The 2022 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is getting prepared now for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here is the 2023 NFL Draft prospect watchlist: Offensive Guards and Centers.
Emil Ekiyor, Alabama Crimson Tide
Ekiyor is one of the more experienced interior offensive linemen in the class. He redshirted in his first season then saw the field a little bit in 2019. His first time as a full-time starter was in 2020, when he won the job at right guard and helped the Crimson Tide win the National Championship. He continued in a starting role in 2021, as they made it to the College Football Playoff.
His 6-foot-3 and 307-pound stature will make him one of the smaller guards in the class. He does provide good natural leverage and solid pass blocking. Adding strength to his frame will help him sustain blocks longer in the running game.
Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan Wolverines
Oluwatimi has gained a lot of experience at center in his career. Before transferring to Michigan, Oluwatimi played a lot for Virginia. He started his career off at Air Force, before starting almost every game for Virginia from 2019-2021. His play helped Virginia get bowl eligible and he’ll hope to have a good season for the Wolverines in 2022.
He is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, which will make him solid size for a center. Olluwatimi specialized in run blocking at Virginia, as he has good movement abilities and can get to the second level. At Michigan, he’ll need to show he can handle bull rushers on the inside to improve his draft stock.
Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Patterson is another highly-experienced offensive lineman in this class. He jumped into the starting lineup in 2019 and hasn’t looked back. His play helped Notre Dame go to the College Football Playoff and the Fiesta Bowl over the last two seasons. He has the versatility to play guard or center.
At 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, Patterson has a nice frame to work with for an interior lineman. He has good awareness and instincts as a long-time starter for Notre Dame. While he has shown proficiency in both run and pass blocking, his athletic testing and mobility will come into question in the pre-draft process.
John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota Golden Gophers
John Michael Schmitz is one of the best centers in college football. He played on special teams in his first year, then started four games in 2019. Schmitz was the full-time starting center in 2020 and 2021. His play helped the Golden Gophers go 9-4 in 2021.
He has good size for a center at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds. Schmitz can move people in the running game and is also a decent pass blocker. He’ll need to work on maintaining his leverage. He will be an older prospect in the draft, but with a good season in 2022, could start right away for an NFL team.
Andrew Vorhees, USC Trojans
Vorhees has had an interesting college career. He started as a freshman and sophomore. In 2019, he was a backup guard and missed most of the season with an ankle injury. He returned to the starting lineup in 2020 and even played some left tackle in 2021. The Trojans didn’t play well in 2021, but did win five of their six games in 2020 with Vorhees leading the way.
He is 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, which is an excellent size for an interior line prospect. With that comes good arm length he can use to control matchups. He needs to keep his pad level low and can sometimes have trouble getting to the second level. Vorhees does have good power though and can handle some of the stronger players he has matchups with inside.
Other Draft Prospects
Javion Cohen, Alabama- After coming off the bench in 2020, Cohen had a great 2021 season. He was good at run blocking, but will need to prove he can hold up in pass protection.
Matthew Jones, Ohio State- It took a while for Jones to find the starting lineup, but he has played well for the Buckeyes over the last two seasons. He specializes in good run blocking.
Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas- Stromberg is a big center who has a lot of experience. He can clear big holes in the running game.
O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida- Torrence is a massive guard who transferred to Florida from Louisiana. He is very good in a phone booth, but may struggle in space, especially in the SEC.
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