From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will 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 Georgia OL Warren McClendon Jr.
#70 WARREN MCCLENDON JR/OL GEORGIA – 6041, 306 (R-JUNIOR)
Senior Bowl participant
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Warren McClendon Jr.||6041/306||10″||34 1/2″||82 3/4″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Solid first step out of his stance
— Good lateral quickness to cut off wide-nine speed
— Gets enough depth in his vertical set to maintain leverage
— Good punch strength to knock incoming defenders off their center
— Good mental processing and awareness, picks up twists and stunts well
— High effort, finishes plays to the whistle
— A bit lighter than most NFL tackles with a frame that can’t pack on much more
— Plays with high pad level and a narrow base, which results in leverage issues at the point of attack and limits play strength
— Hands don’t work well independently of each other, defaults to the two-hand strike, which minimizes his length
— Sloppy footwork off the line of scrimmage when he needs to pull or cover ground, crosses his feet
— Late to drop anchor, gives up ground when he doesn’t need to
— Feet go dead, gives up the inside counter too easily and allows defenders to cross his face
— Drops his head in anticipation of contact which leads to whiffed blocks or poor punch timing
— From Brunswick, Georgia, and attended Brunswick High School
— Turned 22 years old in early April
— Four-star prospect out of high school
— Also played basketball
— Family legacy at Georgia: his uncle, Willie McClendon, played running back there in the 70s and his cousin is a receivers coach there as well
— First-team All-SEC in 2022
— Redshirted freshman season in 2019 before becoming a Freshman All-American his R-Freshman season
— Team captain in 2022
— Knee injury held him out of one game in 2022, also limited him at the NFL Combine
— Played in 43 career games, starting 38
— Played primarily right tackle, but logged 77 snaps at left tackle as well
— Involved in a car accident after the national championship game that left two people dead, McClendon sustained minor injuries in the wreck
McClendon has the arm length, strength, and lateral quickness to make it work when he can put all of the ingredients together. On the first play of this clip, he engages with his two-hand strike. His inside arm lands on target and he brings his feet so he stays square to the line of scrimmage. He also shows off good competitive toughness finishing the play to the whistle with a pancake.
The next play, he fires off the snap downhill for a pancake block on a linebacker flowing toward the run play. He has great strength when he is able to access it by playing with leverage and square hips. On the final play of the clip, he mirrors the edge rusher’s movements and holds the edge with great punch placement and lateral quickness.
His play is wildly inconsistent with contact balance issues stemming from high pad level and footwork problems. There are some who think McClendon is a better fit at guard in the NFL, but his high-pad level and at times awful footwork won’t fly as a pulling guard or in dealing with larger defensive tackles. The first play of this clip, his feet get twisted off the line of scrimmage with a mechanics error that needs to be fixed. On the second play of the clip, he drops his head and whiffs on the block with his body weight too far out in front of him. On the final play, he stands too tall out of his stance and can’t get his hands inside. The technique inconsistencies add up in his game and he doesn’t have one dominant trait to overcome it.
While his anchor can be effective he is often late to drop it. That leads to him giving up more ground than is needed to keep a clean pocket. He also has a tendency to stop his feet when he gets stood up by a defender, which makes it easy to influence his hips.
McClendon is a high football pedigree guy with NFL bloodlines and an extensive family history with the sport. He knows the game well and it shows. He has great mental processing and sees the field well. He is able to pair his vision well with his lateral quickness to cut off stunts and twists like in this play against Alabama in the 2022 national title game. He is lined up across from Will Anderson, which is obviously going to demand a lot of attention. He doesn’t bite on the twist and flawlessly picks up the defensive lineman. He had good performances against both Anderson and Aidan Hutchinson the week prior against Michigan throughout that playoff run.
McClendon has been flying under the radar throughout this draft process. Some of that can be attributed to his injury from the car crash as well as the injury at the Senior Bowl that limited him at the Combine and his Pro Day. At the end of the day, he was a starting tackle on back-to-back national championship-winning rosters. A lot of the attention goes to some of his other teammates, but McClendon more than held his own against the second overall draft pick of the 2022 draft, Aidan Hutchinson, and Will Anderson who many expect to go top five in the 2023 draft. That is big time play in big time moments – that means something.
He has some obvious flaws in his game, but his football pedigree and IQ paired with his competitive toughness bode well for his chances at the next level. Many think he projects well at guard, but to me he is a true tackle. His pad-level issues and awkward footwork pulling or moving in space will not work at guard. If the Steelers miss out on a tackle in the first few rounds, McClendon could be an option later in the draft to upgrade depth at the position.
Projection: Early-Middle Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.1 – Raw Traits/Upside Prospect (4th Round)
Games Watched: vs Oregon (2022), at South Carolina (2022), vs Georgia Tech (2022), vs Alabama (2021), vs Michigan (2021)