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Top 10 Interior Offensive Linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft: Tyler Linderbaum takes center stage

Who are the top 10 interior offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft? As we put together a new consensus big board, we revisit that question.

Offensive line play is often overlooked and underrated when discussing success in the NFL. However, finding that crucial cog to provide long-term line stability is as important as finding the next playmaker. With that in mind, who are the top interior offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Top 10 Interior Offensive Linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft | 6-10

These would be the top 10 interior offensive linemen if the 2022 NFL Draft took place today.

10) Ricky Stromberg, C, Arkansas

Under head coach Sam Pittman, Arkansas is becoming one of the most solid programs in college football. Although they came up short against Georgia, Auburn, and Ole Miss, their early-season wins over the two premier teams in Texas prove they’re no longer the laughing stock of the SEC. Furthermore, the Razorbacks are set to become a significant provider of talent to the NFL. Arkansas has several potential prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

One of them is center Ricky Stromberg, who sneaks into our top interior offensive linemen list in the 2022 NFL Draft. At 6’4″ and 310 pounds, Stromberg is a well-put-together center who combines strength, athleticism, and football intelligence to be an integral part of the Razorbacks’ offensive line.

The Arkansas center is physically imposing, bullying the opposition at the point of attack. While he possesses a solid anchor in pass protection, Stromberg does his best work in the ground game.

9) Lecitus Smith, G, Virginia Tech

Just as Virginia Tech has had a roller coaster of a season, the same can be said for their offensive lineman Lecitus Smith. As the Hokies shocked North Carolina to open the 2021 college season, Smith was a dominant force for an offensive line that tore open huge holes for the offense to operate in.

Not every game since has been seamless, however. Nevertheless, Smith still figures to be one of the top interior offensive linemen in this 2022 NFL Draft class. The 320-pound guard carries his weight exceptionally well, considering he’s ballooned from a 250-pound high school tight end over the last few years.

As a result, he flashes impressive movement and athletic attributes. As such, he shouldn’t simply be pigeonholed as a power blocker. That said, his strength and mauler mentality make him as aggressive as they come on the interior offensive line. In his scouting report on Smith, Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Ian Cummings mentioned that his apparent below-average length could be a stumbling block to his 2022 NFL Draft stock.

8) Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College

Hailing from prestigious family heritage on the offensive line, you could almost expect that Alec Lindstrom would become one of the top interior offensive linemen in the 2022 class. However, family reputation is for naught if you don’t have the skills to pay the bills. Thankfully for Lindstrom and a Boston College program with a similar OL heritage, he indeed is blessed with NFL ability.

As you’d expect from someone with his lineage, Lindstrom displays impressive football intelligence. He’s responsible for making pre-snap adjustments and routinely keeps his head on a swivel looking for work.

The Boston College center plays the game with good hand placement and timing. Furthermore, he displays smooth footwork as a run blocker. While he isn’t the most significant player in our top 10 interior offensive linemen of the 2022 NFL Draft, Lindstrom still plays with competitive toughness. Still, he’ll need to continue to build strength to be consistently successful at the NFL level.

7) Ed Ingram, G, LSU

If you’re an NFL team looking to inject life into your ground game, then LSU guard Ed Ingram might be your man. As Tyrion Davis-Price grabbed the headlines with a 287-yard, 3-touchdown rushing performance against Florida, it was Ingram who was out there clearing lanes for Davis-Price to burst through.

Ingram is an absolute monster on the interior. While he might not be the most athletically gifted offensive lineman in the class, he’s technically sound while possessing impressive power and punch timing. Ingram also reacts well to any challenges thrown at him by opposing defenses.

With size, length, and technical ability, Ingram lands as a top-100 overall player in addition to his standing as one of the top interior offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft class. There are some off-field red flags to consider, but he should be residing on an NFL roster next summer on talent alone.

6) Alex Forsyth, C, Oregon

An early-season riser in the 2022 NFL Draft class, Alex Forsyth wasn’t on our original rankings of the top interior offensive linemen before the season. Nevertheless, the Oregon center is currently the 70th overall player and third-ranked center on our consensus big board.

At 6’4″ and 305 pounds, Forsyth has the size to be dominant at the pivot. He also has the strength to be successful. Furthermore, Forsyth routinely wins with a polished technical game. That includes consistently correct hand placement, excellent body control, and awareness regardless of whether he is tasked with pass protection or run blocking.

Forsyth’s ability to transform a game with mental and physical domination is best seen from the win over Ohio State. Despite the Buckeyes possessing players on our top defensive end and interior defensive linemen listings, the Oregon center helped nullify their pass-rush threat while carving open holes for the Ducks’ ground game.

Top 10 Interior Offensive Linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft | 1-5

Who are the top five interior offensive linemen with just six months until the 2022 NFL Draft?

5) Zion Johnson, G, Boston College

Boston College earned some early-season recognition as one of the best offensive lines in the nation. With two players inside our top 10 interior offensive linemen, it’s not hard to see why. While teammate Lindstrom sneaks in at No. 8, Zion Johnson is firmly entrenched as a top-100 overall talent and fifth-best player on the interior.

Despite receiving All-Conference honors at left tackle last season, Johnson has returned to his natural position of guard. And he’s excelled. At 6’3″, Johnson falls a little short of the NFL’s requisite tackle size. Still, he utilizes his strength, understanding of leverage, and impressive hand placement to dominate the interior.

On his summer scouting report, I wrote that Johnson needed to showcase more football intelligence. So far this season, he has showcased an ability to read and react to the game better. There have been multiple examples of him disrupting the game by simply responding more quickly to a situation than previously shown.

4) Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame

After being a high school OT prospect, Jarrett Patterson transferred to center as a redshirt freshman for Notre Dame. Since then, he’s developed into one of the best at the position.

Highly regarded among an impressive Fighting Irish offensive line, Patterson could have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Yet, in a boost for Notre Dame and his draft potential, Patterson returned to the Fighting Irish for one final season.

As a result, he’s solidifying his stock as one of the top interior offensive line prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. He’s been one of the bright spots for a line that has seen an understandable downturn, given the upheaval sustained from last season.

Patterson is a technician at the position. What do we mean by that? Well, he plays with low pad level, has active feet and hands, and keeps his eyes up and his head on a swivel. The Notre Dame center also has alluring physical traits. He’s explosive out of his stance, possesses a strong base, and has impressive lateral agility.

3) Ikem Ekwonu, G, North Carolina State

NC State offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu is the epitome of a sheep in wolf’s clothing. On the outside, he lulls you in with a smiling demeanor astride his bespectacled face. On the inside (or rather on the football field), he’s a violent menace who takes pride and satisfaction in destroying whoever has the misfortune to be in his path.

While he’s played offensive tackle for NC State this season, I firmly believe his future is inside. He has the makings of an elite guard prospect. And that is why he features on our top offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Ekwonu brings wrestling experience to the interior, allowing him to win with leverage. Despite this, he has enough sheer strength to win with power alone.

Although we’ve placed him inside, Ekwonu has improved his pass protection as a tackle. With a vicious, powerful punch in pass protection and the ability to react with athleticism, Ekwonu is rounding out nicely as a 2022 NFL Draft prospect.

2) Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M

Like Ekwonu, Kenyon Green has flirted with the OT position this season. He has played at various spots across the line for Texas A&M this season. While this positional versatility will add value to his draft stock, the NFL should view Green as one of the top interior offensive line prospects in 2022.

His scouting report at the guard position oozes excellence. Green plays from an exceptional stance. He also routinely maintains a low pad level throughout the play and manipulates his opponent with handwork, leverage, and strength.

The Texas A&M star plays the game with violence and athleticism. He exhibits an anchor that would be strong enough to root a cruise liner to the floor of the ocean. Furthermore, he plays the game with intelligence. That said, there have been some examples this season where he needs to play with a little more control. 

1) Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa

The college football world has looked on in surprise as Iowa emerged as one of the best teams in the nation early in the season. What comes as no surprise, however, is the performance of center Tyler Linderbaum. The redshirt junior was our top-rated player at the pivot prior to the season.

Yet, he’s elevated himself to the summit of the entire OL as our top interior offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft. All three of our draft analysts have a top-25 overall designation for Linderbaum. Two of the three have him ranked as a top-10 overall player in the class. 

The ascension is remarkable for a player who is relatively inexperienced and somewhat undersized at the position. And yet, Linderbaum’s play belies his experience. Furthermore, his understanding of leverage allows him to play well above his 289-pound listed weight. He’s strong, reliable as a snapper, and as athletic as any lineman in the class. 

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter @ojhodgkinson.

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