Commentary

Mid-round centers could find good fits

Originally Published: April 7, 2009
By Steve Muench | Scouts Inc.
New England selected C Dan Koppen in the fifth round of the 2003 draft in what appeared to be an effort to bolster depth and add an eventual heir to Damien Woody. Instead, injuries forced the Patriots to start Koppen in Week 2 and he has held on to the job ever since. Koppen has helped lead New England to two wins in three Super Bowl trips and earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2007 season.

Koppen likely fell as far as he did on draft day because he doesn't have any elite physical tools. He lacks great initial quickness and the lower-body strength to drive nose tackles off the ball, but he uses technique and intelligence to mask his weaknesses and finds a way to get the job done. It's also worth pointing out that his extensive NFL experience and playing for an excellent offensive line coach in Dante Scarnecchia have made him a better player today than he was when he was drafted.

Below is a look at three centers from well-known schools and one small-school prospect expected to come off the board on Day 2 of the 2009 draft. These players aren't expected to make an immediate impact the way Koppen did, but given the right fit they could turn into NFL contributors despite taking a different path than Koppen.

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Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.