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The complicated case of Landon Dickerson and why no centers could go in first 2 rounds

Should Rams take advantage if he falls for medical reasons?

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Mickey Welsh via Imagn Content Services, LLC

You’ll have to understand why I’m borrowing a comment from a Turf Show Times member as a jumping off point today. It’s because this community is stocked with great thoughts that make my job easier when I can borrow them for a new thread worth its own discussion.

This comes from Ferragamo15’s comment on Monday’s post about the top-10 centers in the 2021 NFL Draft and it addresses important points about both the top center prospect and the general approach teams will take in such an unusual year:

Landon Dickerson’s rankings:

LZ: 23rd overall (possible 1st round)

PFN 185th overall (6th round, for medical reasons)

ESPN 61st

PFF 45th

TDN 39th

Daniel Jeremiah 40th

CBSSports 67th

SI 3rd round

Drafttek 62nd

If a guy is a 1st rounder on ability but a potential 6th rounder due to injury, who knows? Especially in a year like this where the draft process isn’t normal, I wonder how confident the teams are in their ability to evaluate the players with a more challenging medical history.

I have been meditating twice a day for almost two years. I like being consistent and not missing a sit for a lot of reasons, but one nice aspect is knowing exactly how many times I’ve meditated. I’m right around 1,450 as I write this, with 1,451 coming up after.

While I wish I was doing more transcending than thinking, I couldn’t help but think about Landon Dickerson’s draft stock during Monday night’s sit. Though I know many draft experts will come into day one having an expectation for Dickerson to go (fill-in-the-blank — as you can see from Ferragamo15, there is no consensus on what that expectation is like there is for Trevor Lawrence or even Ja’Marr Chase), the reality and fun of the draft is that we have little idea where players will go.

That makes it exciting to continuously be surprised, even if that surprise is a “wait in the green room” moment.

During my sit, I consider the possibility of Dickerson being drafted early — say 24th to the Steelers — and then I imagine the reaction to that. Not just from fans and the media, but to the NFL teams that follow the Steelers. Does this start a “run” on centers and/or other interior offensive linemen?

Some will say “But that’s too early for Dickerson!” (they don’t say “I think that’s too early,” you notice) and yet year after year after year, players go earlier and later than “we” think they should go. Maybe Dickerson is a mid-first round pick, though this particular thought experiment has also led me to the conclusion that the Rams — perhaps fortunately enough — are one of the only teams that has such an obvious need at center.

What if instead then, we shift the thought experiment to: no center gets drafted in the first or second round.

In 2017, Ethan Pocic was the highest-drafted center, going 58th overall.

In 2016, Ryan Kelly was the only center drafted in the first two rounds.

In 2014, no centers went in the first two rounds.

In 2013, Travis Frederick was the only center drafted in the first two rounds.

In 2012, Peter Konz was the highest-drafted center, going 55th overall.

To expect 0-1 centers to be drafted in the first two rounds this year is not necessarily to expect anything that would go down in the event’s history. It actually happens kind of often. (Excluding players who were transitioned to center later in their careers, of course.)

This news should also bode well for those Rams fans who want Les Snead to choose a center, but not necessarily with their first pick in the draft. Dickerson could fall to the middle of the second round, and therefore players like Quinn Meinerz, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Hill could also be available in the mid-second to day three range.

In part because of the position’s history, in part because of this current crop of centers, and in part because most teams other than the Rams have many more needs than a developmental interior offensive lineman. (Most teams have a starting center set in stone for next season.)

Now, what about the medicals?

Dickerson’s red flags are all situated on his doctor’s note and that will scare off some teams from drafting him and some fans from being excited if said team used a first or second round pick on him. However, if Dickerson is the best center prospect in this draft and he would normally go in the first round, is it worth the gamble to know that he might even be able to start for LA at a high level as soon as next season?

And do you think that teams should and will avoid medical histories because of the unusual surroundings of the 2021 draft season, which doesn’t include the scouting combine, or in-person meetings and physicals like past years?

Poll

Landon Dickerson, if he’s available at 57?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Yes
    (161 votes)
  • 56%
    No
    (213 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Should the Rams avoid drafting prospects with complicated or bad medical histories?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Yes, always
    (73 votes)
  • 67%
    Sometimes, on day 3 maybe
    (220 votes)
  • 9%
    No, never
    (31 votes)
324 votes total Vote Now