Kentucky offensive guard Tashawn Manning is a powerful and physical offensive line prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Manning strung together several years of excellent tape between stints at Auburn and Kentucky. Manning has starting-quality traits.
Manning recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his decision to transfer from Auburn to Kentucky, being dominant in the run game, which teams have shown interest in his services pre-draft, and more.
JM: You arrived at Kentucky in 2022 as a grad transfer after five seasons at Auburn. How do you reflect on your decision to transfer from Auburn to Kentucky?
Tashawn Manning: Going from Auburn to Kentucky was a tough decision. Auburn was my first love.
At the end of the day, I needed a new opportunity to showcase my best skills on the football field. Once I got to Kentucky, I knew I made the right decision.
I honestly feel like Kentucky made my career. It gave me an opportunity to prove I belong at the next level. It was a pivotal point in my career. I’m glad I made that decision.
JM: When I turn the tape on, I see a physical guard with the strength necessary to displace defenders off the ball. What do you enjoy about run blocking?
Tashawn Manning: I just love the physical aspect of run blocking. I love being mean and physical. I love putting defenders on the ground, especially ones that don’t think they can be put on the ground (laughs).
I move guys that think they can’t be moved. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy getting after it every single day.
JM: You have terrific length with those 34.5-inch arms. How do you use length to your advantage?
Tashawn Manning: I use my length to gain leverage on my opponents. Length gives me the ability to strike first and to strike fast. I have the ability to get leverage and move my opponents.
JM: You’ve played both left and right guard. Have teams discussed positional versatility with you?
Tashawn Manning: Teams have asked about the positions I can play. I started at left guard at Auburn. I eventually moved to right guard at Kentucky.
I actually played a little bit of tackle at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. I’ve also snapped the ball at Kentucky. I have a little experience at tackle and center. Guard is my main position. I love playing guard.
JM: That length insinuates you can play tackle in a pinch. Have you completed any Top 30 visits, private workouts, or Zoom meetings?
Tashawn Manning: I’ve met with the Raiders, Cardinals, Jets, Giants, Bengals, Ravens, 49ers, Browns, and Saints via Zoom. I’ve met with a bunch of teams.
JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. Is Will Levis the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft? Why?
Tashawn Manning: Man. Will Levis is the No. 1 quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. There isn’t a tougher quarterback. There isn’t a quarterback with a better arm. There isn’t another quarterback with the knowledge and skills to lead a team like Will Levis can.
He’s a dominant quarterback. I’ve seen it firsthand. His approach to the game is amazing. He’s a very selfless quarterback. I’ve seen him take hits and get back up. He made so many huge throws for us. He won games for us.
I’m honestly so proud of him. I appreciate everything he did for us as a teammate. I can’t wait to see where his career goes. Will Levis is No. 1.
JM: We appreciate that insight. We’ve appreciated your time today. What kind of impact is Tashawn Manning going to make at the next level?
Tashawn Manning: I want to be a utility player for a team. I’m somebody that can play all five positions. I want my NFL team to lean on me. I know I need to develop in some areas, but I feel like I’m going to be a great player once I take those steps under NFL coaching.
I can’t wait to showcase my physicality and size. I can displace defenders. I want to be a tool for a team to use for several years to come. I’m going to be a rock for my team.
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