Glamorous. That’s not the word that comes to mind when thinking about players along the offensive line. And it’s especially not attributed to the guys in the middle of that group, the guards and center.
While “skill-position” players get all of the headlines, and offensive tackles get the biggest contracts, interior linemen toil in relative anonymity. But in the center of the storm, they are key cogs in any offense.
In the running game, they establish control at the point of the attack. If they get blown off the ball, a back isn’t going anywhere. And in the passing game, they set up the pocket. The surest way to rattle any quarterback is to pressure him right up the middle, so he can’t step into his throws.
They’re vital pieces to any offense. They just aren’t names with which most fans are familiar. But that doesn’t mean NFL teams aren’t on the lookout for guys who can help them in the middle of the trenches.
Who is on the board this year that can help a team? Here are the top 10 guards and centers in the 2014 NFL Draft:
10. Bryan Stork (Florida State)
Stork was the center of the Seminoles national championship team, quite literally. Every play started with him, before getting to Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. And he provided great leadership in the middle of FSU’s offensive line. Scouts love his quickness, powerful hands and butt-down technique, but they worry about his top-heavy physique.
9. Anthony Steen (Alabama)
Big and strong at 6-foot-3 and 314 pounds, Steen is a solid anchor in the middle of the line. When rushers come straight at him, he’s able to dominate them at the point of attack. But some teams worry about his ability to block defenders who aren’t right in front of him, especially if he gets into space.