NFL Draft '06: Scouting the Centers

In what looks like a solid year for blockers on the pivot, almost a half-dozen centers could be selected during the draft's first day. Here are reports on the top 12 centers eligible for the 2006 NFL Draft.

Full Name: Jesse Boone         School: Utah

Ht: 6-4.5     Wt: 300     40: 5.38     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Explosive center who blocks with leverage. Walls opponents from the action with good body positioning, effectively works hands throughout the play and anchors in pass protection. Intelligent, quickly picks up assignments and works hard until the whistle blows. Effective with the shotgun snap. Stays square and keeps opponents away.

Neg: Lacks the dominant base and does not get much push in the middle of the field. Not effective on the second level, has difficulty adjusting and possesses average footwork in space.

Analysis: A blocker with good size, growth potential and football smarts, Boone has the skills to make an NFL roster.


Full Name: Ryan Cook     School: New Mexico

Ht: 6-6.5     Wt: 322     40: 5.37     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Large, nasty blocker who annihilates opponents. Works to get leverage on defenders, patient in pass protection and controls opponents at the point. Large enough to engulf defenders. Gets movement from run blocks and anchors in pass protection. Smart, alert lineman.

Neg: Not quick or explosive into blocks. Lacks footwork and range in space. Does not display great adjustment.

Analysis: A center with rare size, Cook displays excellent strength and the ability to open up the middle of the field. Lacks adjustment and could ultimately be tried at strong side tackle for a team wanting to take advantage of his size and growth potential.


Full Name: Mike Degory     School: Florida

Ht: 6-4.5     Wt: 296 4    0: 5.24     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Hard working center best in a small area. Patient in pass protection, effectively uses blocking angles and always looking for someone to hit. Works to stay square, seals opponents from the play and possesses outstanding hand technique. Tremendous leader on the offensive line who makes all the calls.

Neg: Not effective in motion. Does not open up the middle of the field nor finish blocks.

Analysis: A solid technician with size and growth potential, Degory has ability at center and guard. Could be productive at the next level if placed in the right system.


Full Name: Greg Eslinger     School: Minnesota

Ht: 6-3     Wt: 285     40: 5.11     Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Explosive lineman who displays outstanding skill in motion. Quickly gets off the ball, easily pulls across the line of scrimmage and gets into the defensive secondary, removing opponents from the action. Solid position blocker and seals defenders from the action. Smart, picks up assignments and works well with teammates.

Neg: Lacks the dominant base and pushed off the point of attack. Has difficulty with large opponents.

Analysis: A resilient and durable center, Eslinger is an athletic prospect with limited size. Offers plenty of potential in a system such as the Denver Broncos, which constantly puts linemen in motion. Will get stronger as time goes by and can develop into a productive starting center in the NFL.


Full Name: Grayling Love     School: Arizona State

Ht: 6-3     Wt: 297     40: 5.53     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Versatile lineman experienced at both tackle spots as well as guard. Quick off the snap, bends knees and plays with leverage. Stays square, fights with hands throughout the play and shows potential as a position blocker. Attacks assignments and works hard until the whistle blows.

Neg: Lacks adjustment and flexibility, which hurts his ability to finish blocks. Exploited by quick, nimble opponents.

Analysis: Possessing good size, Love's ability to be used at several positions makes him a solid late round choice and utility lineman for the next level.


Full Name: Nick Mangold     School: Ohio State

Ht: 6-3.5     Wt: 296     40: 4.96     Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Hard working blocker who plays with outstanding leverage. Quickly gets into blocks and explosive at the point of attack. Solid hand technician, keeps feet moving throughout the action and plays with terrific pad level. Works hard and gives effort to finish blocks.

Neg: Lacks the dominant base, has difficulty controlling opponents for any length of time and not a finisher.

Analysis: Durable and productive at Ohio State the past three seasons, Mangold is an underrated center with excellent upside for the next. Possesses growth potential and needs to improve his body strength yet has the ability to develop into a dependable starter in the NFL.


Full Name: Nick Mihlhauser     School: Washington State

Ht: 6-3     Wt: 293     40: 5.25     Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Explosive center with marginal strength at the point of attack. Quick off the snap, immediately gets into blocks and plays with good pad level. Can slide in space, works hands throughout the action and always looking for someone to hit. Effective with the shotgun snap. Fires out to the second level and seals running lanes.

Neg: Rarely gets movement from blocks and has difficulty finishing off linebackers.

Analysis: Possessing average size and playing strength, Millhouse makes up for his physical shortcomings with great quickness and explosion. Potential practice squad player who could develop into a backup center.


Full Name: Will Montgomery     School: Virginia Tech

Ht: 6-3     Wt: 301     40: 5.05     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Explosive lineman who can be used at center or guard. Bends knees and blocks with his legs. Quick off the snap, explosive at the point and effectively uses angles. Nicely works hands throughout the action.

Neg: Lacks adjustment and bends at the waist. Not a finisher nor a dominant blocker. Average skill with the shotgun snap.

Analysis: Hard working with the ability to be used at several positions, Montgomery holds a good degree of upside for the next level. Could develop into a very good starting center as he physically matures and improves his playing strength.


Full Name: Marvin Philip     School: California

Ht: 6-1     Wt: 295     40: 5.25     Yr: 6Sr

Pos: Technically sound lineman who does the little things well. Quick off the snap, bends knees and gets leverage on opponents. Stays square, works hands throughout the action and makes effective use of blocking angles. Works well with teammates and always looking for someone to hit.

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: Hard working on the pivot, Philip lacks top size for the center position yet could develop into an adequate backup in the NFL.


Full Name: Donovan Raiola     School: Wisconsin

Ht: 6-2     Wt: 297     40: 5.23     Yr: 4Sr

Pos: Explosive blocker devastating in motion. Quick off the snap, bends knees and plays with good pad level. Immediately gets out to the second level, redirecting to linebackers. Solid position blocker. Works hard until the whistle blows.

Neg: Not strong at the point of attack nor a lineman who opens up the middle of the field.

Analysis: A leverage lineman with terrific football smarts, Raiola needs to improve his playing strength and learn to finish blocks. Offers good upside for the next level with the ability to develop into a starter.


Full Name: Pat Ross     School: Boston College

Ht: 6-3.5     Wt: 295     40: 5.08     Yr: 5Sr

Pos: Hard working blocker best in a small area. Quickly gets off the line, plays with a wide base and keeps his feet moving throughout the action. Explosive, immediately gets hands up and keeps opponents away. Cognizant, effectively uses angles and works well with teammates.

Neg: Stiff and not dominant at the point. Has difficulty blocking in motion or on the second level. Lacks top footwork and range in space.

Analysis: A smart blocker yet marginal athlete, Ross does not possess great upside for the next level. Should be a competent backup in the NFL and could develop into a starter in the right system.


Full Name: Kyle Young     School: Fresno State

Ht: 6-4     Wt: 330     40: 5.21     Yr: 3Jr

Pos: Powerful center who controls one-on-one blocking situations. Plays with Good pad level, anchors in pass protection or opens holes in the middle of the line. Quick with his hands and jolts opponents with good punch. Nasty and attacks assignments. Very aware and alert.

Neg: Lunges into blocks, hurting his balance. Not explosive off the ball or effective far off the line of scrimmage.

Analysis: A center with terrific size, Young is a dominant college blocker with outstanding potential for the next level. Needs to improve his footwork yet a first day pick whenever he enters the draft.


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