NFL teams often look to the Power Five conferences for top offensive line talent. That’s not to say that high-level offensive line talent can’t come from other places, but leagues like the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Big 12, are essentially hotbeds for NFL development. These conferences are where top recruits can clash in the trenches and hone their skills. Penn State center and 2021 NFL Draft prospect Michal Menet benefits from the Big Ten’s ingrained status. However, does he have the skillset to deliver on that pedigree at the professional level?
Michal Menet NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Center
- School: Penn State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 306 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Michal Menet Scouting Report
Positives: Strong, fundamentally sound blocker with an underrated game. Smart, displays outstanding awareness and does a great job quarterbacking the offensive line. Keeps his head on a swivel, works well with linemates, and plays nasty football.
Explosive at the point, squares into opponents, and blocks with terrific pad level. Fires off the snap, adjusts to defenders, and quickly gets out to the second level. Jolts opponents with an explosive hand punch and anchors at the point.
Negatives: Doesn’t get much movement run blocking. Often seems as though he needs a running start.
Analysis: Menet was a productive three-year starter for Penn State and projects well at the next level as a zone-blocking center. He possesses a good amount of upside, and I foresee Menet as a long-time starter in the NFL in the proper system.
Michal Menet Player Profile
One’s prestige as a high school recruit has a way of sticking with them all the way through to the NFL. A player’s high school recruiting status sometimes alludes to innate natural talent. If nothing else, Penn State center Michal Menet has this working in his favor. Menet isn’t a household name, as he takes his talents to the NFL Draft this coming spring. Nevertheless, he was one of the best overall prospects in the 2016 recruiting class.
Rated as a four-star recruit in 2016, Menet was the second-best guard in the nation on ESPN’s board. He was also the second-best overall player from Pennsylvania, hailing from the town of Reading. Ranked as the 58th overall player in the class, Menet had offers from high-caliber programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State, among two dozen others.
All of these schools offered Menet development as a potential NFL prospect. Yet, Menet chose to stay in-state and further his football career with Penn State.
Michal Menet’s career as a Penn State center
Coming in as a two-time high school captain and a top-rated recruit, hopes were high that Menet would soon become a fixture on Penn State’s offensive line. However, joining Penn State would require a bit of a transition for Menet, who came in at just 280 pounds from high school. He redshirted his first season and came back in 2017 with aspirations to start.
Menet’s starting opportunity would have to wait for another year, however. In 2017, he was more of a rotational lineman, providing help on the interior. As a redshirt sophomore in 2018, he finally rose to the top of the lineup and shifted from guard to center. There, Menet started 12 games, helping to fuel a rushing attack led by Miles Sanders.
In 2019, Menet reprised his role as the starting center, now starting 13 games, and earning All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition in the process. He was also named a captain by his teammates, emphasizing his leadership abilities.
Menet’s 2020 season at Penn State
Although the 2020 season was a disappointment for the Penn State program as a whole, Menet maintained his steady level of play. He started nine more games at center, bringing his career total to 34 games. In the process, Menet earned third-team All-Big Ten honors, and he solidified his budding draft profile.
After closing out his career and accepting a Senior Bowl invite, it was time for Menet to move on to his next step. After his redshirt senior season, Menet officially set course for the 2021 NFL Draft. Although he accepted a Senior Bowl invite, he did not appear on the field during the week-long showcase.
Analyzing Michal Menet’s NFL Draft profile
Given the relatively little amount of buzz he’s received so far this draft cycle, Michal Menet has a surprising amount of utility as an NFL Draft prospect. He doesn’t quite have the name recognition as some of the top centers in the class. However, relative to his respective range, there are some things to like about Menet.
Menet brings serviceable size at 6-foot-4, 306 pounds. He’s not a very lengthy player, but his stout, wide-based frame allows him to play with good leverage and poise. That leverage and poise constitutes a key building block of Menet’s game.
The Penn State center always appears calm and composed at the apex of the line. On run blocking reps, he has enough strength and anchor to generate movement, and he does a good job of staying assignment-sound. He can effectively trap linemen and clear open running lanes on the interior. Meanwhile, as a pass blocker, Menet puts to use methodical hands and patience to handle interior rushers.
Fundamentally, Menet is pleasantly consistent. He’s not going to dominate at the center position, but more often than not, you know what you’re going to get. He brings some modest security. The big question is, how does that translate to the NFL?
What are the potential concerns with Michal Menet?
The concerns with Menet primarily revolve around his upside. The Penn State center has a relatively high NFL floor, compared to other collegiate interior linemen. However, he also has a relatively low ceiling.
His size parameters are a bit under the benchmarks for NFL centers. Yet, he’s only a decent athlete at best. Menet doesn’t have great mobility in open space, and his recovery athleticism on the interior is not as beneficial as desired.
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Additionally, while Menet has experience and good leverage on the offensive line, he doesn’t quite have the natural power necessary to fend off more powerful rushers. On reps where Menet was faced with opposing power and explosiveness, he was moved back with relative ease.
Even with a strong base and composed hand placement, Menet struggled to hold his ground against superior athletes. Without above-average length or explosive power, he struggled in those situations. Given that he’ll face many superior athletes in the NFL, this doesn’t bode well for Menet. That is unless he can continue to get stronger.
Michal Menet’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Menet is a three-year starter at the Big Ten level. From that status alone, many of his primary traits precipitate. He has solid fundamentals, and he knows how to play above his physical skill set. The Penn State center also shows off an occasional mauler mentality on his reps. Again, his limited physical pallet dilutes his projection, but Menet has enough strength and leverage to be a solid interior depth piece.
Pro Football Network Senior Draft Analyst Tony Pauline took it one step further in his Week 15 Risers and Sliders piece, saying that Menet, with his intangible traits, has starting potential in the NFL.
“Menet is one of the best-kept secrets at the center position, and he draws rave reviews in the scouting community. He’s a tough, consistent blocker who plays with terrific technique and intensity. And while Menet may not blow anyone away with eye-popping numbers at the combine or pro day workouts, scouts believe he’s a scheme-versatile blocker with starting potential on Sundays. He’s a big riser in this Week 15 NFL draft stock report.”
Where will Menet go off the board?
As an NFL Draft prospect, Michal Menet is a mixed bag. However, because the 2021 NFL Draft is relatively thin at center, Menet could see his stock improve organically. Beyond Creed Humphrey, Landon Dickerson, and Quinn Meinerz, there isn’t much high-upside talent at the position. If some teams view Menet as a player with starting potential, as Pauline’s earlier report implies, he could be a safe Day 3 pick.
From my evaluation, however, Menet looks more like a mid-to-late Day 3 pick, erring on the late side. He’ll have to surprise at his pro day on March 25th if he wants to shed doubts surrounding his athleticism. Furthermore, Menet will have to become more consistently proactive as a blocker if he’s going to start on Sundays.
Nevertheless, because the NFL values experience and pedigree, Menet has a chance to earn an opportunity. If he can keep refining his core competency — his technique and physicality — he could potentially provide greater returns. However, as it stands, he already has some projected value as a nice depth piece with spot-starting ability.
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