Rating the top guards and centers in the 2016 NFL Draft

Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair performed well in the three-cone drill at the NFL Combine.
Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair performed well in the three-cone drill at the NFL Combine. The Associated Press

Included in measurables are height, weight, age they turn this year (if available) and 40-yard-dash time.


1. CODY WHITEHAIR, Kansas State

Measurables: 6-4, 301, 24, 5.08

Bio: Four-year starter who started 51 of 52 career games. Started all 13 games at left tackle in 2015.

Consensus: Experienced player who performed well in the three-cone drill (7.32) at the combine and has a high football IQ. College left tackle who projects to guard due to his less-than-ideal length for an NFL tackle. Also started games at guard and right tackle in his career. Has very good feet; is athletic on the the edge in pass protection and is very quick working to the second level, where he can wall off linebackers. Needs to gain anchor strength; can be walked back on bull rushes in pass protection. Showed a surprising lack of strength in the bench press with only 16 reps at the combine. Has the look of a good starter in a zone-heavy running scheme.

Grade: 6.8


Measurables: 6-4, 312, 22, 5.32

Bio: Two-year starter who played in 55 career games. Won the Outland Trophy in 2015 as the nation's best interior linemen. Father played in the NFL. Team captain.

Consensus: Fires off the ball low and with power; can drive defenders off the ball as a run blocker. Violent striker with strong, powerful hands to jolt defenders. Can lock on and bury defenders at the second level. Plays to the whistle; likes to bury defenders. Phone-booth blocker with good strength who would be best served in a downhill running scheme. Gets in trouble when he lunges in pass protection; needs to do a better job of using his feet. Can struggle with quicker defenders and is on the ground more than he should be.

Grade: 6.8


Measurables: 6-3, 298, 23, 5.17

Bio: Two-year starter who played in 26 career games. Transferred from Auburn before the 2013 season.

Consensus: Excellent bench-press strength with 34 reps, one of the combine's top performers. Has enormous hands (11  7/8 inches) and good arm length (33  1/2 inches). Good athleticism; does a nice job of working to the second level and walling off defenders. Flashes nastiness; works to the whistle and punishes little guys. Has good feet in pass protection; is aware and keeps his head on a swiivel. Doesn't blow guys off the ball in man-up running or passing situations but looks tailor-made for a zone-heavy running scheme. Reportedly has very good football character.

Grade: 6.6


Measurables: 6-4, 335, 22, 5.55

Bio: Three-year starter who played in 34 career games. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Big-body with good arm length who is powerful at the point of attack. Has decent quickness and feet for his size; moves better than many his size would but isn't a great athletic tester. Played at left tackle at Arkansas but might be more effective inside in the NFL, where he can play in the phone booth and be protected against speed. Not a zone blocker; needs to go to a gap scheme where he can win on doubles and down blocks. Needs to remake his body to reach his potential.

Grade: 6.4

5. VADAL ALEXANDER, Louisiana State

Measurables: 6-5, 326, 22, 5.5

Bio: Four-year starter who played in 50 career games with 46 starts (25 at left tackle, 21 at right tackle). Led Tigers in offensive snaps with 810 and was second on the team with 119 knockdowns.

Consensus: Excellent arm length (35  1/4 inches) could help him at tackle in the NFL, but probably doesn't have the feet or natural athleticism to stick. A bit limited athletically; turned in a lumbering 40-yard dash and does more lunging than you'd like on the field. Aggressive finisher who plays with a chip on his shoulder. Wins in the phone booth and likes to punish defenders. Struggles to get to the second-level in the running game. Experienced player who can develop into a good guard if he commits himself to building up his body.

Grade: 6.4

Others to watch: Joe Dahl, Washington State; Connor McGovern, Missouri; Rees Odhiambo, Boise State; Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas; Avery Young, Auburn.


1. RYAN KELLY, Alabama

Measurables: 6-4, 311, 23, 5.03

Bio: Three-year starter who played in 46 career games. Finished with an average grade of 88.4 percent in 2015 and did not surrender a sack. Had 20 knockdown blocks on the year and committed just one penalty on the year.

Consensus: Experienced, tough disciplined center with plug-and-play ability. Sharp mentally; rarely misses assisgnments (99.2 success rate). Has great size and length for the position. Plus athlete who shows good feet in pass protection and can work to second level in the running game. Scheme-versatile player who can thrive in a zone system; doesn't overwhelm at the point of attack but is strong enough to win consistently and consistently gets his assignment done. Aware in pass protection and plays with with his head on a swivel. Generally works to the whistle. Has the tools to be a Pro Bowl center.

Grade: 7.0

2. MAX TUERK, Southern California

Measurables: 6-5, 298, 22, DNR*

Bio: Four-year starter who played in 38 career games. Suffered a knee injury in October and did not participate in movement drills or most of the testing at the combine. Two-time team captain.

Consensus: Has some position versatility; also started at guard and tackle during his USC career. Good athlete who is quick and agile in space and can punish defenders when pulling. Is quick enough to pull and execute tough blocks. Plays with nastiness; enjoys finishing blockers when he can. Flashes the ability to fire off the ball and can generate movement at the point of attack but really needs to add muscle; gets overpowered at times in the running game and lacks the strength to sustain blocks.

Grade: 6.5

*Did not run 40 due to injury

3. EVAN BOEHM, Missouri

Measurables: 6-2, 309, 5.33

Bio: Four-year starter who played in 52 career games. Started all 12 games at center in 2015. Kansas City native and graduate of Lee's Summit West, where he starred as a wrestler. Moved from left guard to center as a true sophomore in 2013. Senior captain.

Consensus: Tough, durable and experienced four-year starter in the nation's toughest conference. Is the son of a football coach. Has played a ton of football. Plays with power and has a violent punch. Quick off the ball and generates movement at the point of attack. Aware in pass protection. Has good anchor strength but will have to consistently win with leverage due to his lack of length; has short arms can be overwhelmed by bigger men when he’s not technique-sound. Showed toughness by playing through an ankle injury in 2015.

Grade: 6.4

4. NICK MARTIN, Notre Dame

Measurables: 6-4, 299, 23, 5.22

Bio: Two-year starter who played in 37 career games. Team captain. Started at left guard for 10 games and center for three in 2015. Older brother is Dallas guard Zack Martin.

Consensus: Good-sized center who plays with leverage in pass protection. Knee-bender who works well on doubles. Has anchor strength and strong hands in pass protection. A bit slow footed in space, which might have had to do with an ankle injury he played through in 2015; might fit best in a gap blocking scheme. Reportedly has very good football character.

Grade: 6.4


Measurables: 6-6, 307, 5.13

Bio: Three-year starter who played in 42 career games. Played center and guard in his career. Busted for DUI in 2014.

Consensus: Supersized center who has versatility; also played left guard and right guard for Michigan. Tough guy who fires out of his stance with some snap and works to the second-level with urgency. Has powerful hands to jolt defenders. Classic Big 10 lineman who plays with toughness and works to the whistle. Aware and picks up blitzers. A little stiff in space; can have trouble squaring up his moving targets. Falls off blockers a little more than you'd like.

Grade: 6.3

Others to watch: Jack Allen, Michigan State; Jake Brendel, UCLA; Austin Blythe, Iowa; Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State; Matt Skura, Duke.


7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

5.9: Non-prospect

NOTE: All rankings are based on a combination of extensive personal film study, interviews conducted with draft analysts and information gleaned from NFL Network draft broadcasts. Evaluations are cross-checked with multiple draft resources. Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to Grades are assigned based on where each player could be drafted.