As a rookie Lloyd Cushenberry III (LC3) was one of the worst, if not the worst, starting centers in the league. He had a PFF overall grade of 40.5. He allowed six sacks and had 35 total blown blocks. In 2021 he improved his PFF grade to 64.2 and SIS datahub shows him as only having 22 blown blocks and only allowing four sacks. Let’s see how that compares to the rest of the starting centers in the league from 2021. This table includes PFF overall grades, but the rest of the data is from SISdatahub.com. The table is sorted by BBR (blown block rate).
|Rank||TEAM||Center - how acquired||PFF Grade 2021||OFF Snaps 2021||Blown Blocks||BBR (%)||Sacks Allowed (SIS)||Stuffs Allowed|
|1||KC||Humphrey, Creed 21/2||91.4||1184||7||0.59%||3||3|
|2||LAC||LINSLEY, COREY U/GB||85.7||1076||7||0.65%||0||1|
|3||NYJ||McGovern, Connor U/Den||75.9||973||7||0.72%||2||5|
|5||TAM||JENSEN, RYAN U/Bal||70.3||1151||9||0.78%||1||4|
|7||CLE||TRETTER, JC U/GB||78.7||1039||12||1.15%||1||1|
|8||BAL||Bozeman, Bradley 18/6||73.3||1125||13||1.16%||2||2|
|9||NE||Andrews, David CF15||77.6||1087||14||1.29%||4||3|
|10||GNB||Patrick, Lucas CF16||57.2||911||12||1.32%||2||0|
|11||CIN||Hopkins, Trey CF14||51.4||928||13||1.40%||6||4|
|12||PHI||KELCE, JASON 11/6||84.4||993||14||1.41%||2||2|
|13||DAL||Biadasz, Tyler 20/4||64.8||1202||17||1.41%||1||3|
|14||JAX||Linder, Brandon 14/3||62.9||552||8||1.45%||0||3|
|15||SF||MACK, ALEX U/Atl||70.4||1088||17||1.56%||1||5|
|16||NO||McCoy, Erik 19/2||63.6||746||12||1.61%||1||3|
|17||BUF||Morse, Mitch U/KC||63.4||1167||20||1.71%||1||4|
|18||DET||Brown, Evan SF20||66.8||755||13||1.72%||1||2|
|19||LV||James, Andre CF19||64.1||1139||20||1.76%||0||4|
|20||SEA||Pocic, Ethan 17/2||67.3||600||11||1.83%||2||1|
|21||IND||Kelly, Ryan 16/1||56.9||907||17||1.87%||3||3|
|22||NYG||Price, Billy T/Cin||62.3||985||19||1.93%||1||5|
|24||DEN||Cushenberry III, Lloyd 20/3||64.2||1039||22||2.12%||4||5|
|25||TEN||JONES, BEN U/Hou||77.8||1160||25||2.16%||1||7|
|26||CAR||Elflein, Pat U/NYJ||50.1||534||12||2.25%||3||1|
|27||MIN||Bradbury, Garrett 19/1||60.1||883||20||2.27%||2||7|
|28||PIT||Green, Kendrick 21/3||52.4||975||23||2.36%||1||5|
|30||CHI||Mustipher, Sam CF19||51.8||1121||29||2.59%||2||6|
|31||LAR||Allen, Brian 18/4||80.2||903||25||2.77%||4||7|
|32||ATL||Hennessy, Matt 20/3||77.1||988||30||3.04%||2||6|
By PFF grade, LC3 was 17th among starting centers (players with the most offensive snaps at center for each team). However, if you sort by BBR as I have done in the above table, LC3 ranked 24th among starting centers. The four sacks that he allowed were tied for second most among starting centers - only Trey Hopkins of the Bengals (6) allowed more in 2021. I should point out that Pat Elflein only played 534 snaps and allowed three sacks, so his sacks per pass block snap was much worse than LC3.
By PFF grade the average starting center in 2021 had a grade of 68. So LC3 was a little below average. If we assume that the average for starting centers in 2020 was close to that, LC3 was well below average in 2020. So he improved from terrible to average. It will be interesting to see if he moves from average to above average in 2022.
There are some that think the Broncos will replace LC3 at center with either Quinn Meinerz or Graham Glasgow. With Russell Wilson now taking the snaps, it may all come down to who he prefers snapping him the ball. In 2020, Wilson threw the ball 440 times from the shotgun and only 118 times from under center. I wasn’t able to fund data on how often each starting center had errant shotgun snaps. The best I could find was fumble numbers. If the center’s snap causes a negative play, it generally is recorded as a run for negative yards by the offensive player (QB or RB) who recovers the bad shotgun snap. If a defender recovers the ball it is credited as a fumble on the center. If the QB is under center and he drops the snap, that fumble is “credited” to the QB. Fumble data for starting centers in 2021 is presented below omitting guys who had zero bad snaps that were counted as fumbles.
I should note that LC3 had two errant snaps in 2020 that were recovered by the other team. Sam Mustipher is a player that is a warrior (ND grad), but he’s not going to be in the league very long with that many errant shotgun snaps.
PFF dings players hard for getting penalized and that may be why some of the higher graded PFF guys had poor BBR’s and vice versa. It hurts a little to see Connor McGovern near the top of the league in BBR and PFF grade, but he should be there given what the Jets are paying him. According to overthecap.com, McGovern is the 10th highest paid center in the league. Two of the most expensive centers in the league missed all or most of the last season with injury, Frank Ragnow of the Lions and Chase Roullier of the Potatoes (I know they are calling themselves the Commanders now, but to me, they will always be the Potatoes).
Corey Linsley definitely earned his money after singing a big contract with the Chargers prior to the 2021 season. It should not be lost on folks that the two best centers in the league in 2021 played in the AFC West and that one of the them was a rookie, Creed Humphrey. The three centers who were AP or PFF All-Pro were Humphrey, Linsley and Jason Kelce. All three were elite by both PFF and SIS.
Linsley has not allowed a sack since the 2019 season according to SIS. Going back to the 2016 season he has played 3167 passing snaps and allowed 9 sacks. He also has only been called for holding on 7 of those 3167 passing snaps. For comparison, LC3 has played 1190 passing snaps during his career and has allowed 10 sacks.
LC3 was called for holding only once in 2021, but he was called for a false start twice last season. It’s rare to see centers get called for a false start (it’s usually called as a “snap infraction” which means you move the ball slightly after getting set without snapping it). While getting called twice in 2021 was bad, it was not the worst in the league among centers. That was Tyler Biadasz of the Cowboys who was called for a false start (snap infraction) six times in 2021. That was only one fewer time than Alex Leatherwood of the Raiders and Diontae Johnson of the Steelers who were both called for false starts seven times in 2021. Johnson is a wide receiver though. Every other player with three or more false starts in 2021 was a tight end or offensive lineman with the exception of former Bronco, Emmanuel Sanders, who was called three times for a false start. Only two quarterbacks were called for false start more than once in 2021 - Teddy Bridgewater and Justin Fields were both called twice for false starts.
If Cushenberry is the Bronco starting center in 2022, what are you expecting from him?
This poll is closed
Improvement to elite
Improvement to above average
More of what he did in 2021 - average play at center
Regression to below average
Regression to one of the worst - similar to his rookie year