Travis Frederick   OG/OC   Wisconsin

TALENT BOARD ROUND  4

 

STRENGTHS

Travis is a right guard playing the center position for his team this year and doing a very good job.  He has proven that he can make all the snaps and has proven that he has solid overall potential to be a starting guard or center for the team that drafts him. On film, Travis shows good balance and the lower body strength to be an excellent drive blocker.  He does a terrific job blocking against 3-4 defenses and handling big nose tackles that are difficult for most centers to deal with all game long.  Travis' natural position might be as a right guard for the team that drafts him, but do not count this kid out on developing into a great center in the future.  Although he is a developmental center, his value is high because of his proven work product.  Travis has proven that he can play more than one position on the line of scrimmage and although he is a systems offensive lineman, he will be very productive for the coach who knows how to put Travis in the right system.    

 

CONCERNS

Travis is just learning the mental part of the center position and, at times, looks confused.  Add to that his athletic limitations and you have a player who has yet to reach his true potential as an offensive center.  Combo blocks are the key to a good running game for a center against that defense front.  Combo blocks are very confusing to Travis right now and, when he is playing against 4-3 defenses without someone over him, Travis struggles to identify his assigned combo block.  Also, Travis is not able to execute the proper timing of combo blocks because he doesn't have the foot speed to get out and make them.  He hasn't had enough repetitions at the center position.  His lateral agility is suspect and a better fit at the guard position, but once again, when he learns the mental aspects and correct calls of the center position, he can anticipate his slide better.  He should be drafted by a team that uses tight splits, or an offensive line that lines up in a tight formation instead of a team that uses a spread offense because of his athletic limitations.  He is up too high when pass blocking.  

 

BOTTOM LINE

If your team goes up against a lot of 3-4 defenses, Travis would be a good player for you to draft.  However, just remember that right now, Travis is a better guard than he is a center.  As a center, he needs to be in the right offensive blocking system that will mask his limitations.  As a center, Travis will need to learn how to work with his quarterback, offensive coordinator and other offensive linemen better.  I consider the center position as one of the skill positions on the offense.  I think it is one of the hardest positions to fill on a team and if you don't have a good center, you will not have a good productive offense.  Travis has proven that he can play center and has proven that he might have a very good future as a center, however mentally, I'm not sure he understands the amount of work that he will have to do to become a really solid NFL center.  Travis's value is higher than his talent right now which makes him a candidate to be drafted earlier than I have him rated because selecting interior linemen who can play multiple positions is drafting smart.  Although Travis has a very long way to go to be an NFL starting center, he can be a pretty good right guard who can play center in a pinch and that's enough for me to think that he may have a future at the center position until he proves otherwise.  Remember, smart drafting is good drafting and selecting Travis is smart drafting.

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Mar/2013