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Ground Rules on this NFL Combine preview scouting:
-- Looking at the initial performance data from their college years in our system.
-- Watching 10-15+ minutes of tape
-- Giving an initial knee-jerk reaction to what I am seeing/feeling.
-- Will rank them as if I am drafting them for the dynasty rookie draft, and I will also break them into tiers
-- We don’t have the full host of measurables, so my reactions could change when I see the physical times and attributes. Sometimes your scouting eyes deceive you on how fast a player is moving, etc. We will be doing all the full-fledged scouting of these players after the Combine data is in.
-- This ‘draft’ and analysis will drop in a player at a time at various times throughout the day. Check the clock on the title to see when the latest post was made.
-- Height/weight is latest estimates we have from their listed info or all-star games, etc. Not official.
-- Going prospect by prospect in alphabetical order.
The NFL Combine O-Centers…
Current consensus top 3 OC prospects in the mainstream…
1) Billy Price, Ohio State
2) Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
3) James Daniels, Iowa
*Five Tiers: A, B, C, D, F…like school grades. Players listed in ‘my favorite’ order.
Billy Price, Ohio State (6’4”/312)
All the hype is real. As good a center prospect as you will find. Such a mobile OL…for how big he is you don’t expect such fluid movement at the Center spot. Could be an NFL guard or center. He’s probably a potential Pro Bowl player at either. I want to see the Combine numbers on his guard prospect metrics before I pop an A+, so ‘A’ for now.
James Daniels, Iowa (6’4”/295)
A really nice center prospect all the way around…could be ‘best in class’ by the time I’m done with OC studies. Very fluid movement from the center position. Has a nice spring in his step. I love the way he uses his long arms – he controls a lot of activity with arm work, getting under defenders and driving them or just sticking a stiff arm to hold off pass rushers up the middle. He has a great reach for blocking and built for snapping back to the QB. Like everything about him. The only knock is people would like him a little bigger/stronger. A-
Brian Allen, Michigan State (6’1”/300)
Very good feet for a center. Does a nice job pulling on run plays from the center spot. Locks up on DTs pretty soundly. Is not the strongest OL prospect but he could add more upper body fighting power. Everything looked solid across the board. Team captain and notorious hard worker in practice and in the class room. A very sound, stable, solid NFL OC prospect. B+
Sean Walsh, Iowa (6’2”/300)
Not the fastest center I’ve ever seen but has a great punch off the line and hits like a ton of bricks…maybe the best run blocker, from a ‘push them back’ standpoint I’ve watched among the centers or against many of the other OLs in 2018 previews. Very nice run blocker and decent in pass protection. Not great as a pulling blocker because he’s doesn’t get faster with distance…he’s quick off the snap and driving into a defender. Not so good sprinting out. I like his game overall. He’s probably more guard than center, but maybe center? Iowa had an all-everything center, so Welsh was at guard for them. B-
Mason Cole, Michigan (6’5”/305)
I was surprised to see the tape with Cole as a left tackle for Michigan in 2017…but classified as a center for the NFL Combine. As a LT in the Big Ten he was pretty good…athletic and sound. A second-team all-Big Ten type competitor. Consider that athletic talent as a move to center and it gets pretty interesting. Solid run blocker and gets back on pass protect well. Solid-not-awesome. C+
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas (6’5”/309)
Comes with a lot of accolades – several 1st-team All-American nods in 2017. He is first-class in character…quality guy off the field. I just didn’t see anything awesome on tape. He was just OK, for me. Got pushed slightly/somewhat backwards in short-yardage situations…I don’t like seeing that for a translation to the pros. I want center prospects to hold or move people forward one-on-one. A little slow when he ‘pulled’ on run blocking. He wasn’t bad, but I saw a lot of center prospects a whole lot more impressive today that don’t have his accolades…in a mini-scouting of them. C
Will Clapp, LSU (6’5”/314)
Physical, downhill blocking college RG who looked a little too slow/unathletic to be an impact OG in the NFL, so a move to center makes sense. Strong, decent feet but more ‘average’ in athleticism. Smart, solid prospect. C
Scott Quessenberry, UCLA (6’4”/315)
Solid all the way around. Moves pretty well for a center. Has nice technique. My negative is that I saw him lose the one-on-one war a little too much…blown backwards on plays one too many times for me to be fully comfortable. Gets upright and DTs leveraged underneath and were just quicker off the snap and pushed him back. Most centers I’ve watched today are rarely/never losing a one-on-one even by an inch. Quessenberry not so much. C-
Coleman Shelton, Washington (6’4”/295)
I’m about to the end of the center previews and I realized that I liked everyone I saw to some degree before this study -- no center graded with a D or worse (after 7 previews). I thought, perhaps, I was being too soft. Well, I found a tape I didn’t care for here. The slowest, least impressive of the group so far. Don’t like how often he gets out-leveraged or thrown off by an opposing DT. Looks clunky on the move. So many better center prospects, I think. D