2021 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein’s top 10 centers

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2021 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein’s top 10 centers

Lance Zierlein has long been posting his draft evaluations over at NFL.com and he gives each a grade ranging from 5-8. There are many levels to each grade that range from “chance to be at an NFL training camp” to “The perfect prospect” and so with this system we can gather that there’s an order.

These are the 10 center prospects that Zierlein has graded in the 2021 NFL Draft and the order of their rating.

Landon Dickerson, Alabama, 6.42
Quinn Meinerz, Whitewater-Wisconsin, 6.31
Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, 6.26
Josh Myers, Ohio State, 6.23
Michal Menet, Penn State, 6.16
Drew Dalman, Stanford, 5.88
Trey Hill, Georgia, 5.69
Drake Jackson, Kentucky, 5.68
Ryan McCollum, Texas A&M, 5.66
Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt, 5.5

As we can see, Zierlein doesn’t see any elite center prospects in this draft, but to be fair, only five players in the entire class have been given a grade above 7.0 at this point. Top-rated offensive lineman Penei Sewell has a 6.73. Dickerson lands in a tie with tackle Teven Jenkins and edge Azeez Ojulari and that may place him on the cusp of the first round as the top-graded center prospect for Zierlein.

But he’s also essentially saying that everyone below Meinerz is teetering between a future as a backup or a starter. Anything at or below a 6.0 would suggest “lots of development time needed” or “future as a reserve, special teamer.”

It doesn’t mean that Zierlein is correct, of course, it’s just one opinion for a guy who grades hundreds of players and literally doesn’t have the time to actually do a deep dive on all of them.

The Rams pick 57th and so far would still seem to need a center, or at least center competition.
 

SeminoleRam

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I kinda agree, but if they treasure Meinerz, they may have to pull the trigger at 57. Here's to hoping they can nab him in the 3rd instead.
I agree! While, I totally agree that drafting Meinerz at #57 might be too high but if the Rams really want a quality Center and they think Meinerz is their guy then it might me really risky taking a chance that he will still be available when they pick in the 3rd round “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”!!!
 

dieterbrock

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If he's the top guy on their board, doesnt matter if he's rated lower, they just take him.
Nothing worse than passing up on a player because they think he can be had later.
 

PARAM

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As we can see, Zierlein doesn’t see any elite center prospects in this draft, but to be fair, only five players in the entire class have been given a grade above 7.0 at this point. Top-rated offensive lineman Penei Sewell has a 6.73. Dickerson lands in a tie with tackle Teven Jenkins and edge Azeez Ojulari and that may place him on the cusp of the first round as the top-graded center prospect for Zierlein.

But he’s also essentially saying that everyone below Meinerz is teetering between a future as a backup or a starter. Anything at or below a 6.0 would suggest “lots of development time needed” or “future as a reserve, special teamer.”

It doesn’t mean that Zierlein is correct, of course, it’s just one opinion for a guy
who grades hundreds of players and literally doesn’t have the time to actually do a deep dive on all of them.

The Rams pick 57th and so far would still seem to need a center, or at least center competition.
and yet he says.....
After landing in last place on last year's list, this position is very quietly developing into one of the deepest in the draft. Alijah Vera-Tucker will be considered the headliner if he's drafted as a guard instead of a tackle, but setting him aside, players like Landon Dickerson, Quinn Meinerz, Aaron Banks, Creed Humphry and Trey Smith should all become starters and may go as early as the second round. Even beyond the aforementioned talent, your team should find players with a chance to become eventual starters into Day 3 of this year's draft.
On the QBs, which IMHO are almost always over rated.....

I would be willing to put the top three quarterbacks from 2020 up against the top three quarterbacks from 2021. However, this draft has five potential first-round starters, and a couple of quarterbacks in Davis Mills and Kellen Mond who are generating some interest along the same lines as Kyle Trask. Beyond those names, there isn't much
Like DieterBrock said, "if the guy is on the top of your list, take him".....whether it's #57 or #70. The biggest thing is trusting your scouting and talent evaluators.
 

Memento

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Definitely.
Honestly, I think this is a stronger quarterback class than most. Lawrence is - in my honest opinion - the best QB since Peyton, Wilson would be a number one overall pick in any other class, and Fields and Lance could be potential stars. That's why I'm hoping San Fran takes Mac Jones. He may have a solid career, but I don't see much more than a game manager, and in my opinion, Tua was much better.
 

PARAM

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Honestly, I think this is a stronger quarterback class than most. Lawrence is - in my honest opinion - the best QB since Peyton, Wilson would be a number one overall pick in any other class, and Fields and Lance could be potential stars. That's why I'm hoping San Fran takes Mac Jones. He may have a solid career, but I don't see much more than a game manager, and in my opinion, Tua was much better.
You just never know. They all have potential coming into the NFL. That's the nice thing about being a QB on a successful college team with awesome team mates all around you. But sometimes the experts simply get it wrong. Take 2000 for example. Chad Pennington was the only 1st round QB and then 3 bums went off the board after him. Zero experts thought Marc Bulger (#168) or Tom Brady (#199) would amount to anything but both were better than anybody else in that draft. Sometimes the problem is need. The Jaguars *need* Trevor Lawrence to be *that guy*. Other teams are going to *need* Wilson, Fields, Lance and Jones to be *that guy*. And sometimes need makes you see things that aren't really there. 1983 is supposedly the best QB class ever. But was it really? Elway, Kelly and Marino were great, no doubt about it, but Blackledge went before Kelly, Eason and O'Brien went before Marino. Were those other 3 really any good....in the NFL? Not for my money. So though it may have been one of the best, if not the best QB draft in history, the experts got it wrong at least 3 times in the first round. It wouldn't surprise me if the experts get it all wrong this year. Maybe Mills ends up as one of the top 2 QBs after it's all said and done. Maybe Lance ends up being the best. Maybe it's Lawrence. We just never know. Jameis Winston was going to tear the NFL up.
 
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Shuie3225

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Tua was much better.
And yet multiple Alabama skill players said they think Mac Jones is a better QB than Tua. All in the last few months... Ruggs, Najee Harris, Devonta Smith, Waddle all said they prefer Jones. Steve Sarkisian also came out and said his NFL comp is Matt Ryan.

Tua was just such a big name for years but he didnt show me much last year in the NFL. I like Trey Lance over Mac Jones but I wouldn't be surprised if that's what Shanahan wants at QB. Quick reads, quick throws, good arm, comes from a pro system. This year's QB class is pretty good.
 
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PhillyRam

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2021 NFL Draft: Lance Zierlein’s top 10 centers

Lance Zierlein has long been posting his draft evaluations over at NFL.com and he gives each a grade ranging from 5-8. There are many levels to each grade that range from “chance to be at an NFL training camp” to “The perfect prospect” and so with this system we can gather that there’s an order.

These are the 10 center prospects that Zierlein has graded in the 2021 NFL Draft and the order of their rating.

Landon Dickerson, Alabama, 6.42
Quinn Meinerz, Whitewater-Wisconsin, 6.31
Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, 6.26
Josh Myers, Ohio State, 6.23
Michal Menet, Penn State, 6.16
Drew Dalman, Stanford, 5.88
Trey Hill, Georgia, 5.69
Drake Jackson, Kentucky, 5.68
Ryan McCollum, Texas A&M, 5.66
Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt, 5.5

As we can see, Zierlein doesn’t see any elite center prospects in this draft, but to be fair, only five players in the entire class have been given a grade above 7.0 at this point. Top-rated offensive lineman Penei Sewell has a 6.73. Dickerson lands in a tie with tackle Teven Jenkins and edge Azeez Ojulari and that may place him on the cusp of the first round as the top-graded center prospect for Zierlein.

But he’s also essentially saying that everyone below Meinerz is teetering between a future as a backup or a starter. Anything at or below a 6.0 would suggest “lots of development time needed” or “future as a reserve, special teamer.”

It doesn’t mean that Zierlein is correct, of course, it’s just one opinion for a guy who grades hundreds of players and literally doesn’t have the time to actually do a deep dive on all of them.

The Rams pick 57th and so far would still seem to need a center, or at least center competition.
Curios if Ryan McCollum is Andy McCollum's kid?
 
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FrantikRam

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Honestly, I think this is a stronger quarterback class than most. Lawrence is - in my honest opinion - the best QB since Peyton, Wilson would be a number one overall pick in any other class, and Fields and Lance could be potential stars. That's why I'm hoping San Fran takes Mac Jones. He may have a solid career, but I don't see much more than a game manager, and in my opinion, Tua was much better.

I don't think Fields will be successful long term. He's played through it - but gotten hurt that it impacted our two biggest games the last two years.

Olave and Wilson were the best WR duo in the country outside of Alabama.

If he goes to the Niners he will be okay IMO - because almost any QB would be - but if he goes to a team devoid of talent I don't see it for him. Everyone focuses on the arm/accuracy/mobility but the accuracy is only there in clean pockets and for a guy that athletic he doesn't throw on the move well at all. I didn't watch Mariota much in college, but he reminds me of NFL Mariota - way too statuesque in the pocket despite the mobility.
 
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dang

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So rather than reach for a center if a couple prospects are available at the R2.57 pick....I’d be happy to see Rams trade the pick to Detroit for their R3.72 and R3.101 picks allowing the Rams to pick up 4 nice players at R3.72, R3.88, R3.101 and R3. 103.
 

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So rather than reach for a center if a couple prospects are available at the R2.57 pick....I’d be happy to see Rams trade the pick to Detroit for their R3.72 and R3.101 picks allowing the Rams to pick up 4 nice players at R3.72, R3.88, R3.101 and R3. 103.
The perfect scenario for the Rams picking a C would probably be a trade down to the top of the 3rd and gain a pick but it does take two to tango.
 

rams1fan

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Most centers drafted after the 1st do not start their first year, So I do not see a center at 57. I think they go CB. They lost Hill and to a point the other guy suspended for five days. If D. Williams plays like he did last year then the Rams will likely loose him after the season. Add in JJ going I see CB as the biggest need. I think Rams go after a C in third or 4th,,
 

Elmgrovegnome

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Most centers drafted after the 1st do not start their first year, So I do not see a center at 57. I think they go CB. They lost Hill and to a point the other guy suspended for five days. If D. Williams plays like he did last year then the Rams will likely loose him after the season. Add in JJ going I see CB as the biggest need. I think Rams go after a C in third or 4th,,
But its not unheard of. Every draft is different and every player is different. Cushenberry started for the Broncos last year.
 

PARAM

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Most centers drafted after the 1st do not start their first year, So I do not see a center at 57. I think they go CB. They lost Hill and to a point the other guy suspended for five days. If D. Williams plays like he did last year then the Rams will likely loose him after the season. Add in JJ going I see CB as the biggest need. I think Rams go after a C in third or 4th,,
While that's technically true, most positions after the first round (meaning from 2-7) do not start their first year. But we can argue, centers drafted in the 2nd and 3rd round do start in their first year. I don't know how many centers have been drafted in the first 3 rounds from 2016-2020 but 8 have started (along with another who started at G). And oddly enough 3 were from the 2nd round and 3 were from the third round. So the fact is more centers from the 2nd and 3rd round have started as rookies than first round centers the past 5 years. Having said that I think they might go CB at #57, though it wouldn't surprise me if they went C. And if they don't go C at #57, then I would be shocked if they didn't go C at #88.
 

dang

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If Rams keep their R2.57 pick I believe it will be best player available that is not a QB/RB/WR. They can pick for need in later rounds.