Centers


2003 Draft Prospects

 


THIRD ROUND


Jeff Faine

6'3" 303 Notre Dame (5.27) Junior

Pros: Blocks with a mean streak. Has good balance and handles himself well in pass protection.
Cons: Not overly powerful.
NFL Forecast: Faine is a solid center prospect that does most things well. He won't overwhelm you with his strength and power, but makes up for it with his road grader attitude. He is a complete center because he does a good job both as a run blocker and pass protector. Able to be left on island as he can block most defensive tackles. But the powerful ones in the pros may give him trouble. Has enough ability and upside to potentially garner some Pro Bowl nods later in his career.
Value: Faine is a borderline second and third round prospect. Would not be a reach late in the second, but probably belongs in the early third.

Al Johnson

6'3" 305 Wisconsin (5.04) Senior

Pros: Grades very well. Does everything well. Has good strength and pop as a run blocker and has nice feet and strength in pass protection. Moves well and smart.
Cons: Not much wrong with Johnson, except he lacks the dominance of some past centers.
NFL Forecast: Johnson is not to the level of an Olin Kreutz, but he is a good blue-collar center. He goes to Wisconsin, so he has to be a good run blocker seemingly by default. He shows good skills and can block one-on-one with some defensive tackles. He does not dominate lesser talent however, but consistently plays well. He could start as a rookie and perform well. Although he doesn't have overwhelming strength to project there long-term, Johnson could play some guard also.
Value: Third round prospect that if a little more dominant could be a second rounder.


FOURTH ROUND


Bruce Nelson

6'5" 301 Iowa (5.16) Senior

Pros: Shows good strength and feet in both run and pass blocking. Good hand use.
Cons: Lacks great strength and pop.
NFL Forecast: Nelson is a good blocker at the center position. IĆ­ve seen better, but he is technically sound and does a good job in one-on-one blocking, which many center prospects struggle. But he can be overwhelmed if left on an island also. Nelson should be a solid center on the next level because he has all the tools to be successful. He should be also able to start at guard because he has adequate strength for that position. Should develop into a quality NFL starter.
Value: Worthy of a fourth round pick as a center, which is the same value there as a late second rounder would be at other positions.


FIFTH ROUND


Dan Koppen

6'3" 297 Boston College (5.28) Senior

Pros: Has good technique and is smart and capable. A solid run blocker.
Cons: Doesn't impress you with his strength or pop.
NFL Forecast: Koppen is a good second-tier center prospect that was good on the college level. He should develop as a solid starter on the next level. Koppen likely won't be making any ventures to Hawaii in his career, but should be a solid starter that few complain about. Won't be as good as former Golden Eagle Damien Woody, but like Woody should develop into a solid starter. He was a three-year starter at BC.
Value: Could sneak into the fourth round, but what I consider a rock-solid fifth round prospect.


SIXTH ROUND


Gene Mruczkowski

6'3" 297 Purdue (5.19) Senior

Pros: Grades well and technically sound. Has good strength as a run blocker and can play guard.
Cons: Looks stiff and lacks athleticism. Allows defenders to get their hands on him.
NFL Forecast: Projects well to the NFL. Does most things well, but does not excel anywhere. Could make the permanent move back to guard because of his lack of athleticism and mobility. Should develop into a competent starter although I don't see him excelling. At the least he will make a good utility reserve since he can all interior positions. I think long-term, he may move to guard and should be competent there also. May prove to be a better guard than center.
Value: A good value early in the sixth round.


SEVENTH ROUND


Brett Romberg

6'1" 295 Miami FL (5.24) Senior

Pros: A three-year starter on an excellent Miami line. Smart and consistent.
Cons: Does not stand out either as a run blocker or pass protector.
NFL Forecast: Is smart and projects well to the league because he is experienced and capable of leading a solid unit. But is not a gifted blocker, just average both as a run and pass blocker. Likely will serve as a backup for a few years, and then could start in 2-3 years. But I see him sticking as a reserve his entire NFL career. Just not good enough in any particular area to have much potential.
Value: A seventh round prospect because of his intelligence, but because he is not physically gifted goes no higher.

Chad Reed

6'3" 290 Pittsburgh (5.10) Senior

Pros: He is a nice all-around center. He is above average run blocker and pass protector. Has pretty good feet and smarts to play the center position.
Cons: Lacks strength and explosion off the line. His lack of strength also hurts him in the run game.
NFL Forecast: If Reed got stronger, he'd be a solid prospect at center. For now, he's a good backup type that will sit for a year or two as he adds strength. Could develop into a competent center, but probably won't be anything special as a starter. He will struggle against bigger defensive tackles and can get bull-rushed. BUt for the most part, Reed is a solid center that just needs to be polished a bit more.
Value: Nice blue collar type that is impressive enough to gain some seventh round attention.

Ben Claxton

6'2" 301 Mississippi (5.27) Senior

Pros: Good strength and quickness. Competent as both a run blocker and pass protector.
Cons: Does not excel anywhere and lacks pop and power as a run blocker.
NFL Forecast: Claxton is a solid center prospect, but does not excel anywhere. He should develop into a decent starter, but probably won't be anything special. Is experienced as a four-year starter. He's the type that is capable of getting the job done. Doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but won't wow you otherwise with his feats.
Value: A good pickup in the seventh round.

Alonzo Ephraim

6'1" 312 Alabama (5.31) Senior

Pros: Good strength to be effective in the run game. Could play guard at next level.
Cons: Lacks ability in pass protection. Mobility and quickness are average at best and displays poor balance.
NFL Forecast: Ephraim won't blow you away with his run blocking since he lacks pop, but has good strength. He has enough to play guard full-time. He struggles when asked to pass protect one-on-one, so he can be a liability against tougher tackles. But with the right talent around him, I could see Ephraim developing into a quality starting center. But unless he improves in pass protection, he may have to make the transition to guard.
Value: Worth a look in the seventh round at center and has some ability at guard.


UNDRAFTED


Ben Nowland

6'2" 298 Auburn (5.23) Senior

Pros: Three-year starter for Tigers.
Cons: Lacks strength, feet, and quickness.
NFL Forecast: Nowland is an average prospect that does not do anything particularly well. He is functional on the college level, but at best will be a reserve in the pros. He is good enough to stick as a backup, but doesn't have starter's upside. He doesn't do anything particularly well, but is just good enough overall to have some value.
Value: Nowland has enough ability to get a camp invite.

Scott Huff

6'1" 302 Boise State (5.30) Senior

Pros: Decent run blocker with some strength.
Cons: Uncomfortable in pass protection with poor feet.
NFL Forecast: Huff looks awkward in pass protection because of his lacking feet, quickness, and balance. This makes him a marginal prospect. He may have enough size and strength to play some at guard, but probably not enough for a full-time transition. Huff has some NFL prospects as a backup, but really needs to develop in pass protection.
Value: Ability as a run blocker should get him a chance to make a practice squad somewhere.


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