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2016 NFL Draft: Centers that are Ready-Made Starters

The San Diego Chargers need to find a starting Center in the 2016 NFL Draft, and here are six guys that could fill that role.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If your argument to select Larmey Tunsil at 3 is because the drop off after him is almost identical to the old "Free Fall" ride at Magic Mountain, I would agree with that. Looking at the center position today and the feeling is the exact opposite. There are 6 centers in the draft that should go sometime on Day 2. Now if they do, that's another thing, but the names you'll see today certainly are talented enough.

Cream of the Crop

Ryan Kelly, 6'4, 311

Have already gone in depth on Kelly and how good he can be. Honestly though, I feel like I might be overrating him a tad. He misses more at the 2nd level that I like and his technique and change of direction are in question. But man, as a pass protector he makes it look effortless.

Nick Martin, 6'4, 299

On the field, I think Martin is better than Kelly. In the AFC West where he would face a nose tackle week in and week out, that might make Kelly a better fit. Martin is a player.

Why you wait

Kyle Friend, 6'2, 305

I know this is a highlight film. This is the best illustration I can give if you haven't seen Friend.

I have a few games of notes on Friend and one of them might've clouded my judgement because he was hurt. That was Notre Dame. and he struggled, for obvious reasons. In the other games it was transparent that this dude is hulk level strong. Forget the fact that he benched 225 41 times. The Bengals starting center did 40 some reps and he gets put on his back weekly. Friend is football strong. You can tell when he gets his hands on guys there's a whiplash effect. I love that about him.

He's not the greatest athlete but he has sufficient enough footwork to execute some tough reach blocks. The downside to Friend is that he's susceptible to getting beat on arm overs and that showed up in every game. That and his frame could cause him to slide in the draft. But he's just a damn good football player that I would be all over at the top of the third round. I have Friend as a top 40 player in the draft. He can ball.

Max Tuerk, 6'5, 298

Easily the most exciting center to watch. USC asked Tuerk to pull quite a bit and I don't think I've seen a center cover as much ground as he does in his first few steps as Tuerk does.

Tuerk is far from perfect. He isn't as strong as you'd like at the point of attack and at his weight, he doesn't have the mass to compensate. What he does have is the arm length to lock out in pass protection. Ironically he had more trouble against speed rushers than power rushers. I'm not sure he fits San Diego's direction if they're trying to stick with the "hammer" theme. Tuerk is a good football player either way.

Evan Boehm, 6'2, 309

If Kelly is the safest, Martin is the best, Friend is the strongest, Tuerk is the quickest, then Boehm is the gem. I remember a few years ago watching centers and loving now Packers stud center Corey Linsley. I thought he was worth a high 3rd round pick just off the general principle of him being so damn strong and creating movement. That's Boehm. This dude just doesn't get moved backwards and moves you forwards. Yes, he has a small frame and his arms make Melvin Ingrams look like inspector gadget. No, he's not going to get out and look like a gazelle in space ala Tuerk.

Give me the guy that knows where to place his hands, how to run his feet, and create gaping holes. That's Boehm. That's my guy. He's not being touted as it right now, but I believe Boehm can start in this league and play for a long time.

Good might be good enough

The final center have more questions than the previous 5 but still serve as just above competent.

Graham Glasgow, 6'6, 307

I wonder if a team will move Glasgow to guard because of his height. Glasgow graded out higher as Boehm but it's strictly because size. I have more issues with him on the football field. I would like him to be more aware and keep his head on a swivel. Of the 7 centers on the list, Glasgow was the worst against speed rushers. A lot was picking up and identifying blitzers compared to being beat by actual quickness off of the snap. An extreme example, but at his height if he gets caught leaning, quicker defenders will eat him up.

Where I do like Glasgow is working to the 2nd level and how he can locate and lock on to defenders. He is plenty strong enough and as you can imagine at his heigh has no issue locking out against tackles that try to bull rush him. While he might be a touch below average in his technique he is adequate everywhere else.

Why they didn't make it

Michigan State's Jack Allen is a popular name and played at a big time school but had more negative plays in a 3 game span than anyone I've watched. The first game I had hope. He was inconsistent. He showed some good traits like power and executing reaching defenders or long pulls. But when asked to climb to the second level he couldn't gather himself. So that's what I kept an eye on moving forward. I wanted to see if that improved.

Then against Michigan he had 6 blown blocks and gave up a sack and was responsible for a couple tackles for loss. It was simple assignments like a down block, and the tackle just side stepped him. There were 3 bad reps where he got eaten up by a nose tackle and was a good 2-3 yards in the backfield. Allen is a power player. An above average one at that. However his hand placement is inconsistent and that negates his strength. Factor him not being able to stay on his feet, struggles to change direction and is undersized, no thank you.

Iowa's Austin Blythe can be a technician all he wants but it doesn't take long to see he just doesn't have the strength to hold up. Pass.

Finally, Duke's Matt Skura is a name folks like to toss around as a sleeper. I just didn't' see any traits that jumped out that suggest he is a starter or taking before the 5th round.

What the Chargers need

Competition. Chris Watt is not a bad player. I had him as a 5th rounder coming out and he has outplayed that. The issue is he's never healthy and there's no reason to think he'll stay healthy this year. The center position needs to be addressed in the draft. It's just a matter of where. A contingency plan needs to be in place for when/if Watt gets hurt. I like the idea of drafting a player in the 3rd or 4th round and creating competition.