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Top 9 interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft

Who are the top interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft per the Pro Football Network consensus rankings? Let’s break it down.

Top 9 interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft
Dec 7, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner center Creed Humphrey (56) prepares to snap the ball against the Baylor Bears in the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In anticipation of the 2021 NFL Draft, the analysts at Pro Football Network have pooled our rankings to create our Top 300 Consensus Board. Using this 2021 board as our guide, here are our consensus top nine interior offensive linemen in this year’s NFL Draft.

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Top interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft | 5-9

Interior offensive linemen do not get the credit they deserve often, so let’s give it to them here.

9) Kendrick Green, OG/OC, Illinois

Taking our first spot, Kendrick Green has been a late riser in this interior offensive line group. Green became the first Illinois offensive lineman to earn first-team All-Big 10 honors since Martin O’Donnell in 2007. He has plenty of variance on the PFN consensus board, with his highest ranking being 75th and his lowest being 178th. What all of our analysts could agree on were Green’s explosiveness and versatility.

Green primarily played at guard while at Illinois but moonlighted for four games at center and handled the adjustment with poise. Having an interior o-lineman who can play both guard and center at a high level is rare.

Green posted an elite 4.89 40-yard dash and a 35.5 vertical jump, along with a 9’11” broad jump. His explosiveness and versatility were big reasons why he made our list, and Green projects as an immediate starter in the NFL as a center in a zone scheme.

8) Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame

As surprising as this draft cycle has been, a Notre Dame offensive lineman making this list is a refreshing mainstay. A high school offensive tackle, Aaron Banks converted to guard for the Fighting Irish. Banks was a three-year starter for Notre Dame, excelling at left guard. He capped off his career with a first-team All-American appearance in 2020, helping anchor a Notre Dame OL that helped propel them into the College Football Playoffs.

Banks classified fairly consistently among our analysts, with a ceiling of 99 and a floor of 168. However, he hovered from 99-130 for most of our analysts. Banks is a massive guard at 6’5″, 325 pounds, and uses that bulk and power well. He isn’t the smoothest mover on the football field, but Banks pulling is a nightmare for any linebackers and safeties caught in his path.

7) Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama

Affectionately nicknamed “Cornbread,” Deonte Brown‘s hulking frame and build have been the cause of wonder for many draft analysts. He measured in at Alabama’s Pro Day at an astounding 6’3″ and 344 pounds, twenty pounds less from his time at the Senior Bowl.

Our analysts are fairly high on the Alabama guard, except for Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline. Brown earned rankings of 48, 70, 66, 51, and 286 on the consensus board. For the most part, we believe the third round is where Brown should be selected.

He is a nasty mauler to line up across. What’s surprising is how well-coordinated Brown is for his size. He isn’t a smooth mover in space, as one would expect from a player of his physique, but he bends and leverages well at the line of scrimmage. In a power-run scheme such as Baltimore’s, Brown would fit right at home.

6) Quinn Meinerz, OC, Wisconsin-Whitewater

What a draft season for Quinn Meinerz. From a little-known DIII guard to Senior Bowl superstar, Meinerz’s draft coverage has skyrocketed. He was a late invitee to Mobile but took full advantage of his opportunity. Meinerz converted over to center for the Senior Bowl and hasn’t looked back. The Wisconsin-Whitewater product has graded out reasonably well for the PFN crew. He’s consistently drawing a third-round grade, ranging from 78 to 101.

Meinerz plays like a junkyard dog on the football field, preferring to put defensive tackles into the turf instead of simply moving them. He has room to grow as a center, but his meteoric rise up draft boards leads us to the belief that Meinerz is just scratching the surface of his potential.

5) Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama

Landon Dickerson surprisingly comes in at No. 5 on this list of the top interior offensive linemen in 2021. I gave him the highest grade by far, placing Dickerson 13th overall on my board, but that wasn’t enough to swing him higher on this list. There are not many negatives on Dickerson’s tape. The biggest concern the PFN analysts see with Dickerson is his frequent injuries.

His tape at Alabama was incredibly impressive, culminating in a unanimous All-American spot in 2020 and the Rimington Trophy for the top center in college football. Powerful, intelligent, technical, and athletic are all words used to describe Dickerson’s game. However, his durability is a massive red flag. He endured two ACL tears and two ankle injuries in his collegiate career, a history that is tough to overlook.

Top interior offensive linemen in the 2021 NFL Draft | 1-4

Dickerson may be surprisingly low on our top interior offensive lineman in the class, but will there be any more surprises in the top four?

4) Josh Myers, OC, Ohio State

At the No. 4 spot and the second-highest center on this list of top interior offensive linemen in 2021 is Josh Myers. Myers is rated consistently by the PFN team with a range of 45 to 94. That puts Myers consistently in the Day 2 conversation from mid-Round 2 to Round 3.

Myers doesn’t have the same buzz that Creed Humphrey, Dickerson, and Meinerz receive, but he’s a well-rounded and consistent center. It is not hard to envision him excelling in the NFL. While Myers doesn’t blow scouts away with athleticism, toughness, IQ, and power project well as a starting-caliber center.

3) Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee

Trey Smith has been a polarizing draft prospect, but PFN analysts are still high on his ability at the next level. Smith enjoyed a pretty consistent rating, with most of our analysts placing him in the 40s on their draft boards.

Smith is one of the most powerful maulers in this draft class with the frame, physicality, and jarring punches to flat out dominate defenders. He has to clean up overall sloppiness with his footwork in pass protection and will probably need to continue to shape his body. Still, Smith brings toughness and a dominating mentality to any offensive line. His medicals will also need to be checked and thoroughly evaluated.

2) Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State

A former five-star recruit from California, Wyatt Davis committed to the Buckeyes and cashed in on that commitment. Davis earned back-to-back first-team All-American honors in 2019 and 2020 due to his play on the field. He hovered around an early second-round selection on the PFN consensus board, ranging from 24 to 40.

Davis can get into trouble by being too grabby, but his strength at the point of attack is otherworldly. When he gets his hands on an opposing defender, Davis immediately looks to put his man in the dirt and frequently succeeds. He will have to nail down his technique and consistency to help overcome his slight frame, but he checks off plenty of boxes to be a quality guard in the pros.

1) Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma

To no one’s surprise, the kid from Norman is the #1 interior offensive lineman on the PFN consensus board. Humphrey comfortably ranked in the first round to early second round among our analysts, with a board range of 18 to 35. He has been highly regarded since he anchored the Joe Moore Award-winning Oklahoma offensive line as a redshirt freshman.

Humphrey proved to be an elite and innovative technician who projects to start right away as a center on tape. Nonetheless, there were concerns about his athletic ability.

It’s safe to say he answered those questions at the Oklahoma Pro Day, posting a perfect Relative Atheltic Score of 10 — the highest testing grade by a center in the RAS database. None of the analysts at PFN are concerned about Humphrey, and he should be an exceptional NFL center for years to come.

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