Position: Offensive Tackle
College Stats: 42 career starts.
After slipping through the Atlanta recruiting cracks, Antonio Garcia became the anchor for a Troy offense that led the Sun Belt in scoring offense and in passing offense in 2016. Most importantly for Garcia, Troy was tied for first in the country with just eight sacks allowed all season.
Playing at left tackle, Garcia did not allow a single sack last season and allowed just 5.5 in his college career. His quickness and arm length has caught the attention of scouts ever since the Senior Bowl and he could be one of the first three tackles taken in the draft.
Garcia’s athleticism stands out in this year’s tackle class. He has tremendous quickness when sliding in pass protection and will rarely allow a rusher to get around him or cut inside. Garcia had an average 24 reps on the bench press at the combine but don’t let that fool you, he has a powerful right hook that can knock defenders off balance.
In this video, Garcia (OL on bottom) quickly gets squared away with all-ACC defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and keeps him walled off on the read option.
Later, matched up with Wilkins again, Garcia (OL on top) pops his hips quickly and runs Wilkins well behind the pass play.
With only a knee injury during his freshman season keeping Garcia from being a four year starter, his experience and leadership would make him a welcome addition to any locker room.
Weighing in at 302, Garcia is a little undersized for the NFL. His playing weight during his senior year was consistently below 290 and he did not get back to 300 until just before the combine. This raises concerns about whether or not Garcia can hold his weight during a 16 game season.
The other main question mark with Garcia is the style of play he was a part of in Troy. The Trojans run a quick hitting offense that relies on a bevy of screens and slants. Garcia rarely had to stay in protection for more than three seconds and almost never started with a hand on the ground. This could be an issue for teams with quarterbacks that like to hold on to the ball for extended periods of time (i.e. Steelers, Packers, etc.).
Where will Garcia be drafted?
Garcia’s stock has been rising since the end of the season but has settled into the 3rd-5th best tackle range. With a couple teams in the first round likely to take a tackle, there is a good chance Garcia will be off the board on the second day.
One team that comes to mind is the Carolina Panthers. Carolina has been in dire need for more protection around Cam Newton and could add a strong development piece with Garcia. Carolina has two picks in the second round, one at 40th and one at 64th. I don’t believe Garcia will be available at 64 and I think the Panthers know it too.