Here are the top 10 interior (guard/centers) offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL draft, which is set for April 29 to May 1 in Cleveland:
1. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC, 6-foot-5, 308 pounds (first round): He played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman. He started at left guard in 2019 and kicked out to left tackle for the short six-game season in 2020. He’s projected as a left guard in the NFL.
2. Aaron Banks, Notre Dame, 6-5 1/2, 330, guard (third): Started his career on the scout team as a freshman. He started six of 13 games as a sophomore. Over his final two seasons, he started all 26 games at left guard and was named a first-team All-ACC.
3. Deonte Brown, Alabama, 6-3, 355, guard (third): Moves very well for his massive size. He broke into the lineup midway through the 2018 season and was a mainstay at left guard for the Crimson Tide. He was named to the All-SEC first-team in 2020.
4. Landon Dickerson, Alabama, 6-6, 325, center (second): He won the Dave Rimington Award, which goes to the nation’s top center and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He was an unanimous first-team All-American. Pro Football Focus listed Dickerson as the top-rated run-blocking center with a grade of 92.8.
5. Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, 6-5, 320, center (second): He was a third-team All-American pick by the Associated Press. He was named the Big 12′s offensive lineman of the year. “He’s a huge center,” former NFL offensive line coach Paul Alexander said on SiriusXM NFL radio from the Senior Bowl. “He’s 6-5, 315, 320, whatever he is. I didn’t get the official weigh-ins, but he’s a big, good-looking kid. He has balance and knows how to use his hands. He’s a nice big center.”
6. Wyatt Davis, Ohio State, 6-4, 315, guard (second): Held it down at right guard as a third-year sophomore for the Buckeyes in 2019. He started all 14 and helped Ohio State’s offense finish third in scoring (46.9 points per game) fifth in rushing (266.7 yards).
7. Trey Smith, Tennessee, 6-5, 330, guard (second/third): Smith, of Jackson, Tenn., was ranked as one of the top 10 players in the nation coming out of high school. He was second-team All-SEC as a freshman after starting 12 games (eight at right guard, four at left tackle). He was a dominating blocker at times over his career. He played 664 snaps and gave up only one sack last season.
8. Dillion Radunz, North Dakota State, 6-6, 299, guard (second/third): He played in 33 career games and made 32 starts for the Bison. He’s a two-time FCS All-American who played tackle, but projects to guard in the NFL. Participated in the Senior Bowl and held his own against the bigger school players.
9. Ben Cleveland, Georgia, 6-6, 343, guard (third): He was one of the nation’s top recruits after being named to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 team as a senior. He broke into the UGA lineup as a redshirt freshman. He suffered a leg fracture his third season. In 2019, he started seven of 13 games, but missed the Sugar Bowl after being declared academically ineligible. He started nine games in 2020 and was third-team Associated Press All-American. He turned some heads when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds at Georgia’s Pro Day.
10. Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater, 6-3, 320, center (third/fourth): Small school prospects from Division III. He held his own at the Senior Bowl and impressed NFL scouts. His Pro Day was well attended. He’s a former wrestler with strong core body strength.
Best of the rest: Centers – Ohio State’s Josh Meyers, Penn State’s Michael Menet, Stanford’s Drew Dalman and Georgia’s Trey Hill. Guards -- Clemson’s Jack Carman, Illinois’ Kendrick Green, Mississippi’s Royce Green, Grambling State’s Dave Moore and Texas A&M’s Jared Hocker.
Teams in need: Bears, Bengals, Chiefs, Cowboys and Falcons.
Need area for Falcons: Yes. The Falcons have an opening at left guard and must replace center Alex Mack.
Top 5 C/OGs for 2022 draft: Ohio State’s Harry Miller, Virginia Tech’s Bryan Hudson, Oklahoma’s Tyrese Robinson, Auburn’s Jalil Irvin and USC’s Justin Dedich.
AJC’S POSITION-BY-POSITION SERIES
QUARTERBACKS: How far will Justin Fields drop in draft? | Top 10 QBs
RUNNING BACKS: Plenty of prospects to pick from | Top 10 RBs
WIDE RECEIVERS: Draft deep with talent | Top 10 WRs
TIGHT ENDS: Ability to create mismatches is key | Top 10 TEs
OFFENSIVE TACKLES: A ‘nasty’ bunch | Top 10 OTs
OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS: The men in the middle | Top 10 C/OGs
Falcons’ 2021 draft position: Here are the top 10 picks in D. Led’s Mock Draft 4.0:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, (QB, BYU)
3. San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
4. Atlanta Falcons: Penei Sewell (OT, Oregon)
5. Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)
6. Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
7. Detroit Lions: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
8. Carolina Panthers: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama)
9. Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (QB, North Dakota State)
10. Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain (CB, Alabama)
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