#21 Bengals: C Billy Price

--- NFLDraftScout.com ---

Overview
There may not be a player in the 2018 NFL draft with a more impressive resume than Price.

With the Buckeyes boasting a who's who of NFL prospects along the offensive line when he signed in 2013, Ohio State understandably redshirted Price in his first season on campus. He earned a starting role at guard in the season opener for the eventual national champions and never looked back, rotating between right guard, left guard and center for the next 54 consecutive games.

His first three starts came at right guard in 2014 before he switched to the left side for the final 12 games of Ohio State's run to the title. Price remained on the left side the next two seasons, earning Third Team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches in 2015 before ascending to First Team accolades as a redshirt junior. Media was even higher on his play, recognizing Price as an All-American at left guard while senior Pat Elflein earned the same honors (along with the Rimington Trophy and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year) at center.

With Elflein moving on to the Minnesota Vikings via a second round pick, Urban Meyer made the unusual decision to move his reigning All-American to a different position. Of course, Meyer knew that Price, a team captain who had practiced at center since the spring of 2014, could likely handle the move and was already being projected there by NFL scouts.

As good as Price was at guard earlier in his career, he may have been even better at center in 2017. The unquestioned leader of Ohio State's offensive line, he deserves a great deal of credit for a squad that led the country in first downs and ranked fifth overall in scoring through the regular season despite a less-than-consistent passing attack. He joined Elflein and 2016 first round pick Taylor Decker (Detroit Lions) as Ohio State's third consecutive Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Needless to say, scouts can check a lot of boxes with Price. He boasts a prototypical build and mentality for the interior, along with quickness, balance and power. Price's square-ish frame and high football I.Q. project best to center at the next level but his ability to slide to either guard position if needed could be the factor which helps him continue another impressive streak at Ohio State - of producing at least one top 50 selection each year since 2012.

BACKGROUND
Price was the Associated Press's 2012 Division I co-defensive player of the year in the state of Ohio (along with Ohio State teammates Gareon Conley and Tracy Sprinkle) and a first-team all-state pick. He was a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports, Scout) after splitting his time between offensive and defensive line in high school, earning first-team all-state as a junior at defensive tackle when he recorded 40 tackles with three sacks, 10 TFLs and an interception. Placed seventh in the discus at the 2012 Ohio outdoor state track and field meet after placing sixth in the shot and second in the weight throw indoors. Price graduated in May 2017 with his degree in business administration with a specialization in operations management.

Analysis
STRENGTHS
Built like he was born to play center with a compact, square-ish frame, including excellent weight distribution. Possesses a powerful lower body with a big bubble, fire hydrants for limbs and a vice-like grip which help him physically maul opponents.

Terrific power to create a surge in the running game, jolting opponents with his initial punch and extending his arms - literally bench-pressing opponents at the point of attack - while keeping his legs driving to finish the block. Very good initial quickness and lateral agility for a center, often snapping the ball and escaping laterally to flank the tackles and provide athletic quarterback J.T. Barrett the moving pocket from which he thrives.

Good snap to pop quickness, showing terrific hand-eye coordination to complete the exchange and deliver a forceful punch to the defensive tackle in one fluid motion. Good lateral agility and awareness in pass protection. Technically sound in pass protection with excellent awareness, keeping his head on a swivel to help teammates. Plays on the balls of his feet and with his knees bent, showing excellent core strength and flexibility to anchor.

Plays with an almost defensive mentality, actively searching for someone to hit and pursuing blocks several yards downfield. Had a couple of plays on tape in which he blocked three different defenders in the rivalry game against Michigan... - Rob Rang 12/16/2017

WEAKNESSES
Sometimes looks to do too much, switching off to hit a secondary target before finishing the first. Comes in hard and low when blocking at the second level, leaving himself a bit vulnerable to swim moves. Can get anxious and off-balance in space, occasionally slipping at the point of attack by attempting to mirror and latch onto quicker defenders rather than getting simply getting a good shove in... Some errant shotgun snaps on tape (Michigan, 2017) - Rob Rang 12/16/2017

COMPARES TO: Hall of Famer Mike Webster, Steelers. Physically speaking, the 6-3, 312-pound Price might be closer to another Pittsburgh Hall of Fame center, Dermontti Dawson (6-2, 288) than the 6-1, 255 pound Webster. In terms of grit and durability, however, Price is the college version of Webster, who played in every game for 10 consecutive seasons in Pittsburgh, earning the captain role nine times.

IN OUR VIEW: The Price is right with this ultra-safe interior lineman, an All-American at left guard (2016) and center (2017), two-time team captain and a veteran of an Ohio State record 54 career starts, including the 2018 Cotton Bowl showdown with Southern Cal. Smart, powerful and athletic enough to handle any of the three interior roles, it wouldn't be surprising to see Price earn a first round selection.

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