2023 Atlanta Falcons Round 7 NFL Draft Pick: Get to Know Center Jovaughn Gwyn
Jovaughn Gwyn was a bit of a shocker when the Atlanta Falcons took him with their second of two seventh-round picks at No. 225 overall. However, he's the perfect kind of prospect for what they are trying to accomplish. Gwyn has all the off-field character that will help continue to build the locker room as a future veteran depth piece. Atlanta will benefit greatly from having Gwyn on the roster both in the short and long term. Spoiler alert: Gwyn will make the Falcons' 53-man roster.
University of South Carolina
Athletic Comparison and Numbers
Stats and Awards
2022: 13 Games Started at Right Guard, 76.0 PFF Pass Block grade, 65.2 PFF Run Block grade, Second-team All-SEC
2021: 13 Games Started at Right Guard, 63.4 PFF Pass Block grade, 66.8 PFF Run Block grade, SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
2020: 10 Games Started at Right Guard, 73.8 PFF Pass Block grade, 63.5 PFF Run Block grade, SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
2019: 11 Games Started at Right Guard, 74.3 PFF Pass Block grade, 59.9 PFF Run Block grade, SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
2018: 1 Games Played at Left Guard, 78.1 PFF Pass Block grade, 74.9 PFF Run Block grade, Redshirted, SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
Jovaughn Gwyn was pretty solid as a right guard in the SEC during his career at South Carolina starting every game he was healthy for during his four-year span. He has good athleticism for the position and understands how to keep his pad level low. Being shorter helps that out for sure. He sticks to defenders with his body positioning while he's making blocks. He can handle power from speed to power guys like blitzing linebackers and 3-technique defensive tackles.
His best strength comes from when he's pulling as a blocker. While this isn't something that the Falcons do a lot of in their scheme, it translates well to a zone-blocking scheme that the Falcons run. He's also one of the best leaders that they could have drafted. As a guard, he would be better off with a team running a gap scheme, but as a center, he's an ideal fit for the Falcons and should be the primary backup at center for the Falcons moving forward.
For a guard, Jovaughn Gwyn would be considered undersized, and he has T-rex arms. However, at center, this isn't as much of a problem, but he should still look into bulking up. Because of his size limitations, power is going to be his biggest problem at the next level. He will get thrown around by nose tackles and great interior pass-rushing tackles. Gwyn will have to play center at the next level so that the guards next to him can help protect him.
Having never played center at the college level, snapping could be a tough transition for Gwyn. It may take him a season or so to really learn how to do what he needs to while also snapping the ball. Also, centers are responsible for line calls, and this could be detrimental for Gwyn early in his career. The Falcons understood all of this and still took him with the idea of letting him learn under Drew Dalman for at least two years to learn the game.
Intangibles & Off-Field Red Flags
""Jovaughn, quiet guy as we all know. He leads by example. He is the same guy every day. He is a consistent human being every day and I love him.”"- Greg Adkins, South Carolina OL Coach
South Carolina offensive line coach Greg Adkins was quoted saying this at his press conference on 3/31 (h/t The Big Spur's Alex Jones) about Jovaughn Gwyn. Gwyn was a captain for two straight years at South Carolina. He seems more like the kind of leader that Grady Jarrett is than the loud voice in the room. He's respected, and he shows up and works hard every day. He keeps clean off the field and would be a metered influence on the locker room that's needed for the reserve offensive line.
NFL Stylistic Comparison: David Andrews
How does he fit in with the Atlanta Falcons
Jovaughn Gwyn has the ability to be a guy who develops to maybe eventually be a long-term starter the way Todd McClure did, but right now, the vision is likely for him to be the backup at least for his first contract and really fill his frame into a true NFL frame. Gwyn is one of the best off-field fits for the Falcons' culture and should add some leadership to the second and third units when they're on the field. Gwyn has excellent tools to work with, though, and could surprise people.
Why Jovaughn Gwyn instead of Andre Carter or Kenny McIntosh?
The Falcons were looking to improve their offensive line depth a bit more and really loved Jovaughn Gwyn's off-the-field character to fit in as a long-term backup offensive lineman for them. Andre Carter is good, but a drop-off in production probably pulled him off the Falcons board. Kenny McIntosh doesn't fit the athletic profile the Falcons would be expecting from a running back, even with their lowered standards for speed. Atlanta might have made the right choice here.
All advanced stats are courtesy Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders. All traditional stats are courtesy of official team websites, NFLGSIS or CFB Stats.All RAS and athletic testing numbers are courtesy of DraftScout.com and Kent Lee Platte's RAS Football website.