NFL Draft Guard, Center Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft Guard, Center Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective

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NFL Draft Guard, Center Rankings 2022: From The College Perspective

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Who are the offensive guards and centers who’ll matter in the 2022 NFL Draft, and what’s the college perspective on all of the top prospects?


2022 NFL Draft Offensive Guard & Center Rankings

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The guards and centers are among the glamour guys this year.

There are a few worth of first round consideration along with a whole lot of starter value somewhere in the top 100. Even better are the centers, with the versatility to be worked around in a few different spots if needed.

From the college perspective, here are the best offensive guard and center prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, Analysis
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OTsLatest Mock Draft

15
Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma

Size: 6-5, 318

The Good: Bulky, but still tall and with great frame, he moves just fine and is great at mashing and mauling. Extremely strong and able to be the one to work behind for the hard yard, he’s got the NFL bulk.

The Not-So-Good: It’s going to be way overblown, but he doesn’t really have the right look for an NFL guard. He’s not really a gigantic bulldozer-looking type for the interior, and he’s been able to get away with brute strength as a college star.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s work to do, and it’s possible a team is going to have to be a bit patient as they work out a whole slew of fundamental kinks, but he’s got the size, the tools, and the ability to hang around as right guard for a long time.

NFL Draft Projection: Fifth Round

14
Ed Ingram, LSU

Size: 6-3, 307

The Good: In a draft full of blasting run blocking guards, he’s the big, barrel-chested pass blocker. He’s strong enough to be solid for the run, but it’s his good frame and quickness against the good interior pass rushers that takes his stock up a few notches.

The Not-So-Good: The consistency isn’t there. He’s been great, but he went from looking like a must-have, sure-thing NFL starter to being a little bit questionable. It comes from the run blocking – he can do it, but he’s not the crusher he probably should be.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s an interesting call because he’s a true tweener. He’s not quite athletic enough to be an elite pass protector, and he’s not consistent enough or bulky enough to be a blaster. Don’t get too worried about it – he’s more than fine at a high level starter.

NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round

13
Jamaree Salyer, Georgia (OT)

Size: 6-3, 321

The Good: You want a thick, bulky, versatile guard who has seen it all? Here you go. No, he isn’t going to be anything but a guard at the next level – he worked at tackle at times at Georgia – but he’s been able to succeed at against the best of the best. He’ll have to change up his game a bit, but the power will be there to be a killer of a run blocking guard with a little bit of work.

The Not-So-Good: The athleticism isn’t quite there. The versatility is good, but he’s going to have to quickly find his role inside if someone thinks he could be a tackle. There’s nothing smooth or fluid about his style – he might not be for everyone, especially a team that wants to get on the move with an up-tempo attack.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There are two ways to look at him. His versatility is a plus for some teams – he’ll find a spot somewhere – but on the flip side, he’s going to have to settle into a role at guard and perfect his craft. As a guard, he’ll be the rare late round find who’ll end up starting.

NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round

12
Cameron Jurgens, Nebraska (C)

Size: 6-3, 303

The Good: He might not be all that big or next level strong, but he’s extremely quick and athletic enough to be a different type of center for a team that needs to move in a hurry. He’s a capable enough run blocker, but …

The Not-So-Good: He’s going to get beaten up and engulfed by the bigger interior linemen. If you need someone to wall off his man in a zone-blocking scheme, he could work out great. If you need him to blast away, that could be a problem.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s not going to be for everyone. He’s not going to be as big and physical as some might want, but he’s a great leader with experience, quickness, and the ability to find a home right away.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

11
Zach Tom, Wake Forest (C, OT)


Size: 6-4, 304

The Good: A great all-around interior blocker, he might not have the bulk or the blast, but he’s got everything else you’d want in an NFL center. Start with the Wake Forest aspect – he knows what he’s doing as a smart quarterback for a line. He’s tall, athletic, has a great frame and the feet to be used anywhere on the line.

The Not-So-Good: He might not be quite what you want for a power game. He’s missing the mass that some might like, and more of a technician than a blaster who’ll move around a 325-pound interior lineman. Depending on where he plays – and for who – he might have to bulk up a whole lot.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s a case to be made that he’s the only lineman in the draft who could be tried out at any of the five positions depending on the scheme. He’s going to be a good center for a long, long time, but his versatility makes him a must get after the third round.

NFL Draft Projection: Fourth Round

10
Luke Fortner, Kentucky (C)


Size: 6-4, 307

The Good: Look past the negatives, put him in the middle of your line, and go. He’s got good size and the leadership ability to instantly take over and make the front five his own. While he might need to be surrounded by bulkier blockers – or athletes – he’ll be the director of it all. There’s nothing about him that stands out at the highest level, but he’s got a quiet game – you’re not going to see too many bad things happening from the interior.

The Not-So-Good: Yeah … there’s nothing that stands out about him at the highest level, other than his locker room presences as a leader. He’s not all that bulky, he’s not the quickest of athletes, and he’s probably going to have to add at least 15 pounds of good weight.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Nah, he’s not going to be a Pro Bowl superstar, and you’re going to need stars who can take over for the ground game, but he’s a ten-year quarterback for a front five and the leader everyone will follow. Throw in his potential to work a bit at guard, and he’s a find just after the top 100.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

9
Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan

Size: 6-5, 312

The Good: An athletic guard who worked incredibly hard to add the good weight needed, he moves great and brings the strength to go along with it. While he’s not bulky, he generates a great push and will be terrific as a pass blocker against the smaller, quicker guys.

The Not-So-Good: While he’s big enough, he’s lacking that massive power from the more natural giants up front. It’s good that he added all the weight and kept his quickness, but he’s missing that giant-sized part to what NFL guards need to do. A bit of a tweener, he’s not really a next-level tackle for a guard with his skills.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Don’t be totally shocked if he turns out to be one of the best value picks in the draft. He’ll go in the third round, but no one will bring more fight or energy to an offensive front. He’ll make up for his lack of all-around NFL guard measurables by simply producing.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

8
Sean Rhyan UCLA (OT)


Size: 6-5, 321

The Good: A solid, versatile all-around option who might start out at right tackle but should end up playing at guard, he’s got the right size, the right bulk, and the experience to be ready right away. While he’s not a devastating people mover for the run game, he doesn’t need a whole lot of technique-tweaking no matter where he starts.

The Not-So-Good: A true tweener, he’s not quite quick enough and not quite strong enough in pass protection to be a top NFL tackle – no, you don’t want him at left tackle – and he’s not a tough guy’s tough guy at guard … yet. There’s going to be an adjustment period before he settles into his role.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: One of the biggest problems at UCLA over the years was an offensive line that just couldn’t seem to get fixed. The emergence of Rhyan in the Chip Kelly era was a huge part of the turnaround. Someone will have a set idea for him, but it’ll be his versatility that should see him sneak into the middle part of the third round.

7
Cole Strange, UT Chattanooga

Size: 6-5, 307

The Good: Yeah, he played at the lower level, but he was great in the scouting process, proved he has the skills and measurables, and he’s always going to bring the full motor every time out to come up with a block. He’s got the dog in him coaches are going to want.

The Not-So-Good: There’s not enough mass. It was work to get him up to his current weight and there’s not a whole lot of area to get much larger. He’s strong, but can he push around the next level massive bodies on the inside? He’ll get after it, but want-to might not be enough.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: There’s going to be a starting spot for him in the interior of a line – and it could be at center. Very quick with the feet to get on the move – and enough power to match – he’ll go just outside of the second round as a starter at one guard.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

6
Dylan Parham, Memphis


Size: 6-3, 311

The Good: There’s a whole lot to like. He might not have the perfect frame, but he’s got good bulk, he’s ultra-athletic for what you need him for, and he’s been through the wars as a longtime main man for the Memphis offensive front. Don’t get caught up in his lack of length – it just isn’t a big deal considering he’s going to shove around anyone in front of him.

The Not-So-Good: Just okay in pass protection, he has the upside and potential to improve, but it’s going to need a little work. He gets leverage with his size, but he’s not a pancake blocker who’ll flatten an NFL defensive tackle. For good and for bad, he’s more of a technician than a tough guy.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Welcome to the over-analysis of the NFL scouting world. Throughout the process the worry was about his size and length, but seriously, being 6-3 instead of 6-4ish and taller isn’t going to make a lick of difference. He’ll step in, start right away, and he’ll work at either hole you have at guard.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

5
Logan Bruss, Wisconsin

Size: 6-5, 309

The Good: Good size, good frame, and for a Badger interior offensive lineman, he’s more mobile and effective on the move rather than simply come in as a mauler. On the flip side, he’s not necessarily going to flatten anyone – he’s a fabulous technician who get even stronger as a pass protector.

The Not-So-Good: Does he have the mass you want? You don’t want him to add too much bulk – if any – because you don’t want to mess around at all with his quickness and athleticism. He’s not quite quick enough to be a right tackle at the next level, and again, he’s not quite bulky enough to be a sure thing at guard, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: He’s an experienced, versatile, high-end Wisconsin offensive lineman. You know what you’re going to get. While he might be missing all the highest-end tools to slide into the second round, he should be a must-have as a sure-thing starter coming at the back end of the top 100.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

4
Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (OT)

Size: 6-5, 322

The Good: HUGE tackle who’ll end up at guard at the next level, he looks and plays like you want your NFL interior lineman to be. No, he’s not an NFL tackle, but he proved he could handle himself on the outside at the SEC level, and he’s not quite as bad an athlete as you might think considering his game Is about strength and power. However …

The Not-So-Good: He’ll have to adapt and adjust his game. The toughness and strength at tackle will certainly translate to working more on the inside, but it’ll take a little bit to get there. He wasn’t exactly a textbook technique guy at tackle, and there’s going to be a huge learning curve to be a big-time starter at guard.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: You can work with him. The issues and concerns and style are all coachable, but 6-5, 322 pounds with his desire and toughness are hard to find. He’ll slide a bit because he’s still mostly a projection for a guard spot, but he’ll be a nice pick in the middle of the third or possibly the late second.

NFL Draft Projection: Third Round

3
Zion Johnson, Boston College

Size: 6-3, 312

The Good: Already a top 50 prospect, he got into the pre-draft circuit and made himself a whole lot to money. He might not be the quickest guy around, but you get him across from his guy and destructive things happen. There’s not a lot of subtlety to what he does – he’s special-strong, and it shows.

The Not-So-Good: The athleticism isn’t quite there. In a strange way that’s not the worst thing in the world. Some guards in this draft can move, but they can’t bash. Johnson can move – he’s more explosive than quick – but he’s not going to exactly what some teams are going to want. Pass protection against the elite interior rushers will be a concern.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: If he’s not the No. 1 guard off the board, he’s going to quickly be second. A leader and tough guy, he looks like you want an NFL guard to be. Nah, he’s not going to kick out to tackle, and nah, he’s not going to go blazing down the field, but he’s 1/5th of your starting offensive front for a long, long time.

NFL Draft Projection: First Round

2
Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (C)


Size: 6-2, 296

The Good: He’s going to have to be in the right system, but he’s a technician’s technician in the interior. There’s no off switch on what he does as a leader for a line and when it comes to finishing a block. Size is an issue, but he makes up for his lack of mass with otherworldly strength to make up for it.

The Not-So-Good: Yeah, the size. He too short, too small, and he’s not going to be that 6-4, 325-pound guy who can be the prototype anchor for an interior. Some might see him as a possible guard – he’s a good enough blocker to draft early even if you’re set at center – but it would take the exact right zone-blocking O to make that work.

There’s also the all-around production problem. It wasn’t his fault, but the Iowa offensive line just wasn’t that great last season. He was the leader and the star of the front five that didn’t generate enough of a push for the ground game.

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: Get past the size issues – fast. He might be the best pure blocker in the draft with no wasted motion and clinical technique. He’d be absolutely perfect for a 1995 NFL offensive line with his size, but he’s about to have a very long, very distinguished career as is.

NFL Draft Projection: First Round

2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, Analysis
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OTsLatest Mock Draft

1
Kenyon Green, Texas A&M


Size: 6-4, 323

The Good: You want someone shoved out of the way? You want a whole lot of strength to go along with that size? Green has the best combination of NFL measureables of any guard in the draft.

While he’s not quite as athletic as Boston College’s Zion Johnson, but he’s a bigger version with the same sort of professional style to make him an anchor of a line. Combine his brute strength for the running game with his pass protection skills, and he’s a must-have …

The Not-So-Good: He’s a guard – and only a guard. He played a little tackle at A&M, and that wasn’t really for him. Someone might think he’s a right tackle in the right system that needs a whole lot of power blocking, but nah. There will be issues with the quickest of the quick interior rushers, and he might not be for the faster-paced attacks, but …

NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: For the offenses that want to flatten opposing defensive fronts – and not just dance and wall them off – here’s your guard for the next ten years. This is the exact young interior blocker that Pittsburgh and Tennessee would love to work around.

NFL Draft Projection: First Round

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