Cincinnati Bengals Draft Targets: Center


Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Colorado State Rams offensive lineman Weston Richburg (70) against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals parted ways with center Kyle Cook this offseason, which surprised some fans. That leaves Trevor Robinson as the starter for now, with second-year pro TJ Johnson as the backup. the center position was a struggle at times last season and pressure up the middle really affected quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals could look to the 2014 NFL Draft to bolster the spot, and there are some solid options available if they do.

1. Weston Richburg: As well-rounded a center as there is in this draft, Richburg will likely not fall past round two. He’s athletic and strong, handling blockers well with his quickness at the snap. He’s also effective in the run game, showing an ability to get out in front and make holes, something that makes him particularly attractive to the Bengals.

2. Travis Swanson: Swanson is an excellent pass blocker. He has terrific balance and the strength to keep defensive tackles in check up front. He’s not as versatile as Richburg, lacking the agility to contribute in the run game, but he could be an option for a team in need of protection for its beleaguered quarterback.

3. Marcus Martin: Lacking the experience of some of the other center prospects, Martin nevertheless is potentially a fantastic player. He’s quick, and put together well, and he plays with a mean streak. He’s better in the run game than against the pass, but he still has room to grow. He could be a steal in round three.

4. Bryan Stork: Stork is a fierce player who is quick and relentless. He’s also an experience player, having started for most of his four years at Florida State. He’s solid in both the run and passing games and though he might not be ready to start from day one, he could develop into a fine NFL center.

5. Tyler Larson: Another prospect with a lot of starting experience, Larson may be a bit underrated by some. He’s a adept pass blocker who moves well and his strength and toughness are pluses. He’ll likely fall into the later rounds, but could be a great option at that point.