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2009 NFL Draft - The Centers
Oregon C Max Unger
Oregon C Max Unger
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 22, 2009


The 2009 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 15 center prospects led by Oregon's Max Unger, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2009 NFL Draft Position Rankings

The Centers


2009 NFL Draft Post-Workout Rankings

Quarterbacks
| Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties


By Pete Fiutak  

- 2009 NFL Prospect Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends | Off. Tackles
| Off. Guards | Centers
Defensive Ends
| Defensive Tackles | Inside LBs
Outside LBs | Safeties
| Cornerbacks

The Class Is ... Good up top. Alex Mack, Max Unger, and Eric Wood are all terrific, while others, like A.Q. Shipley, can play if they get in the right system.

The Best Value Pick Will Be ... Eric Wood, Louisville

Most Underrated ...
Blake Schlueter, TCU

Most Overrated ... Edwin Williams, Maryland

The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is ..  Cecil Newton, Tennessee State

Rankings of the 2010 Top Prospects
- Possible 1st Rounders
- Possible 2nd Rounders
- Possible 3rd Rounders
- Possible 4th Rounders
- Possible 5th Rounders
- Possible 6th Rounders
- Possible 7th Rounders & Free Agents
- Quarterbacks

- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles 
- Offensive Guards
- Centers
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles 
- Outside LBs
- Inside LBs
- Safeties
- Cornerbacks
- Punters & Kickers 

THE FRANCHISE

1. Alex Mack, California  6-4, 315

Very tough and very strong, the ultra-productive college star should translate into a long-time starter at the next level at either center or guard. He’s great in the weight room, a hard worker, and has a nasty streak able to punish defenders when he gets his hands on them. While not an elite athlete among centers, he’s good enough. He makes up for any deficiencies with his toughness and intensity. Think Olin Krutz of the Chicago Bears with the same sort of leadership and chip on his shoulder.

CFN Projection:
Second Round

2.
Max Unger, Oregon 6-4, 310
Versatility alone will make Unger a pro for the next decade. He’ll always find a spot somewhere on the line. Extremely quick and terrific in pass protection, the former Duck is great at getting on the move and he’s strong in pass protection. While he could be a whale of a guard in the right system, he’s not a dominant pounder and will occasionally have problems with the bigger, beefier linemen. However, against the quicker ones, forget about it. Unger won’t allow much in the way of an interior pass rush.
CFN Projection: Second Round


3. Eric Wood, Louisville 6-3, 310

Any and all problems are with his technique, and they can all be easily fixed with a little bit of work and the right coaching. He has the size, the bulk, and strength, and as he showed at the Combine, the agility. With the great set of tools, to go along with a good work ethic and a toughness to be an anchor of the Cardinal line for four years, there’s no down side. He’ll be a rock in the middle of a line for a long time.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

POSSIBLE NFL STARTERS


4. A.Q Shipley, Penn State 6-1, 295
A bulldog of a blocker, if he was 6-3 instead of barely 6-1 he’d be considered a top prospect worthy of first day consideration. His motor is always running, he finishes every block, and he doesn’t make a mental mistake. Occasionally, his size, or lack of it, is a plus as he gets good leverage on defenders, but in the NFL, he’s a center and that’s it. He has no chance to play guard and will be limited at center by his short arms. Even so, he’ll command instant respect and he’ll produce from the moment he steps on the field.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


5. Antoine Caldwell, Alabama 6-3, 300

Caldwell could be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none at the next level. Extremely smart and extremely durable, he was one of the SEC’s most reliable, consistent players over the last several years. Versatile, he can play anywhere inside and could end up spending most of his career as a guard. He could even play a little tackle if needed. While he’s a good athlete, he’s not quick enough to be an NFL tackle for any stretch of time and he’ll struggle inside against the better interior pass rushers.
CFN Projection: Third Round


6. Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas 6-4, 300

There’s a hard ceiling on what he can become and how good he can be, but that doesn’t mean he can’t at least be a solid starter. Extremely smart, he’s a great quarterback for a line with more than enough quickness to be a longtime starter in a zone blocking scheme. But if you want him to power over anyone, forget about it. He’s not going to push around many NFL defensive tackles, but he should be able to stay with the quicker ones.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

7. Edwin Williams, Maryland 6-2, 308
A durable leader who could be a starter in the right system, he’ll plow over people in the running game, won’t get hurt, and will work his tail off to be good. He’s the type of player and person you want in the middle of your line, but he’s limited in pass protection and lacks the quickness and athleticism to be more than a block of granite on the inside. While he might get overdrafted on high character, his limitations will show up quickly if he has to deal with any above-average NFL interior pass rusher.
CFN Projection:
Fourth Round

BEST OF THE REST

8. Blake Schlueter, TCU 6-3, 285
The only question is whether or not he can handle the full-time rigors of the NFL at around 280 pounds. His quickness and agility are major plusses and he’s strong in the weight room. He won’t shove anyone around, but he won’t get beaten by anyone who tries to do anything other than power rush. While there’s a limit on what he’ll be able to do, he’s a good football player who’ll break a coach’s heart to cut.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round


9. Alex Fletcher, 6-3, 300
An extremely good college center who consistently produced at a high level, he’s not strong enough or athletic enough to be a starting NFL center for any significant length of time. However, he’s versatile enough to see time at guard and has a big-time mean streak and an attitude that won’t back down, or be intimidated, but any lineman.
CFN Projection: Free Agent


10. Jon Cooper, Oklahoma 6-2, 290
While he was flanked by the best offensive line in college football over the past two years, he also made everyone better with his line calls and his reliability. He’s very quick and can get to the next level in a hurry, but he’s never going to push around a bigger tackle and he’ll get overpowered at times if he doesn’t get a little bit of guard help. He needs to be in a zone blocking scheme and could thrive in an up-tempo offense, but he lack of size, and his problems at maintaining a heavy weight, will be a problem.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

11.
Brett Helms, LSU 6-2, 270
12. Cecil Newton, Tennessee State 6-2 300
13. Robby Felix, UTEP 6-3, 302
14. Rob Bruggeman, Iowa 6-4, 295
15. David Washington, Oklahoma State 6-3, 308