You can see the guard changing at the center position. Veterans like Jeff Saturday, Olin Kreutz, Shaun O’Hara and Andre Gurode are giving way to youngsters with massively bright futures. As a result, our center power rankings have a nice mix of youth and wisdom.
1. Nick Mangold, New York Jets: There’s really no debate here. The 27-year-old is dominant in every facet of the position.
2. Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger recently referred to the 21-year-old Florida product as “the main cog” in the team’s offense. He’ll lead this list one day.
3. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns: The top center selected in the 2009 draft has already emerged as a Pro Bowler, which is amazing considering the way in which veteran offensive linemen are generically voted in year after year.
4. Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens: The veteran has been lights-out in Baltimore. The Vikings are surely wishing they didn’t give up on him.
5. Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts: Blah blah blah blocked for Peyton Manning blah blah blah.
6. Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers: The two-time Pro Bowler was a crucial part of a running game that somehow survived injuries to Jeff Otah, Travelle Wharton and DeAngelo Williams.
7. Andre Gurode, Dallas Cowboys: If only he knew how to snap the freaking ball, he’d be higher on this list. The guy can be downright unreliable, but he’s one hell of a power blocker.
8. Jeff Faine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He took a small step backwards in 2010, but he should have been a Pro Bowler in 2009. (Actually, you could argue that Faine deserved Gurode’s spot in the Pro Bowl this year, too.)
9. Lyle Sendlein, Arizona Cardinals: Few know his name, but he was actually the third-most efficient pass blocker at the position in 2010, according to Pro Football Focus.
10. Chris Myers, Houston Texans: He deserves some credit for what Arian Foster did in 2010.