Ohio State senior center Pat Elflein is one of the top interior offensive lineman in college football this season, and is drawing some high praise as the Buckeyes head into their regular season finale against rival Michigan.
“You are getting a guy who will be great for your locker room and will get the rest of the offensive line on board,” one NFC Scout said of Elflein this week, via College Football 24/7. “I think he could have the same fast impact on a team’s running game that Zack Martin had in Dallas. Safe draft pick to me.”
That’s a huge comparison for Ohio State’s 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, as Martin has been nothing short of sensational since entering the league as a first-round pick. The former Notre Dame offensive tackle switched to guard upon joining the Dallas Cowboys, and has earned two Pro Bowl selections in his first two seasons and is working his way toward a third in 2016.
Martin has quickly established himself as one of the elite interior offensive linemen in the league in three seasons, and has helped turn Dallas into one of the league’s best rushing teams. The Cowboys 6-foot-4, 310-pound right guard has started every game since being selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
While Martin made the transition from tackle to guard in the NFL, Elflein could be asked to play either guard or center at the next level. Ohio State senior offensive lineman switched from guard to center prior to the start of the 2016 season, but his ability to play both positions could raise his draft value for franchises interested in selecting him in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Walter Football projects Elflein as a second to third-round prospect for the 2017 draft, and currently ranks him as the third best interior offensive lineman behind both Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and LSU’s Ethan Pocic.
Three interior offensive linemen were selected in the first-round of last year’s draft, including Colts center Ryan Kelly. The former Alabama center was the first interior offensive lineman off the board, and was followed by 49ers guard Joshua Garnett and Seahawks guard Germain Ifedi, who were selected within the last four picks of the first-round.
Elflein has plenty of time to improve his draft stock in the coming months, and will have a chance to boost his value this Saturday against a stout Michigan defense. Nine NFL franchises are sending scouts to the highly-anticipated Big Ten matchup Saturday, and multiple teams will likely have scouts closely watching the Buckeyes talented center.