We're getting near the end of our individual player grades, and though we're a bit out of order, we arrive at one of my favorite players, Adam Snyder. You can look up back-and-forths between myself and smileyman from a few years ago in which we talk about Snyder's actual, factual potential at center and guard - while he was off being terrible at right tackle. Let's talk about that - just how terrible Snyder was at right tackle. He was laughably bad. He was somewhere between being Kwame Harris and the Chilo Rachal of tackles.
He's valuable for his versatility in that regard in that he can play right tackle and maybe make five out of ten blocks, but let's hope we never have to see him there again. I always talked about how Snyder should have started and ended his career at center, as he's got the perfect skillset for that, but without that, guard is the next best thing. I do actually feel as though he'd be a better left guard than a right guard, so right now, I reckon Snyder is playing his third-best position on the offensive line.
And he played it very, very well in 2011. Snyder struggled at times to work well with Anthony Davis, but when he teamed up with Jonathan Goodwin at center, there wasn't a defensive tackle in the league that broke through them. You can't run that blocking scheme every play though, so there were lots of broken protections, especially early on, but I think Snyder did a fair job of compensating at a somewhat new position.
When Rachal was pressed into action, everybody wept, mostly due to the fact that he's very ... not good, and partly due to that fact that Snyder really hit his stride. The guy blocks very well, and looked far more athletic this season than I thought possible for him. I noticed Snyder being used for a lot of intricate blocking schemes, mostly ones in which he and Mike Iupati swapped sides after the ball was snapped.
At his best, Snyder was a gritty technician who used more than strength to make his block, and while they weren't always punishing, they were generally sustained, especially in space. As his worst, he was mistake-prone and didn't work too well with Davis at right tackle, unable to pick up on Davis getting mauled by speed rushers and unable to create a good enough hole for Frank Gore and the other running backs. I believe he's the starter going forward.