NFL Draft

2016 NFL Draft Top Center/Guard Prospects – Notre Dame C Nick Martin Ranks Near Top

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Every draft evaluation is predicated on prediction accumulated by past practice and eyeing the future potential of each prospect. Obviously, everyone knows that know matter how good or bad a prospect is judged, no one really knows the ultimate value until they hit the field in the NFL.

This particular class has a view top level prospects that will fill the roster of college all-star games with several top senior prospects available next year.

Below are some of the top center and guard prospects available in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Nick Martin, C, Notre Dame

Class – Redshirt Senior

 Last Five Previous Notre Dame Center/Guards Drafted

2014 – Chris Watt, Round 3

2010 – Chris Olsen, Round 6

2008 – John Sullivan, Round 6

2007 – Dan Santucci, Round 7

2006 – Dan Stevenson, Round 6

 Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-4

Weight – 302

 

Watching Martin play against the Pittsburgh Panthers earlier this month, I witnessed a very enjoyable prospect to watch. A fifth-year veteran and two-time captain, Martin sets up quickly and plays low and gets good leverage consistently. He’s not a power blocker and is not a mauler, but he’ll beat you with smarts and awareness of his surroundings. He could be the first center off the board in the upcoming NFL Draft.

 

Dan Voltz, C, Wisconsin

Class – Redshirt Junior

 Last Five Previous Wisconsin Center/Guards Drafted

2013 – Travis Frederick, Round 1

2012 – Kevin Zeitler, Round 1

2012 – Peter Konz, Round 2

2011 – John Moffitt, Round 3

2011 – Bill Nagy, Round 7

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style 

Height – 6-3

Weight – 302

 

The Badgers are one of the top producing schools in terms of offensive line prospects and Voltz is another highly valued commodity in the 2016 NFL Draft. In fact, eight of the last 21 players drafted out of Wisconsin played along the offensive line. Voltz was on the Rimington Trophy watch-list, but it is unlikely he’ll win the award after getting hurt against Illinois in October. The knee injury has forced Voltz to the sidelines for the remainder of the college season. Scouts will know enough about him prior to the injury to see a technique based center with great pad level and quick strike ability in his punch. Voltz has battled other injuries throughout his career so it may favor him to enter the NFL Draft and avoid more wear and tear on his body.

 

Pat Elflein, OG, Ohio State

Class – Junior

Last Five Previous Ohio State Center/Guards Drafted

2014 – Corey Linsley, Round 5

2007 – Doug Datish, Round 6

2006 – Nick Mangold, Round 1

2006 – Rob Sims, Round 4

2004 – Alex Stepanovich, Round 4

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

 Height – 6-4

Weight – 301

 

The Pickerington, Ohio native has made his city and state proud by being one of the top offensive linemen for the Buckeyes. Elflein has great size (6-4, 301 pounds) and is an athletic looking offensive linemen, showing nibble feet and agility. He possesses quick light feet which allow him to be very active and able to pull with ease. His strength using his hand placement to redirect his opponents are another valuable aspect of his abilities.

 

Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State

Class – Redshirt Senior

Last Five Previous Kansas State Center/Guards Drafted

2004 – Nick Lackey, Round 6

1974 – Bill Brittian, Round 11

1974 – Fred Rothwell, Round 13

1974 – John Wells, Round 15

1972 – Two Players  

Offensive Scheme – Spread Power I

Height – 6-4

Weight – 309

 

One of my favorite offensive linemen to watch on the college landscape is none other than Cody Whitehair, who possesses a nasty demeanor to his game. He has adequate size and utilizes his talents to his advantage. Kansas State doesn’t have much of a history of producing offensive linemen worthy of being drafted, but he should be the highest drafted Wildcat drafted over the last 40-years at his position.

 

Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU

Class – Senior

Last Five Previous Drafted LSU Center/Guards Drafted

2014 – Trai Turner, Round 3

2004 – Stephen Peterman, Round 3

1999 – Todd McClure, Round 7

1998 – Alan Faneca, Round 1

1994 – Kevin Mawae, Round 2 

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-5

Weight – 329

 

Alexander earned second-team All-SEC recognition in 2014 and very likely will leave with first team honors at the conclusion of his final season at LSU. He is a big, tough lineman who has some warrior in him with a team-first attitude. Physical and dominant, he has played against some of the best defensive linemen in the country during his collegiate days. They will be familiar faces once he gets his shot in the NFL.

 

Other Notables

Jordan, Walsh, OG, Iowa

Spencer Drango, OG, Baylor 

Kyle Friend, C, Temple

Landon Turner, OG, North Carolina

Ray Ball, OG, Wisconsin
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About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.