How I Evaluate Each Position:


By Bill Walsh

PSX Draft Insider Special


Ideal size: 6-2, 290

The center is typically the key man in making line calls. Those calls are vital and there is no way you can do without them. With the constant changes in defenses there has to be communication on your offensive line and obviously your center is the man to do it. There have been teams who use a guard because the guard was either more experienced or more adept in doing it. But typically the center makes these calls.

So the center must have command of the offensive line blocking system and of the game plan and of the individual players defensively they are facing. He must be able to do all that.

Centers don't often have to block one-on-one with the nose tackle, but if they can it is a great advantage. You typically slide a lineman or find a way to help the center. Or he finds a way to help someone else. Now if you have a center who can isolate one-on-one with a nose tackle, it takes tremendous pressure off your guards and everyone else.

Dwight Stephenson who had a short, great career with Miami, was one like that. Mike Webster, who had a long, distinguished career with Pittsburgh, was one of the best.

Many people believe that a shorter center is better. Again you must have girth, maybe less than the other linemen. Being shorter helps you do a great number of things in a very small area. A big body just becomes a hindrance. It's like a jockey weighing more than 150 pounds. You need a center who is so quick that he can move in between people. Shorter guys can do that better than taller, rangy guys.


How Bill Walsh Evaluates Positions

1997 Draft Prospects: