This draft class has a solid selection of guards and centers. How will the combine change the rankings?
When the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine gets here, the New York Giants are sure to keep an eye on every player at every position. But as things stand now, the team has a need at two of their three interior offensive line positions.
This happens to be a good draft class for the offensive line, with a number of player who can play in a variety of positions and blocking schemes. These rankings will change as the draft process rolls on, but let’s take a look at who the top interior linemen are right now, and which players might be values later in the draft.
- Chris Lindstrom (iOL, Boston College) [Prospect Profile]
- Garrett Bradbury (OC, North Carolina State) [Prospect Profile]
- Dru Samia (OG, Oklahoma) [Prospect Profile]
- Michael Deiter (iOL, Wisconsin) [Prospect Profile]
- Elgton Jenkins (OC, Mississippi State) [Prospect Profile]
- Ben Powers (OG, Oklahoma) [Prospect Profile]
Notes: As of right now, before the combine, Lindstrom is my top-ranked interior offensive lineman. He both has power and athleticism in his game, and could fit in both man and zone blocking concepts. He could also have a future at either guard or center, depending where a team needs him the most, or where he fits best in their blocking scheme.
Bradbury comes in second, and is the more technically proficient of the two pure center prospects on the list. He is also the more athletic of the two, easily able to get out and block at the second level, pull in man-gap schemes, or block for screen passes. Likewise, his hand usage, leverage, and angles are generally excellent. Bradbury might be too small for some teams, and he can get overwhelmed by elite power in one-on-one situations, but those are relatively minor considerations and can be schemed around with double teams.
The first of two Oklahoma guards, I prefer Dru Samia from a “Giants” perspective because his greater movement skills fit in better with their more varied blocking scheme. Ben Powers is a fine guard in his own right, but he might be more limited to pure power schemes.
Likewise, I believe that Elgton Jenkins is just a bit more limited in his versatility than Bradbury, though his greater size might appeal to the Giants. But while Jenkins is bigger and stronger, his hand usage and leverage aren’t as consistently good as Bradbury’s. That isn’t to say that he is a poor center prospect, but he could find the increased speed of the game — particularly going from snapping the ball to engaging with a defensive tackle — challenging at the NFL level, at least to start.
And finally, that brings us to Michael Dieter out of Wisconsin. Dieter played all over the Wisconsin line, starting games at left tackle, left guard, and center. He has the size the Giants like and solid movement skills to play just about any position on the line. He is probably best cast as an interior offensive lineman at the next level (which is why he’s on this list), but teams might want to give him a try at tackle and see what he has to offer.
Erik McCoy (OC, Texas A&M) – If a team running primarily a zone blocking scheme wants a center and misses out on Bradbury, they could be well served by taking a long look at McCoy. The center from TAMU is young (21 years old), but shows the tools to be a good starter in a zone system. He doesn’t have the length some teams look for, and he still needs to polish up his technique. However, he does have good movement skills and shows the potential to be a solid (at least) starter in short order.
Beau Benzschawel (OG, Wisconsin) [Prospect Profile] – It’s hard not to like Beau Benzschawel. He is everything you think of when you picture a “Wisconsin” offensive lineman: big, powerful, well-coached, and mean. Benzschawel is always looking to finish the play with a defender on the ground, and is always playing through the whistle. However, he doesn’t have the versatility of the top prospects, profiling best as a guard (only) in a man-gap scheme. If a team is okay with that, he could be a good value some time after the first two rounds.
Ross Pierschbacher (OG, Alabama) – Whenever a lineman from Alabama is in the draft, people tend to slow down and take a look, and Piersbacher is no exception. He doesn’t have the ceiling of some other prospects, but he also has a fairly high floor. And while he does show some stiffness which impacts his pad level and lateral agility, he has solid technique and works to explode out of his stance and deliver shots at the point of attack.