Welcome back to the B&G Report. It’s once again that time of year, when players are having their last minute getaways before mandatory team Training Camps start in July. The depth charts and player news seem to have slowed down around the league. Many bloggers continue to make their predictions and provide insight though. Todays focus will be on a Diamond in the Rough candidate, that the Burgundy and Gold Report has been following for sometime now. That player is second year Guard Kyle Kalis. Many fans were disappointed when Ari Kouandijo was shipped to IR with a torn quad muscle. The Left Guard postion has been a weakness for years. The hope was that the former Crimson Tide Guard would possibly solidify the position, avoiding another year with offen injured Shawn Lauvao. Well Lauvao was resigned, initially for depth purposes per reports. At this point Lauvao is atop the depth chart to start at LG, but a lot can change between now and September. I’ve previously wrote about my confusion of keeping Tyler Catalina on the roster, although his 6’6 315 lbs frame is intriguing. With all due respect to Catalina and his supporters, he’s just not an NFL ready Guard. His height might actually be a detriment, considering his lack of bend is a big issue. Playing next to Trent Williams is a tall task, but the lack of athleticism that Lauvao and Catalina have shown give them virtually no chance to keep up with the Silverback!
A player that seems to have gone under the radar is former Michigan University Guard Kyle Kalis. The former Wolverine has the skill and desire to be a top level NFL Left Guard, if given the opportunity that is. Every year around this time, a player grabs our attention and instills hope that the Skins have potentially unearthed a Diamond in the Rough. I believe Kalis can be just that. So sit back, relax and enjoy as the B&G Report goes through a few key traits that make Kyle Kalis the Redskins 2018 potential Diamond in theRough candidate!
*Kyle Kalis was selected as a 1st Team All American by Sports Illustrated and Parade Magazine coming out of Lakewood HS in 2012. He led his team to the Ohio State title during his junior year, Kalis was viewed as one of the top offensive lineman prospects in the nation. He went on to be Michigan’s top O-Line recruit that year, as well as one of their most durable and productive lineman. While at Michigan he appeared in 59 games with 43 starts. He was named All Big Ten 3rd team in 2015 and finished his senior season on the 2016 Big Ten 2nd Team, as well as earning AFCA All–American 2nd Team. In most cases middle of the pack Guards, such as Kalis don’t get much attention coming out of college and the same was true for Kalis after leaving Michigan.
His father Todd Kalis played 8 seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman, so the pedigree is there for sure. Prior to the 2015 season, former San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was hired by his almermada to become their Head Coach. Harbaugh would instill his version of work ethic along with a Pro Style playbook, which in turn tremendously helped the form Michigan Guard with his versatility.
#2 The Workout Warrior
*Kalis trained with former NFL O-Lineman LeCharles Bentley, who became his mentor while training at O–Line Performance. Bentley’s program at O-Line Performance is notorious for preparing college prospects for the NFL and features a rigorous program for any type of athlete. Bentley’s program helped Kalis with his strength and leverage foremost, as well as getting him ready for the NFL Combine individual drills. He saw the positive results with his 30 combine bench reps and familiarity with the process during the 2017 NFL Combine. Bentley was impressed with Kalis, but mentioned the most important trait that the former Michigan lineman showed him.
“The kid loves football! When love is there, the rest will follow with hard work.” -LeCharles Bentley of O-Line Performance
During his time at O-Line Performance, the former Wolverine lineman was seen strapping himself to trucks and pulling them during some unorthodox training sessions. Plain and simple, Kalis is a savage waiting for an opportunity to explode! His film showed him consistently finishing blocks downfield and displaying a mean streak! Kalis needs to work on keeping his pad level down and resist the urge to lunge at defenders. The arrow is pointing up for this prospect!
#3 Ability to Contribute
*Kalis was released by the Redskins early last season, signed by the Colts then later released and finally resigned by the Redskins in 2017. In a short time the former Wolverine Guard has seen how the business end of the NFL works, but has yet to see the field in a meaningful game for Washington. I’ve heard comments such as “if he couldn’t stick with the Colts, he must be bad”, well I couldn’t disagree more with that sentiment. Considering that Indianapolis cleaned house in the offseason, that doesn’t bode well for their coaches ability to teach. On the other side, Redskins O-Line Coach Bill Callahan is one of the best in the business! I’m hoping to see Callahan get this kid ready for 2018! If Kalis can actually get some meaningful snaps and looks in Camp, he could have a shot.
Tony Bergstrom is a name that Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington thinks is the Skins projected backup at both Guard positions, as well as Center with Lauvao looking like the early leader to start at LG. I can’t really disagree with that assessment as reported, but I’ve spent more time studying Kalis than most. I’ve even pulled up his High School game tape and the savagery was evident! A consistent knock on Kalis from talent evaluators and Scouts is his lack of athleticism. Granted he’s not the most fleet footed guard I’ve evaluated, but the hunger and talent is there! Kalis is a student of the game and his technique and fundamentals are evident during film study. Redskins coaches just need to throw Kalis into the fire with the second team offensive line and hopefully he’ll also get snaps with the 1st team on occasion. I just refuse to believe that the other Guards on the roster are that much better than Kalis. I understand these coaches are seasoned and know talent when they see it, but every year undrafted/unheralded players make the 53 man roster. This is the opportunity that Kalis needs to grab a hold of and not let go! If he continues to show the heart and tenacity in his blocking, the Redskkns could have just found their Diamond in the Rough!
The Redskins offensive line is really coming together with emergence of second year C/G Chase Roullier, currently penciled in as the potential starting Center. Only the LG position seems to be open for competion. I truly hope Redskins Coaches give Kalis and the other unheralded prospects a true opportunity to earn a starting or backup role at Guard.
Thanks for checking out another edition of the Burgundy and Gold Report’s Diamond in the Rough! Stay Tuned for more player news and analysis!
Written By: Adam Aniba