Kentucky’s Tashawn Manning is a big, powerful, athletic, and smart guard who happens to already play the right guard position. He’s also already very experienced, having played in 42 games between his time at Auburn and Kentucky. We also know that the Giants scouted Kentucky earlier this year, with Joe Schoen attending their game against Florida. Might the Wildcats’ big right guard have caught Schoen’s eye?
Prospect: Tashawn Manning (79)
Games Watched: vs. Florida (2022), vs. Mississippi State (2022), vs. Tennessee (2022), vs. Georgia (2022)
Red Flags: Knee (2022)
Weight: 330 pounds
Games Played: 42 (12 in 2022)
Best: Size, athleticism, play strength, football IQ
Worst: Hand placement, leverage consistency
Projection: A guard with positional and scheme versatility, has starting upside with development
(Manning is RG number 79)
Kentucky right guard Tashawn Manning is a big, powerful, and surprisingly athletic guard prospect.
Manning is an experienced interior offensive lineman, having spent five years at Auburn before transferring to Kentucky in 2022 as a “Super Senior”. He has experience at both guard positions and started all twelve games in which he played at right guard for Kentucky.
Manning’s size is readily apparent, even next to his fellow offensive linemen. He looks every inch of the 6-foot-3, 330 pounds at which he is listed, with evident power in his upper and lower halves. He also appears to have long arms which allow him to control pass rushers or run defenders. Manning is a surprisingly good athlete with solid agility and long speed, particularly for a player his size. He is easily able to pull across the offensive formation, stay in phase in outside-zone blocking schemes, or get into position for screen plays.
Manning also shows impressive strength and competitive toughness as a blocker. He is able to strain and sustain blocks, anchoring against power and holding blocks through the echo of the whistle. He is a powerful down-hill blocker who opens holes in man-gap blocking schemes, as well as seal the edge on off-tackle runs.
He is a smooth and dependable pass protector, with the power to anchor against bull-rushes and enough agility to mirror speed on the interior. Manning shows good football IQ in processing stunts, twists, and blitzes. He’s seldom surprised by pressure packages and reacts well to late pressure. He identifies pass rushers well and does a good job of passing off defenders to pick up pressure.
Manning shows poor technique and hand usage in particular. His hands are frequently late and wide, often landing outside of his opponent’s framework. His placement not only denies him inside leverage with which he can control defenders, but also negates his length advantage and allows defenders into his chestplate. Manning’s poor hand placement could make him vulnerable to technicians at the NFL level, as well as prone to holding calls from the officials.
Manning can also play with inconsistent base width and leverage. He has the athleticism to be a true knee-bender, dropping his hips and playing with good pad level. However, his pad level is inconsistent and that can compromise his play strength. He also has a slight tendency to lower his head into contact, exacerbating his issues with hand placement.
Overall Grade: 6.3
Kentucky guard Tashawn Manning is a big, athletic, and versatile guard prospect. He has the physical tools needed to be a starter at the NFL level, and a good blend of size and athleticism to be scheme versatile. He has the power to play in a down-hill man-gap blocking scheme, as well as plenty of athleticism to play in a pin-and-pull or even outside-zone blocking scheme. Manning doesn’t quite have “tackle” athleticism, but he moves very well for a guard of his stature.
That said, Manning is unlikely to be a starter right away. He currently has inconsistent leverage, occasionally allowing his base to narrow and knees to straighten, and forcing him to lunge at defenders. Also of concern is his technique and hand placement. Manning has long arms and powerful hands, but has a tendency to let his hands drift wide rather than firing his punch into opponents’ chest plate. He has the power to jolt defenders and uncoil his hips to create movement along the offensive line, but his poor placement negates many of his tools.
Manning has the potential to be a good starter at left or right guard in a variety of schemes, but he might need a year of development to realize his upside.