What Experts Grade Raven’s Selection of Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum
For a long time heading into the NFL Draft, Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum was widely considered to be a top 15 selection in the first round. More recently, he fell down draft boards due to his short arm length, the perceived lack of value for the center position, and the foot injury he suffered in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the Hawkeyes' season.
Ultimately, he fell into the Baltimore Ravens' lap at the 25th spot, making him the eighth offensive lineman taken in the first round. Linderbaum earned a plethora of awards and honors over his tenure in Iowa City, 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.
The Solon, Iowa native was pretty good at his job for the Hawks, and he became the most recent first-rounder from Iowa City since Tristan Wirfs went No. 13 to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in 2020.
Here's what the so-called "experts" had to say about the Ravens' selection.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports:
GM Eric DeCosta didn’t even try to hide his love for Linderbaum at the scouting combine, comparing him to Marshal Yanda and calling him 'the type of guy that can really be the centerpiece of your offensive line.' So much for subterfuge. The Kirk Ferentz connection made this pick an easy one. The Ravens don’t care if you know their plans. They get good players one way or another. Grade: B
Rob Rang, Fox Sports:
Few clubs prioritize the offensive line like the Ravens, and that was proven yet again with the selection of Linderbaum, the clear-cut top center in this class. The Iowa standout offers terrific initial quickness, balance on the move and the tenacity to be a longtime starter. Grade: A
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
They needed to get a center, and they got the best one. I love the idea of him taking over in the middle of their line. He will play in front of Lamar Jackson for a long time. His athletic ability is outstanding. Grade: B
Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report:
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum isn't for everyone. But he is a special talent. Linderbaum is undersized (6'2⅛", 296 lbs) and is a scheme-specific prospect. But he's also more than worthy of becoming the highest drafted center in the modern era, which makes him a truly unique combination. ... Linderbaum’s fit with the Ravens may seem counterintuitive, because he’s light and short-armed and thrived in a heavy zone-blocking scheme. None of it matters. Linderbaum is a dominant force in the middle despite his supposed limitations. He’s also at his best when run blocking, which is exactly why he’ll thrive in the Ravens’ ground-and-pound attack. Baltimore significantly upgraded over the ball to impose its will on opponents. Grade: A+
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated:
The Ravens get another value with Linderbaum at No. 25. Not only is he my top-ranked center and arguably the best center prospect over the past several drafts, but he is also 14th-ranked prospect overall. While he has sub-32” arms and a frame that limits him to center, Linderbaum has elite lateral mobility and is an outstanding run blocker who will fit well with what the Ravens want to do on offense. GRADE: A
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN wrote this, calling the Saints "winners" on the first day of the draft:
(The Ravens) ended up with a starting center in Linderbaum, who could anchor their offensive line for years to come. Baltimore got great value on Day 1.