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SanAntonioSteelerFan
07-08-2011, 09:48 PM
http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011 ... more-77807 (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/04/top-10-centers-in-n-f-l/#more-77807)

Thought you guys might like this!


The Fifth Down - The New York Times N.F.L. Blog
July 4, 2011, 6:00 am
Top 10 Centers in N.F.L.
By ANDY BENOIT

Friendly Disclaimer: The following list is influenced largely -– but not strictly -– by film study of all 32 teams from the 2010 season. Stats weren’t acknowledged, but players with poor numbers generally don’t make top 10 lists anyway. Vague enough for you? Criteria for top 10 lists tend to be. That’s why most of you will have no trouble finding some disagreement with what you’re about to read.

(Last year’s ranking in parentheses.)

10. Jeff Saturday, Colts (7)

If he’s good enough for Peyton Manning, he’s good enough for the rest of us. Age is becoming somewhat of an issue, though. By 2013, he’ll be a better negotiator than player.

9. Nick Hardwick, Chargers (NR)

More often than not, he overcomes his lack of size.

8. Dan Koppen, Patriots (NR)

He’ll be an unassuming rock-steady contributor until the day he retires.

7. Scott Wells, Packers (NR)

Struggles a bit against bull-rushers, but over all, a mobile veteran whom teammates swear by.

6. Matt Birk, Ravens (5)

Does everything the right way and has always made those around him better.

5. Ryan Kalil, Panthers (9)

Good use of hands makes him a viable dictator in the run game.

4. Andre Gurode, Cowboys (4)

Awful in shotgun snaps, but he’s a powerful player with no other significant weaknesses.

3. Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers (not in league)

Precocious star who might spark a revolution that one day has teams putting a greater emphasis on athleticism at the center position.

2. Alex Mack, Browns (3)

Superb technician who holds his own in a phone booth and gets out in front with ease.

1. Nick Mangold, Jets (1)

Because of his ability to lock and drive from a standstill position, the Jets are the only team in the N.F.L. that doesn’t have to sacrifice a guard when facing an elite nose tackle.

On the cusp:

Jeff Faine, Bucs

Dropped from list:

Olin Kreutz, Bears (2)

Kevin Mawae, retired Titan (6)

Shaun O’Hara, Giants (8)

Jason Brown, Rams (10)

Youngster who could burst onto next year’s list:

Eugene Amano, Titans

It might be somewhat of an uphill climb to get Amano to top-10 caliber, but it’s clear that center is a more natural position for him than guard.

Andy Benoit is the founder of NFLTouchdown.com and covers the N.F.L. for CBSSports.com. He can be reached at andy.benoit@nfltouchdown.com.