Okay, we should take C Mack if we can, right? But lets see who we could get in round 2 at center since we like to go with the Best Player Available, and who would squawk over a windfall WR, CB, DE, DT or LB? (I suggest LB because we haven't signed Harrison yet, but that's another story.)
Here's some honorable mentions at Center that would enable us to go elsewhere with our #1 pick. I'm not listing the stats for Mack or Unger because they would be long gone before our second pick. Wood is interesting. He sounds like a good pick, but he might not last until #64. Trading up in the 2nd, or down in the first may be key.... But I digress -- on with the stats:
(All info Copyright NFLDraftScout.com)
Eric Wood, C
Conference: Big East
Recognized as a first-team All-Big East selection in 2008 and 2007, second team in 2006 and Freshman All-American in 2005 redshirt season, Wood started 49 games for the Cardinals and is the epitome of durability and consistency. While other centers have earned more media recognition, NFL scouts consider Wood one of the best interior linemen available and a potential first-day pick. Had an arm span of 33 3/4 inches and a hand span of 10 3/8 inches at the combine.
Positives: Taller than most centers, but not too upright in pass protection and can still cut block. Works hard on every play, and goes through the whistle. Gets off the ball quickly and gets into the numbers of his man. Can drive back smaller tackles and sustain. Leader of the line and makes the calls. Permanent team captain in 2008. Solid anchor, using his arms and feet to keep tackles on the line. Will pancake smaller tackles when he gets the inside shoulder. Uses his hands and feet to position blockers, creating holes inside. Picks up late blitzers up the middle. Reliable snap to the quarterback.
Negatives: Not as nimble as some teams may want their pivot man. Can adequately combo to the middle linebacker and get in front of screens at the college level, but may have issues handling NFL speed in the open field. Only adequate in getting his pads low to drive block, and could improve there.
Jonathan Luigs, C
Luigs was an integral part of the Razorbacks' vaunted running game the past few seasons, and returned to school despite a coaching change after he won the 2007 Rimington Award as the nation's top center. Although his senior season was somewhat disappointing from a team perspective, Luigs managed second-team All-SEC honors despite a slew of talented pivot men in the conference and was again a finalist for the Rimington (won by Penn State's A.Q. Shipley). In a very deep center class, Luigs is still considered by many to be the top prospect. Had an arm span of 31 1/4 inches and a hand span of 9 1/4 inches at the combine.
Positives: Prototype size for the position. Rare athleticism. Good burst off the snap and can block on the move. Quickly moves his feet to get the appropriate angle on his man. Gets to the second level quickly as a run and pass blocker. Good initial quickness as a pass blocker. Settles well and plays with good balance. Equally effective snapping in the shotgun or traditional quarterback exchange. Cerebral player who makes the line calls and adjusts well to unexpected blitzes and defensive alignments.
Negatives: Relies on quickness and technique rather than pure strength to generate movement at the point of attack, and can be stalemated by bigger, stronger defenders. Can be tossed aside after initial hit. Struggles to remain engaged with defenders when blocking at the second level, and will miss targets altogether. Leans forward too far at times to reach his man, keeping Luigs off balance.
Antoine Caldwell, OG
Defines the word "stalwart" with his steady, durable play in the middle of the Tide's offensive line. In fact, the only games he has missed over the past four seasons came during a four-game suspension for being part of a textbook scandal at Alabama in 2007. An immediate standout, Caldwell earned Freshman All-American honors playing guard, SEC accolades as a sophomore and junior at center and closed out his career by earning consensus All-American praise as a senior. Caldwell lacks the footwork to fit in every NFL offense, but his size, physicality and aggression make him an intriguing fit for a drive blocking scheme. Had an arm span of 34 inches and a hand span of 10 1/2 inches at the combine.
Positives: Good height and plays with a wider base than his weight may signal. Excellent burst after the snap, getting up into his man very quickly to create a gap or pass protect. Strong enough to put tackles on the ground, but quick enough to get to the outside shoulder of either guard to help protect the quarterback. Strong, active hands to engage the defender and can drive defenders off the ball. Smart player who makes line calls. Adept at the shotgun snap. Durable. Four-year starter.
Negatives: Could be more aware and help the quarterback as plays break down. Lacks elite lateral quickness to get down the line or get to linebackers in combo or zone blocks. Lumbers a bit when trying to get downfield to block.
A.Q. Shipley, C (projected round 4)
College: Penn State
Conference: Big 10
After playing on both lines as a redshirt freshman, recording two sacks in limited playing time at defensive tackle, Shipley manned the pivot for the Nittany Lions for every game the past three years. He earned the 2008 Rimington Trophy as the nation's best center after garnering first-team All-Big Ten honors the past two seasons. His leadership off the field and toughness on the field makes him the type of character player NFL teams look for. Had an arm span of 29 3/4 inches and a hand span of 8 1/2 inches at the combine.
Positives: Stout, tough and physical at the point, plays like the former nose guard he is. Strong anchor in pass protection, and does not get bull-rushed as he uses his wide base to maintain leverage. Battles everyone and anyone on the field, playing through the whistle. Good enough feet to combo (in either direction) then get to the linebacker or safety and angle him while engaged. Adept at shotgun. Gets hands up quickly after the snap. Gets off his man to pick up late blitzers using his feet and hands. Only adequate moving laterally on pulls, but is still able to wall off linebackers inside. Team leader. Makes accurate line adjustments.
Negatives: Lacks height, bulk and arm length. Projects to center only, probably in a zone-blocking system. Short arms prevent him from maintaining contact with tackles on the move, which lets his man shed or get past him. Initial punch is only adequate. Does not consistently sustain his blocks, especially against stronger tackles.
And back to Betelgeuse....
Shipley is not as good as the others it seems, but with our 2 3rd round picks, we can have our pick of the mid rounders. Hey HighSchoolSteeler, who do you like in the 3rd?