As we’ve been emphasizing, there is no real consensus on the top-ranked center in the 2021 NFL Draft class, but it is also possible that the LA Rams will be able to grab whoever that is because of how the board could fall this year. The Rams are one of the only teams with an obvious need at center, there doesn’t appear to be a player at the position who has been considered a lock for the first round, and every few years the top center does go near the 57th overall pick that LA currently holds.
While it is important to remember that it is rare for non-first round centers to start as rookies, the Rams should be able to do no less than bring in serious competition for Coleman Shelton, Brian Allen, and Tremayne Anchrum in training camp if they want to. Or the Rams could decide that even if all centers remain on the board at 57, that only gives Les Snead more reason to believe that a good one will still be available at 88 or 103 and instead focus his efforts on the best player available or another need.
But if Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey is still on the board at 57, there’s a good chance he’s one player who won’t be an option 33 picks later.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler posted his comprehensive 2021 NFL Draft guide this week and he ranked Humphrey as the top center in this class, giving him and two others a second round grade. He instead listed Landon Dickerson as a guard, giving him a 1st-2nd round grade with an “all-pro ceiling” with the versatility to play center. Here’s Brugler’s summary of Humphrey, who notably also has a history with wrestling that goes back to when he was 4 years old.
SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Humphrey was a mainstay as the Sooners’ center in head coach Lincoln Riley’s scheme. After redshirting in 2018, he won the starting center job and didn’t allow a sack in his 37 career starts, earning Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors as a sophomore and junior. Humphrey plays with outstanding strength and smarts, which allows him to out-physical his opponent, as his wrestling background and mentality translate to the field. He doesn’t always show the power to be a people-mover in the run game, but he finds a way to get the job done and tested above average in every category at his pro day. Overall, Humphrey is a technician with the reaction quickness, play strength and intangibles that NFL teams target for the position. He projects as an NFL starting center with guard potential.
Brugler has Humphrey as his 46th overall prospect, putting him in range of the Rams’ first pick at 57. Should the Rams let Humphrey pass them by if they get the chance and go with one of the other centers in the class, or is he too good to let go?