The 2014 class of centers in the NFL Draft is a solid one. There are a clear top two players in Colorado State's Weston Richburg and Southern California's Marcus Martin. Both players should be able to step in immediately and contribute to a starting group.
After those two, Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard should excel if he's allowed to rely on his athleticism. A zone blocking team would be Ikard's best fit. The opposite is true for mauling Arkansas center Travis Swanson. He'll be best in a power scheme that rely heavy on interior run plays.
A name not listed below to keep in mind is Vanderbilt's Wesley Johnson. He can play anywhere on the line, but because of his somewhat lacking size center might be the best spot for him.
1. Weston Richburg | 6'3 3/8, 298 pounds | Center | Colorado State
No center at the Senior Bowl looked better than Richburg. He was virtually the only player to give defensive tackle Aaron Donald trouble in Mobile. Richburg flashes the speed to snap the ball and get into his stance in a hurry. He’s a technician with his hands and consistently shows good placement along with footwork. Moves well both laterally and on the second level. Made the line calls at Colorado State.
2. Marcus Martin | 6'3, 320 pounds | Center | Southern California *
Following his junior season at USC, Martin wasn’t expected to go pro. It wasn’t necessarily a bad move because he should still be one of the first centers drafted. He’s a physically gifted player with power and athleticism for the position. He’s not going to get pushed around at the line of scrimmage and the pocket rarely collapses because of him. Needs to become more consistent on a snap-to-snap basis, particularly when it comes to picking up late movement by the defensive line.
3. Gabe Ikard | 6'3 5/8, 304 pounds | Center | Oklahoma
The 2014 draft doesn’t have a center who is more athletic than Ikard. While Ikard may not be a powerhouse center who will seal out the middle, he can get out on the second level and pick off linebackers and defensive backs. For teams that like to run a lot of pulls, Ikard could be looked at as a guard.
4. Travis Swanson | 6'5, 312 pounds | Center | Arkansas
Swanson is a classic Bret Bielema type of blocker. His game is built around power first and power second. Combine that with a solid first step and Swanson has the makings of a good run blocker. He can hold his spot on the line without help and finishes off blocks. Will get beaten by speed. Defenders can get around him at times. Struggles to recover if he gets beaten. Comes out of his stance too high at times. Makes the line calls and will pick up late pressure adjustments.
5. Tyler Larsen | 6'4, 313 pounds | Center | Utah State
Tyler Larsen makes a lot of sense for teams running a zone-blocking scheme. He has shown impressive movement skills and balance in space while at Utah State. He also has an ideal build for the center position and is both intelligent and technically sound in his game.
6. Russell Bodine | 6'3 1/8, 310 pounds | Center | North Carolina *
7. Bryan Stork | 6'4, 315 pounds | Center | Florida State
8. Khalil Wilkes | 6'3, 286 pounds | Center | Stanford
9. Zac Kerin | 6'5, 300 pounds | Center | Toledo
10. James Stone | 6'3 5/8, 306 pounds | Center | Tennessee
11. Corey Linsley | 6'3, 296 pounds | Center | Ohio State