FanPost

Should We Draft A Center In 2014?

20130522__tom-nalen-broncos-052213a_p1_medium

via extras.mnginteractive.com Tom Nalen - Ring of Fame!

When looking at "Rodney's Pictorial Depth Chart" (in Nbot's "State of the Roster:" post) it isn't difficult to see the O-line as the biggest single area of need at this point, & center tops it out IMO.

NFL Draft Geek has Denver taking at #31 - Kony Ealy (DE Missouri) but look who the Seahawks take with the next pick. Which would you rather have, Ealy or Moses? Could Moses lead us to the promised land?

In the first round: (O-line players selected)

#2) St Louis Rams - Greg Robinson (OT Auburn)

#6) Atlanta Falcons - Jake Matthews (OT Texas A&M)

#12) New York Giants - Taylor Lewan (OT Michigan)

#19) Miami Dolphins - Zack Martin (OT/OG Notre Dame)

#32) Seattle Seahawks - Morgan Moses (OT Virginia)

If we can't move up to get Zac Martin then I say move back to get a center. I really would love for us to find the next stud center to anchor our O-line for the next ten years. Stud centers like Tom Nalen are hard to come by.

In the second round, the Geek has this happening.

#39) Jacksonville Jaguars - Gabe Jackson (OG Mississippi State)

#47) Baltimore Ravens - Antonio Richardson (OT Tennessee)

#49) New York Jets - David Yankey (OG Stanford)

#50) Miami Dolphins - Xavier Su'a-Filo (OL UCLA)

#59) Indianapolis Colts - Cyril Richardson (OL Baylor)

#61) San Francisco 49ers - Joel Bitonio (OL Nevada)

That's a lot of O-line talent that we miss all together in the first two rounds.

Did you notice that in the first two rounds of the Geeks draft, no centers were taken?

Walter football's position review on Centers gives this years class a B- overall, with early and middle round talent a B grade. Here is a small portion of their extensive (excellent) article on the subject.

Safest Pick: Weston Richburg, Colorado State

I think Richburg and Swanson are both safe picks to become good starting centers in the NFL. I went with Richburg because I believe he has more scheme flexibility to excel in a zone or man scheme.

Richburg combines quickness, athleticism, strength, balance, intelligence and good technique. He could easily end up being a great value on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Biggest Bust Potential: Marcus Martin, USC

This was a tough choice, but Martin is the only other center prospect who could be selected in the top half of the 2014 NFL Draft. The reason I went with Martin is because he is less experienced at center.

Martin will need more developmental time, and depending on where he lands, some teams are more patient than others.

Martin helps himself by being able to play guard, but Richburg and Swanson look like safer picks after their long bodies of work from college. As far as the other prospects, it is hard to label a third-day pick a bust.

A further breakdown (by Walterfootball) of the players gives a lot better incite.

Center Rankings by Attributes: Due to lack of space, I've compared the 5 primary areas that interest me, but you can read the "Recap" (very good stuff) on each of the categories @This Link.

Pass Protect

Run Blocking

Zone Blocking

Power Blocker

Intelligence

Weston Richburg

Travis Swanson

Weston Richburg

Travis Swanson

Gabe Ikard

Travis Swanson

Marcus Martin

Travis Swanson

Marcus Martin

Weston Richburg

Marcus Martin

Weston Richburg

Marcus Martin

Tyler Larsen

Travis Swanson

Gabe Ikard

Tyler Larsen

Tyler Larsen

Weston Richburg

Tyler Larsen

James Stone

Bryan Stork

Gabe Ikard

Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

Tyler Larsen

Russell Bodine

Russell Bodine

Russell Bodine

James Stone

Bryan Stork

James Stone

James Stone

James Stone

Russell Bodine

Russell Bodine

Gabe Ikard

Bryan Stork

Gabe Ikard

Marcus Martin

The 8 categories and comments from http://walterfootball.com/ are:

1) Pass Protection, (NFL prototype: Max Unger, Seahawks)

2) Run Blocking, (NFL prototype: John Sullivan, Vikings)

3) Speed, (NFL prototype: Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers)

4) Strength, (NFL prototype: Nick Mangold, Jets)

5) Zone Blocking, (NFL prototype: Chris Myers, Texans)

6) Power-Man Blocker, (NFL prototype: Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers)

7) Versatility, (NFL prototype: Mike Pouncey, Dolphins)

8) Intelligence, (NFL prototype: Matt Birk, Ravens)

Maurkice Pouncey, of the Steelers, is the only Prototypical NFL Center to fit into multiple categories. If you add the totals of where each of this years guys rank, then the guy with the lowest total should be the best, right?

This is the rank totals that include all of the 8 categories:

16) Travis Swanson #1 in Run Blocking, Strength & Power-Man Blocker; #2 in Pass Protection, Zone Blocking & Versatility.

19) Weston Richburg #1 in Pass Protection, Speed & Zone Blocking; #2 in Intelligence.

26) Marcus Martin #1- Versatility; #2 in Run Blocking, Strength & Power-Man Blocker

36)Tyler Larsen

42) Bryan Stork

44) Gabe Ikard #1- Intelligence

46) James Stone

52) Russell Bodine

The reason I like Weston Richburg for the Broncos is his pass protection and intelligence. We need a smart guy who can pass protect for the Manning type offense. If the rest of the O-line can plow for the run game we should be okay.

I ran the three "Scouting Boards" at the http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/ draft simulator with these results. I'm just listing where the top four picks ended up.

Fan Speak

Walter Football

Optimum Scouting

79

C TRAVIS SWANSON

BALTIMORE RAVENS

48

C MARCUS MARTIN

BALTIMORE RAVENS

63

C TRAVIS SWANSON

DENVER BRONCOS

94

C MARCUS MARTIN

SAN FRANCISCO Broncos picked next

63

C WESTON RICHBURG

DENVER BRONCOS

85

C WESTON RICHBURG

GREEN BAY PACKERS

117

C WESTON RICHBURG

GREEN BAY PACKERS Did San Fran "reach" selecting Martin over Richburg?

94

C TRAVIS SWANSON

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

94

C TYLER LARSEN

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

117 C BRYAN STORK - FLORIDA STATE

was listed next

123

C GABE IKARD

CLEVELAND BROWNS

N/A

One thing this exercise showed me is that, in the opinion of these scouting groups, the Ravens, Packers & 49ers are all in the market for a center. Some things I found interesting:

Optimum Scouting believes that NO Center will be selected prior to the Broncos second round pick position, (I find that hard to believe) but have Swanson ranked at the top of the class.

What if Denver prefers the qualities Richburg brings vs. Swanson. Would we think that they reached with his selection? That's just it. Certain players fit our scheme better than others.

I again liked the way that Walter Football's Board played out. I ended up getting these guys in the first 4 rounds.

31 LB RYAN SHAZIER, OHIO STATE

63 C WESTON RICHBURG, COLORADO STATE

95 CB PIERRE DESIR, LINDENWOOD

127 OT ANTONIO RICHARDSON, TENNESSEE

The thing I couldn't understand is why Walter Football would say that Martin has the biggest "Bust" potential & then have him be the first center off the board, going to the Ravens. Is it a reflection on what they think of the Ravens?

So, what do you think are our chances of finding the next Tom Nalen in this years draft?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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