Center is one of the only positions on the Green Bay Packers’ offense that is a bit of a mystery heading into next season. Corey Linsley has been the starter for the last seven years, but he is now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers, where he will help groom a talented young quarterback in Justin Herbert.
The Packers have two viable internal options for replacing Linsley. Elgton Jenkins was a highly regarded center in college, and Lucas Patrick has also filled in in the past when Linsley got hurt. Both are possible veteran options, but the team may want to continue to add young talent to the interior. Last year, Green Bay used a sixth-round pick on Jake Hanson out of Oregon. Hanson had trouble adjusting to the physicality of the NFL and spent his entire rookie year on the practice squad. It’s possible the Packers may look for another center on day three of the upcoming draft. If they do, here are three candidates they could consider.
Drew Dalman, Stanford
6-3, 295 lbs
Dalman started every game over the last two seasons and was also named first-team All-Pac-12 for his play in 2020. Dalman floated between guard and center before playing center full time as a junior in 2019. He helped lead Stanford’s pro-style offense, emerging as an elite pass protector. Dalman has size concerns that will hurt his draft value, but his consistent technique will attract some NFL GMs. Dalman is potentially a good fit for Green Bay’s zone blocking scheme as a developmental center. Honestly, he is comparative to the prospect Linsley was coming out of Ohio State. Dalman may not be the starter that Linsley was early on, but he could go on to have a successful NFL career after sitting for a year or two.
Michal Menet, Penn State
6-4, 301 lbs
A three-year starter for the Nittany Lions, Menet has the necessary experience a team may look for later in the draft. In 2020, Menet started all nine games for the second-ranked offense in the Big Ten. Like Linsley, Menet is an athletic center prospect who can make effective blocks on the move and climb to the second level. Menet could struggle in pass protection early in his career, but he is an intriguing prospect nonetheless. If he falls to day three, the Packers might want to have Menet on their shortlist of candidates to help augment the center position as they transition away from Linsley.
Drake Jackson, Kentucky
6-2, 290 lbs
Jackson is another mobile center that could have an easier time transitioning to the next level if lands in Green Bay. In four years, Jackson ended up with 44 consecutive starts at center. He was named second-team All-SEC last season and first-team the year before that. Jackson has the functional athleticism necessary to be a starting-caliber center, but his size and length could be an issue. He can win with his instincts and technique, but there will be times where he is overwhelmed by the size and strength of NFL talent. Overall, Jackson is a solid day-three option, who can potentially be groomed into a future starter.
Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.