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Dave Te-The 2018 Center Class Analysis-Day Two Prospects

nflscouting : 3/13/2018 7:54 pm

Currently, only seven college centers are considered draft worthy this year and that could see some go earlier than anticipated. While most teams are fortified in the middle of the line, you can expect the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and New York Jets to try and address their needs at this position through the draft. Carolina and Cincinnati could also be looking for upgrades due to erratic performances from their starters and Miami could also get into the hunt, as the fragile hips of Mike Pouncey has his football biological clock ticking like a time bomb.

On the current 2018 NFL off-season rosters, every team has at least two centers in place, except for Atlanta, with only All-Pro Alex Mack listed on the depth chart. In stark contrast, four teams - the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals are carrying four centers.

Among the fifteen free agents on the market, few offer any type of upgrade for the NFL center-needy teams to chose from. With Tampa Bay shifting Ali Marpet to center, the Bucs are certain to let both of their centers leave through free agency - Evan Smith and Joe Hawley. There are also reports that Hawley might decide to hang it up.

2017 starters on the market are the Jets' Wesley Johnson, the Rams john Sullivan, Detroit's Travis Swanson and Washington's Spencer Long. Swanson had a heated feud with the Lions front office, as the team placed him on injured reserve with a concussion late in the 2017 season, but Swanson has provided interested teams with medical records proving that he did not suffer any concussion.

Washington is still pouring over medical reports to see if they want to bring Spencer Long back, as he has knee issues resulting in his injured reserve placement late in the 2017 schedule. Drafted in the third round out of Nebraska in 2014, he was signed him to a $2.85 million, four-year contract as a rookie.

With the release of former starting right guard, Chris Chester, Long was given the chance to compete for the starting position. He ended up losing out to Brandon Scherff, who originally was expected to become the starting right tackle. He would then become the starting left guard after regular starter, Shawn Lauvao, was placed on the team's injured reserve in September 2015.

In 2016, Long became the team's starting center after a season-ending injury to Kory Lichtensteiger in week Three, but on November 21st, 2017, Long was placed on injured reserve after dealing with knee tendonitis. If Long signs elsewhere, only 2017 sixth rounder, Chase Roullier, 49ers castoff Tony Bergstrom - himself testing the free agent waters - and street free agent Demetrius Rhaney have any ties to the team.

Of the remaining free agents, the Jets will likely favor Wesley Johnson over their other center, Jonotthan Harrison, also a free agent, but most expect the team to look for a much better upgrade in the 2018 draft. Ben Jones beat out Brian Schwenke for Tennessee's starting pivot job last year, so look for Schwenke to join another team. The Titans will probably draft depth at the position later during Day Three, as there is no one currently listed behind Jones.

Two former college All-Americans - Jack Allen and Gabe Ikard, will be vying for the opportunity to back up Max Unger in New Orleans, leaving snapper Josh LeRibeus looking for employment, but the well-traveled journeyman is used to auditioning for a job. He was the 71st overall selection in the 2012 draft by Washington, where he served as the back-up center and left guard, playing in five games as a rookie.

During the 2013 off-season training camp, LeRibeus came thirty pounds overweight and out of shape, spending the entire campaign on the inactive list. He was later released by the team prior to the 2016 season, re-emerging as a reserve/future contract signee with Philadelphia in January 2017, but released by the Eagles in May. He later signed with the Saignts prior to 2017 training camp.

Look for Cincinnati to close the door on their often criticized center, Russell Bodine. A fourth round choice in 2014, he signed a four-year, $2.67 million contract out of North Carolina, but despite starting every game the last four seasons, he has been one of the lowest graded blockers in the league.


Outside of Ryan Jensen, the veteran free agent pool of talent at the center position is virtually non-existent, despite fifteen unrestricted free agent centers looking for work. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 draft by the Baltimore Ravens, the Colorado State-Pueblo graduate was an All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and All-Colorado choice by National Football Foundation. He was a Gene Upshaw Award finalist in his senior year, finishing fifth in the voting.

Jensen was also selected by the Texas vs. the Nation All-Stars to participate in their bowl game. He was one of the final cuts in training camp in 2013, but the Ravens signed him to the practice squad the next day. He was promoted to the active roster in December, 2014 and became a full-time starter for the Ravens in 2017, starting in all sixteen games at center. Currently contract projections indicate that Jensen could be in line for a five-year deal worth a total of $45 million ($8,926,144 per year averaged) after he graded as the fourth-highest center in the league last year.

With the Giants losing out in the hunt for former Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, they are likely to turn their attention to trying to recruit Jensen to play the pivot. If Baltimore fails to convince Jensen to return to the fold, the only other centers under contract is Jaguars castoff Luke Bowanko and 2017 practice squad performer, Brandon Kublanow. That is, if Baltimore re-signs Bowanko, as he is also among the veteran free agent crop.

Among the other unrestricted free agents, one has already found a new home. The San Francisco 49ers made the first pre-emptive move at this position, snatching Weston Richburg away from the New York Giants with a five-year contract on the first day of the veteran free agent period. Richburg Richburg was considered one of the best center prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round, becoming the most recent Colorado State offensive lineman to be drafted, following Shelley Smith in 2010.

Due to numerous injuries to offensive lineman in his rookie season, most notably to guards Chris Snee and Geoff Schwartz, Richburg, despite initially intended as the backup center in his rookie season, was forced to play out of position at guard. Because of his limited experience and relatively small size for the position, he struggled. In 2015, Richburg was returned to his natural position of center, and with a year of NFL experience under his belt, he soon showed himself to be among the league's best centers, attaining the second-best blocking consistency grade at his position for the 2015 season.

In, 2016, during the Giants third game of the season against the Washington Redskins, Richburg was ejected for committing two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He became the first player to be ejected under this new rule since NFL applied it during the beginning of 2016. On November 4th, 2017, he was placed on injured reserve with a concussion.

The current roster lists Daniel Kilgore as the 49ers' starting center and Tim Barnes (also a free agent) as the back-up. Richburg might have to shift to guard, if the team continues to send Kilgore out with the first unit. He will encounter competition from another former center, Brandon Fusco, at right guard and former Lions bust Laken Tomlinson at left guard. He will also have to fend off a challenge from 2016 first round guard, Josh Garnett, veteran Zane Beadles and a street free agent the team is high on, Erik Magnuson.

For Detroit, after they used a third round choice to take center Travis Swanson in 2014, they soon found out that he has marginal quickness on long pulls to seal the edge. All too often, he lost his feet and body control at times in traffic, which greatly affected the running game. While they might wait until the second round, there is some talk of the Lions trading back up into the tail end of the first round to select Iowa's James Daniels.

Jeff Faine had a blue-collar like career, starting 124-of-125 appearances since leaving Notre Dame and Chris Spencer started 95 times, lining up at center and both guard positions. Cleveland is still trying to get some value from their ill-advised selection of Cameron Erving in 2015, as he's failed to impress as a starter at center, left tackle and right tackle. The Colts were not only without their franchise quarterback in 2017 (Andrew Luck), but Ryan Kelly was hobbled most of the year by injuries, appearing in 23 of a possible 32 games as a starter.

Year Pick Tm From To G GS College/Univ
21 Jeff Faine CLE
2003 2012 125 124 Notre Dame

26 Chris Spencer SEA
2005 2014 137 95 Mississippi

29 Nick Mangold NYJ
2006 2016 164 164 Ohio St.

28 Eric Wood BUF
2009 2017 120 120 Louisville

21 Alex Mack CLE
2009 2017 133 133 California

18 Maurkice Pouncey PIT
2010 2017 92 92 Florida

31 Travis Frederick DAL
2013 2017 80 80 Wisconsin

19 Cameron Erving CLE
2015 2017 42 21 Florida St.

18 Ryan Kelly IND
2016 2017 23 23 Alabama


Based on our draft projection, the staff feels that seven centers are draft-worthy, and a half dozen others are on the fringes of being a late round choice or entering camp as priority free agents. Since the 2000 draft, of the 113 centers drafted, just nine entered the league as first round selections. Among those nine, Nick Mangold, Eric Wood, Alex Mack, Maurkice Pouncey and Travis Frederick have played at All-Pro caliber. Mangold boasts the most starts within this group (164), followed by Mack (133).

James Daniels - University of Iowa Hawkeyes - Combine Performance
Ht Wt Arms Hands Wingspan 40-Yd Bench Vertical Broad 20-Sh 60-Sh 3-Cone
6:03.3 306 9 1/2" 33 3/4" 80 1/4" Dnp 21 30 1/2" 9'-00" 4.40 Dnp 7.29
2017 Pro Day 40-yard dash - 5.24 seconds

BLOCKING STATISTICS...Based on review of game film by our scouting department...SGP-season grade percentage...GM-games played...PLAYS-amount of snaps played in (pass/run)...KB-key blocks (pancake/ knockdowns)...TDB-touchdown resulting blocks... DWF-downfield blocks...PEN-number of penalties...QBH- quarterback hits...PRS-pressures allowed... SKA-sacks allowed...High Grade Game-best graded game for season.
2015 14 73.67 0252 019 02 04 02 02 05 02.0 87%-Northwestern
2016 11 83.85 0681 033 10 06 04 02 08 02.5 89%-Purdue
2017 12 88.45 0762 071 11 09 05 01 06 01.0 95%-Illinois
TOTAL 37 81.47 1695 123 23 19 11 05 19 05.5 95%-Illinois

Career Notes...Daniels joins Louisiana State's Will Clapp as the two underclass centers expected to be taken in the 2018 draft. After receiving favorable reports from the league's advisory committee, Daniels decided to leave Iowa and enter the 2018 draft. He becomes the ninth underclassman to leave the university for the NFL draft in Kirk Ferentz’s nineteen seasons as Iowa’s head coach (Fred Russell, Dallas Clark, Shonn Greene, Bryan Bulaga, Amari Spievey, Tyler Sash, Riley Reiff, Jackson and now Daniels).

Daniels started at center in all twelve games in which he played in 2017, missing the season opener due to a knee injury. He started eleven games at center in 2016, missing two contests, also due to knee woes, As a true freshman, he played in all fourteen contests, earning two starts.

The biology major joined the Iowa program as a two-time All-State honorable mention from Harding High School. He earned the Five Blocks of Granite Award as a senior and garnered Buckeye Blue Chip recognition as a junior and senior, earning three letters as a two-way lineman. He also lettered in track, tossing shot put and discus.

In 2015, Daniels made his first career start, lining up at left guard in a 40-10 win at Northwestern, as the offense rushed for 294 yards and gained 492 yards behind eight knockdowns from the youngster. He totaled 85 more knockdowns in 2016, even though he missed all of preseason camp and two early season games with knee problems. Still, his performance led to him earning first-team Sophomore All-American accolades from Campus Insiders

The 2017 Season.. Despite missing early season action, Daniels earned honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference recognition from the league coaches and media, and was a third-team selection as a sophomore. He was named to the Rimington Award and Outland Trophy preseason watch lists and earned academic All-Big Ten honors this season... Produced 71 knockdowns, delivering nine second level blocks and eleven touchdown blocks for an offense that averaged 139.2 yards on the ground and 325.9 total yards per game.

Best 2017 Season Performances...Iowa State, North Texas, Illinois, Ohio State, Nebraska
Worst 2017 Season Performances...Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern

Body Structure...Daniels has good mass and muscle tone throughout his thick frame. He has the thighs, calves and bubble teams look for in an anchor in the middle of the line. His arms might not have the desired length for an offensive guard, but he has very good upper body strength and powerful hands, evident by the way he consistently pushes defenders back coming off the snap. He is a broad-shouldered type with good chest thickness. He has a tight midsection, good leg length and looks very athletic for a down lineman (can easily get his pads low, as he does not have the anticipated girth you see in most centers).

Athletic Ability...Daniels is a competitive athlete who plays with good athleticism that he combines with aggression, yet, he is as smart as a chess master and won’t make foolish mistakes. He has a bit of a mauler’s attitude, but gets his hands inside the defender’s jersey quickly. He has very good snap quickness and shows good flexibility and balance on the move. He displays the body control you look for in a center when asking him to reach and shade, along with showing the ability to get his hips around for wall-off activity (see 2017 North Texas, Illinois, Ohio State games). He plays on his feet and has the quickness to chip and seal, along with good angle concept when working into the second level to block for the ground game. He uses his loose hips to make plays in space and possesses more than enough strength to turn his man and widen the rush lanes. He is the strongest player on the team and uses his power to his advantage, especially doing a nice job of adjusting to movement in pass protection.

Football Sense...Daniels is a former prep honor roll student and has earned All-Big Ten academic honors. He has no problem taking plays from the chalk board to the playing field. He is aware of defensive coverage and keeps his head on a swivel to locate and neutralize twists and games. He picks up blocking schemes well and is very good at working in unison with his guards on scoop and fold blocks. He makes proper line calls and it is rare to see him make a mental mistake.

Athletic Report
Initial Quickness...Daniels has excellent snap quickness and does a very good job of firing low off the ball with hands ready to do combat on his rise. He shows the flexibility and balance, along with the body control you look for in a center when reaching and shading. He has that quick hip snap to get then around when trying to wall off. You can see on film his foot speed when reaching and down blocking. He is also very effective at generating speed needed to chip and reach the second level defenders (see 2017 North Texas, Illinois and Nebraska games). Despite 5.24-second timed speed, he is a fast twitch type that will not have any problems when attempting to lock and load on a nose guard at the next level. Because of his balance and low pad level, Daniels has great success in gaining advantage coming off the snap. He is especially effective executing second level blocks and shows decisive movement in his stance.

Lateral Movement...Daniels is nimble for a down lineman, evident by his second level angling skills (has made 15 blocks down field the last two years). He is quick to get out in front on traps and pulls, keeping his pads down to prevent bigger defenders from getting into his chest, along with the balance and hand quickness to prevent smaller opponents from attacking his legs. He possesses the loose hips, needed for him to keep his pads down to change direction quickly. He shows good explosion out of his stance to get out front on pulls and traps. His lateral movement skills are evident on combo, cross, fold and scoop blocks. He has above average feet and agility, showing ease of movement redirecting to either side.

Balance/Stays On Feet...Daniels is not a “grass hugger” (stays on his feet), as he has that strong anchor and good balance to prevent bull rushers from walking him back into the pocket. He shoots his hands with force, especially when combating in tight areas and does a very nice job of keeping his weight low and centered. With that above average base, he has no problem sliding his feet to maintain, sustain and position. With his strong upper body, he is consistent when attempting to lock out and control. It is very rare to see him expose his chest, but even when he does, his base is strong enough that defenders still can’t knock him off his feet. He has the balance and body control to quickly get position. His balance and foot agility allows him to stay on his blocks. He also displays fluid moves adjusting in space. He can shuffle, slide and adjust with his sharp change of direction skills. The thing I like about him is his ability to keep his weight back and stay in control.

Explosion/Pop...When Daniels keeps his hands inside his frame, he generates a powerful punch (see 2017 Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska games). He has very good hip explosion to be highly effective for the running game in moves into the second level. He latches on to a defender with strong hands to control and knows how to maintain balance when trying to pop and slide at the point of contact to sustain his blocks. He simply gets on his opponent in an instant, giving his man no time to set up or execute counter moves. He plays with very good functional strength and has outstanding foot quickness to explode into the defender when making contact. With his hip explosion, he is a perfect fit for an inside running game.

Run Blocking...Daniels is very strong at the point of attack (strongest blocker on his team). He has a very good understanding for angles and leverage, sliding his feet well on scoop and kick-out blocks. He has the ability to sink his pads and open his hips while maintaining the strong base needed to get movement off the line. Once he locks on to an opponent, he has no problem driving his man out. He has nice road-grading skills with his base blocks when trying to remove first level defenders and good strength in his shoulders to widen and maintain the inside rush lanes. He is a productive blocker inline whose balance and leverage allows him to quickly get in the way of a defender. Even when he has to stand up and face up to the larger defensive tackle, he has the hand punch and placement to quickly neutralize his man and maintain the rush lane. When he stays at a low pad level and delivers his strong hand punch, he will consistently gain leverage. Even though he does not have the body mass you’d like, he has had very good success in attempts to get movement vs. the bigger defenders, as he uses his hand placement and base to maintain position and sustain.

Pass Blocking...Having allowed just 4.5 sacks on 783 pass plays, it is safe to say that Daniels has no problem protecting the quarterback. Most of the nineteen pressures allowed by his blocking assignments have been because of the “happy feet” by the mediocre talent at quarterback for the Hawkeyes. He shows a very strong pass set and good balance, along with the athletic agility to recover when beaten, along with the solid anchor to maintain position at the point of attack. He also has excellent vision, doing a nice job of keeping his weight back, staying square so he can slide and adjust to change of direction. He can anchor vs. the bull rush and shows great alertness to tricks. The thing you notice on film is his good feet and lateral agility. He can certainly slide and mirror defenders, using his hand placement to defeat swim moves. He shows a good base set to pop and drop, quick hand usage upon initial contact and tenacity in his play. He plays flat-footed with good knee bend to deliver the full force behind his hand jolt.

Pulling/Trapping...For a center, he is quite effective angling and stalking second level defenders. He has the flexibility and balance to snap and lead the charge on screens, showing good knee bend to strike in space and the hand placement to sustain after contact. He plays on his feet and is one of those powerful centers with an above average base. He is very light with his feet to pull and run down the line of scrimmage and is a highly effective combo blocker, showing that rare ability to pop a defender at the first level and then use his agility to execute a crunching second level block. He comes out of his stance with good balance, especially excelling when he impacts on the edge in attempts to turn and seal.

Adjust on Linebacker Downfield...Daniels has nineteen second level blocks at Iowa, a nice total for a pivot blocker. He has more than enough strength to lock on, along with the nimble feet to mirror the linebackers. You can see he uses his body control with effectiveness when bumping two-tech types and the ability to climb with flexibility and balance when striking in space. He is also agile enough to slide his feet to sustain when walling off. When he locates his target, he excels at staying on the defender and making the cut-off.

Use of Hands/Punch...Daniels can punch donuts into a chest of a defender when his opponent gets too high in his stance. He has very quick hand placement to control the defender on running plays and is a strong puncher in pass protection. He is also savvy enough to know when to extend for lock-on and steering purposes in the aerial game. He shows an explosive and forceful hand punch on the rise. He plays with leverage and can immediately get control of the defender with his proper hand placement, effectively grabbing and gaining control.

Reactions/Awareness...Daniels will not only play from snap-to-whistle, but maintain control, so as to not induce costly and foolish penalties. He knows when to move his feet, slide his hips and maintain a solid base. He is alert and quick to secure position vs. twists and games, as he has the nimble feet to mirror. For a center, he does a nice job of getting out on the edge to impact a defensive end, thanks to his body control and balance when sliding. He has great field vision, doing a nice job with his feet to adjust with his lateral kick and slide. He is alert to movement and change of direction along the line and reacts well to stunts and twists. The coaches call him the “complete package” at center, with great intelligence and technique, tremendous vision and a terrific sense of his surroundings. He consistently plays flat-footed, doing a nice job of adjusting to schemes, as he has that instinctive feel for the flow of the play

Compares To...Jason Kelce-Philadelphia Eagles...I prefer centers who are squat and able to maintain a low pad level while showing sold lateral movement skills. Like Kelce, Daniels comes off the snap well and pulls with balance, showing proper adjustments on the move. He has a strong pass set, with good knee bend and very good usage of his hands to sustain. He has good lateral slide to pick up the blitz and stunts. He makes all the line calls and shows a very good understanding of angles and positioning. He is best when working to seal off defenders from the hole.


Note...While the top three rated centers all have qualities teams will look for when drafting in the first three rounds, each do come with injury concerns. Iowa's James Daniels has missed time in the early stages of his last two college seasons due to knee issues and the most durable player in college and the owner of his school's record with 55 consecutive starts, Ohio State's Billy Price is sidelined for four months while recovering from a torn left pectoral muscle suffered at the NFL Scouting Combine. Arkansas' Frank Ragnow suffered a high ankle sprain during the second quarter of a 52-20 loss to Auburn on October 21st, missing the final five games of the season. The injury also cost him a chance to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl.

William "Billy" Price - The Ohio State University Buckeyes - Combine Performance
Ht Wt Arms Hands Wingspan 40-Yd Bench Vertical Broad 20-Sh 60-Sh 3-Cone
6:03.6 306 32" 9 3/4" 75 1/4" 5.19 Inj Inj Inj Inj Inj Inj
Note-In the bench press testing, Price suffered a left pectoral muscle/shoulder injury. His 40-yard dash time is from 2017 spring drills.

BLOCKING STATISTICS...Based on review of game film by our scouting department...SGP-season grade percentage...GM-games played...PLAYS-amount of snaps played in (pass/run)...KB-key blocks (pancake/ knockdowns)...TDB-touchdown resulting blocks... DWF-downfield blocks...PEN-number of penalties...QBH- quarterback hits...PRS-pressures allowed... SKA-sacks allowed...High Grade Game-best graded game for season.
2014 15 84.33 0990 066 14 09 02 02 03 02.0 92%-Cincinnati
2015 13 86.23 0856 093 15 11 04 02 09 01.0 94%-Penn State
2016 13 85.23 0902 105 18 12 07 02 15 02.0 92%-Nebraska
2017 14 83.79 0869 078 11 04 03 05 10 05.0 92%-Maryland
TOTAL 55 84.85 3617 342 58 36 16 11 37 10.0 94%-Penn State

Career Notes...Price, who played guard for three seasons and moved to center as a senior, started 55 consecutive games at Ohio State to top Luke Fickell’s school record for starts and consecutive starts of 50, set between 1993-96. Price (along with teammate Tyquan Lewis) tied Pat Elflein’s school record for most games played by an Ohio State football player: 55....After lining up at left guard for fifteen starts as a freshman, he remained at that position for thirteen more contests in 2016, shifting to right guard through thirteen 2016 appearances before handling center duties for fourteen games in 2017...Registered 342 knockdowns that included 36 second level blocks and 58 touchdown-resulting blocks...Price was a freshman starter when the Buckeyes won the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship in 2014 and he was a part of two Big Ten Conference championship teams (2014 and 2017) while also starting bowl game wins over Alabama (2014 Sugar Bowl), Notre Dame (2015 Fiesta Bowl) and USC (2017 Cotton Bowl)...Was the unquestioned leader along an offensive line that helped the Buckeyes rank among the Top 20 rushing teams in the nation four consecutive years, including 11th in 2016, 11th in 2015, ninth in 2014 and 17th in 2017 at 243.2 yards per game...The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in rushing three consecutive years between 2015 and 2017...In 2016 the line was one of three units nationally selected as a finalist for the Joe Moore Offensive Line of the Year Award...Price graduated in May 2017 with his degree in business administration with a specialization in operations management...Traveled to Jamaica in the summer of 2016 as part of the Athletic Department’s Soles4Souls program, immersing himself in the Jamaican culture while being exposed to the impact on a community that giving a pair of shoes to those in need can have...In July of that year he spent a week interning at the headquarters of NIKE, in Beaverton, Oregon.

The 2017 Season...Price is regarded as one of the greatest offensive linemen in Ohio State’s storied history...A two-time All-American, including a unanimous All-American in 2017, Price is one of just six Buckeye offensive linemen to win a major national award, joining Jim Parker, John Hicks, Orlando Pace, LeCharles Bentley and Pat Elflein with that honor...Wamed the recipient of the Rimington Trophy in 2017 as the nation’s outstanding center, giving Ohio State back-to-back winners of the award (Elflein in 2016) and the first time that has happened in the award’s history... Was also was named the Big Ten Conference’s Rimington-Pace offensive lineman of the year in 2017...The two honors capped an outstanding career for Price, who not only was a two-time team captain, but who also set the record for starts and consecutive starts as a Buckeye with 55, respectively... Learning the new position, Price's pass protection skills slipped a bit, as he posted a pass blocking consistency grade of just 83.7 (compiled grade was 83.8).

Best 2017 Season Performances...Indiana, Army, Nevada-Las Vegas, Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State, Illinois
Worst 2017 Season Performances...Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan, Southern California

Body Structure...Note-Price's left pectoral/shoulder injury at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine required surgery to repair. What was first diagnosed as an "incomplete" pectoral tear proved to be otherwise. Whether the surgery will affect his draft status remains to be seen. Recovery time is estimated at four months, so he is expected to be able to participate in training camp for the team that selects him. While performing in the bench press agility test, Price stopped after three repetitions, grimacing in obvious discomfort and reaching toward his left shoulder.
Price has a thick frame, with a barrel chest, broad shoulders, good bubble, thick thighs and calves. He has the height teams look for in current centers and displays the hip snap and balance to play low in his pads. He has a wide waist and hips with a frame built for power and tight skin.

Athletic Ability...Price shows adequate foot speed, with good agility and balance playing along the line. His overall strength has dramatically increased since he first arrived on campus in 2013, thanks to long hours in the training room. He has good athleticism, body control and change of direction ability for the short pulls, but does have some hip stiffness that becomes noticeable when he has to sudden redirect. Despite his good timed speed, he is not really explosive, but stays low in his pads and shuffles his feet well to mirror. He is the strongest player on the team, with a reported power clean mark of a 374-pound lift. He does a nice job of adjusting to movement in pass protection. He plays with a flat back and has good balance when trying to recover (just not sudden). He is not considered a “sudden burst” type off the snap, but he uses his hand placement and leg drive to generate movement. He runs with a normal stride and builds his acceleration nicely getting into the second level. He has good body control on the move, but will labor some when having to move laterally down the line.

Football Sense...Price is a highly intelligent athlete with several conference and school academic honors to his credit. He has no problems digesting a complex offense and despite his youth, has called blocking assignments up front since 2016. It is easy for him to learn and retain plays and he knows all of his line mates’ assignments, doing a good job of making adjustments up front. He is a very low-rep type who does a fine job locating twists and games. He graduated in May, 2017, with a business administration degree, with a specialization in operations management.

Athletic Report
Initial Quickness...Price is not really an explosive mover off the snap, but it is good enough for him to move and adjust on his blocking assignment with ease. On the move, he has some hip stiffness when trying to redirect, but takes good angles into the second level. With his low pad level and strong lower base, he is consistent in attempts to gain advantage at the snap, showing decisive movement in his stance. He shows good initial quickness off his snap on both run and pass plays, but will labor some if he has to travel long distances. With his above average knee bend and newly found strong hand punch, he gets through trash well and does a good job of keeping his pad level proper to leverage on the move. Even though 2017 was his first experience at center, he showed that he has enough balance and sufficient enough burst to get out on traps and pulls in the short area, whether from the center position or when lined up at left guard in practices prior to that game.

Lateral Movement...Even though he gets out in front with good urgency on traps and pulls, along with showing good knee bend, he will revert to bending at the waist when having to move past the line of scrimmage. Price is not the type that can change direction in an instant and when he does try this, he will trip over his feet or false step. He has above average feet when planting them in the ground, but just marginal-to-adequate lateral agility. He will compensate by staying low in his pads, but lacks that ease of movement when redirecting to either side. He does do a good job of getting out in front on screens, taking good angles to neutralize linebackers when leading the ground game around the edge.

Balance/Stays On Feet...Price has the balance and body control to quickly get position, but does spend a bit of time on the ground when he gets overaggressive with his hands, as defenders have good success knocking him back when his chest is too exposed. Despite his tall frame, he knows how to sink his weight, but when he gets tall in his stance, his base narrows and defenders can then walk him back into the pocket. He uses his body too much to lean into his man when space blocking and is slow to recover his balance, making him susceptible to double moves. His balance and foot agility allows him to stay on his blocks when battling in the trenches. He just does not have fluid moves adjusting in space. He can shuffle, slide and adjust to inside movement, but will never develop that sharp change of direction skills. The thing I like about him is his ability to keep his weight back and stay in control. When he stays low in his pads, he can gain position, anchor and sustain with good knee bend to finish.

Explosion/Pop...Price is an aggressive player who performs with a "take no prisoners" mantra, but that has led to a rash of costly penalties (ten in the last two years) and needs to play with better control of his emotions (some opponents call him college's Richie Incognito). Price is not really explosive to come off the ball, but a dedicated weight training program during his off-seasons have resulted in him combining good strength and pop on his run blocks. He does a solid job of rolling his hips and driving defenders working along the line, but he lacks that sudden explosion to generate great movement in short yardage situations. While he lacks ideal size, he will get into the defender immediately after the snap and plays with above average strength.

Run Blocking...Price generates adequate power to drive and stay on a defender. When he stays on his feet, he can consistently work to finish. He shows inconsistency with his redirection skills and needs to develop better hip snap working in space, as this is where he will revert to bending at the waist and this allows defenders to get into his body and knock him off stride (see 2017 Iowa, Michigan and Southern California games). He is a much better blocker in closed quarters, as he will get a bit “antsy” trying to make contact against second level defenders, where he is more prone to over-extend and get washed out of the play. His low center of gravity has seen him have great success rooting out the defender, thanks to Price’s ability to keep his pads down and leverage. What separates him from most centers is his good understanding of angles and positioning. He is a productive blocker in-line whose balance and leverage allows him to quickly get in the way of a defender. The only time he struggles is when he has to stand up and face up to the larger defensive tackle, due to his lack of lower body explosiveness (good, just not great). When he stays at a low pad level and delivers his strong hand punch, he will consistently gain leverage. Even though he has the brute power to get movement vs. the bigger defenders, he uses his hand placement and base to maintain position and sustain.

Pass Blocking...When he plays in control, Price does a good job of extending and anchoring vs. the inside pass rusher. His anchor is sometimes too soft vs. the bigger opponents, but he has enough punch and slide to stay with his man shooting the gaps. His raw strength prevents him from getting walked back into the pocket, but when he gets too tall, he did struggle quite a bit to anchor vs. the bull rush due to not relying upon his power base. He certainly has enough strength development to be able to handle the much bigger, more physical nose guards at the NFL level, not needing to rely upon his guards for help when a defender gets over his head. His biggest problem in pass protection is that he does not have that sudden lateral movement needed to stall the three-tech types or pick up the inside blitz. Even with a punishing hand punch, Price does a good job of latching on and getting his hands into the defender’s jersey to lock out and control. He shows good hip sink to prevent the taller defenders from pushing him back, but could use more flexibility in his anchor. When he plays in control and does not try to lunge, he is perfectly capable of sustaining and riding out the rusher. He showed in 2017 improvement in attempts to keep his weight back, stay square and slide and adjust. He can anchor vs. the bull rush and shows great alertness to tricks.

Pulling/Trapping...Because of his ability to move out and lead along the edge on screens, he could see some action at guard earlier in his NFL career. He does not look fast running long distances, but he can pull and trap when uncovered and does show good urgency when asked to cut off on the front side of the gaps. When he gets too aggressive, he will struggle to engage with his blocks, but he has enough quickness to pull and reach the block point on short traps.

Adjust on Linebacker Downfield...Price might not be fast into the second level, but he has a strong angle concept. He is just adequate changing direction in space, but will give full effort to get down field and neutralize the linebackers. When he gets out of control with his hands, he will swing and miss, though. When he does make contact, he does a very good job of staying on his man and cut him off when working in space. He will look up defenders down field, flashing good urgency with adequate foot speed to get into the second level.

Use of Hands/Punch...Price has good hand placement to grab and control, but even with his strength, his hand punch is not going to shock and jolt too many opponents when he fails to keep them inside his frame. He also needs to be more consistent shooting his hands and keeping them inside his frame on the move. In space, he will revert to taking wild swipes in order to get a piece of his man and this leaves his chest exposed for a defender to push him back into the pocket. With a little more refinement of his technique, he should be able to rectify this problem. He does know how to grab, turn and steer the defender, as his hands are active in attempts to control the defender, though. In 2017, he did a good job of getting his hands up quickly on run, but did seem a bit hesitant in his pass set, where he did not always show an explosive and forceful hand punch on the rise. He plays with leverage and can get control of the defender with his proper hand placement, but must continue to improve his consistency when using his hands.

Reactions/Awareness...Price generally plays with good control in the trenches, but does have some technique lapses when on the move. He is good to get into a defender’s body, but when he gets overaggressive with his hands, he can be beaten by quick counter/double moves. He shows good urgency in attempts to gain position, anchor and sustain. With his field smarts and vision, he shows better instincts and awareness than most young centers, as he seems to react well to stunts and twists.

Compares To...Jeff Hartings-ex-Pittsburgh Steelers... Price is a tenacious blocker, but when he gets overly aggressive, the flags will start flying. He has a very powerful hand punch, but did regress a bit as a pass protector last season. Still, to win the Rimington Trophy in his first year in the pivot tells you that he impressed the voters with his overall performance.

Frank Ragnow - University of Arkansas Razorbacks - Combine Performance
Ht Wt Arms Hands Wingspan 40-Yd Bench Vertical Broad 20-Sh 60-Sh 3-Cone
6:05.1 312 33 1/8" 9 3/8" 78 7/8" 5.18 26 Inj Inj Inj Inj Inj
Note...Ragnow's ankle injury prevented him from participating in spring drills at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. During 2017 spring drills, he was clocked at 5.18 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

BLOCKING STATISTICS...Based on review of game film by our scouting department...SGP-season grade percentage...GM-games played...PLAYS-amount of snaps played in (pass/run)...KB-key blocks (pancake/ knockdowns)...TDB-touchdown resulting blocks... DWF-downfield blocks...PEN-number of penalties...QBH- quarterback hits...PRS-pressures allowed... SKA-sacks allowed...High Grade Game-best graded game for season.
2014 09 82.78 0297 027 03 07 02 03 06 00.0 89%-Mississippi State
2015 13 83.62 0906 054 09 08 05 04 19 00.0 90%-Texas Tech
2016 13 88.54 0912 096 13 10 04 03 12 00.0 92%-Texas State
2017 07 90.43 0488 075 09 08 03 00 01 00.0 95%-Texas A& M
TOTAL 42 86.10 2603 252 34 33 14 10 38 00.0 95%-Texas A& M

Career Notes...If not for an ankle sprain that saw him sidelined for the final five games on the 2017 schedule, Ragnow would have recorded the highest blocking consistency grade for any center at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision for the second consecutive year...The senior team captain has appeared in 42 games, starting 33 consecutive contests, never allowing a quarterback sack in any of his appearances...Participated in 2,603 offensive snaps, registering 252 knockdowns/key blocks (6.00 per game) with 34 touchdown-resulting blocks and 33 second level blocks...Allowed 38 quarter-back pressures, ten quarterback hits and was penalized fourteen times... Prior to his injury in 2017, he missed only 43 offensive snaps since joining the first unit in 2015.

Ragnow was the consensus third-best recruit in the state of Minnesota during his senior year at Chanhassen High School, where he was twice named all-state, all-metro and all-conference. He also played defense and accrued 102 tackles, including fourteen sacks, and two fumble recoveries, as he helped the Storm to a school-record seven-game win streak from week three to the quarterfinal round of the sectional playoffs his final season. In addition to his gridiron success, Ragnow played basketball and contested the shot put and discus throw while serving as captain on all three teams.

Ragnow graduated high school as an honor-roll student. He continued to excel in the classroom at Arkansas, where he was a two-time member of the Fall Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. He would graduate with a degree in recreation and sport management in December 2017.

As a freshman, Ragnow saw action in nine contests as a center, participating 207 offensive snaps and ninety more on special teams. He blocked for running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who were the only FBS teammates to each rush for 1,000-plus yards in the 2014 season.

As a sophomore, Ragnow shifted to right guard, where he helped Arkansas lead the SEC in fewest sacks allowed for the third-straight season. He didn’t commit a penalty over the final nine games while paving the way for Collins to run for over 1,500 yards and become just the third player in SEC history with three straight 1,000-yard campaigns to begin his career. Collins also rushed for over 100 yards ten times in 2015.

In 2016, Ragnow started twelve times at center and once at right guard. He was twice named National Center of the Week (vs. Florida and Mississippi State) and received the top blocking consistency grade for any major college in five of twelve regular season games. He opened holes for tailback Rawleigh Williams III to rush for 1,360 yards, while quarterback Austin Allen threw for 3,430 yards, including a league-best 2,291 in conference play. He also helped lead an offensive line that blocked for 428.4 yards of total offense per game.

The 2017 Season...There was no question that Ragnow was well on his way to capturing Rimington Trophy honors in 2017, as he graded the highest for any major college center in four of his seven contests. He was on the field for just 488 snaps, yet still led the FBS centers with an average of 10.71 knockdowns per game. He blocked for the offense to rush for 200-plus yards in three of the first four games and posted at least an 85 percent game grade in five different contests...Despite suffering a high ankle sprain that required surgery, forcing him to miss the final five games, he was still extended an invitation to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl.

Best 2017 Season Performances...Florida A& M, Texas A& M, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Alabama
Worst 2017 Season Performances...Texas Christian, Auburn (injured)

Body Structure...Ragnow is a solidly built athlete with long arms, large hands, good bubble, defined upper body muscles in the shoulders and chest, thick thighs and calves. He is tall with good forward body lean and balance, along with thick muscle development in his lower frame.

Athletic Ability...Ragnow shows excellent initial quickness and good hand placement. He is very light on his feet for a center and uses his timed speed to get into the second level to stalk linebackers. Even with his acceleration, he does lunge and over-extend when getting into his down field blocks, though. Still, he moves well, showing balance, flexibility and lateral agility on running plays. He has ideal lower body strength, but can also utilize quickness, demonstrating a solid short area burst and knows how to take proper angles to block. With his foot speed, you would think that he could shift his weight for balance in pass protection, but while he has good knee bend, he will revert to bending at the waist at times. When he does bend his knees properly, he has enough burst to get to the second level with ease.

Football Sense...Ragnow has very good field smarts and that intelligence also translates to the classroom. He has earned several academic honors and shows the ability to take plays from the chalkboard to the playing field with minimal reps. Even in a complex offense, he does not need more than normal reps to retain plays. He is quick to locate twists and games and takes pride in his ability to make proper calls and adjustments.

Athletic Report
Initial Quickness...Ragnow has excellent initial quickness off the snap, using explosion and technique to combine with raw hand strength in attempts to shock a lethargic defender. He shows good hand technique to widen the rush lane and has the acceleration needed to get into the second level. He shows a sudden burst coming off the ball to gain advantage. The thing you notice is that he can snap and get his hands up and into defender immediately. He has a quick first step and set up. He has the athletic agility and balance to keep his feet vs. the bull rush, using a strong anchor to prevent from getting walked back into the pocket.

Lateral Movement...Ragnow might bend at the waist more than you would like to see in the open field, but his lateral agility is one of his better assets, along with his field awareness. He displays a good lateral slide that allows him to pick up defenders sneaking through the gaps (best taking on defenders playing over his side than over his head). He can slide with ease in either direction, and has the lower body strength to anchor. He does a nice job of playing over his feet and staying under control when sliding in pass protection, but will get a little reckless and lunge into his blocks when he thinks he might not make impact quick enough on running plays.

Balance/Stays On Feet...Ragnow has just as effective balance at the line of scrimmage and when he is on the move. He does have a strong angle concept, but more there are some times when you will see him lunge and over-extend trying to stalk second level defenders. At the point of attack, he will generally help his guards in attempts to stonewall bull rushers. He is better when taking on defenders on his side, but he does have the strong anchor to hold ground with the bigger nose guards lining up over his head. When he gets too high in his pass set, he struggles to recover and gain leverage, though. When he gets a good fit with his head and hands, he does a very efficient job of rolling his hips and driving his legs to get movement, showing the lower body power to stymie the bigger nose guards without assistance from other blockers. If he bulks up a bit, he could provide some immediate value at offensive guard earlier in his NFL career, as he shows functional balance on the pull. He has more than enough speed to mirror the pass rusher’s moves and finishes with aggression, demonstrating the strength to sustain working vs. the bull rush, as he rarely allows the transfer.

Explosion/Pop...Ragnow’s game features his foot quickness, balance and hand technique, but he also has the raw strength to consistently generate movement off the snap. He is consistent in attempts to be active with his hands and play with a wide base, as even bigger defenders have struggled when attempting to walk him back into the pocket. He has the upper body strength, along with the lower base power to hold ground vs. twists and stunts. He also shows very good vision, along with the willingness to help his guards when trying to neutralize NFL bull rushers and nose guards. Once he makes contact, he can neutralize the larger defenders and this results in him maintaining his hand placement to lean into the defender. He has enough explosion behind his hand punch to create movement, and he is a sound technician with a few tricks up his sleeve that will see him get away with being a push-& -shove type, when needed.

Run Blocking...Ragnow shows good snap speed when he generates proper knee bend coming off the line. He explodes with a flat back and fits well for the beginning of his slide. With his leg strength, his explosion off the ball usually gets the surge needed to generate movement. He is consistent at controlling the defender with his hands (when kept inside the frame), as he has the lower body power to anchor. When he gets high in his stance at times, it results in him spending too much time chest blocking. He does an efficient job of rolling his hips, but will waist bend and lose leverage when he gets too tall in his stance.

Pass Blocking...Ragnow is one of the best pass protectors at this position in his draft class. He has worked hard to play with better knee bend than he did as a guard as a sophomore, and he can shock an opponent with his strong hand jolt. He has good timed speed for his position, but does struggle when having to redirect (waist bends at times). When that happens, he sort of becomes a foot shuffler, but it is rare to see him on the ground, as he makes a concerted effort to step over trash and use his hands to protect his legs. He has the knee bend to solidify his anchor, along with the necessary foot speed to slide when trying to face up on slippery in-line rushers, as he has that forceful punch to stop defenders in their tracks. He is very alert to stunts and blitzes, keeping his head on a good swivel to locate defenders working down the line. While he has the lower body strength to anchor down and maul vs. most defensive tackles, his technique, positioning and hand placement helps him in preventing the pass rushers from taking the short route to the quarterback. When he gives the defender a soft shoulder, he will struggle to lock out, though, and he has to be conscious of setting low to prevent from slipping off blocks. His improved balance and short area quickness allowed him to do a much better job of adjusting to the blitz in 2016 and '17 before his injury.

Pulling/Trapping...Ragnow might be a very capable blockers on traps and pulls, as his surge off the snap could make him valuable as a guard in a zone-blocking scheme. He has the ability to snap and get out of his stance with good balance on the short pulls, but for some reason, he strikes with marginal knee bend working in space. He is light on his feet running down the line of scrimmage in attempts to impact on the edge, turn and seal. He is athletic working in the short area, as he has the lateral movements to get out front on sweeps, showing functional balance when heading up field (if he misses with his first hit, he will lunge or over-extend in attempts to recover, though).

Adjust on Linebacker Downfield...Ragnow makes the attempt to climb with balance after bumping the one-tech types to strike the second level defenders, but he does not always show the same knee bend and balance going long distances to get the controlled wall-off effect. He takes good angles and is a good drive blocker, but he needs to improve his hip snap and stay in control, as more often than not, he will lunge and over-extend when having to get deep into the second level. When he takes good angles, he can wheel and change direction to target defenders up field.

Use of Hands/Punch...Ragnow is active with his hands, putting good force behind his punch to shock and jolt. He needs to keep his hands inside his frame more, as he does get a bit careless with them, taking too many glancing blows rather than locking on to control, mostly occurring when on the move. His ability to sustain blocks for long are more evident when called upon to drive block and widen the rush lanes. When he generates proper hand usage, he can lock on and gain advantage over his defenders. He has improved his ability to use his legs to move the opponent away from the play. He never gets complacent executing just one punch when trying gain control to steer out his man. He does have quick hands and uses them well to control working in the short area, but will short-arm when blocking on the move. When he fails to put force behind his hand punch, he will not reset them quickly. When he places his hands suddenly and accurately, he will immediately gain advantage over the defender, though.

Reactions/Awareness..Few players show Ragnow’ awareness on the field. He has that ease of movement to shift his weight back and good knee bend to slide and mirror pass rushers working in the trenches, but when he reverts to waist bending, losing leverage. He sees twists and stunts coming almost immediately and has the athletic agility to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but needs to move his feet better instead of reaching when playing in space. His short area burst that allows him to lock on to the defender, as he is quick to locate the opponent when working through trash (needs to use his hands to protect his feet better on the move, though). The thing you notice on film is his ability to get all his line mates in place.

Compares To...Brandon Lindner-Jacksonville Jaguars...Both players have experience to play any of the three interior line positions and both are highly intelligent blockers with very good initial explosion off the snap to get into the defender in an instant. Ragnow possesses good upper body thickness, arm reach, and wing span for the guard position, in case a team wants to ease him into action early in his pro career. He shows functional foot mobility and athletic agility when pulling and blocking, but will lunge and over-extend when he misses his first block in the second level. Still, he shows very good timing and hand placement with punch in pass protection and has the ability to pick up quick counter moves when moving outside to block vs. the edge rushers. He is more of a run blocking mauler at times than a technician, but has the keen awareness on blitz pickups to wall off a linebacker or strong safety.

allstarjim : 3/13/2018 11:20 pm : link
Thanks for this. Do you think there is any chance Ragnow slips to the top of the third? I really think he would be a great selection for the Giants.
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