I groan at the term road grader simply because that was how Amini Silatolu was described last year. And like Amini Silatolu, Edmund Kugbila is another guard project.
I wasn’t able to find much film on Kugbila so I can’t go too in depth as to what he does well or what his weaknesses are. What I was able to find out, which is obvious, is that he is a very large man. He’s got good footwork and appears to be the prototypical guard in terms of footwork and size. He’s what you want in a lineman except that he played at Valdosta State. Not that players from smaller schools aren’t able to compete at the NFL level, it’s more that the competition they faced wasn’t as stiff as say the SEC is.
I was screaming all season on Reddit and everywhere else where people were forced to listen to me that the Panthers biggest need this offseason was on the offensive line. It’s still their biggest need in my opinion. Kugbila is obviously a pick for the future due to his development. He may not have the skills to immediately start, and most likely wouldn’t get the nod over Hangartner or Silatolu. But who knows, he may come into camp and be a natural.
One thing I won’t do is knock this pick. Some people are going to say that this is a reach, and it may be. I don’t think that this guy would have been there in round 5 and beyond though, so it may have only been an inter-round pick reach. I’m trusting Gettleman. I have no reason no to. So far he seems to be methodically preparing for the future. Kugbila is one of those pieces. While he may simply be a depth guy at this point I think that he can develop into more than that. Even if he is just a depth guy, but ends up being a competent depth guy we need all the help we can get on the offensive line at this point.