While juniors rule the top of draft boards at many positions, the interior offensive line – and in particular center – is the domain of the seniors.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens need to get bigger inside on the offensive line, and they could certainly do that via the draft if they so choose.
Here are my notes on the centers and guards:
- Baylor guard Cyril Richardson is one of the top prospects at the Senior Bowl, a projected second-round pick. He’s played up to that standard.
- Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 343-pound monster. He’s the heaviest player at the Senior Bowl. He uses that size to try to physically dominate players. Richardson notched a couple of pancakes Wednesday.
- Richardson is more nimble than you would think for 343 pounds. He can pull and get around the edge. But that’s not his strong suit.
- Richardson was beat back-to-back times by two different defensive tackles with speed moves. They beat him with their hands and easily got past. Pass protection is where he needs to improve because Baylor runs a quick passing attack, so he didn't need to do too much.
- Another guard worth paying attention to is Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson. He's 6-foot-3, 339 pounds, so he's also a very big player. He started three straight years, and he's can move people off the line of scrimmage.
- Michigan’s Michael Schoefield is a big guard at over 6-foot-6, and 303 pounds. He’s a typical Big-10 offensive lineman, tough at the point of attack and sharp. He played alongside one of the best left tackles in the country, Taylor Lewan. Schoefield buried one defender that got turned sideways for one of the best blocks of either Wednesday practice.
- Colorado State’s Weston Richburg and Arkansas’ Travis Swanson are most likely contending to be the top centers in the draft. Swanson is bigger at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, while Richburg is 6-foot-3, 300 pounds. Swanson could definitely still put more bulk on his frame.
- Richburg has been a center his entire career, and he started all four years. He’s got the physical mentality of a grinder. He’s had a steady and strong week at the Senior Bowl, and excels in pass protection.
- Richburg has very good feet. He flew out to the edge pulling on one play. He's got good balance and anchors well in pass protection too.
- Swanson has more position flexibility than Richburg, as he could be flexed to guard. He played both positions during practice. He moves well for his size and is quick at the point of attack. He gets off the snap well and has long arms to keep defenders off him.
- Swanson is just the 11th two-time team captain in Arkansas football history.
- The Ravens had defensive tackle Cody Larson on the practice squad last year. His younger brother, Utah State’s Tyler Larsen, was on the North squad. The younger Larsen has shorter arms than his peers, but still gets good punch at the line.
- Florida State center Bryan Stork was a consensus All-American and winner of the Rimington Trophy (given to the best college center) after anchoring the offensive line for the national champions.
- Stork doesn’t have great mobility. He lumbered outside during screens. He’s very aggressive and stout in the middle, controlling the bigger defensive linemen.