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These guys will look to open up holes for the franchise's workhorse and anchor the center of the offensive line. Today I rank the top five interior linemen prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.
1 Kenyon Green- Texas A&M
Bio: Over the course of his tenure at Texas A&M, Kenyon Green started 35 games between four positions on the offensive line. Over his final two years, he was named a first team All-American in both seasons.
Strengths: Broad frame with a thick build in his lower half. Well coached in leverage and hand placement as a run blocker. Paves through assignment with speed and create big holes. Resets hands to reengage and finish blocks. Strength and anchor make blocks hard to get free from. Good patience and body control to climb to the linebackers. First contact in pass sets is accurate and strong. Base has improved each year. Good recovery time. Great core strength to eliminate blitzing linebackers in the hole. A handful for most defensive linemen.
Weaknesses: Has a bad habit of reverting to holding. Slides on sweeps without a plan. Had issues sustaining blocks against Mississippi state in 2021. Will need to study up on angles for zone schemes. Instincts in pass protection are mediocre. Slow staying in front of rushers. Had issues identifying assignments on twists.
Pro Comparison: David DeCastro
Projected Round: 1
Possible Landing Spot: Washington Commanders
2. Tyler Linderbaum- Iowa
Bio: Coming to Iowa originally to play defensive tackle, Tyler Linderbaum was moved to center after his freshman year. He started every game at center over the next three seasons and was the 2021 Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's best interior lineman.
Strengths: Up for any challenge. Background as a wrestler shows up in his leverage and strength. No wasted motion snapping the ball. Hands, feet and hips work in unison. Quick snap gives him a head start in the positioning battle. Explosive push against nose tackles. Flexible and fast climbing to the linebackers and pulling on sweeps. Knows how to navigate his way past the line. Patient getting in front of target in pass sets and in space. Body control and footwork to sustain blocks. Inside hands do bulk of the work in pass pro. Keeps busy when initial assignment is dealt with. Excellent agility to recover.
Weaknesses: Scheme dependent in the run game due to smaller size. True nose guards can get by his base block. A fighter but may need more upper body strength for the pros. Leg drive can be stiff and shuffled. Bull rushers could have an advantage over him. Slow to reset and reestablish contact. Must be more patient with his initial movements off the snap. Shotgun snaps sail a little high.
Pro Comparison: Jason Kelce
Projected Round: 1
Possible Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys
3. Sean Rhyan- UCLA
Bio: A high school star at rugby and track, Sean Rhyan would start at left tackle for the Bruins for the next three years. In that time he was a two time first team All-PAC 12 selection.
Strengths: Skillset to star at guard and be an emergency tackle. Well proportioned frame with adequate wingspan and giant hands. Good knee bend in pass protection. Maintains base and strikes with first punch. Great footwork as a move blocker. Hand punches are fierce and accurate. Drives through down blocks to finish. Great hand placement allows him to maneuver his assignment to his will. Adjusts plan quickly to moving pieces.
Weaknesses: A lot of false start penalties. Drive base narrows as the play goes on. Pad level needs improved to maintain leverage. Poor recovery speed. Punches can use better timing. Over sets allow rushers to get inside his frame. Average arm extension to redirect in space.
Pro Comparison: Senio Kelemete
Projected Round: 2
Possible Landing Spot: Miami Dolphins
4. Dohnovan West- Arizona State
Bio: As a true freshman, Dohnovan West started initially at left guard. He was eventually moved to center and was named second team All-PAC 12 in 2021.
Strengths: Three year starter, playing center and both guard spots. Quick out of stance for sweeps and combos. Good body control moving in space. Fluid hips into contact. Great leverage and tenacity from start to finish. High football IQ to read and recognize the best angles to take. Strong first strike with inside hand. Widens anchor to hold off bull rushers. Toughness will never be in doubt.
Weaknesses: Slightly undersized for today's game. Not a great athlete A hair slow getting to his assignment in run gaps. Lacks strength to put fear in defenders. Must be more consistent at finishing blocks. Will have issues dealing with large nose tackles. Over leaning allows twisting defenders a window. Oversteps in pass protection, causing balance problems. Hands and feet don't work as one. Average straight line speed. May be limited to zone blocking schemes.
Pro Comparison: Kendrick Green
Projected Round: 2
Possible Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. Jamaree Salyer- Georgia
Bio: Recruited to Georgia to play guard, Jamaree Salyer was moved to tackle upon arriving on campus. As a senior, he was named second team All-SEC while help the Bulldogs to a National Championship victory.
Strengths: Five position versatility. Massive big with pro level length. Wide base is tough to get by for bull rushers. Patient hands work well with his length. Gets defenders off balance with club like arms. Keeps feet driving as a base blocker. First punches almost always meet their target. Gets hands under pads to lift and redirect. Extension to maneuver gap blitzers off coarse.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent play to play. High cut frame that lacks fluidity. Positioning off the snap is stiff. Thin and stiff lower half limit lateral blocking potential. Leads with his head rather than hands or feet. Lacks ideal leverage as an interior run blocker. Stagnated feet in pass slides. Keeping assignment in front of him takes a lot of effort. Takes too long to set anchor. Speedy, athletic edge rushers get by him. Average athlete in the open field.
Pro Comparison: Jermaine Eluemunor
Projected Round: 2-3
Possible Landing Spot: Cincinnati Bengals
Other Notable Prospects
Cole Strange- Chattanooga
- Great combo blocker, lacks ideal strength
Joshua Ezedu- North Carolina
- good frame and length, takes poor angles
Ed Ingram- LSU
- Quick out of his stance, Not patient
Chris Paul- Tulsa
- Excellent length, lacks foot quickness
Luke Goedeke- Central Michigan
- Solid balance and body control, too easily pushed back
Tyler Smith- Tulsa
- Agressive run blocker, absorbs too much punishment
Justin Shaffer- Georgia
- Good awareness, Loses balance too much
Marquis Hayes- Oklahoma
- Great size, poor knee bend
Lacitus Smith- Virginia Tech
- Stout build, Poor agility and body control in space
Dylan Parham- Memphis
- Natural combo blocker, below average hand speed
Chasen Hines- LSU
- Wide frame, Loses balance laterally
Myron Cunningham- Arkansas
- Physical demeanor, questionable footwork
Zach Tom- Wake Forest
- Intriguing athleticism, undersized and lacking mass
Jack Snyder- San Jose State
- Technically sound, short arms
Caleb Jones- Indiana
- Rare size and length, very slow feet
Nick Ford- Utah
- Quick for his big size, still raw
Alec Lindstrom- Boston College
- Fighter with massive hands, better football player than athlete
Luke Wattenberg- Washington
- Great size and length, loses leverage too often
Matt Allen- Michigan State
- Powerful build, heavy footed
Dawson Deaton- Texas Tech
- Good awareness, awkward athleticism
Cam Jurgens- Nebraaska
- Former tight end with good quickness, very undersized
Derek Kerstetter- Texas
- Four position versatility, poor balance
Liam Shanahan- LSU
- High intelligence, plays too upright
Andrew Vastardis- Michigan
- Team leader, short and lacks bulk