RAVENS DRAFT ANALYSIS: THE CENTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

NFL Draft RAVENS DRAFT ANALYSIS: THE CENTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

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Samson Satele, Hawaii, 6’3", 300
 
Satele may have moved around on the Warriors line over the past few seasons, but still managed to put a solid year together in 2006 garnering first team all American honors from the NFL Draft Report over Ryan Kalil.  Satele is also ready to play in the NFL and with his additional 20 pounds of bulk over his USC counterpart he is better able to handle the bull rush.  Unfortunately, this bulk comes into play in other areas as Satele’s weaknesses tend to be playing in space and change of direction adjustments.  However, if asked to give short burst of power or to muscle around linemen, Satele is at his best registering an impressive 177 knockdowns in 53 games at Hawaii. While his style is more often compared to that of the injury-maligned Browns center LeCharles Bentley, Satele’s game is actually more like that of Kalil. 
 
RAVENS OUTLOOK:  As mentioned in prior draft pieces here on 24×7 a center in the first round doesn’t make sense.  Satele is also not drawing praises like Kalil and will likely go in the later part of the first day thus lessening the probability that he will be a Raven unless of course the Ravens somehow trade down and pick up the No. 3 they lost in the trade for McGahee.  If the various mock indicia are anything close to accurate, Satele is a reach in the second and that’s something you probably won’t see the Ravens do. 
 
Ryan Kalil, USC, 6’3", 299
 
Kalil is frequently linked to the Ravens as the 29th overall selection depending on the myriad of other lineman mockers tend to select.  As a center prospect, Kalil is very attractive in being intelligent, athletic, and a hard worker on his technique and footwork.  In fact, this might be a slight problem as he is so polished coming out of college as demonstrated by Second Team All American Awards from the NFL Draft Report (’05), College Football News (’05), Sports Illustrated (’05), Associates Press (’06), Walter Camp (’06), and The Sporting News (’06) along with First Team honors from the NFL Draft report and Pro Football Weekly in 2006.  In short, there really isn’t much else to say about the USC center – he’s well-rounded and ready to start for a contender immediately.  Unfortunately, while the list of negatives might be short; size is a significant cause for concern.  Kalil is 6’3” but weighs just under 300 pounds which could be a concern given the girth of defensive tackles the Ravens see on a regular basis.
 
Training video footage of Kalil HERE
 
RAVENS OUTLOOK:  If the Ravens are set on taking a center (which would likely move Chris Chester to a less-than natural guard position), Kalil is an attractive player.  Known as a tough as nails blocker who gets dirty, this Trojan may have some upside.  Despite all of the good qualities, Kalil is most likely a reach at 29 according to most draft observers. 
 
Doug Datish, Ohio State, 6’4", 302
 
A third option at center is OSU center Doug Datish who will be available for the taking in the neighborhood of the 4th and 5th rounds.  Outside of the disasterous performance against Florida in the National Championship game, Datish led the line well despite having played tackle, guard, and center in his career.  This versatility will play in his favor for line-needy teams seeking a versatile, technically sound and motivated backup for their offensive front. On the downside, Datish never had a chance to focus on one position and may not really have a true professional. He also allegedly possesses short arms, a frowned upon physical feature for linemen in the NFL.
 
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Short arms are something you hear Eric DeCosta and Ozzie Newsome speak about every time they look at players.  Long arms, althetic, the list goes on and varies from time to time, but arm length is always mentioned.  This is the same issue that arose in the Dan Cody and David Pollock debate years ago.  Even so, if the arm length is suitable, Datish may still be a nice prospect later in the draft to fill a backup role and perhaps compete for a guard slot and be able to back up the center in a pinch.  However with Chester, Flynn and Brown having experience at center, the versatility might not be persuasive enough for the Ravens. 
 
 
For a recap of previously posted Draft Analyses, click on the archive icon at the top right of this page. 
 
Ravens currently hold the following picks in the 2007 NFL Draft: Nos. 29, 61 (Round 2), 134 & 137 (Round 4 Compensatory Picks), 166 (Round 5), 174 (Round 5 Compensatory Pick), 203  (Round 6) & 207 (Round 6 Compensatory Pick).

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Matt Ennis

About Matt Ennis

Matt is another of a growing list of NFL draft junkies.  He comes to 24x7 by way of Chicago as a respected member of our message board who charts draft eligible player projections.  You can follow this year's projections here. More from Matt Ennis

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