Grading and judging offensive and defensive linemen is not an easy task. Taking a huge list of even huge-r humans and sifting that down to just 10 may be even more difficult. Now, that may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but these players are anything but small.
Here are the top ten of 2021 available inside linemen.
Nick Easton, G, New Orleans Saints
Alex Mack, C, Atlanta Falcons
Kelechi Osemele, G, Kansas City Chiefs
Ted Karras, C, Miami Dolphins
These four available inside linemen just missed the cut. Alex Mack at one point was an elite center, but now at 36 years old, his best days are behind him. Kelechi Osemele was also a top-notch player, but his injury history and the concern that he’ll miss more time push him out of the top ten.
Both Nick Easton and Ted Karras sit on the bubble due simply to performance. Since there are few sources to find concrete statistics that help define offensive line play, I am using Pro Football Focus grades to help order these players. As such, the bottom of the top ten will be the draft-available inside linemen, and into the NFL players from there.
Top 10 Available Inside Linemen
10| Deonte Brown, G, Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide offensive line has a handful of available inside linemen in the draft this year. The player with the highest potential of the three is Deonte Brown. The redshirt senior guard played in 48 games during his four-year career in the SEC and has many of the tools necessary to make it at the next level.
Brown stands six-foot-four and 350 pounds, a sizeable human even for a lineman. He is athletic enough to create a push at the line of scrimmage, flex out to seal the edge, or play one on one in pass protection. However, he lacks stamina, length, and balance to match the rest of the positives. His abilities degrade as plays develop at times, and the mix of that and his measurables may turn some scouts off to Brown. With some extra polishing and weight training, Brown has the goods to perform with the best.
9| Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
Playing for the Oklahoma Sooners, Creed Humphrey stands out among these collegiate available inside linemen as the best available center. He isn’t the most physically imposing player nor is he the most athletic, but his football IQ and leadership qualities elevate him to the top of the CFB centers.
To say that his ranking is solely based on his intellect would be telling a bit of a lie. Humphrey was a wrestler before switching to football and it shows. He is incredibly strong and sets a great anchor when working on opposing tackles. From the start of 2019 through his departure from Oklahoma, he did not allow a single sack.
What Humphrey has in strength and IQ, he lacks in length and raw athleticism. However, he plays center, so the importance of those attributes is diminished. Humphrey will be a steal at almost any pick outside of the first round and should step into a starting role on day one.
8| Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Wyatt Davis is the most dominant of available inside linemen in the draft. After initially opting out of the tentative 2020 season, he quickly rescinded that decision once the Ohio State Buckeyes got to playing. That was obviously a good decision for Davis as he earned All-American honors for his efforts.
Davis stands six-foot-four and 315 pounds, a solid size for an offensive guard. He doesn’t have an elite wingspan for a player at his position, but he does everything well. Davis is explosive at the line, smoothly mobile, athletic, and powerful. Davis is a well-rounded prospect that will fit into any scheme in the NFL.
7| Alijah Vera-Tucker, T/G, USC
Pure versatility is the name of the game for this draft of available inside lineman. Yes, I know he’s most remembered right now as the starting left tackle from the USC Trojan’s strong 2020 season. But, Alijah Vera-Tucker played all of 2019 as a guard and looks to be a better fit for that position.
Much like Wyatt Davis, another NFL hopeful, Vera-Tucker initially opted out of the 2020 season. His return to the gridiron paid in dividends. Playing a position relatively new to him, Vera-Tucker earned All-PAC-12 honors for the second year in a row and was awarded the Morris Trophy, for the most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen.
Overall, there are few concerns about Vera-Tucker’s game, especially at the guard position. He is a natural athlete and can play just about any position on the offensive line. It will be hard for him not to land with a professional squad.
6| Jon Feliciano, G, BUF
Jon Feliciano is the first professional available inside linemen to make this list. He’s been a staple on the Buffalo Bills‘ offensive line the last two seasons and was plenty serviceable. In the 2020 season, Feliciano took a dip in his snap share but was still an important part of Josh Allen’s high level of success.
The six-foot-four, 325-pound guard earned himself a 64.8 grade from PFF as he helped the Bills earn the tenth-ranked offensive line in football. He’s coming off of a shortened season due to a chest injury and hopes to return to Buffalo next season.
5| David Andrews, C, NE
David Andrews, one of the better available inside linemen, has had a difficult two seasons. He missed all of 2019 after blood clots were discovered in his lungs and missed five games in 2020 with a broken thumb. Even after those injuries, Andrews would solidify any offensive line he lands on.
Andrews has been named a team captain for each of the last four seasons and is more than solid when he’s been on the field. He started 12 of the New England Patriots games last season, only missed 24% of snaps available and had a respectable 67.7 grade from PFF.
4| Austin Reiter, C, KC
All in all the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line had a rough 2020 season. However, Austin Reiter enters the offseason as the second highest-ranked center among the available inside linemen. He personally had a strong season and looks to be getting better into his prime.
Reiter was the Chiefs’ number one option at center, as he played in 79% of all snaps for the team after sustaining a minor knee injury. In that time, he only garnered one penalty against him, had few quarterback pressures assigned to him, and had a strong 69.2 grade, good for 12th among all centers in the league.
3| Joe Thuney, G, NE
With the second New England Patriot on this list, we reach the best of the best available inside linemen. Joe Thuney spent the first four seasons of his career playing guard. He was thrust into the tackle position this year for Bill Belichick and was more than serviceable.
Thuney helped lead the Patriots’ line to a top-five ranking in 2020. The North Carolina State product played in nearly 100% of the offensive snaps this past year and contributed on special teams as well. He only allowed two sacks all year and earned a 74.2 rating by PFF.
2| Brandon Scherff, G, WFT
Since being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, Brandon Scherff has been one of the best inside linemen in the league. The four-time Pro Bowler was awarded his first All-Pro honors after a stellar 2020 season. He is the top-ranked guard out of the available inside linemen for 2021.
If you’re seeing a trend with great interior line play and highly ranked offensive lines, that’s because there is one. The Washington Football Team had the sixth-best offensive line in 2020 and Scherff being ranked the fourth-best guard in football go hand-in-hand.
1| Corey Linsley, C, GB
Topping off the list of available inside linemen in the 2021 offseason is another first-time All-Pro. Corey Linsley may have missed a handful of games due to a myriad of injuries, but he led the offensive line to a fantastic season, one that led to Aaron Rodgers winning another league MVP for the Green Bay Packers.
There isn’t actually much to write about Linsley. Simply put, he was the highest-rated center in all of football last year, and his team’s performance with and without him backs that up.
Thanks for reading my article about the best available inside linemen for 2021!
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Available inside linemen.Available inside linemen