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2021 NFL draft prospects: Interior Big Ten blockers dominate

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Roar Guru
2nd June, 2020
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My preview of the top 2020-21 college football prospects continues today with a look at the interior offensive line prospects.

Wyatt Davis, guard – red-shirt junior, Ohio State – 6’4’’, 315 pounds
He spurned the chance to enter the NFL as a third-year sophomore and will return in 2020 as the best player on one of college football’s most talented offensive lines. He played in all 14 games as a red-shirt freshman in 2018 before starting all 14 at right guard last season. Davis was one of just three Power Five guards to log at least 400 pass-block reps and not allow a single sack or hit, while earning an 82.6 overall grade that ranked second among all qualifying guards. Davis helped pave the way for a Buckeyes offence that finished fifth in the country in rushing offence (266.7 yard per game) and fourth in total offence (529.9 yards per game). Davis will return as one of the most important players for a team with genuine hopes of a national championship.

Creed Humphrey, centre – red-shirt junior, Oklahoma – 6’5’’, 315 pounds
He has been considered the top centre prospect in college football for a couple of seasons. He started 12 games as the fulcrum of the Sooners’ Joe Moore winning offensive line in his red-shirt freshman year in 2018. He started all 14 games at centre in 2019 while registering 93 knockdowns and without allowing a sack in 799 snaps. Humphrey was one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy (the USA’s top centre) and was named second-team All American by the Associated Press in 2019. Like so many interior linemen, Humphrey has a wrestling background that is evident when watching the man mountain uproot defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. Humphrey has all the hallmarks of someone with a long and prosperous career at centre in the NFL ahead of him.

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Trey Smith, guard – senior, Tennessee – 6’6’’, 335 pounds
This is the inspirational story of a player who had half the 2018 season wiped out due to blood clots diagnosed in his lungs. He started at left tackle as a true freshman in 2017, becoming the first Tennessee player in 30 years to do so. He was forced to finish 2018 prematurely with that blood clot diagnosis, however triumphantly returned in 2019 to start in all bar one game at left guard. He has played in 32 games for the Volunteers and is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country. He has shown flexibility playing both positions on the left side of the line, though will likely settle at guard in the pros. His raw power and strength is incredible and he has a ready-to-go physique for the NFL.

Josh Myers, centre – red-shirt junior, Ohio State – 6’5’’, 312 pounds
He only cemented his position as a starter up front for the Buckeyes last season despite being a third-year sophomore. He quickly developed into one of the United States’ most revered centres, playing 951 offensive snaps (the second most on the team) and was rewarded with a second-team All Big Ten selection by the media. Myers also played a key role in leading the way for Ohio State’s first ever 2000-yard running back in JK Dobbins in 2019. Myers’ nastiness and strength in the run game as well as his sound technique and athleticism in pass protection justifies his standing as one of the rising interior offensive linemen to watch this season. It’s not completely out of the realms of possibility the Buckeyes could have Myers, Davis and left tackle Thayer Munford all selected in Round 1 next April.

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Tyler Linderbaum, centre – red-shirt sophomore, Iowa – 6’3’’, 286 pounds
He is an interesting offensive line prospect who only moved from the defensive to offensive line at the end of the 2018 season. Linderbaum went on to start all 13 games at centre in 2019, becoming the first freshman to do so since Rafael Eubanks in 2006, before being named an honorable mention All Big Ten by coaches and media. The list of players who have thrived after switching positions under Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is a sizeable one, and Linderbaum looks to be the next cab off the rank. After being flanked by 2020 first-round selection Tristan Wirfs to his right and likely 2021 draftee Alaric Jackson to his left, it will be Linderbaum who will again anchor one of college football’s most perennially respected offensive lines in 2020.

Other players to watch are Alabama guard Deonte Brown, Tennessee guard Cade Mays, Georgia centre Trey Hill and USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

The best non-draft-eligible player to watch is Texas A and M guard Kenyon Green.