The winner of the Rimington Award (nation’s best center) and a finalist for the Outland Trophy, Reese Dismukes goes by the name Reese, among his teammates, but in deference to his mother, his legal name is Leland. By any name, he is a steady performer with solid pass protection skills, but with his short arms (32 1/4-inch length), very small hands, and a lack of ideal bulk, using him as a tackle or guard at the next level is not an option.
Still, this zone blocker is alert to stunts, twists and blitzes. The 2013 Rimington Award finalist posted 124 knockdowns and led all major college centers with a 90% grade for blocking consistency as a junior, followed by fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks and 83 knockdowns this year to earn consensus All-American recognition. He plays on his feet and has the first step needed to chip and seal the linebackers shooting the gaps. He just seems to lack the upper body strength to neutralize the bull rush.
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 lanes, but he can be pushed back in the pocket when he fails to make the initial move to get under a defender’s jersey.
The Tigers senior shows flexibility changing direction, but he must gain additional bulk to prevent the larger defenders from defeating his pop and explosion. He is athletic for the position, but needs work on his technique to correct his penchant for overextending with his hands. He is more of the type of player that must rely on his quickness to compensate for a lack of ideal bulk (best if he can play at the 315/320-pound range).
Dismukes is a good knee bender who gets decent space movement, but on drive blocks, he is not going to knock people off the ball, as he is more of a position-&-turn type who excels at getting on and cutting off linebackers. He has enough foot speed and body control to pull and lead on sweeps. He’s a little too light in his lower frame, failing to generate a power drive to anchor vs. a strong bull rush, though, evident by his struggles vs. power moves at the 2015 Senior Bowl.
The center is smooth in his pass set and slide, but a poor hand punch results in some defenders slipping off his initial hit. He generates some snap in his hips along with good body control, balance and good feet. He shows good initial quickness in the drive block and stays after the defender, but has to out-smart rather than over-power his man.
Dismukes can be efficient on the combo block, reach and cutoff in space. He stays on his feet well, displaying good lateral movement and the ability to adjust on the move. He can pull and log block, showing good knee bend in his pass protection. His set is okay, but his punch and use of hands could be better. He can anchor adequately and shows a good mirror ability to pick up twists and blitzes.
Overall, Dismukes is a blue-collar guy who competes well, but unfortunately, he needs to add more bulk. He has some questions that need to be answered about several off-field incidents and I can’t recall any center in the NFL that might possess the small hands featured on this Tiger. No matter what national honors he’s received, some team could get a capable backup at center, but at this stage of his career, I do not see a starter developing down the road.
Reese Dismukes NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-3/296 (5.31 forty)
32 1/4-inch arm length
8 7/8-inch hands
27.5-inch vertical jump
107-inch broad jump
8.14 3 cone drill
4.70 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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