Home Steelers DraftDraft Analysis SCB Steelers Draft Position Profiles 2023 – Guards/Centers

SCB Steelers Draft Position Profiles 2023 – Guards/Centers

by Steeldad

Welcome to our Steelers Draft Profiles. What we’ve done is create lists of top prospects with our take on their abilities based on what we’ve seen of them. Once published, we will continue to update these very articles on a regular basis as new information comes in about the players. In today’s article, we feature Centers and Guards.

John Michael Schmitz – SR. – Minnesota – 6’4″ 321lbs – Center

The Golden Gophers have been kicking out some serious linemen of late and Schmitz appears to be another… Will be 24-years old when he begins his rookie campaign… Former High School wrestler who uses his balance well… Wins quickly with good hands and has that ‘anchor’ you like to see in your center… Not sure on how well he will be able to pull and get out in front of ball carriers… Cuts and reaches quite well… Good finisher in the running game and is more than able in pass protection… A solid protector of the ‘A’ gaps…

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 26 reps
20-yard Shuffle: 4.56

Notes: Met with the Steelers at the Combine and Senior Bowl. Also will be one of their 30 official visits.

O’Cyrus Torrence – JR. – Florida – 6’5″ 345lbs – Guard

Torrence is a big man with plenty of length… Really gets after it in the running game… Is going to need improvement in pass protection… Doesn’t seem to process things happening in front of him quickly enough so missing stunts and blitzes is an issue… Physical player who can sometimes be sabotaged by that in certain instances… I always love guys who play through the whistle and that’s exactly who Torrence is…

Key Combine Stats:
20-yard Shuffle: 4.81
Bench: 23 reps

Notes: Will be one of the Steelers official visits.

Emil Ekiyor, Jr. – SR. – Alabama – 6’3″ 305lbs – Guard

The Crimson Tider comes full of experience… A key member of some prolific offensive numbers at Bama, he’s seen action in over 40 games for Nick Saban… Ekiyor, Jr is super physical which can sometimes get him in trouble because then balance issues arise… His physical style of play will translate well to the NFL… I think he pass blocks and run blocks equally well; not much discrepancy between the two… His technique is very good but he can get into problems by being too aggressive and then he loses that technique… Very impressed with his lateral quickness…

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 23 reps

Andrew Vorhees – SR. – USC – 6’6″ 318lbs – Guard

Vorhees enters the Draft process already 24 years old… He has position flexibility along the line having spent time at both guard spots and both tackle spots as well… He projects as a guard in the NFL… Classic run blocking mauler who plays through the whistle… Pass protection is good but can be impacted by quicker defensive linemen who get a step on him… Powerful hands have made his first strike punch very effective… Seems to be a pretty good athlete although I worry about his ‘side-to-side’ quickness… Has opening day starter qualities in my book.

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 38 reps (Best among OL)

Notes: Suffered torn ACL during the Combine yet still performed the Bench Press.

Jarrett Patterson – SR. – Notre Dame – 6’4″ 305lbs – Guard/Center

Patterson brings versatility to the table with three seasons of experience at center followed by a senior season at guard… I can see NFL teams using him at either position as of this time… Not the best athlete in this group of IOL but he’s smart and uses his technique well… A very good run blocker who sustains his feet and legs and gets good fits on defenders… Pass protection is solid but athletic defenders will cause problems due to his average quickness… He’s seldom beaten on stunts and blitzes which is a sign that he picks up things quickly.

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 22 reps
20-yard Shuffle: 4.73

Braeden Daniels – JR. – Utah – 6’4″ 300lbs – Guard

Daniels enters the Draft process with four years of experience… He projects at guard but his time at both left and right tackle for the Utes may push some teams to consider him there… Spent 2021 and 2022 at right and left tackle respectively… Needs to add some functional strength… Overall technique is solid but hands can easily gain improvement… His anchor in pass protection is so-so… Plays to the whistle and is a far better run blocker than pass protector in my opinion… He keeps the legs pumping through the play…

Key Combine Stats:
20-yard Shuffle: 4.60

Olesegun Oluwatimi – SR. – Michigan – 6’2″ 308lbs – Center

The reigning Rimington Award winner steeped in immediately and became the anchor of the Michigan offensive line after his career in Virginia ended… He has off the charts smarts which allow him to diagnose things quickly… He had no problem picking up Jim Harbaugh’s offense which has a very technical way of running the ball… My big concern with him is size and strength… He can be overwhelmed by bigger and stronger defensive linemen… He’s one of those rare centers who pass blocks better than he run blocks… Really good, strong hands… Not sure how well he anchors; seems like struggles with his lower half at times.

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 29 reps
20-yard Shuffle:

Cody Mauch – SR – North Dakota State – 6’6″ 310lbs – Guard/Center

If you’re looking for ‘that guy’ in this year’s Draft process then you’ve found him… Long, red hair with pasty white skin and a smile that displays two missing front teeth… All that aside because this dude gets after it… He played tackle at NDSU but likely projects inside to guard or even center at the NFL level… Gets after people in the run game and uses his athleticism and quickness as a pass protector… Lack of length is what likely moves him inside… Could stand to get stronger… Has the exact attitude you want to see out of your offensive lineman… I see him as an immediate starter for someone, maybe even at center.

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 29 reps
20-yard Shuffle: 4.55

T.J. Bass – SR. – Oregon – 6’5″ 320lbs – Guard

Loads of experience at tackle but he’s projecting to guard due to an overall lack of length… Spent a season at left guard for the Ducks… Decent athlete but lacks top end footwork… Love the mentality; plays through the whistle… Uses his hands well… Pass rushers that get inside of him will give him trouble.

Tashawn Manning -SR. – Kentucky – 6’3″ 330lbs – Guard

The former Auburn Tiger is a cancer survivor. He battled leukemia as a high school senior and after nine months or so of chemotherapy he was given a clean bill of health… He’s relatively unknown… Tremendous size but he’s got some athletic limitations (foot quickness) and arm length… I can easily see him being a vital reserve player who is capable of making spot starts.

Key Combine Stats:
20-yard Shuffle: 4.80

Steve Avila – SR. – TCU – 6’4″ 335lbs – Guard/Center

Not many knew about Avila heading into the National Semi-Final but he acquitted himself well against Michigan… Tremendous size and power… Excels in run blocking where he’s the definition of a ‘people mover’… Pass protection is solid, especially against stronger defensive linemen; speed rushers have given him some issues… Much more of a traditional run blocker meaning I don’t see him moving laterally a whole lot… Has over 30 games worth of experience… Was a team captain and all-conference selection for the Horned Frogs… Position flexibility makes him an even more enticing target.

Key Combine Stats:
Bench: 28 reps
20-yard Shuffle: 4.74


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