Corey Linsley was born in Youngstown, Ohio and played his prep ball for nearby Boardman High School. He was named a First-Team All-Federal League and All-Northeast Ohio as a senior on top of being a team captain. After being viewed as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, Linsley chose to stay close to home and commit to Ohio State University.
Following his redshirt season in 2009, Linsley saw time at right guard and right tackle in six games. As a redshirt sophomore, he appeared in 10 games as a reserve once again.
As a junior, Linsley switched to center where he was tasked with following in the footsteps of former All-Big Ten center Mike Brewster. He started 12 games for the Buckeyes as a junior and was slated once again to start at the pivot in 2013. However, an injury he suffered late during the 2012 season lingered into the new year, but Linsley still managed to start most of the season.
Linsley wound up getting selected by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. Initially expected to begin the season as the backup center behind J.C. Tretter, an injury to the latter forced the former into the starting lineup ahead of the season. He ended up starting every game in both the regular and postseason for the Packers as a rookie.
Remaining the starter in 2015, Linsley went on to play in 13 games. The next year, and injury kept him out of seven contests. From 2017 to 2019, Linsley started all 16 games for three consecutive seasons. Somehow, despite playing for one of the best offenses during that time, Linsley hadn’t been able to find any postseason recognition.
In 2020, Linsley started 13 games for the Packers. Despite missing some time, his performance earned him a First-Team All-Pro nod.
After becoming a free agent in 2021, Linsley signed a five-year, $62.5 million deal to join the Chargers and protect second-year quarterback Justin Herbert. In two seasons with the Bolts, Linsley has played in 31 total games between the regular and postseason. In 2021, his first in LA, Linsley was named a Second-Team All-Pro and was voted to his first Pro Bowl.
Corey Linsley called his shot on Austin Ekeler's screen TD pic.twitter.com/WdXiosidbd— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 13, 2022
College: Ohio State
Years with team: 2
“Corey Linsley signed a 5 year, $62,500,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $13,000,000 signing bonus, $26,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $12,500,000. In 2023, Linsley will earn a base salary of $10,500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $13,100,000 and a dead cap value of $7,800,000.” - Spotrac.com
Linsley is at his best when protecting Justin Herbert in the pocket. His 90.2 pass block grade on the season from Pro Football Focus was the third-highest among all offensive linemen in the NFL. Of the three players to grade above 90.0 in that area (Laremy Tunsil, Tristan Wirfs), Linsley was also the only one not to allow a sack on the season while also tying Wirfs with just five penalties. By far the least amount compared to other qualifying linemen.
He’s as steady as they come at the position and arguably still in the prime of his career.
As good as he is at protecting Herbert, Linsley’s run block grades were quite a bit worse in 2023. His season run block grade was just 65.6, good for being the 60th-best mark for an offensive lineman a year ago. Part of that could be due to playing next to a rookie in Zion Johnson, but it’s hard to imagine that effecting him all that much overall.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Linlsey is the Chargers’ starting center until he decides to play elsewhere or makes the decision to hang it all up. He’s been a vital part of Justin Herbert’s growth and protection as a young quarterback and the Chargers would be wise to do everything they can to keep him playing in the powder blue for as long as possible.