The top prospects at center are all similar as the best players are quick, explosive yet undersized and lacking for strength.
Minnesota's Greg Eslinger has been an all-conference performer and very productive player in college. Smart and athletic, Eslinger is effective blocking on the move and does an outstanding job quarterbacking the offensive line. Barely 285 pounds, he is not a blocker who opens up the middle of the field nor a center teams will consistently run behind.
In similar fashion, Donovan Raiola of Wisconsin, whose brother Dominic plays for the Lions, is an outstanding athlete that quickly gets downfield and stands out blocking in motion. Raiola possesses tremendous feet and blocking skills in space, but at 280 pounds is another that does not create large holes for the ball carrier.
A third center from the Big Ten, Ohio State's Nick Mangold, also grades out highly. The biggest of the group, Mangold tips the scales at 288 pounds. Like the other pair, Mangold must add bulk and strength to his frame but is an intelligent blocker on the pivot who gives top effort for 60 minutes.
Pat Ross is much like his predecessor at Boston College, Dan Koppen, now a starting center for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. A tough, heady blocker with a great feel for the game, Ross is a limited athlete who can start in the right system.
Florida's Mike Degory is also a consistent lineman that has done well on the college level. Effective in all aspects, he offers a good amount of upside potential for the next level.
Were a single player from this position possibly to make a move up draft boards it would be Fresno State junior Kyle Young. Sized well at 6-feet 5-inches tall and 310 pounds, Young is a drive blocker who also stands out in pass protection.
Top Ten Centers
|Kyle Young*||Fresno State|
|Pat Ross||Boston College|
|Nick Mangold||Ohio State|
|Nick Mihlhauser||Washington State|
|Chris Morris||Michigan State|
* Denotes Underclassmen