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- Position: Offensive Guard (OG)
- Class: Senior (redshirt)
- College: Alabama
- Ht/Wt: 6'5", 310 pounds
Arie Kouandjio is the older brother of Cyrus Kouandjio, Buffalo's second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Both brothers played offensive line for the Crimson Tide, with Cyrus manning left tackle and Arie playing next to him at left guard. Like Cyrus, Arie is a big lineman with long arms and huge hands.
Kouandjio does his best work within the tackle box. He has developed his ability to block on the second level and can latch onto linebackers with ease. When blocking, he does a good job of starting with a strong punch and keeping his hands placed inside an opponent's shoulder pads. He has average power, sometimes struggling to anchor and needing to lean forward to generate force in the run game. That being said, he fires into a low initial stance, helping him gain some leverage.
Kouandjio's hips are pretty stiff and he narrows his base against speed rushers, leaving him susceptible to being beat around the corner. He keeps his head on a swivel and is good blocking in tandem with teammates, but needs to speed up his footwork if he wants to be trusted full time on his own.
While nothing about Kouandjio's game stands out as very strong or noteworthy, I nonetheless enjoyed watching his tape. The 2013 bowl game was awful (he played worse than his brother), but many of the flaws I saw then were improved by the following season. I do think he's less athletic than his brother, and like any Alabama player I have to worry about injury issues. But this is a player I'd happily draft in the fourth round, and maybe even the third round. I can envision him becoming an NFL starter in his career, even if he ends up topping out as a Duke Preston type.