Center is a position integral to the functioning of the offensive line. The center not only protects from the most direct kind of penetration on the interior but also serves as the most active communicator when preparing against diverse defensive looks. Many NFL teams might be in the market for a new center this year. However, centers don’t always command high capital. Is Ohio State center Josh Myers the 2021 NFL Draft value deal teams will seek this offseason?
Josh Myers 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Weight: 312 pounds
School: Ohio State
Current Year: Redshirt Junior
Because of the importance of the offensive line, you’ll often see the nation’s blue-chip schools recruiting only from the pools of top talent when searching for new linemen. Josh Myers was a part of that pool in the 2017 class. A product of Miamisburg High School in Miamisburg, Ohio, Myers was a four-star recruit and the sixth-best offensive guard prospect in his class.
Myers received interest from a host of Power Five programs by his senior year. Nearby teams like Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State all presented scholarship offers to the center. Additionally, the Alabama Crimson Tide even put in a bid to acquire his services. But Myers would stay in state. As it turned out, there was a fairly prestigious school not far from where he lived: The Ohio State University.
Josh Myers’ career as an Ohio State center
Myers sat out his first season, learning behind an accomplished offensive line group. He rejoined the roster in 2018 and served as valuable depth on the interior. Because of his history as a guard, Myers at first filed in there, serving as depth behind future NFL Draft pick Michael Jordan. But in 2019, turnover on the Buckeyes’ line led to Myers getting his first starting opportunity.
Myers’ first opportunity, however, wasn’t at guard. The Buckeyes moved Wyatt Davis into Jordan’s spot on the line. Thus, instead of playing at guard, Myers was slotted into the center position. The move paid off for both the Buckeyes and for Myers himself. Myers helped lead the Buckeyes to a playoff season and also helped J.K. Dobbins eclipse 2,000 yards on the ground.
Myers earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019, and he wasn’t done yet. He came back as the starting center with quarterback Justin Fields in 2020. With Myers at its center, the Buckeyes’ offensive line has been the motor of Ohio State’s electric offense. They’ll aim to take home the National Championship trophy on Monday, taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide. After that, Myers could very well be on to the draft.
Josh Myers’ National Championship performance
It was an up-and-down day for Josh Myers against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Ohio State center had some good reps in pass protection. However, he further proved that he doesn’t have the traits to sustain blocks consistently. He also got beat a couple times by Christian Barmore late in the game. It was a serviceable day for Myers, but it didn’t move the needle much in either direction.
Analyzing Josh Myers’ 2021 NFL Draft profile
A two-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Josh Myers thrives on his experience and technical prowess. He’s not yet an elite technician, but he has a good understanding of leverage. He also has enough length to extend and get his hands engaged in a timely manner.
Standing at 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, Myers is a fairly big center. He has a fairly stocky, tubular build for his size, and this can make him fairly tough to move for defensive linemen. He also plays with a wide base and solid footwork, although his feet can be a bit heavy when he’s moving through space.
Myers is a fairly well-rounded center, but he makes his money as a run blocker. Myers is able to better use his length when he’s moving, carrying momentum into his blocks. As a mover, Myers has a lot of hustle, and he has flashes of surprisingly nimble lateral movement. He’s not the best athlete, but he can get to the second level, and he’s always actively looking for other players to negate from the play.
What are the issues with Josh Myers?
As solid as Myers has been for the Buckeyes, his developmental potential might be capped or close to it. Myers’ athleticism leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to short-range burst and recovery balance. As a pass blocker, Myers is good in his zone, but when he needs to cover ground to help out struggling guards, he doesn’t have the explosiveness to get it done on a regular basis.
Additionally, because Myers lacks the closing burst to make those help blocks consistently, he often lurches forward and reaches past his center of gravity as a pass blocker, losing balance in the process. Myers is a lot better as a mover and a finisher when he has space to gear up on running plays, but even then, he’s not very rangy or dynamic with his blocks. Luckily for Myers, a lot of pass blocking happens in close quarters, but when the play spreads out, that’s when Myers’ limitations show up clearly.
Can Myers be a starter in the NFL?
Even with his limitations, I think Myers can be a decent starter in the NFL if he continues to refine his technical skills. He likely won’t ever be an All-Pro or even a top starter. However, Myers has some utility as a congestion blocker who has the length, adequate power, and work mentality to always stay active, even if his traits prevent him from making some range-oriented plays.
I don’t think staying in school would help Myers much. As mentioned earlier, his athletic upside is limited, so there isn’t much room for him to keep growing at the college football level.
Luckily for Myers, he has enough hustle and stride length to cover ground as a puller, and he can also get to the second level efficiently enough. For interior linemen especially, top-tier athleticism isn’t as important. It certainly helps separate the best centers from the rest, but a center can have a long career by simply being strong, leveraged, urgent, and alert. Myers brings those traits well enough. And if he doesn’t start, he backed up Michael Jordan at guard in 2018, so he has some interior versatility as well.
Josh Myers’ best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Myers isn’t the best center in the 2021 NFL Draft. Had Tyler Linderbaum declared, Myers wouldn’t be the second-best, either. Nevertheless, Myers has enough in his tool chest to be an adequate starter in various schemes out of the gate. Although he might never rise far past that point, plenty of teams have capital to spend for mere competence on the interior offensive line.
Myers’ traits pinpoint him as an early-to-mid Day 3 prospect. However, given the lack of depth at the center position, as well as Myers’ strong starting track record, and it’s not out of the question that he could sneak into Round 3. Even if he doesn’t have a great deal of upside, he has a relatively high floor in comparison to the rest of the center class.
Which teams could use Josh Myers on the interior?
Any team with a need at center could consider Josh Myers if they want to wait on picking a center. Furthermore, he could also be solid depth and rotational security for teams with volatile starting situations. The Ohio State center would be a good mid-round pick for teams like the Ravens, Rams, Dolphins, and Steelers. However, his universal utility on the interior makes him an appealing prospect in that range for others as well.
The offensive line is important. By extension, careful and consistent maintenance of that line is just as important. Josh Myers is a good pick for teams looking to perform that maintenance. He can adequately start at center while also providing depth along the interior.