Regarded as one of the top offensive line prospects, Ohio State’s Billy Price adds to his draft stock with his experience and success at center as well. The Buckeyes have rotated a lineman to center over the past few seasons, and Price is just the latest three-year guard to make the move and excel at his new position.
Following in the footsteps of Pat Elflein before him, Price not only switched positions on the line, but also won the Rimington Trophy for being the best center in college football. For the first time in Rimington Trophy history, the same program won the award in back-to-back years, thanks to Elflein in 2016 and Price in 2017. Price is just the sixth Buckeye to ever win the award, and was also named Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace offensive lineman of the year, and earned unanimous All-American honors in 2017.
A leader on the field and in the locker room, the two-time captain also finished his collegiate career setting the record for starts (55) and consecutive starts (55) as a Buckeye — surpassing the former record (50) set by Luke Fickell from 1993-96. Price also tied Elflein and Tyquan Lewis for the school record for games played (55), meaning the NFL prospect had never played a game for Ohio State that he didn’t start — which is absolutely incredible.
STRENGTHS: Freaky strength and explosiveness. Expected to crush the bench press at the Combine. Plays with excellent snap to punch quickness. Lands hands under shoulders and snatches pads gaining control of the man across from him. Core strength and contact balance is a plus. Has redirect power to wipe out gap shooter and recover from early losses. Terrific bend and flexibility in hips unleash his drive blocking power. Works from consistently leveraged position. Generates push against bigger players. Considered highly intelligent by scouting community. Operational in space or in a phone booth. Keeps hands inside the frame in pass pro. Pass sets with wide base and strong anchor. Starting experience as both center and guard. Mean streak will not be an issue.
WEAKNESSES: Has had consistent tape where impatience gets him in trouble. Lunges out to find shade defenders causing him to over-set and lose balance. Early lunging may be a muscle memory concern. Lack of length makes it tough for him to sustain. Could be more static on second level climb so backs can set up his blocks. Can improve re-setting hands against longer defensive tackles. Feet need to follow hands more consistently on redirects rather than leaning. Feet begin to deaden in his mirror allowing athletic rushers to challenge him with counters. Needs to improve footwork to go with his brute force. Can be a challenging personality to deal with according to scouts.
- Height: 6-3 6/8”
- Weight: 305 lbs
- Hand size: 9 6/8”
- Arm length: 32”
- Wingspan: 75 2/8”
Price’s first event on Thursday was the bench press, and he didn’t get very far into the workout before seemingly injuring his chest and having to stop after just a couple reps.
Injury Info and Updates
Despite suffering an injury to his pec in Indy, Price didn’t rush out of town, and rather still met with the media to talk about his MRI results and how he thinks this will affect his draft stock. Notably, the Buckeye was very cognizant to emphasize — throughout his 13 minutes at the podium — that this is a very minor issue, and not something that will keep him out for any portion of the season.
The MRI results showed an “incomplete pec tear, with no grade, no issues like that.” He did mention that he is getting a second opinion about the need for surgery, but he won’t have a definitive answer on that until the MRI results are sent to the new doctor for review. He did point out that he wasn’t as sore as he expected the next morning, and also didn’t have any visible bruising — both good signs for how minor the tear really is.
While he didn’t get to finish his bench press, he told reporters he “was looking at 30s, for sure.” The only other injury he’s suffered since the onset of his Ohio State career was a minor MCL sprain that didn’t even keep him out of the next day’s practice. The irony was not lost on him that he played 55 games for the Buckeyes without any notable issue, and then finally saw an injury during the first event at the combine.
Since he wasn’t be able to finish the workout at the combine or participate at Ohio State’s pro day, Price said that he has a great relationship with the training staff and coaches at Ohio State and will happily defer to them if teams want to discuss his bench press ability, speed, or anything else he isn’t able to display ahead of the draft.
Price is confronting the situation head on, and when asked about whether the injury had him feeling down, the Buckeye said, “You’re really going to have to put a bullet between us Ohio State guys’ eyes to put us down.” (He’s not wrong.)
Lastly, the guard-turned-center was asked which spot he felt more comfortable lining up at, at the next level. Price explained, “I see myself as a center in this league. Again, being able to be accountable for the offense and orchestrating the line and making sure we’re efficient and on the same page.” Although, like many lineman before him, he acknowledged he’d be happy and successful at whatever spot his new team assigned him.
Price went back to Indy for the combine re-check in mid-April, and told Land-Grant Holy Land that his recovery is going “excellent” and that he’s still on track to be cleared in June, and in time to participate in training camp.
It’s harder than ever to try and peg when Price will be taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, especially given his torn pec that will now be a concern. As noted above, Price said the tear is minor and expects to be back in action in time for training camp. The problem though, is that training camp comes after rookie camp and OTAs, so Price will be behind the eight-ball getting on the field just a month of so ahead of the preseason.
Price might drop out of the first round thanks to this injury, but he should still be taken by the end of Day 2 of the draft — and if he doesn’t, some NFL team is getting a hell of a steal.
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