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2014 NFL Draft Rankings: Centers & Guards
By Matt Horkman

1. David Yankey, Stanford
An ideal gap-scheme guard, Yankey is a vicious run blocker, who uses his power to clear defenders out of the hole. He also finishes blocks, knocking defenders on their butts. His athleticism isn’t great, but it’s good enough to get to the second level. Overall, Yankey is a high-effort player who uses his power to bully opponents. He best fits a gap scheme and should start early in his career.

2. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
A mountain (6-foot-5, 329 pounds) of a man, Richardson is a mauler suited for a power scheme. He’s a wall in pass protection and has enough athleticism -- given his size -- to get by. He doesn’t explode out of his stance on a consistent basis and needs to do better job with his hand placement. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a unanimous first-team All-American. He failed to impress at the Senior Bowl, despite his credentials. Nevertheless, there just aren’t many players with as much size and power as he possesses.

3. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
Jackson started 52 consecutive games at Mississippi State. He’s a mauler, who uses his power to overwhelm opponents. He is ideally suited for a gap-scheme. Despite his size, he shows good movement skills. He compares to 2013 second-round pick Larry Warford, who was a 16-game starter for the Detroit Lions as a rookie.

4. Zach Fulton, Tennessee
A raw prospect with the upside to start at guard, Fulton made 40 career starts for Tennessee. He’s a good pass protector, with the toughness to battle NFL caliber defensive lineman. As a run blocker, he pushes defenders off the ball and consistently finishes his blocks. 

5. Brandon Thomas, Clemson
With good size and strength, Thomas fits into a power scheme at the next level. He’s a three-year starter at left tackle, earning first-team ACC honors the last two seasons. Despite his college success at tackle, he lacks the quickness to play the position in the pros. Look for him to kick inside to guard, where he could develop into a starter. He recently tore his ACL in a private workout, making it unlikely he’ll contribute in 2014.

6. Bryan Stork, Florida State
Stork is ideally suited for a zone scheme, where he can utilize his quickness. He has ideal size (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) and fine technique. He has all the tools to develop into a starting center. 

7. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt
Because of his size (297 pounds), Johnson will kick inside and play center or guard. This makes him a bit of a project, despite his 51 career starts. Overall, Johnson is a zone interior player with good athleticism and technique.

8. Marcus Martin, USC
As a run blocker, Martin displays good athleticism getting to the second level. He’s also a very good pass blocker. His lack of physicality is somewhat worrisome, but he displays all the tools to develop into a starter. He figures to hear his name called late day two or early day three.

9. Jon Halapio, Florida
Experience and tough, Halapio projects to play in a power scheme. He made 36 consecutive starts for the Gators, playing through a torn pectoral in 2013. His technique needs refining, but he displays good strength pushing around opponents. A strong week at the Senior Bowl re-established him as a mid-round pick.

10. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
Ikard played center at Oklahoma but is capable of playing guard. He’s smart. He made line adjustments at Oklahoma. He has good technique, though he occasionally whiffs on a block. He also plays the game with toughness. He lacks upside, though, which will make him a mid-round prospect.

Best of the Rest
Ryan Groy, Wisconsin
Weston Richburg, Colorado State
Travis Swanson, Arkansas
Trai Turner, LSU
Chris Watt, Notre Dame

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