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Ravens Draft: Centers

  The Ravens will put a priority on beefing up the interior of the offensive line.

The team resigned center Matt Birk and drafting the top Center, Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, makes sense. Konz could play guard, filling the void left by Ben Grubbs, and while learning the center position he would have a great mentor in Birk.

There is a a drop off in talent as far as how analysts are projecting this draft class of centers following Peter Konz. However, the Ravens have options. Since Birk is returning the team could draft a linebacker in round one, a definite (need) priority.  Like recent draft picks, the Ravens have given the green light to rookies after learning the offense. Selecting a center in the second or mid-rounds is a strategy that could pay off in the future.

Some other names to keep a watch on at center are: 

Ben Jones, Georgia (6-2, 305) 

“Jones’ best trait may be his quickness and if he corrects a tendency to arch his back when engaged with a defender, he could anchor an NFL offensive line for the next 10 years…In pass blocking, Jones is quick physically and mentally, coming off the line and recognizing defensive alignments…Ben is not a physical run blocker, but due to his quickness is able to turn and seal off the defender. He executes the drive block well..An NFL off-season weight-training program, as well as extensive OL coaching, will correct most of Jones’ deficiencies in order for him to become a solid starting center.” www.drafttek.com

Analysis: Research finds that Jones has a good feel for calling the protections at the line (line calls), a good knowledge of blocking schemes. Keep in mind Joens played in the SEC–facing some of the top notch defensive players (Nose Tackles) in the country, and he held his own.  Excellent quickness off the line and a durable player. Would be an asset for an NFL team, and a likely starter with some coaching. Video Highlights.

Michael Brewster, Ohio State (6-4, 312)

Although he lacks exceptional athleticism or strength, Brewster is a solid offensive line prospect with no gaps in his game. He is a better pass protector than run blocker, but this mostly has to do with his frame. He’s a long and lean player who will need to add bulk to his lower half… Brewster has good feet, but sometimes gets a bit lazy with his technique and can get knocked off-balance. He will need to shuffle his feet and better maintain his center of gravity when taking on NFL-caliber defensive tackles. He is sometimes a bit late seeing the second level, identifying a blitzing linebacker and disengaging from his double-team….in this new pass-oriented NFL, pass blockers are at a new premium.–Matt DeLima, fftoolbox.com

Projected round: 3

Analysis: Talented, but like many players selected at the mid-rounds will need some work; add bulk and will benefit from coaching at the NFL level.

 

Phillip Blake, Baylor (6-2, 311)

“Solid when asked to help in the pocket with blitz pickups. You see awareness and vision in this area. … Comes from an offense that runs a great deal of read option but that also threw the ball, so he will need some development as a run blocker, which right now is his biggest weakness. … Don’t like the fact that he only lifted 22 times with 225. He is a little bit behind in that area too, but it is something that he can work on. … Will be a consideration in the middle of the draft because he does have some tools that could be developed.”www.cbssports.com

Projected round: 3-4

Analysis: Research of scouting reports that Blake was not physical enough run blocking. That’ might be a sticking point with a lot of teams. He will have to go to a team that believes this prospect could be an effective run blocker with the proper coaching and training.

 

David Molk, Michigan (6-1, 298)

Strengths: A balanced, coordinated athlete who sets up quickly and gets in position with nice burst off the snap and good feet. Covers a lot of ground with good lateral shuffle and range to get to the second level easily..Has a high football IQ with very good starting experience (42 career starts) in multiple offensive systems. A high character player and vocal team leader. Very good competitor and loves to finish. Has very good work ethic and is very coachable.  Weaknesses: Undersized with limited growth potential lacks elite measureables for the next level. Doesn?t have a stout anchor and can be driven backwards off the snap.  Often overwhelmed at the point of attack because of his limited base strength. Needs to sustain blocks longer and can be tossed aside by defenders. Lacks the brute strength to redirect rushers and will never be a mauler in the run game…”  —CBSsports.com

Projected Round: 4-5

Analysis: Mixed reviews by analysts/scouting reports and projected pick from the 4 to late 5th rounds. Could be a bit of a project, some upside.


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