Offensive Center Position Check List

Veteran scout Tom Marino has never been a big proponent on physical testing norms when evaluating offensive centers and has often told a pertinent story regarding this very situation that occurred while a member of the New Orleans Saints scouting staff. He shares this story with the readers today at

With the divisional rival San Francisco 49ers next up on the schedule, the Saints limped into the week minus two starters along the offensive line, including starting center Joel Hilgenberg. Our pro department franticly perused their emergency (may-day) personnel books and brought in eight to ten offensive linemen for Tuesday tryouts at the Saints facility.

The Saints offensive line coach at the time Paul Boudreau (currently in the same position with the Atlanta Falcons) worked out the entire contingent and recommended a center from USC who ran 5.68 in the forty that very day. Jim Mora, looked up over his reading glasses and said; "Paul, in five days we are going to line up against the world champion 49ers, with a center that can't run a lick, how do we do that?" Boudreau looked up at the head man and stated, "Well Jim, don't send him deep!"

The truth be known, Boudreau one of the top coaches in the game, was far more concerned with his new centers initial quickness, explosiveness on contact and body control then he was with his time for the forty.

Offensive line position skill criteria checklist



Initial movement off the football


Balance / Base


Contact balance / finish

Single block

Use of hands (placement)

Blocks fits / Sustain

Co op / Scoop block

Reach block

Second level efficiency

Adjust in space on the move

Block effectiveness downfield

Blocking range

Pull and lead skills

Trap skills (long and short)

Lateral quickness


Knee and ankle flex

Direction change


Short setting skills

Quicks to set point (OT)

Punch and lockout (force separation)

Bull rush (anchor)

Speed rush (kick and slide)


Reaction / Awareness

Slide Protection

Blitz and stunt pick up


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