NFL draft preview: Centers

NFL draft preview: Centers
Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish passes the ball as center Scott Wedige blocks during the first half against Akron. (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)
Third in a series exploring the April 26-28 NFL draft. Next: Offensive tackles.

This is a weak group of centers, and it would be really weak if not for the

Big Ten

, which might have the top three taken. It is possible as few as seven will be drafted, though need likely will force some teams to pick players who might not have draftable grades.


The best

Peter Konz,

, 6-5, 315: He has a nice combination of size, athleticism and long arms. Konz, who left Wisconsin early, clearly is the best center in the class and a potential late first-round pick. He has the power and technique to neutralize a nose tackle. He is durable and reliable, and plays smart. He also could be considered at guard. There is very little chance he will be a bust.


2. Michael Brewster,

Ohio State

, 6-4, 312: He is a chippy blocker with enough athleticism and strength to get the job done. Brewster knows how to use his ample size. He is smart and a good technician. He does not make mistakes often.

3. David Molk,


, 6-1, 298: The Lemont High School product and four-year starter for the Wolverines was awarded the Rimington Trophy as the best college center in the country. He was a team captain and leader. Molk is a tough blocker who knows how to use his hands and get leverage. He needs to be more sound fundamentally because he is undersized and he must become more consistent with blocks on the second level.

4. Philip Blake,

Baylor, 6-3, 311: A quick technician, Blake has decent size and can handle a powerful defender. He stays on his feet well and has fine balance, but he does not move as well as some centers. He also has some experience at tackle. Blake is 26, which could affect his draft stock.

5. Ben Jones,

Georgia, 6-2, 303: He is a smart, competitive, fundamentally sound blocker who uses angles efficiently. He has good initial quickness but is not that strong or athletic. A four-year starter at Georgia, he projects as an



6. Quentin Saulsberry,

Mississippi State, 6-2, 304: Saulsberry knows how to play. He attacks defenders with enthusiasm even though he does not have a lot of power. A four-year starter, he has top intangibles. He is average physically, and not the quickest laterally, so his upside is limited. He has experience at guard and might be a backup center/guard.

7. Scott Wedige,



, 6-4, 300: He is tough and effective in a short area. He is pretty quick off the snap and gets some movement in the running game. He needs to develop strength and has the frame to bulk up.

The rest

8. William Vlachos,


9. Garth Gerhart,

Arizona State

10. Grant Garner,

Oklahoma State

11. Moe Petrus,


12. David Snow,


13. Mason Cloy,


14. Ben Burkett,

The Bears

Center is not a position of need for the Bears.

Roberto Garza

was the team's most consistent offensive lineman last year, and though he is 33, he recently signed a contract extension through 2013.

Chris Spencer

played guard last year, but probably is a more natural center and could be moved back at any time. The team also has hopes for

Edwin Williams

at either center or guard.