Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 4/21/12

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates with David DeCastro #52 and Ryan Whalen #8 after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Huskies at Stanford Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

2012 NFL Draft Top 5 Interior Offensive Lineman

By Eric Judd




As the skill positions become more and more important, and more positions become skill positions, the interior offensive line often gets overlooked. However, recent big money deals are beginning to show the value teams are placing in the big uglies.



The best guard in the last 10 years

1. David DeCastro G Stanford

David DeCastro is the best player at his position in the 2012 NFL Draft. The distance between he and the #2 is greater than any other position in the draft. He is the most pristine O-Lineman of the year. DeCastro might just be the best offensive line prospect since Joe Thomas and without a doubt, the best guard since Steve Hutchison. DeCastro can, and will, start from day 1. He’s a pro-bowl guard right out of the gate. He excels in run blocking, like any guard should. But DeCastro’s game is much more than that. He pulls and quickly gets to the 2nd level, like Alan Faneca did in his prime. He will immediately improve the play of his o-line neighbors, because of his strength and awareness. A mediocre tackle will become better than average, because DeCastro will own the interior of the line. David DeCastro is the safest, least glamorous pick on the first night of the draft.




2 players for the price of 1

2. Cordy Glenn G/T Georgia

Cordy Glenn is the 2nd best guard prospect of 2012, not only because he is big, strong and tenacious, but also, if his few deficiencies can be corrected through simple coaching and experience, you might have just found yourself an OT at an OG price. Glenn should have no problem transitioning to the interior in his first few years in the NFL. His size is extraordinary, and with the elite strength and conditioning teams at the professional level, Glenn should be able in add some much needed athleticism to his already potent skillset.




Raw potential

3. Kelechi Osemele G Iowa St.

Kelechi Osemele is another mammoth-sized road grader. His technique is a notch below the rest of the top 5, but makes up for it with he sheer physical ability. When Osemele latches on, he does not lose. He can get exposed by double moves, and has a hard time with separation from defensive lineman, but in close quarters, Osemele has few, if any weaknesses. It will take time for Osemele to gain the necessary technique to excel in the NFL, but if he can master the intellectual side of professional football, he could easily become one of the top interior o-lineman in the league.




#1 Center

4. Peter Konz C/G Wisconsin

Peter Konz is the #1 center prospect of 2012, and should hear his name called late Thursday night. Coming out of O-Line-U, Konz has the college pedigree to have a long career in the NFL. With center becoming more and more important in directing traffic and preparing pre-snap, elite centers are becoming harder to find. No longer are centers considered skinny guards who can hike the ball.  Konz is most in his element in running game, where his tenacity allows him to excel. He isn’t the most mobile of offensive lineman, but he should quickly find himself starting on Sundays.




See, there are 2 sides to every Schwartz

5 Mitchell Schwartz G/T Cal

Mitchell Schwartz is the typical college o-lineman. Too slow to continue to play LT, should transition to RT or guard. Schwartz’ technique is what gets him on this list. He is quick to anchor and maintains excellent posture. Schwartz is also one of the brightest o-line prospects in the draft. He has tremendous pocket awareness and has a feel for any dynamic changes. He is a ferocious blocker and relishes the opportunity to knock opponents to the ground.

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