Last December I took a look at the size of every starting center in the NFL after repeatedly hearing how undersized Dominic Raiola is compared to his contemporaries. While no one should be surprised to see that Dom ranks near the bottom in terms of height and weight, it should also be noted that a number of playoff teams have similarly sized centers. Dom’s size isn’t the problem, his play is the problem.
The average NFL center is a shade over 6’3″ and 305 pounds, numbers that our #MockThree selection in round 4 can top.
Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock
Weight: 316 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.
40-yard dash: 5.21 sec
Broad Jump: 9 ft.
3-Cone Drill: 7.29 sec
Vertical Jump: 28.5 in.
Fusco has the toughness and size to make it in the league as a reserve guard or center but lacks the athleticisms necessary to become a starter. Will face a big jump in competition level coming from Division II but was not intimidated at the Senior Bowl. Can anchor in pass protection but needs to get set quicker and doesn’t have the feet to move and slide laterally. Will get some push off the ball when run blocking but has a tendency to play too high and is not productive out in space. Fusco’s build, motor, and attitude could make him a late-round pick.
Size is clearly not a concern with Brandon Fusco, that should be a relief to Lions fans disgruntled over Dominic Raiola. Fusco has the physical tools to succeed but will need some time to develop an NFL skill set before he can be expected to contribute to an NFL team. Throughout this draft process I’ve become enamored with the idea of adding small school players in the later rounds. As long as they have the things that can’t be taught (size, speed, etc.) then it makes sense to take a chance with a small school prospect that hasn’t benefited from the level of coaching that higher level prospects have received for three or four (or five) years.
Although a small sample size against tougher competition, Fusco performed well at the Senior Bowl. He started every game of his career after redshirting as a freshman so durability is not a concern.