Beyond the 1st round: Center

April, 26, 2014
Each day over the next 10 days, this space will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the New England Patriots. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today, it's center.

[+] EnlargeWeston Richburg
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsCenter Weston Richburg of Colorado State competed in the Senior Bowl in January.
Second round: Weston Richburg (Colorado State)
A two-year captain who has played tackle, guard and center, the 6-foot-3 3/8, 298-pound Richburg has 49 career starts on his resume and would appear to fit best in a zone-based scheme like the Patriots'. One question is how he'd match up against bigger defensive tackles.

Third round: Travis Swanson (Arkansas)
Another two-year captain who has extensive experience (50 career starts), the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Swanson combines intelligence, unusual reach, and an edge as his physical measureables are a bit unique for the position.

Fourth round: Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
Like the majority of centers who make the cut here, the 6-foot-3 5/8, 304-pound Ikard makes the line calls, which reflects his football intelligence. He is a two-time captain, has experience at guard and center, and his 7.30 time in the 3-cone drill ranked among the best at the position.

Fifth round: Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)
With Bill Belichick in town to run the Nashville half-marathon, he worked out Johnson on Friday and had a film session with him Thursday, the Tennessean reported. Johnson (6-foot-5 7/8, 297 pounds) is known for his versatility and intelligence; his 7.40 time in the 3-cone drill was among the best at the position.

Sixth round: James Stone (Tennessee)
At 6-foot-3 5/8, 306 pounds, with 33 7/8-inch arm length and 10 1/8-inch hand size, Stone has some desirable physical measureables. A four-year starter in the SEC, he's faced some of the top competition in the country, with one NFL-based question coming in -- how he would handle bigger defensive tackles.

Seventh round: Jonotthan Harrison (Florida)
One of the Gators' captains in 2013, the 6-foot-3 1/2, 304-pound Harrison has 39 career starts on his resume and his combination of height and arm length figures to appeal to those eyeing a developmental prospect.

(Round projections aided by Scouts Inc., and independent analysis.)

Previous entries:
1. Defensive tackles
2. Tight ends
3. Defensive end
4. Linebacker/outside linebacker
5. Quarterback
6. Wide receiver
7. Safety
8. Running back
9. Cornerback
10. Guard

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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