Could the Ravens upgrade the center position in the 2022 NFL Draft?
The Ravens could address the center position in the draft. The overwhelming consensus top center in the 2022 NFL Draft is Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum. He is considered to be a “plug-and-play” starter.
Other centers the Ravens could consider acquiring in the draft include Nebraska’s Cameron Jurgens, Arizona State’s Dohnovan West, or Kentucky’s Luke Fortner. All of them grace Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” (subscription required).
Linderbaum had a 95.4 overall rating by PFF rating and he’s the highest-rated center by PFF since they first started rating players in 2014.
As it has been noted by several pundits, there is a big drop-off at the center position in this year’s draft. Jurgens had an overall rating of 71.4, West comes in with a rating of 73.3, and Fortner grades out at 85.0.
Fortner is expected to go in the middle rounds of the draft. The Kentucky product possesses excellent versatility, having started at all three interior offensive line positions. With his noted versatility and high PFF ratings, Fortner could end up being a steal for the center needy Ravens.
How do college PFF ratings translate to the NFL? Creed Humphrey had an overall rating of 80.9 during his final season with Oklahoma. How did he do during his first season with Kansas City? He finished the 2021 season as the highest-rated center with a 91.4.
Just how important is the center position for success? Last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Los Angeles Rams’ starting center Brian Allen was the 10th ranked center according to PFF and finished the season with a 74.8 overall rating.
In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting center, Ryan Jensen was the 18th ranked center in the NFL with a 63.9 rating. Of course, having arguably the greatest quarterback of all time on your team helps a little.
Looking at the big picture, the Ravens probably should address the center position in the draft. If they choose to start Patrick Mekari, they may be in okay shape, especially when taking stock of the rest of the league.
At a minimum, there appear to be prospects in the draft worth acquiring to at least provide competition to Mekari and Colon. Will this position be the “center” of attention? We will find out when the Ravens are on the clock.