Xavier Su’A-Filo is officially listed as a guard for the UCLA Bruins, though he spent a lot of time at tackle this last season. Unlike some of the higher-rated O-linemen in this year’s draft, it was due to injuries rather than versatility.
Su’A-Filo was forced into a role that many experts agree was an ill fit for him at tackle. Still, tenacious work ethic and raw ability saw him maul opponents no matter what his natural position is. That fact is one of the main reasons why he is still considered one of the top lineman coming out of college this year.
From CBS Sports:
Strengths: Powerfully-built. Very good initial quickness, hand placement and impressive upper body strength to gain the initial advantage on defenders. Due to his core strength and flexibility, Su’a-Filo anchors very well against bull-rushes and shows lateral agility and balance in pass pro. Perfect match in UCLA’s drive-blocking scheme, but has the athleticism to fit in a zone-blocking scheme as well.
Quick out of his stance. Effective pass blocker — can bend his knees, extend and mirror in short area. Generates movement in the run game. Can work his hips and maneuver to gain positioning. Good foot athlete. Can pull, trap, combo block and step to the second level. Durable three-year starter. Has played guard and tackle.
Lacks ideal length. Missed two years of strength training while serving a LDS mission and has a bad body. Could stand to play with better pop and power in his hands. Bends at the waist, gets overextended and falls off blocks. Heavy-legged — slow to shift his weight and adjust to stunts and quick inside moves. Gets beat across his face. Needs to play with better awareness — gets short-circuited by complicated defensive movement. Struggled mightily at left tackle.
Does not look the part and was miscast when forced to play left tackle for the Bruins, but Su’a-Filo is more effective than he is pretty. Projects best at left guard, where he has starter-caliber ability in a power scheme, though he is athletic enough to appeal to zone teams, too.
Here are some highlights via YouTube: