It’s officially day one of the 2022 NFL draft and it could be a night to remember for Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. There’s all sorts of varying ideas of where the Solon, Iowa, native might be selected in the 2022 NFL draft. Plenty of experts are forecasting a first-round selection for Linderbaum.
Hawkeyes Wire took a look at some of the final 2022 NFL mock draft projections for Linderbaum. While both ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay left Linderbaum out of the first round in their final 2022 NFL mock drafts, there are others that view Linderbaum as a potential first-round fit all over the place.
CBS Sports’ Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson had Linderbaum being selected No. 18 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles and No. 20 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively. Meanwhile, FOX Sports’ Jason McIntyre and NBC Sports’ Peter King both predicted Linderbaum to land with the Dallas Cowboys at pick No. 24. ESPN’s Matt Miller forecasted the Houston Texans to orchestrate a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and move back in the first round to the No. 29 overall pick and select Linderbaum there.
With all of the final 2022 NFL mock drafts out of the way, it’s now time to take a peek at how some of the leading experts view Linderbaum in regards to the draft class as a whole. Where does the Solon, Iowa, native fall on draft experts’ big boards and what do they have to say about Linderbaum?
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. – No. 21 overall
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ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Linderbaum as the No. 21 overall player in his final 2022 NFL Draft player rankings. Kiper Jr. also has Linderbaum ranked as the top center in this draft class.
Linderbaum is one of the best center prospects in recent memory. He can do everything, and he excels as a puller to either side. He’s a stellar run-blocker and is incredibly strong at the point of attack. He doesn’t have many weaknesses. Linderbaum allowed just one sack in the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined. He allowed two in 2021, but I’m still a huge fan of his game and upside regardless. — Kiper Jr., ESPN.
ESPN’s Todd McShay – No. 29 overall
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ESPN’s Todd McShay released his final top 366 prospects and he has Linderbaum ranked No. 29 overall. Like Kiper Jr., McShay also regards Linderbaum as the top center in this 2022 NFL draft class.
Linderbaum, a three-year starter at center, has an underwhelming combination of height, weight and arm length, but he has the talent to overcome those issues. In pass protection, he’s light on his feet and has extremely strong hands, and his wrestling background shows up in his leverage while engaged. He’s a highly effective zone-run-blocker with the foot speed to reach frontside defensive tackles and the range to cut off backside linebackers. — McShay, ESPN.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah – No. 27 overall
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NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s final top 150 prospects in the 2022 NFL draft class ranked Linderbaum as the No. 1 27 overall prospect.
Linderbaum is an athletic center with excellent awareness and intangibles. In pass protection, he plays with a wide base and keeps his hands in tight. He has quick feet to slide and mirror and he can eventually settle/stall power rushers after giving some ground. He is very patient and effective versus twists and blitzers. There are a few rare occasions when he lungs and puts himself in a bad position. In the run game, he plays with quickness, leverage and physicality. He can torque/turn/dump defenders with his upper-body strength. He is very agile working up to the second level on combo blocks. Scouts rave about his makeup and leadership. Overall, Linderbaum should have an impact similar to what Creed Humphrey provided as a rookie in 2021. – Jeremiah, NFL.com.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso – No. 20 overall
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CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso ranked Linderbaum No. 20 overall in his final top 300 big board. Trapasso ranked fellow Hawkeyes [autotag]Tyler Goodson[/autotag], [autotag]Dane Belton[/autotag] and[autotag] Zach VanValkenburg[/autotag] as the No. 196, No. 204 and No. 293 prospects. That’s a sixth-round grade for Goodson and Belton, while Trapasso has VanValkenburg as a priority undrafted free agent.
Pro Football Focus – No. 16 overall
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Pro Football Focus graded Linderbaum as the top college center each of the past two seasons. PFF regards Linderbaum as the No. 16 overall prospect.
Linderbaum is the best center prospect we’ve seen in the PFF College era. He was already the highest-graded center in the country in 2020, but he took his game to new heights in 2021, earning a 95.4 overall grade. Pro Football Focus.
Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson – No. 14 overall
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Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson ranks Linderbaum as the No. 14 overall prospect in the 2022 NFL draft class.
As Marcus Mosher notes, only five offensive linemen since 2000 have shorter arms than Linderbaum (31 ⅛”). While his frame likely limits him only to center, the Rimington Trophy winner is the best center prospect not only in this draft class but over the past several drafts as well. A mild foot sprain kept him from working out at the combine or Iowa’s pro day, but he has elite lateral mobility and is ideally suited for a zone scheme that can maximize his movement skills. Hanson, Sports Illustrated.
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