INDIANAPOLIS — Stanford guard Joshua Garnett is a wide-bodied offensive lineman with surprising athleticism. Garnett weighed in at 6-foot-4, 312 pounds at the NFL Combine and he uses every bit of his size to lay devastating blocks on defenders.
I asked Garnett about his ability to get into the second level of defenses and hit moving targets and he said, “A lot of guys want to get in space against, smaller, quicker guys and just want to chop down on them. You’ve got to run through them, just run through their soul! Hopefully, if you hit them, they’re going to go down. It worked.”
Garnett enhanced his agility by doing a lot of footwork drills, learning how to get leverage at the point of attack and jumping rope. Many of the drills he did to improve upon hitting moving targets in the second level mirror what guards are asked to do while pulling.
Many of Stanford’s guards that have entered the draft have the ability to pull. It is evident Garnett is excited to have an opportunity to be listed among the pantheon of Stanford offensive linemen to have success in the NFL.
“All the guards at Stanford, they want big, fast physical guys that move in space,” Garnett said. “That was the big thing with any of the guards at Stanford. You’ve got to be able to pull. You’ve got to be able to move in space and kind of dance and play basketball with those corners and safeties and fast linebackers.”
One former Stanford guard that Garnett has modeled his game after is David DeCastro. “I know a lot about David DeCastro. That was kind of the guy I liked to model myself after at Stanford,” Garnett said. “That’s a guy who was a mauler, a finisher.
“When he punches you, you’re going to feel it. That was a guy I really liked to watch film of, just the way he finished. I modeled my play after that. I really wanted to finish people and imitate what David DeCastro was doing.”
While Garnett doesn’t quite possess DeCastro’s athleticism, he certainly has a leg up on DeCastro in the realm of academia. Garnett is a human biology major who aspires to be a trauma surgeon once his playing days are over.
“I worked in a cell biology lab this past summer, did a stint in an ER for some shadowing,” Garnett said. ” I just love being able to see the high-intensity environment. Everyone’s working together. The quarterback is the head doctor. You have the nurses, kind of the offensive linemen of the thing, doing the dirty work but not getting the credit for it.
“But everyone is real locked in and working as a team. That is something I saw myself doing everyday with my teammates on the football field. The transition from football field to trauma surgeon would be a thing where I wouldn’t have to give up my competitive nature and I’d be able to work as a member of the team and be able to help people out.”
Garnett’s heart is in the right place as his desire to help others is admirable. However, his competitive spirit superseded his kindness when asked if he could repair the souls of opponents he blocks in space. Garnett quipped, “I can fix the legs, I don’t know about the soul.”
Garnett has the talent necessary to become a starting guard in the NFL. He has the agility, strength and technique that will aid him in his quest to gain significant playing time early in his career. He might not test well at the Combine, but his on-field play should trump the numbers he puts up in Indianapolis.