It's time to dive into the interior of the offensive line for the week in Mobile. I feel like there's always a gem or two down in Mobile and this year there are two guys who are, perhaps, the most talented interior lineman since I've been going to the Senior Bowl. I'll get to them in a little bit but let's take a look at the group of interior offensive linemen headed to Mobile.
Players headed to Mobile (as of 1/25/2021)
Trey Smith, Tennessee (6-6, 330)
Royce Newman, Ole Miss (OT/OG - 6-6, 310)
David Moore, Grambling State (6-3, 320)
Robert Jones, Middle Tennessee State (OT/OG - 6-5, 330)
Drake Jackson, Kentucky (6-2, 296)
Ben Cleveland, Georgia (6-6, 335)
Landon Dickerson, Alabama (tore ACL late in SEC Championships game - 6-6, 325)
Deonte Brown, Alabama (6-4, 350)
Jack Anderson, Texas Tech (6-5, 315)
Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma (6-5, 320)
Aaron Banks, Notre Dame (6-6, 330)
Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater (6-3, 320)**
Brown - Like many of you, I've often wondered what a moving house looks like. After watching Brown for the past two seasons, well, consider that goal achieved. Brown is equally impressive in both phases but I truly love to see him go one-on-one in the trenches. The first time that he really caught my attention was when he faced Carolina Panthers 2020 All-Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Brown in 2019. Those two BATTLED for a full sixty minutes, I mean, went at each other. That was just the start for Brown who was magnificent in 2020.
Intrigue Meter is high
Moore - Man, the first time I saw Moore, I was blown AWAY. Arms like a jackhammer. Desire to drive every single defensive line through the turf. I seriously can't wait to see Moore handle FBS-level defensive linemen and if there's anything I learned studying him it's that he won't back down from anyone. Furthermore, FCS linemen have made a significant impact in Mobile - Ben Bartch, Ali Marpet and, oh, that guy that ended up in Houston - my man Tytus Howard. So, Moore is more than deserving and he's not alone.
Meinerz - A few weeks ago, a tweet popped up on my timeline, seemingly questioning why a guard from a Division III school was declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. That piqued my attention so I looked up Meinerz's bio and found some game tape and OH MY GOD, this guy puts people on their back. Repeatedly! I mean, can he do that against a defensive lineman from the SEC? Well, I'll put it this way, I don't think a player in a UCLA or Ohio State helmet will scare the Wisconsin native in the slightest.
Crush Alert - My positional crush - I have one every year at each position.
Smith - There may not be a more physically gifted guard than Smith, but injuries and ailments have impacted his career and potentially his NFL prospects. I love him, though. When he's right, he can be a Brandon Brooks (Eagles) type who really takes a guy's spirit at the line of scrimmage. He's going to have to answer a ton of questions during his pre-draft interviews and his medicals are going to tell a great deal of the story as well. But, if he comes out on the other side healthy and with good marks, he's on his way to being a Pro Bowl player at some point in his career. That starts in Mobile.
Dickerson - Okay, I know it says crush, but it's going to be crushes for the interior linemen because I absolutely love Dickerson. Unfortunately, Dickerson tore his ACL late in the SEC Championship win over Florida and will miss the Senior Bowl, at a minimum. When I saw him injure his knee that night, I was sick to my stomach. He can play either guard or center, but I could slot him as my starting center and leave him there for the next 12 seasons. He's gritty, yet athletic and agile, tough with a great personality. I'll miss seeing him compete this week, but hopefully he can get ready for the 2021 season...outside the AFC South, of course (unless it's with us!)