Center Shooting Up the Boards

Although the Jaguars re-signed veteran center Brad Meester at the start of free agency, the team could certainly use some more depth at the position, especially some younger depth. Find out which player has seemingly caught the Jaguars coaches eyes', among other teams.

Louisville center Eric Wood may not be as highly touted of a prospect as California's Alex Mack, but he has certainly caught the gander of many NFL scouts and coaches, as his work ethic is second to none. He's aware of his stiff competition as there are several center prospects who could get selected on the first day of the draft.

"That's a really good center group and a lot of people told me this is the best center group they can remember," Wood told reporters. "There's a primary emphasis on playing different positions. When you get into the league and you get with a team, you're going to have to play different positions just like coach Del Rio said."

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is very familiar with Wood's work as he and the Jaguars staff had the opportunity to instruct him as he played for the South team during Senior Bowl week. Wood is familiar with Jags offensive line coach Andy Heck, and Heck appeared to make an impression on the young lineman.

"He's great," Wood said of the Jaguars O-line coach. "I feel like he's a really good offensive line coach and he understands his players and he played 12 years in the league so he definitely understands the position. It's great playing for a guy who has NFL experience."

Eric Wood (Getty Images)
Wood is a little taller than most centers as he stands 6'4", but unlike many linemen his size, Wood is able to get low enough to drive block and he is also adept at cut-blocking. Wood earned first team all-Big East honors in his junior and senior seasons, and is recognized as a great leader.

"I'd say I'm fairly consistent in my play," Wood said when asked what he could bring to a potential NFL employer. "What you see is primarily what you're going to get on film. I'm very consistent throughout games based on what I'm playing and I'm not up and down. I feel I've got the strength, conditioning, and intelligence to play the game."

Some teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers have even considered giving the Louisville center a shot at guard, as scouts feel that he is versatile enough to play nearly anywhere on the line. Still, Wood has never suited up in any other position than center during his collegiate career.

"I've never played guard in a game. I was starting at guard in my redshirt freshman year back in '05 and Jason Spitz was playing center, who's now playing for the Green Bay Packers, and we flip-flopped in the fall camp and I just went 49 straight at center."

Wood had to go all the way back to high school before he remembered playing any other position.

"I used to play tight end in high school, and catching passes and catching touchdowns is always fun, but I moved to the offensive line," Wood said. "What fires me up is trying to master my position, trying to master techniques, and then the obvious finishing blocks, knock-downs, pancakes are something I've always been a fan of."

When asked what NFL center he looked up to, he was quick to respond—

"There's a lot of great centers in the NFL and one guy I've been able to get some film on is Olin Kreutz. I appreciate the way he plays the game, he's a technician, a tough guy, a tough player, and I like the way he plays."

Wood has steadily moved up draft boards as the final weekend in April is approaching, and that may be to the Jaguars detriment, as he could be gone when they pick in the third round, or possibly even the second.

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