With the selection of Notre Dame guard/tackle Zack Martin, the Dallas Cowboys believe they have gained a day one starter at guard. And now we have a camp battle between Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau. But if you listen to the people at Pro Football Focus, they don’t believe it’s much of a competition. According to their rankings, Berneadu finished as the 22nd ranked guard in the NFL, while Leary finished 55th. I respectfully disagree with their assessment of the two players. I personally think Ronald Leary is the superior player and provides more power on the left side of the offensive line.
But before we look at some game film, here is a chart showing how Ronald Leary compares to similar successful guards in the NFL (and Zack Martin). Remember that Leary was coming off of knee injury in 2012 and still put up some nice numbers at the NFL combine:
I could you show you many plays where Ronald Leary is blowing his guy off the line of scrimmage. But that’s not what makes a really good guard, although it makes for a good highlight clip. As a guard in today’s NFL, you have to be smart and aware. And more times than not, I see that from Leary. Here’s a clip of him picking up a pseudo-stunt against the Eagles:
There’s a reputation out there from people who don’t watch a ton film that Leary is a guy who is just big and strong. Leary isn’t a guy that just plays with power. He also is a nice fit in this zone-blocking scheme because he can get down the field and move linebackers. Check out this play from the Chicago Bears game in which he moves linebacker Khaseem Greene out of the way and helps Murray get through the hole:
It’s pretty cool to watch a guard of Leary’s size get down the field and make that play. I suspect we will see a lot more of pulling from Leary in 2014. I also expect Ronald Leary to have a huge year, especially with the emergence of Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick next to him. In a recent interview with Jordan Ross, Ronald Leary said that he has some pretty high goals for 2014 and that we would think he’s crazy if he told us what he is striving for in 2014. We can only hope he reaches those goals.