In Part 8 of our Green Bay Packers draft preview, we examine the centers and guards.
ROUNDS 4-7: GUARDS
G/T Mitch Morse, Missouri (6-5, 305): Morse broke into the starting lineup at center and right tackle as a sophomore before moving full-time to right tackle as a junior. As a senior, Morse kicked out to the left side. He played the last few games despite a broken finger, which kept him out of the Senior Bowl. He allowed 2.5 sacks and had 13 touchdown-producing blocks s a senior. He’s a rare senior who met with the Packers at the Combine, where he ranked second among the offensive linemen with 36 reps on the bench and was among the top performers in the athletic testing.
“Morse has the balance and body control to handle double moves and shows good fluidity in his kick slide (scouts say that his kick slide is the best in the SEC). He maintains balance in his retreat and has that strong anchor and heavy hands to keep inside his frame to defeat counter moves. He showed marked improvement in his sets as a senior and will be a nice fit for a zone blocking scheme due to his ability to get out on the edge and mirror.”
G/T Mark Glowinski, West Virginia (6-4, 307): The former junior college offensive tackle found a home at right guard once he suited up for the Mountaineers, going on to start all 25 games. As a senior, he earned all-Big 12 first-team honors, as his 104 knockdowns were the most by a Mountaineer since offensive tackle Brian Jozwiak posted 106 during the 1985 schedule. He was one of four offensive linemen to top 30 reps on the bench at the Combine.
“While some scouts feel that Glowinski’s broad shoulders, wide chest and long wingspan is better suited for him returning to his junior college position – right tackle – keeping the right guard inside would allow him to use his athleticism and size to its full advantage. Some other scouts feel that he could even play left tackle because of his pass protection skills. The fact he could step in and play either guard or tackle spots, however, makes him a solid mid-round selection for an offensive line coach to be patient with and see where he develops.”
G/T Jamil Douglas, Arizona State (6-4, 304): Douglas started the final 40 games of his career, including 13 as a senior, when he moved from left guard to left tackle. The move paid big dividends, with Douglas being named first-team all-Pac-12 and to the Pac-12’s academic team. He piled up a whopping 114 knockdown blocks — among the most of any player in the nation — but yielded five sacks and eight tackles for losses. That’s why he’s likely headed to guard, though his versatility will be coveted.
“One other reason to champion him for a professional guard position is that he has very good pull and trap potential. He can quick-set out of a three point stance and appears to have more nimble feet working in-line than on an island. He has the better ability to slide and play flat footed as a guard. If he is to remain at tackle, he has the long arms to get into a defender’s chest, but must improve his initial punch, location and extension.”
G Jose Matias, Florida State (6-5, 309): The Seminoles ran for 109 touchdowns with Matias in the starting lineup for three seasons, with 40 of those scoring scampers coming from blocks by the left guard. The offensive line allowed 92 quarterback sacks during those three seasons, but only six were charged to Matias.
“Matias is a big body-type with good arm length, large and strong hands, and a big bubble. He displays the functional initial quickness off the snap to gain advantage and good pop and explosion on contact (must sink his pads to be effective, though). He is a very good position blocker who uses his natural leverage to sustain blocks and while he might be a plodder, he shows the ability to get a good fit and drive the defender off the ball.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SCOUTING REPORTS on all of the draft-worthy GUARDS from the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas.
G/T Robert Myers, Tennessee State (6-5, 326): After two seasons as a starter at right tackle, where he yielded two sacks, Myers moved inside to guard as a senior and allowed no sacks while delivering the key block on 14 of TSU’s 15 touchdown runs.
“While most teams regarded Myers as a late-round right tackle prospect before his senior season, his move inside to right guard in 2014 improved his draft status greatly. It is rare to see him play tall in his stance or be on the ground much, but he has marginal change of direction agility and will have problems mirroring speedy edge rushers at the next level, unless he can stun them with his above average hand punch first. He gets a bit lazy and slows his feet when having to move long distances, but in the trenches, he is very hard to move out or push back into the pocket.”
G/T Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah (6-5, 335): It was a bit of a surprise when Poutasi declared for the 2015 draft. There is no question that he has NFL-caliber playing ability, but despite the media according him second-team All-Pac 12 Conference honors, it was a season in which defenders made 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage coming around the left corner that included three sacks (two caused fumbles). He started at right tackle as a freshman and left tackle his final two seasons.
“Poutasi is very good at creating and sustaining a rush lane, but lacks balance and foot speed to be effective leading blocks into the second level. He has the hand strength and explosion to finish consistently when allowed to stay at the line of scrimmage. He is a physical drive blocker with the reach to keep defenders off his body. He is not going to mirror moves with his feet when operating in space, lacking ideal hip snap, but is a powerful straight-line blocker.”
G Cody Wichmann, Fresno State (6-5, 319): Wichmann started at right tackle as a freshman, right tackle and right guard as a sophomore and right guard as a junior and senior. During his final season, he had the key block on 12 touchdown runs.
“Wichmann has proven the last two seasons that he would make a better guard than a tackle at the pro level. He has the natural footwork and short area quickness to slide and sink. He is quick to redirect and uses his leg drive effectively to hold ground vs. stunts and blitzes. He also has natural knee bend that allows him to keep in a good football position most the time. He finds a way to stay on his feet, demonstrating very good balance, as you rarely ever see him on the ground.”
G/T Quinton Spain, West Virginia (6-4, 330): Spain started at left tackle as a sophomore, left tackle and left guard as a junior and left guard as a senior. He had the key block on 10 touchdown runs as a senior.
“Spain is a mountain of a man that towers above his competition and moves them out of the way like a snow plow. He is exceptionally big and powerful, as he has the ability to absolutely dominate smaller defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. He is the type of lineman you want to run behind in short yardage situations. He is mean and relentless with good upper-body strength and flashes the ability to knock defenders off balance with hand punch.”
G/T Kevin Whimpey, Utah State (6-5, 306): Whimpey opened his career as a defensive tackle at Idaho State. After a two-year mission, he became a three-year starting left tackle at Utah State. As a senior, he registered 16 touchdown-producing blocks. He put up a whopping 39 reps on the bench at pro day.
“Whimpey is a developing talent who made very good progress as the 2014 season looked to be his “coming out” party at left tackle, but his frame and lack of lateral agility makes him a better fit blocking in-line as a guard. With his possible move to guard, he should not be exposed to outside pressure and can use his bulk with effectiveness to get a strong push off the ball.”
G/C Jonathan Feliciano (6-4, 323): Feliciano was a four-year starter, mostly at guard but five times at right tackle and once at left tackle. He had the key block on eight touchdown runs.
“Feliciano is a versatile player who could handle strong-side guard or tackle duties. He is a tall and strong drive blocker with a solid hand punch and is difficult to bull rush, as he uses his hands and anchors very well. He also moves quickly in pass protection, walling off defenders to create holes inside and get to linebackers at the second level. He can trap and pull inside, usually finding a target to negate.”
G/C Ben Beckwith, Mississippi State (6-3, 313): The former walk-on started at right guard as a junior and left guard as a senior. He also started one game at center as a senior, with an excellent performance vs. Texas A&M. He had the key block on 12 touchdown runs as a senior.
“Beckwith’s brief starting experience as a center in 2014 could provide him a new avenue to take in his quest to earn an NFL roster spot in 2015. He works hard to keep his quarterback clean, but he lacks lateral movement to stay with the quicker rushers. He anchors well when leaning into defenders and uses effort and length to ride defenders around or through the pocket. He is a solid drive-blocker who gets a good push off the snap and churns his legs to move the pile.”
G/C Miles Dieffenbach, Penn State (6-4, 301): Dieffenbach missed most of his senior year with a torn ACL, returning to start the final three games at left guard. He had the key block on eight touchdown runs as a senior. In 2013, he had eight touchdown-producing blocks.
“Even though he played left guard, he is a versatile lineman who could have a better path to an NFL roster spot as a center. He has good size and is built to be both a solid run or pass blocker. Dieffenbach is an efficient pulling guard and really knows how to get out in front of a sweep play and make things happen. He is a good athlete and moves well on the field. He does not have great size, but with his strength, he is still very effective as a drive blocker. He is best when he can use his athletic ability and block in space.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SCOUTING REPORTS on all of the draft-worthy CENTERS from the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas.
ROUNDS 4-7: CENTERS
C/G Shaquille Mason, Georgia Tech (6-2, 304): Shaquille Olajuwon Mason was a three-year starting guard but his height might have him slotted to play center in the NFL. He delivered 16 touchdown-producing blocks in each of his final two seasons. He earned some All-American honors as a senior. He’s an excellent athlete, as evidenced by his pro day workout: a 4.99 in the 40 and a 32-inch vertical that would have ranked second and tied for fifth, respectively, among the offensive linemen at the Combine.
“Mason has good natural balance, which allows him to play with his feet underneath him in pass protection. When he gets position on his man, he will sustain and finish. His strong leg base and arm strength keeps the defenses constantly aware of his abilities. Even though he does not have great speed, he will flash aggression with his hands into the defensive tackle and has more than enough pop and strength to consistently put his opponents on their backs.”
C Max Garcia, Florida (6-4, 309): Garcia started at left tackle as a sophomore at Maryland before transferring to be closer to home. At Florida, he started at left guard and left tackle as a junior and at center as a senior. He had the key block on 13 touchdown runs as a senior.
“With Garcia's combination of size, toughness, solid technique and short-area quickness, he offers a team value at center, left tackle and left guard. He understands positioning and can turn and seal his opponent away from the ball carrier, as he excels at sustaining his block through the whistle. Garcia demonstrates excellent hand placement, balance, anchor-and-mirroring technique as a pass blocker. He’s a good technician who relies on his short-area quickness, size and strength for his success. He recognizes blitzes and picks them up consistently, as he is quick off the snap and able to get his hands into the defender's chest smoothly.”
C Andrew Gallik, Boston College (6-3, 306): Gallik was a three-year starter at center. As a senior, he as all-ACC and a finalist for the Rimington Award with his 12 touchdown-producing blocks. He graded out as BC’s best lineman since Chris Snee in 2003. Of the centers in this class who played center full-time in 2014, his 92 knockdown blocks rank No. 1.
“The thing you notice on game film is Gallik’s explosive burst coming off the snap, staying at a good pad level. He makes a thud crashing into his man upon contact and consistently stays on his feet. He executes quick adjustments on the move and does a nice job of positioning. He has that hunger you look for in a trap blocker, as he consistently shows determination to hunt down defenders in space.”
C/G Greg Mancz, Toledo (6-4, 301): Mancz was a four-year starter — three years at guard before going to center as a senior. He was Toledo’s first All-American lineman since 1938 and was selected the MAC’s Player of the Year (best player, not just best lineman). However, he sustained a torn labrum at the East-West all-star game. Despite missing three games with a knee injury, he produced 13 touchdown-resulting blocks.
“Mancz has above average foot quickness and very good balance. He has good athletic ability, change of direction skills and lateral movement. The thing you notice on film is his acceleration getting into the second level on screens and pulls. He has above average timed speed (5.08 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and shows a good burst off the snap into contact. He is quick to get his hands up and position, and thanks to his balance, it is rare to ever see a defender get him to go to his knees.”
C/G Reese Dismukes, Auburn (6-3, 296): Dismukes won the Rimington Award, which goes to the nation’s best center. The four-year starter is undersized and has incredibly small hands, plus has been dogged by some off-the-field issues, so he’s not as highly regarded by scouts as his resume might suggest. He had the key block on 14 touchdown runs as a senior.
“Dismukes has good balance along with proper hand placement, as he is quick to recoil and reset his hands, but lacks the power behind his punch to be effective in stalling the more powerful nose guards. He has a good feel for taking angles and comes off the snap low and with a wide base, doing a nice job of maintaining the rush lane.”
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