With their 5th round pick (161st overall) in the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Carl Bradford, an LB from Arizona State.
Corey Linsley has been the center of attention on the Ohio State offensive line for the past two seasons – 2012 and 2013 – and was one of the best centers in the nation during that time … he made the transition from offensive guard/tackle to center in the spring of 2012 and proceeded to start every game as a junior and senior … called the team’s “apex,” he had the responsibility of handling all line of scrimmage play calls, adjustments and snaps … and then he would block and protect with a ferocious authority … he was a tough kid, too, having battled through a couple of injuries the last two years, including foot surgery this spring, to start all 26 games for the Buckeyes, a stretch when the team won a school-record 24-consecutive games … logged more than 1,600 plays from scrimmage (combined) in 2012 and 2013 … he was part of a four-man quartet of seniors along the offensive line who collectively were the heart and soul of the 2013 Buckeyes … he played in 42 games for the Buckeyes … graduated in December 2013 with his degree in economics.
Stout base. Works to re-anchor. Jolting punch. Strong upper body to latch onto and control defenders in short area. Generates movement in the run game. Understands angles and positioning. Excellent weight-room strength — bench-presses 500 pounds and squats a small house. Smart and dependable. Communicated all the line calls and checks. Is tough and will play hurt. Hardworking team captain with leadership traits.
Has short arms. More strong than explosive — doesn’t roll his hips and blow nose tackles off the ball. Falls off blocks when he bends at the waist. Pedestrian foot athlete — slow to cut off linebackers, labors to pull and lacks lateral quickness to recover when beaten. Stressed by quicker rushers.
Strong-bodied, heavy-handed, short-area mauler who anchored one of the nation’s most physical, productive rushing attacks. Has athletic limitations, but compensates with strength, smarts and competitiveness. Has the makeup to overachieve, and could increase his value by proving versatile enough to back up at guard.
In a stunning turn of events, general manager Ted Thompson does a complete 180 and actually drafts an interior lineman instead of converting a tackle. Linsley is also not your typical Packers center; Scott Wells and Evan Dietrich-Smith were more technicians in the passing game with good leverage rather than the more road grader/brute strength which is the forte of Linsley. It’s interesting to see why Linsley didn’t participate in many combine events, apparently due to a hamstring pull. It will be interesting to see how much this pick is influenced by running back Eddie Lacy; ever since Ahman Green’s prime years the Packers have never really put much emphasis on the running game because the passing game has been so deadly. Linsley also offers some versatility at guard, meaning its possible that TJ Lang (who has been the Packers emergency center for quite a while) might kick in to center and be replaced by Linsley.
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.
36 thoughts on “Packers 2014 NFL Draft – Fifth Round Pick: Corey Linsley, Center, Ohio State”
Yeah – a true center at last! Go Pack Go!
Thanks, Since ’61
What a surprise, I didn’t think Thompson had it in him.
TT never picks a center except when he does. This guy benches 500 pounds and runs a 5 second 40. Wow !!!!!!
Immediate starter – tremendous value.
TT never picks a center except when he does. This guy benches 500 pounds and runs a 5 second 40. Wow !!!!!!
Immediate starter – tremendous value.
Not so sure I would annoit him a starting Center just yet. Tretter has all the tools and a year head start in the offense. Center has to make all the OL calls and Tretter is Ivy League smart. Knowing the offense and being able to make the calls will trump a lot of strength. It’ll be a competition for sure.
The “perfect center,” words that Linsley thought that he would never hear from his head coach two years ago when he Urban Meyer informed his seldom used backup offensive guard/tackle that he had to prepare for manning the pivot upon the graduation of three-year starter Michael Brewster.
Hailed by the trainers for his incredible strength, all that Linsley had to show during his first three seasons in the program was sporadic play, mostly in a mop-up role in sixteen of the team’s first thirty-nine games that he was at the university. Having arrived as a local area product, a lanky 260-pound offensive guard, the last two seasons has seen a remarkable transformation of the Buckeye who was recognized as the best center in the Big Ten Conference with a first-team selection by the league’s coaches his senior year.
Still, looking back at that meeting between head coach and player during spring camp in 2012, if someone told Linsley he would be listed as the starting center for the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes, they probably would have been met with a profound look of disbelief.
Today, Linsley is a much different player, person and competitor.
With the confidence of then new head coach Urban Meyer behind him, the Youngstown, Ohio, native rediscovered a passion for the game and, most importantly, the belief he was capable of competing at the collegiate level. Prior to being named an All-Big Ten first-team pick as a senior, he received league honorable mention for his hard work during his first season in the pivot as a junior. “Linsley’s gone from nobody to the apex of the offense.”
“Coach Meyer knows I work hard and I’m committed to this program,” Linsley said. “It means a lot he has confidence in me. I might screw up a lot, everybody makes mistakes, but his confidence keeps me coming back for the next play. I know I still need to get better, especially when I’m tired. But now I know when I’m up and ready to go I can be a total football player. I’m faster and stronger. I can see now all my hard work has paid off.”
What separates Linsley from most men in the middle is his raw power. A daily sight is seeing the center regularly bench pressing at least 500 pounds in the weight room. Strength is the key element to his game, especially having to play in the spread offense that often had the opponent’s nose guard and middle linebacker lined up over his head.
Strength is one of the most important skills a football player can have. It is exhibited every
snap of every game. Whether it is an offensive lineman repelling an attacking defensive
lineman to protect his quarterback, a running back trucking a defensive back to break a
tackle or a linebacker hitting a wide receiver so hard he drops the ball, football could not be played without strength.
Beyond physical strength, a football player must also be mentally tough, with a mindset to overcome adversity and mistakes. Both physical and mental strength helped Linsley earn the role of starting center on the Ohio State football team. The Youngstown, Ohio, native’s strength, and the strength of his fellow offensive linemen, helped the 2012 Buckeye offense to a Big Ten-best 37.2 points per game and to 242 rushing yards per game (second in the Big Ten and 10th nationally).
In 2013, Linsley dominated in the middle of the field and the offense was one of the most formidable in the nation. Ohio State’s ground game was the key to their success, with their center widening lanes often used by tailback Carlos Hyde and others to generate 4,321 yards and reach the end zone 45 times, leading the Big Ten while placing fifth in the FBS.
Linsley’s all-around game also saw him protect the pocket and make better decisions calling blocking assignments up front. OSU had ranked 90th in the nation while allowing thirty sacks during the 2012 undefeated season, but reduced that figure to twenty-two in 2013. After averaging 423.8 yards per game during his junior season, Linsley led the charge for the Buckeyes to amass 511.9 yards per game during his final campaign.
However, it is not just the strength that makes Linsley a tremendous center, but what the strength allows him to do. “Strength helps me in more ways than just raw power,” Linsley said. “It allows me to develop and focus on other areas of the game. Knowing you are all set in the weight room means you can put more time into perfecting your technique.”
With his physical strength in order, Linsley spent the 2013 season working on his communication with his teammates, especially his fellow offensive linemen. The most senior-laden unit of the Buckeye football team, the offensive line returned four starters from 2012 for their respective senior seasons: Linsley, Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell. “Returning four starters on the offensive line built our cohesiveness
and fluidity,” Linsley said.
Linsley served, both literally and figuratively, as the center of the cohesion and fluidity. It was the responsibility of the center to have the offensive line set for each play before snapping the ball. However, Linsley admits it was not clear, even to him, when he would have been able to fulfill his duties as center for the 2013 season after a foot injury side-lined him for all of spring training camp. Linsley recalls the mental strength it took to stay positive during his rehabilitation so he could reach his pre-injury level of play.
“It was difficult to stand on the sidelines and watch my teammates improve when I just
wanted to be out there getting better right next to them,” Linsley said. “The strength and
support of my teammates helped me through it.” He played his first full game of the season vs. California on September 14th, the third contest on the OSU schedule and a game the Buckeyes won 52-34. With the infusion of Linsley’s physical and mental strength, the offensive line became even more cohesive and successful.
With the senior’s foot completely healed, first-team All-Big Ten honors followed. Behind his blocking, twenty of OSU’s forty-five touchdown runs came through the middle of the line. The Buckeyes would barrel through opponents for eleven consecutive victories before falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten title clash and to Clemson in the Orange Bowl to end the year on the down side.
While Linsley was hoping for an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl, when it did not come, he decided to spend the time in the training room preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. A left hamstring strain prevented him from participating in the running drills, but in the weight room, he was one of just nine players in attendance from the group of 335-plus to put up the 225-pound bench press at least thirty-five times (36), further cementing his reputation as one of the strongest players in the 2014 draft class.
I know TT says he doesn’t Draft for need and takes the best player available,but, he sure filled need. S, WR, DL, TE, LB, C. I hope all these picks work out. Ted doing a better job today then he seemed to in the 3rd Rd yesterday. Go pack
I think on the flip side, each one of these positions are logical choices since they are positions where drafted players might actually make an impact. Which is a little different from being a need pick; for instance, it would have been foolish to draft a running back because there simply aren’t enough spots on the roster with Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, James Starks and DuJuan Harris.
All teams draft for need – the best player available is just noise.
Pretty true. Although I ask myself, what position was bereft of need on this team? Maybe RB. So no matter who TT drafts, it appears to be a need pick but it might really be a BPA pick.
Agreed…Like all the picks, with two exceptions: Both picks in the third round were major reaches…and ‘head- scratchers’, at that…Looks like both were sixth round selections or UDFAs…Let’s hope they both work-out…But, both are ‘projects’…
It really depends on where you look, and if it’s not the board the Packers (or any other NFL team) are actually using you can’t say it was a reach. For instance Shane Skov was widely projected to be a mid round pick but ended up being an undrafted.
Truly shocked that TT drafted a true center. The reasons behind converting college OTs to C just make too much sense. However, if TT and the staff like Linsley I’m willing to roll with it.
I’d say they must have felt really strong (har har) about Linsley in order to draft him because it goes against everything they believe in when it comes to offensive linemen, which is basically college tackles are always the best linemen in college and therefore project best in the NFL. I actually have high hopes for Linsley simply based on this fact.
I think we are seeing a shift to using more power concepts in the run game. That was one reason to let EDS walk. Even Tretter is a more powerful guy than previous centers.
Agree with Since 61 – happy to draft a true center! Wish I didn’t think it was a need pick, but happy to have options.
Everyone drafts for need. The problems begin when teams REACH for need. I like this draft so far. Won’t know if it’s great or horrible for a few years but so far I like it. GoPack!
I think the issue is that even Ted Thompson has stated its not as simple as just need or BPA. It’s likely a combination of both.
He can play Guard and Tackle too, so I’m sure TT likes his versatility. He also started every game the past 2 seasons for the Buckeyes (26 straight starts).
I’m pretty sure he’s not on the list as a tackle unless a spate on injury occurs.
I can see him backing up OG and C tho. It’ll be difficult for him to earn the starting Center job as a rookie. Tretter has all the tools and a years head start in the offense.
Another short-armed alligator.
It that your thing this year?
no way could he play Tackle, maybe OG in a pinch. Lets not get carried away, dude is strong as an ox but not the quickest. Very solid pick for a team in need of a center tho, TT must have had rated highly. Love the strength and mauler mentality too… could bring some more nasty next to TJ and Sitton. If he turns out to be a player, i would hate being a DT going up against the pack! we will wear you you by the first quarter
If this pans out I will be very interested in seeing how Lang, Linsley and Sitton work together.
If Sherrod proves he’s a first round talent and David B improves, this a a top flight O line!
Bulaga is also an option, many people seem to forget he was actually a good tackle before he got screwed by injuries
I consider it a given Bulaga, if healthy, will return to being a very very good RT. If David B or Sherrod have a good year at LT and Linlsey/Tretter are solid centers, thats a great OL with plenty of depth and potentially 2 pro bowl players (bulaga,sitton). Not only would the o line be capable of keeping rodgers clean and providing him ample time, but these guys could potentially open up some massive holes for our RB’s and really wear teams down. There is almost no limit to what our offense could accomplish with a highly productive, cohesive, HEALTHY OL
Any well-informed thoughts on our 4th round pick?
The most informed thought really would be “lets see what he looks like in training camp”.
To those who keep calling the round 3 picks reaches: do you really think Thompson is the only one with information on these players? If he was confident they would last until the 4th or later, he would have waited. He didn’t wait, so maybe… just maybe… it’s possible he and other GMs might have more info than the pundits, or you.
Everyone projected Fiedorowicz to go to the Pack at the end of the 3rd. He didn’t, he went to the Texans at the top of the 3rd. Is that a reach for them, simply because all the pundits believed he would go late? No. It’s just when he went. If he never turns out to be a player, THEN it will be a reach. Ditto for our guys who are supposedly “reaches.”
Sometimes when you really like a player, you have to take them earlier than everyone thinks, to avoid losing them. Sometimes you are right and look like a genius, like when you take a safety in the 2nd no one’s heard of out of a small school no one’s heard of, and he turns out to be Nick Collins, Pro Bowler. Sometimes you are wrong, like when you take a similar safety in the 4th and he turns out to be Jerron McMillian, Incompetent Boob.
Was Collins a “reach”? Was McMillian? I would argue either both were or neither was. One just worked out, and the other didn’t. We’ll find out with these guys.
Brad, that was very well put. The Collins/McMillan analogy is perfect. Count me in the group that thought McMillan was going to take the next step last year and instead he was a train-wreck. GoPack!
I think the rule of thumb is that if a fan has heard of a player, then its not a reach. If they haven’t then it’s a reach. Both Collins and McMillian were considered reaches when they were drafted.
It’s one of many annoying rumblings you hear from the draft every year- reach and “tremendous value”, as if analysts know something all GM’s don’t. Remember when Jimmy Clausen was ranked 9th on idiot Kipers big board and fell to the Panthers in the 2nd round…. most people praised the Panthers for getting such good value and ridiculed so many teams for passing or not trading up to get him. Ask any fan how much “value” clausen had
examples are endless
Or when they thought Brian Brohm was going to supplant Aaron Rodgers as QB?
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