LEXINGTON, Ky. — The NFL Draft begins April 27, and Kentucky center Jon Toth will be evaluated plenty between now and then.
Toth started 48 consecutive games to close his Kentucky career and was at the heart of a much-improved offensive line. He received a slew of all-SEC honors for his senior season, and now the focus shifts to where he’ll play next.
SEC Country caught up with draft expert Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com to discuss Toth’s pro prospects.
Rang and his colleagues have Toth ranked the No. 5 center in the draft — a position group led by LSU’s Ethan Pocic. The former Kentucky center projects to go in the fifth or sixth round, according to NFLDraftScout.com. Toth is the site’s No. 186 overall prospect in the draft.
Sports Illustrated also lists Toth as the 5th-best center but lists Ohio State’s Pat Elflein as the best prospect at the position.
Kentucky center’s evaluation
Offensive line coach John Schlarman said Toth could develop into a starting NFL center. Toth also might move to any position along the offensive line and be effective.
Rang sees a similar versatility in Toth.
“His size, agility and durability should be especially appealing to teams operating out of a zone-blocking scheme and not necessarily just as a center but potentially as a guard or even tackle convert, as well,” Rang told SEC Country.
Seven centers were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, which makes Toth seem a lock to be selected. Alabama’s Ryan Kelly was the first center taken last year at No. 18 overall. The next two centers selected were in the third round.
The 2017 NFL Draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
Here’s Rang’s complete analysis on Toth published on NFLDraftScout.com.
Strengths: Good size for center with enough length and agility to project outside to guard for zone-blocking schemes. Possesses a broad-shouldered rangy frame with plenty of room for additional muscle mass. Technically sound pass protector who can absorb bull rushers due to his knee bend and core flexibility and uses good hand placement and foot shuffling to effectively corral opponents. Experience shows in his awareness when adjusting to twists and surprise blitzers. Shows excellent initial quickness in his snap and pop to defensive tackles, including in down blocks. Possesses the body control and speed to release from blocks at the line of scrimmage and climb to the second level, where he shows awareness and vision to locate and latch onto opponents. Looks for work when not covered. Keeps his head on a swivel and plays on the balls of his feet, quickly sliding to assist the guards. Smart, durable player who handles all of the line calls. Has played in 49 career games with an NCAA-best 48 consecutive starts (including the TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Georgia Tech) to cap his career.
Weaknesses: More of a corral than control type of blocker, lacking much of a power element to his game. Reliant upon his use of leverage and quickness to wall off defenders and create rushing lanes but struggles with physically driving opponents off the ball. At times is too eager to release from his initial block to get to the second level, failing to sustain either long enough to effectively neutralize the opponent. May project better to guard or tackle in the NFL, making him a bit of a project.