Position: Offensive guard
Weight: 330 pounds
School: UTEP Miners
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 5.15 seconds
Bench press: 37 reps (best among offensive linemen)
Vertical jump: 24 inches
Broad jump: 8 feet, 8 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.59 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.70 seconds
Will Hernandez 2018 NFL Draft Profile
It’s possible that two stalwarts from Texas-based Conference USA schools go on day one of the NFL Draft. Edge rusher Marcus Davenport out of UTSA is already generating top 10 buzz among draft experts. And he has company in UTEP left guard Will Hernandez who’s also garnering first-round grades from analysts. Both were consistent contributors during all four years of their collegiate careers. It’s that experience combined with game-changing talent that has them among the top prospects at their respective positions.
Hernandez grew up in Las Vegas, NV and starred on both sides of the ball at Chaparral High School. The three-sport athlete who also competed in wrestling, as well as track and field, earned all-conference accolades as a guard and defensive tackle. After redshirting, Hernandez became a mainstay at left guard for the remainder of his time in El Paso. He started all 49 games for the Miners, 39 of which resulted in the team giving up one or fewer sacks.
Despite the fact UTEP went 4-20 over his final two seasons, Hernandez elicited praise for his play and caught the eye of scouts. He earned second-team AP All-American honors and also made C-USA’s first team both years. After deciding to return for his senior year instead of declaring early, Hernandez saw a total of 384 snaps in pass blocking situations, allowing a quarterback pressure on just three of them per Pro Football Focus. Add to that an impressive Senior Bowl week and it’s no surprise Hernandez is one of this year’s most highly touted draft prospects.
- boasts immense experience – a four-year starter at left guard;
- thick build ideal for the next level;
- brutish play strength that overwhelms defenders;
- good lateral footwork enables him to effectively reset;
- stuns defenders with a strong punch on initial contact;
- helps out on combo blocks then seamlessly steps up into the second level to down block;
- plus awareness allows him to anticipate and contain;
- exposed to pro-style concepts at UTEP;
- plays with focused intensity all the way to the whistle;
- fifth highest pass blocking efficiency grade among all draft-eligible guard prospects from Pro Football Focus;
- arm length a bit shorter than desired;
- hand placement tends to be too wide which can lead to panic grabs;
- pad level can get too upright resulting in loss of leverage;
- operates with too wide a base at times;
- oftentimes defaults to winning with brute force rather than fundamentals;
- needs to be quicker when executing pulls to the outside;
- could have issues keeping athletic three-technique gap penetrators out of the backfield;
- still a raw prospect who will need good coaching to realize his potential.
NFL Comparison: Josh Sitton
Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans
Projection: Could sneak into first round
Hernandez is a super experienced player who’s emerged as one of the top prospects to come out of a non-Power Five school. He brings a unique combination of play strength and athleticism which means that teams in need of a guard have him high on their draft boards. Still, Hernandez remains rough around the edges and will need to hone his overall craft, particularly with respect to pass protection. The biggest issue may be his wide hands on initial engagement which could lead to frequent holding calls. But all in all, he has a huge opportunity to jump right in and become an immediate impact player in the league.