Iowa Hawkeyes’ All-American Center Declares for NFL Draft
It wouldn't have been very smart for Tyler Linderbaum to return to Iowa City in 2022. Not financially, at least. He announced this morning that he'll begin his preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Iowa's starting center was just the tenth Hawkeye to receive unanimous consensus All-America status, being named first-team All-America by the Walter Camp Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Associated Press, Sporting News, and AFCA.
Along with the All-American accolades, he received the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the top center in all of college football, was named the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten, was a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award (given to the country's best offensive lineman) and the Outland Trophy (awarded to the country's best interior offensive lineman). All while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive season.
He's also widely regarded as a first-round NFL Draft pick by the experts.
The pride of Solon, Iowa, Linderbaum is considered worth every penny an NFL franchise will spend on him in his career. According to thedraftnetwork.com, "He is a highly polished, highly cerebral, and dynamic weapon on the offensive line that presents some unique traits that could make him a game-changer in the middle of your offensive front."
Pro Football Focus has some LOVE for Linderbaum: "The best center prospect we’ve seen in the PFF College era. He was already the highest-graded center in the country in 2020, but he has taken his game to new heights in 2021, earning a 95.3 overall grade."
ESPN's Todd McShay, who had the center going to the Cincinnati Bengals in his first mock draft of the year, said this: "Linderbaum anchors well and would help take the Bengals' interior line from among the NFL's worst to one of its best within a few years. Plus, he has good range at the second level, which would open things up more for running back Joe Mixon."
Linderbaum is projected to be picked all across the first round by the experts:
CBS Sports: No. 13, Cleveland Browns
PFF: No. 19, Philadelphia Eagles
Bleacher Report: No. 7, New York Giants
The Draft Network: No. 22, Miami Dolphins
USA Today: No. 14, Baltimore Ravens
Right now, there are 32 offensive linemen that make at least $11 million in average annual salary per year, according to overthecap.com. Linderbaum could very easily join that group in his NFL career.