Lance Zierlein has long been posting his draft evaluations over at NFL.com and he gives each a grade ranging from 5-8. There are many levels to each grade that range from “chance to be at an NFL training camp” to “The perfect prospect” and so with this system we can gather that there’s an order.
These are the 10 center prospects that Zierlein has graded in the 2021 NFL Draft and the order of their rating.
- Landon Dickerson, Alabama, 6.42
- Quinn Meinerz, Whitewater-Wisconsin, 6.31
- Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma, 6.26
- Josh Myers, Ohio State, 6.23
- Michal Menet, Penn State, 6.16
- Drew Dalman, Stanford, 5.88
- Trey Hill, Georgia, 5.69
- Drake Jackson, Kentucky, 5.68
- Ryan McCollum, Texas A&M, 5.66
- Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt, 5.5
As we can see, Zierlein doesn’t see any elite center prospects in this draft, but to be fair, only five players in the entire class have been given a grade above 7.0 at this point. Top-rated offensive lineman Penei Sewell has a 6.73. Dickerson lands in a tie with tackle Teven Jenkins and edge Azeez Ojulari and that may place him on the cusp of the first round as the top-graded center prospect for Zierlein.
But he’s also essentially saying that everyone below Meinerz is teetering between a future as a backup or a starter. Anything at or below a 6.0 would suggest “lots of development time needed” or “future as a reserve, special teamer.”
It doesn’t mean that Zierlein is correct, of course, it’s just one opinion for a guy who grades hundreds of players and literally doesn’t have the time to actually do a deep dive on all of them.
The Rams pick 57th and so far would still seem to need a center, or at least center competition.