Center became a need for the Jacksonville Jaguars after veteran Brandon Linder announced his retirement. While Tyler Shatley has previously done a serviceable job in his place and will be the first line to replace him, the Jags need a long-term answer at the position. They could take center in the 2022 NFL Draft and the best one, Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaun, could fall to the second round, where they would be in a position to select him.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of prospects falling down draft boards and Linderbaum was among the players he mentioned. Regarding the former Hawkeye, Sobleski says that measurables may not be ideal for the pros and the fact that he might be a “scheme-specific talent” could hurt his stock, which in turn could make him slide to the second round.
"Before any measurements or times were taken into account, Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum was already viewed as a scheme-specific talent whose value would be tempered by a smaller frame. Iowa listed Linderbaum at 6’3″ and 290 pounds, and he weighed in at a respectable 296 pounds at the combine. However, an arm length measurement of 31⅛ inches hurt his standing. According to Pittsburgh Sports Now’s Nick Farabaugh, only four centers have been measured with shorter arms. Of those four, none became standout performers."
Not everything Sobleski said about Linderbaum was negative, noting that his tape at Iowa shows a “certain level of dominance”. Moreover, he believes the center could thrive in the right system. On the other hand, he notes that teams may not be comfortable with his build, which could ultimately push him down draft boards.
Should the Jaguars take a flyer on Tyler Linderbaum in the 2022 NFL Draft?
First, it’s not a sure thing that Tyler Linderbaum will be available when the Jaguars are on the clock with the 33rd overall pick in the draft. In spite of his ‘flaws’, he’s still the top center prospect in this year’s draft. Clubs that like what they see on tape and are willing to overlook his less-than-optimal size won’t want to pass up the chance to take him. Having said that, the center could give Jacksonville a tough decision if he’s available in the second round even though center isn’t the only need the Jaguars have ahead of the draft.
The Jags will most likely take a pass rusher with the first overall pick but they will have several paths to choose from with their second-round selection. Should they choose a wide receiver? How about an off-linebacker to pair up with Foyesade Oluokun? The team’s brass did a good job of replenishing several position groups in the draft but they still have a few holes to fill.
Adding depth to their interior offensive line should be at the top of the Jaguars’ draft list and they could easily draft a center in the third and fourth round. But if Linderbaum is available in the second round, they may need to adjust their strategy.