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NFL Combine Recap: Centers

Posted Mar 1, 2014

Combine Recap is a positional review of players ranked as top offensive prospects by NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock in order of his pre-combine lists.

2014 NFL Combine Recaps: Offensive Tackles | Guards | Centers | Tight Ends | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Defensive Tackles | Defensive Ends | Linebackers | Cornerbacks | Safeties

Marcus Martin, Southern Cal, Jr.

In college: Martin started in all 35 games he played at USC, including 13 at center in 2013 when he was named first-team All-Pac 12. He suffered a knee injury and ankle sprain against UCLA on Nov. 30 that kept him from fully participating at the combine. He had 23 reps in the bench press and plans to participate in USC’s pro day on March 12. Martin played in 12 games and started 10 at guard in 2012 a year after becoming the first freshman to start at guard for USC since 2004 when he made 10 starts in 2011.

Position transition: Martin on switching from guard to center: “I was really focused and concentrated on developing my game, learning how to snap, trying to understand our offensive scheme as best as possible. And it was something that played a pivotal role with me being successful this year at center.”

Quotable: Martin on how to handle coaching changes: “Learning from my coaching situation is, you gotta persevere. No matter who the coach is, you gotta overcome. Things happen. You have to understand as a team and an individual. As a leader, you have to convey that across to the offensive line and the rest of your team. You have to learn how to pick up the slack and keep the ball rolling.”

Weston Richburg, Colorado State, Sr.

In college: Richburg started all 50 games he played, setting a Colorado State record and helping the Rams make a bowl in his senior season. He was named first-team All-MWC (Mountain West) after starting 14 games at center. Richburg started 12 games at center in 2012, 10 at center and two at tackle in 2011 and three at guard and nine at center in 2010. He formerly played quarterback and linebacker in high school and was asked at the combine if the QB experience helps: “Not really,” Richburg said. “I can use that as leverage against other linemen who have been linemen their entire lives. That’s about it.”

Strike first: Richburg said he tries to be faster with his technique than opponents: “I get my hands on guys quick. If I can do that I can negate any moves they’re going to try and throw me. I think that’s one of my biggest things. And I like to get after guys. I’ve got an attitude, really like to be physical.”

Farm life: Richburg, who is from Bushland, Texas, earned a degree in Animal Science that he plans to use after football. “I grew up on a farm, raising cows, raising pigs. So I dealt with that my entire childhood, throughout high school. I really developed a love for it, and it’s something I wanted to continue with and something I’d like to do after my football days are over, go back to the farm and raise cows.”

Travis Swanson, Arkansas, Sr.

In college: Swanson started all 50 games he played and twice was named second-team All-SEC (2012-13). Swanson became the 11th Razorbacks player to serve as a two-time captain in 2013, when he was named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy. Swanson started 12 games in 2012 and in 2013 and started 13 games in 2010 and ’11. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2010 after redshirting in 2009.

Plays music, too: Swanson plays “everything” mainly on electric guitar but got an acoustic guitar in the past two years. “I’m a very laid-back guy. I’m very emotional on the field, vocal, but off the field, just very laid back,” Swanson said. “I learned to play guitar in the sixth grade, and that’s kind of my go-to decompresser type of thing to relax with what little time you get to.”

Quotable: “I feel like (knowledge of the game is) one of my strengths. I had great coaches throughout my five years at Arkansas. Some came and went. I had three different offensive line coaches, two head coaches, multiple coordinators, and you kind of get to pick the brains of every single one of them. That’s helped me out a bunch and shows versatility.”

Bryan Stork, Florida State, Sr.

In college: Stork won the Remington Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy and was an All-American and first-team All-ACC pick in 2013 after starting all 13 games he played, including the VIZIO BCS National Championship. He started all 13 games he played in 2012 and was first-team All-ACC. Stork played in 12 games in 2011 (four starts at right guard, six at center) and played in 10 games in 2010 (four starts at right guard).

No-go in drills: Stork opted not to participate in the timing and testing drills at the combine, saying during his media session, “I’m a football player. I’m not a crazy athlete running a 4.3 down the 40-yard line. It ain’t me. I’m just a football player. It’s irrelevant. I’m a football player. Get me on the white board, and you can’t shut me up for three hours, probably. You’ve just got to know your football and that’s what I’ll sell myself on.” He later added, “I’m here to do the interviews, talk to teams, build relationships. I’m going to carry myself with class and character.”

Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma, Sr.

In college: Ikard stared 50 of 52 games he played and was thrice selected as first-team All-Big 12. He was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the top college football scholar athlete. Ikard started all 13 games at center in 2013 and all 12 games he played the previous year. He made 13 starts in 2011 (six at left guard, seven at center) and made 12 starts in 14 games played at left guard in 2010 after redshirting in 2009. Ikard graduated with a 4.0 GPA in May 2013.

Combine drills: Ikard had the fastest time in the three-cone drill (7.30 seconds) and in the 20-yard shuttle (4.37 seconds) of any offensive lineman at the 2014 NFL Combine.

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