Rating the top senior prospects

Looking ahead to the 2005 NFL Draft, Scouts, Inc., breaks down the top senior centers in the nation.

Offensive prospects:
QB | FB | RB | WR | TE | C | OG | OT | Grade explanation
Defensive prospects:
DE | DT | IL | OL | S | CB | P | K | RS

Centers

Ben Wilkerson, Louisiana State
Grade: 90
Bottom line:
Wilkerson took over as LSU's starting center midway through his true freshman season in '01 and, when healthy, has been the full-time starter since. Wilkerson did miss the Cotton Bowl as a sophomore because of a back injury that required surgery, but he returned healthy as a junior in '03 and otherwise has been a durable and reliable player. Wilkerson doesn't have great size and has just adequate overall strength, but he is clearly the most efficient and effective center in the '05 draft class. He has excellent quickness, is technically sound, provides good leadership and is outstanding in terms of making the line calls for LSU. In our opinion, Wilkerson is the best center in the nation and should be the first player taken at the position in the '05 draft -- likely late in the first or early in the second round.

Vince Carter, Oklahoma
Grade: 87
Bottom line:
Carter started the final 10 games of his true freshman season in 2001 and has been a full-time starter since. He has missed just two games over the course of his three seasons as a starter leading up to his senior season in '04, and both were for minor injuries with no long-term implications. Carter is undersized, needs to continue to get bigger and stronger, and may always need help against massive NTs in the NFL, but he has the athletic ability, toughness, awareness, experience and technique to quickly develop into a starting center at the next level. Carter is the next best center prospect behind LSU's Ben Wilkerson in the '05 draft class and there isn't a whole lot that separates the two.

Jason Brown, North Carolina
Grade: 74
Bottom line:
Brown switched from tackle to center in 2002 and started all 12 games at the position as a sophomore. He has been a full-time starter since and is coming off his best season as a junior in '03, when he did not allow a sack. Brown is an absolute monster in the weight room and has set numerous records for squats, bench press and power cleans at UNC. Brown has adequate short-area quickness and has improved in terms of his angles as a run blocker and feet in pass protection. However, Brown is not a great athlete and does not have great mobility for a center, either. While Brown might get a chance to attempt to play center in the NFL, his best fit may be at guard. Regardless, he is a player who continues to improve with experience and might be the strongest offensive lineman in the entire nation in '04. Brown's lack of mobility and questions about where he will play in the NFL could cause him to slip a little bit on draft day, but he certainly is worth taking a chance on late on Day 1.

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