunge and Mazi Smith out of Michigan was able to take advantage on both occasions. The third cut is a much smaller linebacker getting into Avila’s chest, opening up his hips, and driving him back.
He found most of his success in college in a gap scheme or with an inside zone where he can down block and engage quickly out of his stance. In any power running scheme, the guard is going to be asked to pull. While Avila has plenty of experience pulling at TCU, his lack of athleticism shows in open space where he moves pretty slowly and his change of direction starts to suffer. These clips show a couple examples, one pull with a good result, one with a bad result. In general, he seemed to be a step late getting to the block when pulling.
Avila’s game is not flashy, rarely mauling anyone in the run game or showing that nastiness that the guard position is known for, but he does have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and knows how to use his body mass to his advantage. His knee bend creates natural leverage and his wide base helps him keep his hips square. Those are a lot of the things that other linemen work at for years. At 23, and with a lot of games under his belt in college, his experience shows and you have to question the ceiling with someone who already has a good handle on his overall technique. He will work best in a gap or inside zone running scheme, but his troubles pulling or moving in space to the second level will limit him. Gap teams like to pull their guards and he lost a lot of reps pulling at TCU.
Avila had a nice week overall at the Senior Bowl, playing well in one-on-ones, but not standing out in the team sessions. The positional flexibility is attractive to a lot of teams as he can play left guard, center, or right guard. The Steelers will be looking to add competition and depth in the interior of their offensive line with Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green generally disappointing and Mason Cole’s future uncertain with the team beyond 2024.
His experience, versatility, and durability help his value, but a gap/power guard who can’t pull effectively is an awkward fit for some teams. My pro comparison for Avila is Larry Warford.
Projection: Late Day Two/Early Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 – Potential Starter / Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: at Kansas (2022), vs Kansas State (2022), vs Texas Tech (2022), at Michigan (2022)