NFL teams typically don’t want to ask prospects to change positions as professionals. After all, it’s always better if a rookie can find success immediately upon entering the NFL — or at the very least as quickly as possible. And it’s more likely that they’ll be successful more quickly at a familiar position than a new one.
But sometimes a prospect is just more suited for a different position at the NFL level.
UCLA offensive lineman Sean Rhyan, for instance, will likely be asked to transition from the offensive tackle position he played in college to a guard position at the NFL level.
While that might seem like a bit of a red flag, Rhyan is one of those prospects who should be able to adapt quickly and be successful early at a new position.
Could Rhyan be an answer at one of the New York Giants guard spots?
Prospect: Sean Rhyan (74)
Games Watched: vs. Hawaii (2021), vs. Washington (2021), vs. Oregon (2021), vs. Utah (2021)
Games Played: 31 (12 in 2021)
Best: Size, play strength, competitive toughness, run blocking
Worst: Foot speed
Projection: A starting guard with scheme diversity.
UCLA offensive tackle Sean Rhyan is a big, powerful, fluid, and tough offensive line prospect.
Rhyan has good size and thickness throughout his frame, listed at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds. He sports a powerful lower body with evident power and appears to have relatively long arms as well. Rhyan has a background in Track and Field, placing third in shotput with a 63-foot, 3 ½ inch throw at the California State Finals, showcasing his considerable power and explosiveness.
Ryan is a reliable pass protector, particularly on short or vertical sets. He has a surprisingly fluid lower body and is a surprisingly easy mover within a limited range. Rhyan flashes heavy hands and is able to keep up with most pass rushers within his range. He plays very well against power or speed-to-power rushers in pass protection. Rhyan is a knee bender who plays with good pad level to absorb initial bull rushes, and has plenty of strength to re-anchor against particularly powerful or violent rushers. He consistently works to sustain his blocks through the whistle – though he is also careful to avoid holding penalties – and constantly looks for work when he isn’t actively blocking anyone.
Rhyan has solid awareness as a blocker, and does a good job of picking up and passing off stunts and twists. He also reacts quickly and well to delayed pressures or blitzes.
Rhyan shines as a run blocker, and has the ability to execute both man-gap and zone blockers. His play strength and power allow him to create movement and drive defenders off the line of scrimmage. His does a good job of using leverage to maximize his play strength, and he shows a good understanding of angles to wall off running lanes.
Rhyan does show limited foot speed which impacts the rest of his game. He struggles against more athletic EDGE defenders, particularly when asked to cover ground in a 45-degree pass set. In those instances, his hands have a tendency to drop, limiting the power of his strikes and denying him inside leverage to control defenders. Rhyan can also lose his hip level when facing wide rushers, instead lunging and creating easy paths into the backfield.
Rhyan’s foot speed also limits him when working on the play side of zone runs or working at the second level. Likewise, he can struggle to get in front of plays as a pulling blocker or in space on screen plays.
Overall Grade: 7.6
UCLA’s Sean Rhyan projects as a starter at the NFL level, though he will likely need to transition inside to guard to reach his ceiling.
The various issues in his game are exposed the most when he is asked to kick-slide to broaden the pocket and is facing an athletic edge rusher in a wide alignment. Moving inside to guard will limit the amount of ground he needs to cover and allow him to emphasize the strengths of his game.
Rhyan is a massively powerful blocker who can send defenders reeling with a well-placed strike. He’s also fully capable of uprooting defensive linemen and driving them off the ball as a run blocker. That said, he’s at his best when he’s working downhill or not asked to move far when moving laterally. That allows him to keep his feet in sync with his hands, throw tight heavy punches, and get under defenders’ pads.
Rhyan is a limited athlete for an offensive tackle, but a good athlete for the guard position, and should be able to execute almost any blocking scheme asked of him on the interior. Though even at guard, teams should still refrain from asking him to pull or get out to block for screens all that often.
His athletic limitations mean that Rhyan grades significantly worse at offensive tackle than at guard. Teams couldn’t be blamed if they want to allow the career left tackle to try and win a starting job on the edges. Rhyan has a lot of experience, and good tape, at offensive tackle. However, his future is likely on the interior and whichever team drafts him will be happy to have him.