NFL Draft: Scouting the Centers

As is the case more times then not, the center crop in this years class is lacking. One prospect leads the way as a potential first round choice yet after that barely a handful of centers will be drafted. Here are the scouting reports on the top twelve centers.

Full Name: Nick Mangold School: Ohio State Pos: C

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 300 40: 5.06 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors as both a senior and junior.

Pos: Vocal leader of the offensive line, and is shooting up draft boards. Explodes off the line, immediately gets his hands into opponents, then controls them at the point of attack. Plays with good pad level, keeps his feet moving throughout the action and effectively uses body positioning to seal defenders from the play. Nasty yet at the same time a disciplined blocker. Adequate in motion, can adjust on the move and has possibilities in a zone blocking scheme. Improved his playing strength as a senior.

Neg: Lacks top footwork in space. Over-extends or lunges into blocks. Not a true finisher.

Analysis: After an outstanding campaign in ‘05, Mangold capped his college career with a tremendous performance at the Senior Bowl. A passionate football player who gets the job done, Mangold should quickly move into a starting lineup.


Full Name: Greg Eslinger School: Minnesota Pos: C

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 292 40: 5.21 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Fifty-game starter who broke in with the first unit as a true freshman. Awarded varying degrees of All-American and All-Conference honors throughout his four seasons.

Pos: Explosive lineman who stands out blocking in motion. Quick into blocks, fast to the second level and gets good fits on linebackers or devastates opponents in the secondary. Possesses outstanding vision, overall football wherewithal and intelligence. Nicely adjusts to defenders and seals opponents from the play. Patient, works well with teammates and has a nasty streak.

Neg: Lacks size, strength and rarely opens up the middle of the field or finishes blocks.

Analysis: A high character prospect with great work ethic, Eslinger has a lot of skills which translate well to the next level. The ability to block on the move makes him a perfect fit in a system which employs a zone-blocking scheme or puts linemen in motion.


Full Name: Chris Chester School: Oklahoma Pos: C

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 303 40: 4.90 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Former tight end who started four games at guard last season and three more at center.

Pos: Athletic lineman with terrific upside potential. Plays with good pad level, gets leverage on opponents and a great position blocker. Opens holes in the middle of  the field and attacks assignments. Explosive, jolts defenders at the point and plays hard until the whistle blows. Quickly gets out to the second level and removes linebackers from the play. Solid with the shotgun snap.

Neg: Needs to add bulk, improve his playing strength and learn to finish blocks. Suffered with durability issues in the past.

Analysis: A prospect starting to hit his stride, Chester's combination of explosion and athleticism gives him a decided advantage. Offers starting potential in the NFL as he physically matures.


Full Name: Ryan Cook School: New Mexico Pos: C

Ht: 6-6.5 Wt: 328 40: 5.48 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Former walk-on awarded All-Conference honors every season since moving into the starting lineup as a sophomore.

Pos: King-sized center with potential at strong-side tackle. Nasty and always looking to hit someone. Strong at the point, and easily anchors in pass protection. Effective with the shotgun snap. Heads-up blocker and effectively quarterbacks the line.

Neg: Struggles in space, not effective in motion, and a big, lumbering lineman not light on his feet. Lacks quickness off the snap into blocks.

Analysis: A solid-sized lineman with growth potential, Cook has made definite strides the past three seasons. Working hard in the weight room, Cook's ability to be used at several positions makes him attractive in the late rounds.


Full Name: Marvin Philip School: California Pos: C

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 307 40: 5.32 Year: 6Sr

Bio: All-Conference selection the past two seasons. Started the final five games of his sophomore season.

Pos: Explosive blocker with marginal size for the next level. Quick off the snap, plays with good pad level and gets leverage on opponents. Nasty, attacks assignments and is always looking for someone to hit. Plays heads-up football, effectively quarterbacks the offensive line and works well with teammates. Tough and plays through pain.

Neg: Stiff, lacks adjustment and not effective in space. Rarely opens up the middle of the field and does not possess a dominant base.

Analysis: An outstanding worker and competitive leader on the offensive line, Philip is a late-round selection who could develop into a starter for the right system.


Full Name: Mike Degory School: Florida Pos: C

Ht: 6-5.5 Wt: 305 40: 5.44 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a freshman and played 50 games with the first team at Florida. All-Conference selection since his sophomore campaign.

Pos: Intelligent and durable blocker who is best in a small area. Quick in all his actions, explosive and turns defenders off the line. Effective with the shotgun snap, fights with his hands and shields defenders from the action with body positioning. Tremendous leader on the offensive line.

Neg: Not a dominant center who finishes blocks. Marginally effective in space.

Analysis: A sound technician who maximizes his tools, Degory is a scrappy blocker who will be tough to keep off a roster at the next level.


Full Name: Donovan Raiola School: Wisconsin Pos: C

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 300 40: 5.58 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter awarded All-Conference honors after his junior and sophomore campaigns. Brother Dominic was a second-round pick of the Lions in 2001.

Pos: Smart, explosive blocker who plays with a nasty attitude. Quick into blocks, gets out to the second level and walls opponents from the action. Plays with outstanding leverage, slides his feet in space and adjusts in pass protection. Effective in motion and works to finish blocks.

Neg: Powerful in the weight room but does not present himself as a strong lineman who drives opponents off the ball.

Analysis: Flashing dominance throughout his college career, Raiola is coming off an uninspired senior campaign. Has the tools and intensity to play at the next level, yet must develop a complete game.


Full Name: Will Montgomery School: Virginia Tech Pos: C

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 312 40: 5.10 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter at center and guard.

Pos: Tough, hard-working blocker with potential at several positions. Explodes off the snap, jolts opponents at the point and blocks with good lean. Stays square and seals defenders from the action. Tenacious and goes hard until the whistle blows.

Neg: Lacks adjustment, footwork and overall blocking range. Rarely finishes blocks.

Analysis: A heads-up lineman who does the little things well, Montgomery is an intelligent blocker who finds ways to get the job done. His versatility and starting potential at center are attractive.


Full Name: Pat Ross School: Boston College Pos: C

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 301 40: 4.97 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter and All-Big East player as a junior.

Pos: Hard-working, durable blocker with an excellent feel for the position. Quick into blocks and explosive at the point. Quarterbacks the offensive line, remains alert and helps out teammates. Effectively uses angles and walls defenders from the play. Can slide in space and adjust on the inside.

Neg: Lacks the dominant base, and is not a finisher who opens up the middle of the field.

Analysis: Dependable and durable in college, Ross is a prospect with marginal upside. Must add bulk to his frame, but intangibles, work ethic and toughness make him worth keeping around.


Full Name: Grayling Love School: Arizona State Pos: C

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 306 40: 5.53 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter used at both left tackle and center. Awarded All-Conference and All-Academic honors since his sophomore campaign.

Pos: Effective position blocker with the versatility to be used at several spots. Plays with good pad level, pushes opponents off the line and seals them from the action with good body positioning. Solid overall quickness and explosion. Flashes skill in space.

Neg: Narrow-based, not flexible and has difficulty finishing blocks. Lacks top size.

Analysis: A self-starter considered the team's top off-season worker, Love is an intelligent lineman with the opportunity to back-up at the next level. Needs to add bulk and playing strength yet should make a roster next September.


Full Name: Jesse Boone School: Utah Pos: C

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 300 40: 5.38 Year: 6Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who began his career at left tackle before moving inside to center. Prior All-Conference and All-Academic selection.

Pos: Intelligent blocker with solid size and growth potential. Sets with a wide base and turns opponents off the line. Plays heads-up football and works with line mates. Effectively plays with good pad level and gets leverage on opponents. Works hard until the whistle blows.

Neg: Stiff, struggles on the second level and marginally effective in space. Does not get much movement from run blocks.

Analysis: A team player who does the extras to improve his game, Boone's versatility gives him an outside chance to make a final roster.


Full Name: Brian Ferentz School: Iowa Pos: C

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 285 40: 5.15 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Started 11 games as a senior after seeing time with the first team the prior two seasons. Suffered major knee injuries during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Pos: Explosive lineman best in a small area. Quick off the ball, immediately gets hands into defenders and works until the whistle blows. Blocks with leverage, seals defenders from the action and turns them off the ball. Alert, works well with teammates and always looks for someone to hit.

Neg: Over-extends or lunges into blocks, which hurts his ability to finish. Lacks the dominant base and footwork in space.

Analysis: A scrappy, hard-working blocker with great work ethic, Ferentz has the mental intangibles to play at the next level, yet prior injuries will raise red flags.


Complete Center Rankings - Complete NFL Draft Rankings


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