Probably the most requested prospect I've been asked to look at is FSU center Cameron Erving. He started the year as the LT for the 'Noles, but moved inside due to an injury. The Rams are desperate for a new center common perception says Erving is the best prospect in the draft. Does he translate well to the NFL? Does he fit with the Rams style of play? Time to find out.
Erving is simply lightning out of his stance. That much was obvious when he was a left tackle, but it works better for him as a center. Immediately after snapping the ball, he's ready to take on blockers:
Keep an eye on how active Erving's hands and feet are. He keeps moving, doing a good job mirroring the defensive tackle and keeps his arms outstretched not allowing the DT to get in close. Bonus points if you look at Josue Matias, who doesn't do too bad a job himself, even though he's only assisting Roderick Johnson.
Here's another example of Erving one-on-one. He does a good job of blocking here too, but he needs to work on maintaining his balance when moving around laterally:
Erving gets pushed back a bit - although nowhere near Jameis Winston, so it's a bit of a non-factor. Erving stops moving his feet after engaging the defender which is why he's not able to absorb the rush without backtracking. He keeps the defender away from him with his hands, but he'll need to work on improving the consistency of his technique against the better talent of the NFL.
Erving also does a decent job getting to the second level. Here he does a good job getting out past the line, but then he loses focus on the defender. As a result, he misses a block on a screen against Miami (his first start as a center):
Initially, everything looks good. I'm not sure why he turns his head; perhaps he's not sure if Jameis has thrown it yet. Again, this is something he can fix with repetition and practice, but he's the only one in position to make the block and he blows it.
Erving is a good run blocker, but much like his pass protection skills, he needs more time to develop and get stronger. He is however, a very good as a one-on-one blocker. The offensive line as a whole does a great job to open up a lane here:
On this next play, Erving is able to drive the lineman back opening up a monster hole for the runner:
That's a fantastic block. Erving is so quick out of his stance that he's able to immediately drive the tackle back and keeps his hands out and his legs moving so the defender can't reset. Picture perfect.
Erving is a little tough to project because centers aren't highly valued positionally. It's a thankless job, but moving inside from left tackle probably hurt is stock. Regardless of position, you cant deny Erving's talent; he's a fantastic pass protector and displays everything you want to see in a quality NFL center. He's also powerful enough to be a force in the run game, but needs to work on his technique and balance to truly excel. There are times where he is simply lights out and his one-on-one blocking is enough to make teams notice him in the first round. If he somehow falls to the second, I can't think of a single reason for the Rams to ignore him.