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The Square Pigeon’s 2020 NFL Draft Coverage – Offensive Interior Linemen

by Jason Belschner | April 4, 2020 |

Of all offensive groups that we have covered so far, I definitely didn’t save the best until last. This is easily the weakest group of the offensive side. None of these guys will come off the board in the first round; however, most of them on this list will be off the board in the second round.

1) Tyler Biadasz     Wisconsin                                            

This might be the lone exception to my prediction of no first rounders. Tyler Biadasz was the first team All American center this year after starting for Wisconsin for three seasons. Jonathan Taylor owes a big chunk of his yardage to the blocking and leadership of Tyler Biadasz.

As an experienced center, he has polished his technique. His pad level stays low to drive defenders back off the ball. The physicality that he plays with is nearly unmatched with other offensive lineman in this class.

There’s a good chance that we are already seeing the best of Tyler Biadasz. He’s a three-year starter who might have peaked with little upside remaining. If the biggest flaw you get is a guy that gets overly aggressive on some blocks and gets easily shred from leaning too much, you can get a quality starter for several years.

2) Cesar Ruiz Michigan

Cesar Ruiz came in as the second team Big 10 All Conference center behind Biadasz. While at Michigan, Ruiz started 31 games with most of the games (26) played at center. His remaining starts were at right guard. At 6’3”, 307, it’s the right size on paper; however, he’s built more like a defensive tackle than a center.

Given his shape and size, he moves impressively well. He’s an athletic big man with amazing hands. Once he engages with the defenders, it’s generally game over. He pops up ready to block right after his snap. Lateral movement is a big plus to mirror with interior pass rushers.

Let’s circle back to his shape. Like I said, he looks more like a defensive tackle than a center because he’s more round than wide. Offensive lineman tend to be wider to close the holes naturally. He also needs to add to his quick pop to include a burst into the block.

3) Lloyd Cushenberry     LSU

Another center with nearly 30 starts under his belts is the SEC All Conference center Lloyd Cushenberry. LSU honored him with the number 18 (worn as a patch because of rules) which signifies the player who best represents what it means to be a Tiger.

Cushenberry is a nasty, in-your-face blocker who won’t give ground to a bull rush. He’s a sure anchor as a pass blocker and run blocker. His punch is quick and violent. His arms are ridiculously long which keeps defenders at a safe distance.

Unlike Ruiz, Cushenberry has the right shape, but he lacks the same athleticism. His labored runny and lack of lateral movement allows defenders to get around him. Plus, he lunges with his hands extended immediately which makes him miss his target from time to time.

4) Shane Lemieux     Oregon

Shane Lemieux marks the first guard on this list. Starting all 52 games at left guard, Lemieux was a consistent leader for the offensive line. He is a lengthy, wide guard who is experienced enough to become a starter in a couple of years.  

The best chance that Lemieux has to see the field is as a run blocker. He can drive opposing players down the field and lead the runner into the second level. I watched him make several impactful blocks on linebackers.

Improvements as a pass protector are crucial if he hopes to become a starter in the NFL. He overextends himself which allows defenders to swoop to his sides. His lack of lateral movement doesn’t help him recover to these situations either.

5) Netane Muti Fresno State

Netane Muti’s college career could have turned out much different. Injuries derailed what should have been legendary career at Fresno State. Muti has only played five games in the last two seasons. A ruptured achilles and a Lisfranc injury ended each season.

This guy is ridiculously strong which he showed at the combine after putting up 44 reps in the bench press. That ranks fourth all time. He can impose his will on any defender in a straight up match. More games played could have elevated him to a higher round in the draft.

He is a raw talent who needs to drastically improve his technique. On top of that, he lacks burst and is a sluggish runner. His strength allows him to get away with leaning into his blocks too much. Add this to his injury concerns, and he will need a team to take a risk on him in the later rounds.

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