Home > Draft, NFL > 2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Offensive Guards and Centers

2012 NFL Draft Rankings: Offensive Guards and Centers

Our final set of rankings look at offensive guards and centers, where the spread between the league’s best and worst is great…and most guys sit right in the middle regardless of draft position.

1. David Decastro, Stanford, mid-first round grade
2. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin, late-first round grade
3. Cordy Glenn, Georgia, late-first round grade
4. Peter Konz, Wisconsin, second round grade
5. Ben Jones, Georgia, second round grade
6. Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State (TX), second round grade

The first group of interior offensive lineman is rather large, and could go anywhere between the 12th pick and the 45 pick, which is in the second round.  Ben Jones, who impressed me on tape more than even Cordy Glenn did, is the lone player who could fall below that 45th pick, making him the best value at the top of this guard/center class.

Though David Decastro is the headliner of this group, it’s important to remember how well people thought of Idaho’s Mike Iupati just two drafts ago.  In two pro seasons, Iupati has established himself as a member of the San Francisco 49ers offensive line, which is not a small task.  But he’s not even the best player on that line, which was basically a given on draft day if you read his reports.  DeCastro looks similarly dominant: Stanford leaves him one on one a lot on defensive tackles and even ends and he rarely gets beaten.  But just because a guy is a really good college player does not mean he’ll be a similarly great pro player: the book of Mike Iupati.

My grade argues he will be a dominant RG in the NFL, but the practical angle needs to account for more possibilities than just a best guess.

7. Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH), second round grade
8. Jeff Allen, Illinois, third round grade
9. Brandon Washington, Miami (FL), third round grade
10. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State, third round grade

This second tier is made entirely of college left tackles and right tackles prepared to make the move to the inside, and get drafted on the second day to do so.  Of the group, the widely accepted “best” one of the group is Brandon Brooks, who was so well heralded coming out of Oxford, OH, that he didn’t receive a combine invite.  Oops.  Jeff Allen was a team leader and force on the offensive line at Illinois.  If this high-character prospect can get with a good offensive line coach right away, he can become a great right side line player in the NFL.

11. Tom Bergstrom, Utah, fourth round grade
12. Adam Gettis, Iowa, fifth round grade
13. David Molk, Michigan, fifth round grade
14. Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh, fifth round grade
15. Michael Brewster, Ohio State, fifth round grade
16. Derek Dennis, Temple, sixth round grade
17. Senio Kelemente, Washington, sixth round grade

Molk or Kelemente is probably the most intriguing name in this third tier of NFL caliber college offensive linemen.  Lucas Nix might actually have the best projection as a guard, because Centers who can’t slide over are always at a disadvantage because there is one of them, and two guards.  Tom Bergstrom was the most dominant of this group outside of maybe Molk, bu that’s understandable because he’s going to be 26 years old this year, and he plays against weaker competition.  Adam Gettis could become the third Iowa offenisve lineman to be picked in this draft after Reilly Reiff, and Markus Zusevics.

18. Rishaw Johnson, California (PA), sixth round grade
19. David Snow, Texas, sixth round grade
20. Phillip Blake, Baylor, seventh round grade
21. Joe Looney, Wake Forest, seventh round grade
22. Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi State, seventh round grade
23. Kelvin Beachem, SMU, seventh round grade

After watching a pair of these guys struggle at the senior bowl, it was difficult to give more than a tepid endorsement to their draft prospects, but I actually did like what I saw out of Wake Forest OL Joe Looney on his game tape.  For me, Phillip Blake’s job protecting RG3 and the Baylor offense this year does not warrant a high selection considering he will be 27 this year.

24. Al Netter, Northwestern, seventh round grade
25. Desmond Wynn, Rutgers, seventh round grade
26. John Cullen, Utah, seventh round grade
27. Dustin Waldron, Portland State, seventh round grade
28. Gino Gradkowski, Delaware, Priority UDFA
29. Garth Gerhart, Arizona State, Priority UDFA
30. William Vlachos, Alabama, Priority UDFA
31. Josh LeReibus, SMU, Priority UDFA
32. Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma, UDFA
33. Johnnie Troutman, Penn State, UDFA
34. Elvis Fisher, Missouri UDFA
35. Manese Foketi, Kansas State, UDFA
36. Mark Asper, Oregon, UDFA
37. Jaymes Brooks, Virginia Tech, UDFA
38. Mike Caputo, Nebraska, UDFA
39. Will Blackwell, Louisiana Tech, UDFA
40. Moe Petrus, Connecticut, UDFA [long-snapper]

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