RedEye

NFL draft preview: Centers

Third in a series exploring the April 26-28 NFL draft. Next: Offensive tackles.

This is a weak group of centers, and it would be really weak if not for the Big Ten, which might have the top three taken. It is possible as few as seven will be drafted, though need likely will force some teams to pick players who might not have draftable grades.

The best

Peter Konz, Wisconsin, 6-5, 315: He has a nice combination of size, athleticism and long arms. Konz, who left Wisconsin early, clearly is the best center in the class and a potential late first-round pick. He has the power and technique to neutralize a nose tackle. He is durable and reliable, and plays smart. He also could be considered at guard. There is very little chance he will be a bust.

2. Michael Brewster, Ohio State, 6-4, 312: He is a chippy blocker with enough athleticism and strength to get the job done. Brewster knows how to use his ample size. He is smart and a good technician. He does not make mistakes often.

3. David Molk, Michigan, 6-1, 298: The Lemont High School product and four-year starter for the Wolverines was awarded the Rimington Trophy as the best college center in the country. He was a team captain and leader. Molk is a tough blocker who knows how to use his hands and get leverage. He needs to be more sound fundamentally because he is undersized and he must become more consistent with blocks on the second level.

4. Philip Blake, Baylor, 6-3, 311: A quick technician, Blake has decent size and can handle a powerful defender. He stays on his feet well and has fine balance, but he does not move as well as some centers. He also has some experience at tackle. Blake is 26, which could affect his draft stock.

5. Ben Jones, Georgia, 6-2, 303: He is a smart, competitive, fundamentally sound blocker who uses angles efficiently. He has good initial quickness but is not that strong or athletic. A four-year starter at Georgia, he projects as an NFL backup.

6. Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State, 6-2, 304: Saulsberry knows how to play. He attacks defenders with enthusiasm even though he does not have a lot of power. A four-year starter, he has top intangibles. He is average physically, and not the quickest laterally, so his upside is limited. He has experience at guard and might be a backup center/guard.

7. Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois, 6-4, 300: He is tough and effective in a short area. He is pretty quick off the snap and gets some movement in the running game. He needs to develop strength and has the frame to bulk up.

The rest

8. William Vlachos, Alabama

9. Garth Gerhart, Arizona State

10. Grant Garner, Oklahoma State

11. Moe Petrus, Connecticut

12. David Snow, Texas

13. Mason Cloy, Clemson

14. Ben Burkett, Northwestern

The Bears

Center is not a position of need for the Bears. Roberto Garza was the team's most consistent offensive lineman last year, and though he is 33, he recently signed a contract extension through 2013. Chris Spencer played guard last year, but probably is a more natural center and could be moved back at any time. The team also has hopes for Edwin Williams at either center or guard.

dpompei@tribune.com

Twitter@danpompei

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

Comments
Loading
90°