Birthday: July 12, 1980
Strengths: Go ahead, say aloha to Vince Manuwai. Just maybe say it from the far sideline. The “Polynesian Powerhouse” is a nasty hog who betrays the pleasant-sounding Rainbow name of his team. He is a bully in the trenches who’s got “NFL right guard” written all over him.
Aside from his attitude, Manuwai separates himself from the other guard prospects with his quickness. He gets in position before his opponent, then explodes to bury him into the turf. Manuwai registered 53 pancakes last year, more than any other lineman on Hawaii’s roster. He’s got great range and agility for a guard, plus he has technique that belies his youth. Manuwai’s also been flexible enough to see time at tackle in a game and at center in practice.
Hawaii’s offense, masterminded by former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Jones, is pass-oriented, as the Warriors throw downfield three out of every four opportunities. Despite all those passing downs, Manuwai led a line that gives up very few sacks, highlighted by a stout performance to upset an undefeated Brigham Young squad to close out the 2001 season. What that means for Manuwai is that he will have had a variety of pass blocking experiences that will translate directly into the NFL.
Areas for Concern: Manuwai needs to see improvement in his run blocking, but his quickness is an asset to him when pulling to the left. He’s also a little on the light side for an NFL offensive lineman. Manuwai has already bulked up some, but he will need extra work in the weight room to stand his ground next year.
Hawaii linemen have also had inconsistent success in the NFL. Former Hawaii linemen Adrian Klemm and Kualana Noa, second and fourth round picks in 2000 respectively, have not met expectations since entering the league. Jones scoffs at such talk. He told ESPN that Manuwai “is easily the best lineman I’ve ever had, at any level, better than anyone we had when I was the head coach in Atlanta.”
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Talk about quality depth. With Fred Weary and Chester Pitts expected to play guard on a healthy Texan line, Manuwai’s value to the team may go underrated. He’s got football smarts and a great attitude, two things that are always welcome around Reliant Park.
Manuwai is the top guard prospect, earning the best scores from both the BLESTO and National scouting services heading into the 2002 season, so don’t expect Houston’s scouts to look past him. Hey, if nothing else, they get to expense a boondoggle to Hawaii to “work,” so yes, aloha also means goodbye.
(profile written by Keith Weiland
Vince Manuwai Return to The War Room
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