Christian Haynes and Jackson Powers-Johnson are the top centers in the 2024 NFL Draft

This 2024 NFL Draft center class has plenty of talent at the top of the class and also features a couple of good day three value picks.

Christian Haynes
Christian Haynes / Donald Page/GettyImages
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A team looking for a starting center in the 2024 NFL Draft will like what they find. This year’s class has four prospects who have a good shot of starting as rookies including Christian Haynes , Jackson Powers-Johnson, Zach Frazier, and Sedrick Van Pran. The class also has some good value on day three led by Wisconsin’s Tanor Bortolini who is one of the better run blockers in the class.

Top Centers in the 2024 NFL Draft

1. Christian Haynes, UConn: Going into the season UConn’s Christian Haynes was my number one center despite being ranked as the 830th best prospect by Mock Draft Database, and now that people see him as a top 100 player there is no reason to change my opinion of him. He offers a rare blend of quickness and strength that should allow him to start as a rookie. In addition to those two traits, he is also a player who gives great effort and does a good job of finishing his blocks. One concern with him might be a lack of height coming in at only 6-foot-2, but that is less of a problem at center than it would be at guard or tackle. Draft Grade: Second Round

""Christian is just an incredible human being, great integrity, cares about this program, this team, and his teammates. He takes great pride in his work ethic and has become a dominant offensive guard/center. He might be a center at the next level. He puts in the time to perfect his craft. He comes to work every day as the same guy. As a coach you love being around guys like that.""

Jim Mora on Christian Haynes

2. Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon: The 2023 season was a breakout year for Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson. This was his first year starting and in that one season he won the Rimington Trophy for the nation's best center and was also Pro Football Focuses top graded center in run blocking, pass blocking, and overall. He also displayed that he should be one of the first centers taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. One trait that impresses me is his strength, which combined with his 320-pound frame makes him almost impossible to move off the ball. He also shows good mobility and should be able to play in either a zone or gap-blocking scheme. One area his lack of experience hurts him in his overall technique, but with good coaching he should be able to fix those issues. Draft Grade: Second Round

3. Zach Frazier, West Virginia: Another center I was high on going into 2023 despite being overlooked by most draftniks is West Virginia's Zach Frazier. I named Frazier as the center I would stand on the table for yet he was the 363rd-rated player by Mock Draft Database. The reason why I had him rated as the second-best center in the 2024 NFL Draft are the same reasons he currently carries a day two grade on my board. These include his overall intelligence. He does a great job of calling out the signals for West Virginia’s offensive line and is also not fooled by many students or blitzes. He also plays with great leverage, which was helped developed by his high school wrestling days where he was named a four-time state championship. He also plays with good technique overall. One reason why he may fall to the third round is he is only an average athlete. Even, if he does fall out of the first two rounds look for him to become a long-time starter in the NFL. Draft Grade: Second Round

4. Sedrick Van Pran, Georgia: Georgia center Sedrick Van Pran had a strong season this year being named a first team All-American and winning the SEC’s Jacob Blocking Trophy. Scouts will also be more impressed with his film than in 2022, especially when it comes to staying on balance. In addition to improving in this area NFL decision-makers will like his run blocking skills. In this area he does a good job of knocking his man off the ball and also consistently plays through the whistle. One more positive with him is that he is a leader having been named a team captain the past two seasons. While these traits work in his benefit one that won’t is his pad level. He tends to stand up when pass blocking which allows defenders to get under his pads and push him back. Draft Grade: Third Round

Sedrick Van Pran
Sedrick Van Pran / Perry McIntyre/ISI Photos/GettyImages

5. Tanor Bortolini, Wisconsin: A sleeper at the center position this year is Wisconsin’s Tanor Bortolini. Three positives stick out with Bortolini with the first one being his explosiveness off the ball. He does a great job of getting off the ball, and this trait helps him knock his man back when run-blocking. He also is a versatile player who has started at center, guard, tackle, and even tight end during his time with the Badgers. The last trait that works in his favor is his length which allows him to keep defenders from getting into his body. One area he needs to work on though is his footwork especially when it comes to not lunge blocking. Draft Grade: Fifth Round

6. Beaux Limmer, Arkansas: The 2023 season was the first time Arkansas’s Beaux Limmer played center for a full season, and it also is the position he will play in the NFL. The main reason he will stick here is his mobility that allows him to carry out any blocking assignment asked of this position. He also lacks elite strength or bulk which will be helped by playing center instead of offensive guard and having a defensive tackle lineup over him. Draft Grade: Fifth Round

7. Kingsley Eguakun, Florida: A player who had a disappointing year is Florida center Kingsley Eguakun, who was only able to play in four games this year due to a high ankle sprain. Due to this scouts will have to pay more attention to how he did in 2022 when he started all 12 games for the Gators. During that season he showed impressive athletic ability and should be an ideal fit in a zone-blocking scheme due to his ability to block in space. He does need to improve his strength though, as he can be overpowered at the point of attack. Draft Grade: Sixth Round

"“Kingsley’s played a ton of football, close to 30 starts. This guy has resumé of film. He’ll get his opportunity at the next level. I think sometimes for players and coaches, injuries can be one of the more challenging things that you go through. But Kingsley has done a lot for the University of Florida and certainly it’s important for him to be a Gator. He’s got his degree. He’s getting his master’s degree. And certainly, he’s played a lot of good football for the Gators.”"

Billy Napier on Kingsley Eguakun

8. Andrew Raym, Oklahoma: Oklahoma center Andrew Raym is an experienced center who has started 29 games for the Sooners. This experience has allowed him to develop some of the more detailed points of his game including playing with good pad level, and hand use. Unfortunately, his potential might be limited at the next level, due to a lack of strength which makes him a liability when asked to blocker defenders one one one. He also is only an average athlete who has some trouble blocking in space. While he certainly has some limitations look for Raym, to develop into a quality backup center in the NFL. Draft Grade: Sixth Round

9. Drake Nugent, Michigan: Michigan center Drake Nugent had a strong first season with the Wolverines after transferring from Stanford. During that season he was named first team All-American and helped Michigan win the National Championship. What really standouts about his game is the effort he gives. On the field he is one of the more tenacious blockers in this year’s center class, and off the field both his coaches and teammates praise his work ethic. In addition to being a hard worker he also plays with good technique. The reason he carries a seventh round grade though is he lacks the potential to earn a starting job in the NFL. He is undersized coming in at only 6-foot-2 301 pounds, and is only an average athlete. Draft Grade: Seventh Round

""I look at him as just like an angry pitbull. Everything he does is full go, full go, full go. Even winter workouts, spring workouts, summer workouts, everything he does is 100%. And he works his tail off. Obviously, he's a little undersized, but his tenacity and his work ethic really make up for that. He's a really good dude and we've become really close since his time coming here." "

Michigan's Trevor Keegan on Drake Nugent

10. Dylan McMahon, North Carolina State: A late-round prospect who could be a good fit in a gap-blocking scheme is North Carolina State’s Dylan McMahon. McMahon is a physical offensive lineman who also posts some strong testing numbers including bench pressing 385 pounds and squatting 570 pounds according to Bruce Feldman. He also plays with good aggression and will bring the fighter mortality offensive line coaches love to his new team. One more positive with him is his versatility having played both guard and center in college. On the downside, he is only an average athlete and would likey struggle in a system that wants him to consistently block in space. Draft Grade: Seventh Round

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