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Approaching The Draft: Guards and Centers

alex-mack
I decided to put these two positions into one category because, well, that’s basically what the Vikings have done. What do I mean by that? Two of our current centers (John Sullivan and Ryan Cook) can play guard, and one of our current guards (Anthony Herrera) can play center. So, with the Vikings willingness to rely on versatility in these spots, I thought it only natural to combine them.

CURRENT STATUS:

Steve Hutchinson is the solid rock in the offensive line as the starting left guard. Anthony Herrera has really become a valuable player at right guard. Second year player John Sullivan has the daunting task ahead of him of filling the shoes of long-time Vikings Matt Birk, who recently signed with Baltimore. Brian Daniels who hasn’t played a snap in the NFL and Cullen Loeffler who is really only a long snapper are the only other interior linemen listed on the Vikings roster. While someone like Artis Hicks could be effective as a guard, it is obvious that the Vikings lack depth on the offensive line, and an injury to a guy like Hutchinson would be a devastating blow to the Vikings season.

ROUND ONE: Alex Mack will doubtless be the best center available in round one when the Vikings pick and Duke Robinson of Oklahoma will be the best guard available. Mack is probably the better prospect of the two, and could also be very successful at playing guard. Many mock drafts (including mine) have the Vikings taking Alex Mack of California with their first pick. Mack is the best center prospect to enter the draft in years, and seems to have everything necessary to be a perennial pro bowler from his very first season. He also is athletic enough to be in the zone scheme, smart enough to make calls from the line, a clear communicator, a strong leader, and a high character guy that could help the Vikings justify allowing Birk to leave.

WHO THEY SHOULD TARGET: Alex Mack is my favorite prospect in this draft to be honest. The center position may not be the most valuable or the most exciting on a football team, but Mack would instantly enter the league as one of the biggest and best. I know any player can turn into a bust, but he just seems to me like the most “can’t miss” prospect. His versatility, absolute dominance in run blocking, smarts, and athletic ability should ensure his all-pro status for many, many years. Earlier I said the Viking should target quarterback Josh Freeman in round one, but that is only if Alex Mack is off the board.

LEAST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: David Washington of Oklahoma State will probably go undrafted and I think the Vikings will avoid him for the same reason every other team will avoid him. Last year he broke his leg, which will set him back as far as development goes. And he really needed some development because his fundamentals and technique were terrible.

MOST LIKELY TO BE TARGETED: Only the Vikings know how much faith they have in John Sullivan, but all the comments coming out about him have been pretty solid. I think the Vikings will take a hard look at Herman Johnson the guard from LSU. He’s a huge dude who is making a point to try and show that he can play right tackle as well, which would obviously be of interest to the Vikings. At 6’ 7” and a whopping 365 lbs. there’s no arguing that Johnson could probably be effective in getting in peoples way.


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One Response to “Approaching The Draft: Guards and Centers”

  1. […] the Draft” for the offensive side of the ball. Feel free to check out my previous segments on guards and centers, offensive tackles, Tight Ends, Wide Outs, Running Backs, and […]

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