Free agency preview: Centers

The center position has a couple of old vets and still relatively young free agents topping its list. We review the top options available in free agency.

The center position is one divided at the top, with the divide coming in the age of the top prospects. The top two, as rated by Scout.com, are only 26 years old, followed by a pair of 30-somethings, including one that is ready to retire.

There are only two centers in this year’s free agency given five-star ratings, meaning they are worthy of Pro Bowl or All-Pro consideration, but four more join them with four-star ratings from Scout.com, meaning they could be starting quality for any team wanting to take a run at them.

Here are the top options:

Rodney Hudson, Kansas City Chiefs: After four years with the Chiefs, including two as the full-time starter, Hudson is eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. Playing in more than 1,000 snaps in 2014, he was equally effective pass blocking as run blocking and was credited with giving up only two sacks and seven quarterback hurries by Pro Football Focus.

Stefen Wisniewski, Oakland Raiders: Like Hudson, Wisniewski is only 26 years old, but he’s not quite as well-rounded. Wisniewski did better blocking on running plays than in pass protection, credited with giving up 12 quarterback hurries last year. He does have more experience, however, starting since he arrived in Oakland four years ago.

Brian De La Puente, Chicago Bears: De La Puente has been a starter for the last four years with the Bears and New Orleans Saints, but he was available for only eight games last year, his first with Chicago, because of an ankle injury. When he was healthy, he was solid.

Nick Hardwick, San Diego Chargers: If he follows through with his retirement plans, he’s off the market completely, but if not he is still capable of being a viable starter. More than likely, he remains retired after suffering a neck injury in 2014.

Samson Satele, Miami Dolphins: While Satele has been a starter in the NFL for eight seasons, 2014 wasn’t his best showing. He was still solid run blocking, but Pro Football Focus had him responsible for giving up 15 quarterback hurries and 12 quarterback hits.

A.Q. Shipley, Indianapolis Colts: Shipley is a restricted free agent, but he still might not re-sign with the Colts. In three NFL seasons, he has started 19 of 45 games, but was decent against the run and the pass.

SCOUT.COM FREE AGENT RANKINGS

Prospects by: OVERALL RANK | Position | 2014 Team | Signed Team  | Name
Position: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C DT DE OLB MLB S CB K P LS





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