Andrew Vastardis came to the Michigan Wolverines as a walk-on and is leaving as a potential Day 3 selection in April’s NFL Draft. It took time — six years to be exact — for the former two-star prospect to get to this point, but he left his mark on an offensive line that would be named the toughest in college football with the Joe Moore Award.
The 6-foot-3, 294-pounder made 18 career starts while playing in 31 games in Ann Arbor, and now is hoping to play at the next level.
- Intelligent player: Vastardis is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree.
- Respected by teammates: He was a two-time team captain in Ann Arbor.
- Strong in the run game: Michigan ran 128 times up the gut this season, according to PFF, accounting for 772 yards. 20 plays of 10+ yards, and 10 touchdowns. Vastardis’ play was a big reason for that.
- Keen on getting to the next level: Oftentimes, you could see the Michigan center engage and demolish smaller linebackers to get extra yardage. He’s great at engaging with his hands and sealing defenders, making holes for backs out of the backfield.
- Experienced veteran: Vastardis has lined up against some great defensive lineman in his time at Michigan in practice. This includes a plethora of NFL talent Mo Hurst, Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, Ryan Glasgow, Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, Josh Uche, Chris Hinton, and others.
- Good pass blocker: Not much pressure comes up the middle on quarterbacks, but in 18 starts and 31 games, Vastardis allowed just one sack in his career.
Center Andrew Vastardis (68) and TE Luke Schoonmaker (86) Allow this Play to Emerge.— @DaltonEastNE (@DaltonEastNE) October 11, 2021
Ft. Husker Sports Radio Ft. Skycam ️ https://t.co/MjfOxWQFa1 pic.twitter.com/AYpMyKFIjN
- Undersized player: 6-foot-3 and 294 pounds is far from a small human being, but by NFL’s standards he will be a little small for his position. Most linemen at the next level are taller and between 300-325 pounds.
- Not respected nationally: Very few people are talking about Vastardis at this point. Mel Kiper Jr. did a list of the top 10 players at each position and his name was vacant from the center list. There seems to be very little chatter in terms of the national media about where Vastardis could go.
- Will face more physical players at the next level: This ties along with the undersized metric. Vastardis has his worst games against Georgia and Wisconsin, two of the best defensive line units in the country. Now, he will be facing guys like that every week. He’s going to have to be a much more physical player to perform at the next level.
Projection: Late 5th-early 7th Round
Some team will take a flier on him. The Wolverines have had plenty of offensive line talent perform well at the next level over recent seasons — Michael Onwenu, Jon Runyan and Cesar Ruiz, just to name a few.
Vastardis’ stock grew exponentially with really solid play in 2021. A strong Senior Bowl and combine showings would certainly help him move up the ladder. But as it stands, I think he has a solid chance of earning a late-round selection from a team come April.