OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa*

6’3” – 290 lbs.

Background:

Converted from the defensive line to center before the 2019 season, starting all thirteen games at the pivot. Reprised that role in each of the following two seasons, winning the Rimington Trophy as a junior before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

Highly decorated three-year starter for one of college football’s premier offensive line schools. Reads the defense well pre-snap. Positioning is excellent. Has impressive short-area quickness to cross a defender’s face, chip and climb, or get out in space and lead the way; can often be seen downfield looking for blocks. Explodes out of the snap low, consistently winning the leverage battle. Very good hand placement and reset, with what looks like solid grip strength. Keeps his feet churning after contact to generate push. Seals consistently when blocking on angles. Works hard to sustain blocks and stay glued through the whistle. Functional strength is better than anticipated because of his polished technique. Aggressive to finish when he’s in position to do so. Out of his stance quickly post-snap. Nice knee-bend in pass protection. Drops a pretty early anchor. Keeps his head on a swivel and has the lateral quickness to mirror. Doesn’t pass up opportunities to deliver a blow as a help blocker.

Negatives:

Size, length, and bulk appear closer to adequate, and length could be below-average; might not excite inline/power-based blocking schemes as much as zone schemes. Can play a little bit outside his frame at times, falling off of blocks at the second level. Minor tendency to lower his head into contact in the run game. More experienced in the run game at this point. Saw him fail to recognize an A-gap blitz during the Penn St. game. High snap vs. Indiana. Looks like he only played center in college, so might have somewhat of an adjustment period if teams view him as a guard conversion candidate.

Summary:

One of the more straightforward evaluations in this year’s class as a three-year starter from a well-respected program, offering polished technique, an advanced understanding of the game, high-end athleticism to execute zone-blocking concepts, and underrated functional strength, but who may lack the size and length some teams may prefer. Has the look of someone who should be able to come in and start as a rookie, and consequently will probably come off the board in the first round as a plug-and-play pivot in a zone scheme.

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