The 2023 NFL Draft is full of starting-caliber prospects. Peter Skoronski, Joe Tippmann, and O’Cyrus Torrence lead our updated offensive line rankings.
The offensive line is the engine that makes an NFL offense go. Even with elite quarterback play, it doesn’t matter without protection. In the run game, the offensive linemen are more important than the running back — more times than not.
Left tackle remains the premier position on the offensive line, as teams are always looking for a trustworthy player on the blindside. The contracts reflect this, but other spots on the line are starting to rack up the dollars.
Rather than moving guys around and forcing them into new positions, NFL teams are leaving players where they belong. For example, the Colts have been without an answer at left tackle but never once thought to move All-Pro Quenton Nelson from his guard spot. The same is true about Tristan Wirfs sticking at right tackle (for now).
Veterans are becoming increasingly more expensive each year, so selecting starting-caliber players in the NFL Draft is necessary for roster building. Whether it be as immediate replacements or a prospect that develops on the bench.
In this ranking, offensive tackles, guards, and centers are split into their own respective categories. See where your favorite lineman stacks up as we start things off at center!
2023 NFL Draft: Center Rankings
C8: Ricky Stromberg (Arkansas)
NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 3
C7: Jarrett Patterson (Notre Dame)
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-Day 3
C6: Juice Scruggs (Penn State)
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-Day 3
C5: Mark Evans II (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
NFL Draft Grade: Early Day 3
C4: Luke Wypler (Ohio State)
Here goes a run of Big Ten centers to round out these rankings. Luke Wypler is a two-year starter for the Buckeyes, logging 1,687 snaps at center in that span. Wypler graded out with an 80+ run-blocking and pass-blocking grade, showcasing his all-around ability.
Wypler’s best trait is his technique on pass-blocking downs. He is polished and needs less development than most prospects in this class. Still, he is not overwhelmingly strong and can get pushed around as he struggles to anchor in and stand his ground.
As a run blocker, this lack of strength shows up. On a majority of snaps, Wypler does well establishing his base and maintaining proper balance as he leaks out. However, more than a handful of times, the Ohio State veteran got thrown out of the way, directly leading to the defender taking down his running back.
Wypler is a center-only prospect who lacks the strength and range you’d want from a zone-blocker. The inconsistencies knock him down to an early day three grade, but his overall tape is better than that. Nonetheless, his experience and work ethic make him a worthwhile selection, as there is a realistic path to Wypler being an above-average starter in the middle.
NFL Draft Grade: Early Day 3
C3: Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan)
The Michigan running game was lethal in 2022, and Olusegun Oluwatimi deserves as much credit as any for the unit’s success. He transferred after three years as a starter at Virginia and continued his progression in the hard-nosed Big Ten.
Oluwatimi lacks elite strength and struggles with leverage at times, but he often out-talented and out-smarted his college assignments. It is less likely that the Michigan mauler can continue making waves on Sundays without cleaning up form and overall technique.
As a pass blocker, Oluwatimi showed immense potential with the Wolverines. He allowed zero sacks in his lone season in Ann Arbor, showing he didn’t dominate solely because of the lackluster ACC defenses. His 3,469 snaps at center are unprecedented, and that on-field experience should help Oluwatimi challenge for the starting spot wherever he is drafted.
NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 2
C2: John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota)
Another Big Ten center? What can I say, the conference is sending some awesome center prospects to the NFL this year. John Michael Schmitz has a case to be the best of the bunch, but he checks in at No. 2 on my rankings.
Schmitz is a seasoned vet at center, having 2,491 snaps under his belt. He only allowed four quarterback hits in that span and was charged with two sacks, highlighting his prowess as a pass blocker. The running game is where Schmitz truly excels.
He posted a 92.4 PFF grade in 465 run-blocking snaps in 2022. Schmitz uses good-but-not-great athleticism to create running lanes, but his strong hands allow him to clamp on to a defender and not let go until the whistle blows.
He is already 24 years old, so there may not be much more room to grow, but his tenure at Minnesota showed that he’s a starting center in this league. Expect a team to take him on day two.
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-Day 2
C1: Joe Tippmann (Wisconsin)
Joe Tippmann is the best interior lineman in the 2023 NFL Draft. He boasts impeccable footwork, picturesque hand usage, and a deceptive athleticism that allows him to leak out to the second level and continue clearing lanes for his running back. In a scrum, he is more than willing to get his nose dirty and shows the lower body strength to push the pile ahead.
At Wisconsin, Tippmann logged 1,456 snaps at center and allowed only one sack throughout his career. The Badger star thrives at keeping his quarterback clean by using flawless technique, staving off the bulky defensive tackles that attempt to collapse the pocket. Tippmann consistently serves as the low man on the line, getting his long frame as close to the turf as possible.
His competitive nature should rub off on the rest of the offensive line throughout training camp and as the season gets underway. Tippmann is a near-perfect center prospect, which gives him a day-one grade on my Big Board. The best center in the class is the next in a long line of Wisconsin standouts.
NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 1
Alan Ali (TCU)
Alex Forsyth (Oregon)
Grant Gibson (NC State)