For the average NFL fan, evaluating the abilities of a center isn’t such an easy task. We’ve studied Bengals rookie center Billy Price’s film to help breakdown his strengths and weaknesses, which you can read (and watch) here and here.
And today, we’re turning to Pro Football Focus to see how they evaluated the former Ohio State offensive lineman. Whether you agree with PFF’s analysis or not, their analysts spend all day studying film and analyzing football players. So, you can take what they say with a grain of salt, but they’re trained to evaluate players in specific ways and use that training to churn out grades and evaluations. The following information is from PFF’s 2018 Draft Guide.
PFF gave Price an 83.2 overall grade in 2017, which ranked him as the fifth best center in college football. The 2017 season was Price’s first at the center position as he played left guard in his first two years of college and right guard in his third year at OSU. He graded best at the right guard position, though his grades as a center weren’t far behind those marks. Price’s pass blocking is what suffered the most when he moved from guard to center, in the eyes of PFF’s evaluators.
- Has played all three interior positions at some point in his career at Ohio State. LG as freshman/sophomore. RG as junior. C as senior.
- Nastiness that offensive line coaches love. Is out for blood on every snap.
- Very active hands. Even when he doesn’t get initial placement perfect, he’s quick to reset and regain control.
- Overextends in pass protection for his punch. Lots of quick losses in pass protection as a result. Speed gives him problems.
- Aggressiveness gets him in trouble in run game as well. Always looking for the kill shot.
- Power is superb for the position. Can line up a target and take them yards downfield.
In 2017 Price was on-the-field for 433 pass block snaps, from which he allowed 2 sacks, 1 hit, 10 hurries, 13 total pressures and a pass blocking efficiency of 97.6.
There were games in which former Bengals center Russell Bodine gave up two sacks. Price allowed just two for an entire season.
Pass Blocking Efficiency, for which Price had a 97.6 mark, is a PFF signature stat, explained by the analytics service below:
Making full use of our snap data and pressure tallies, plays spent in pass protection are compared to the total number of quarterback disruptions allowed by each player. The pass-blocking efficiency (PBE) formula weighs sacks a bit heavier than hits and hurries and produces a rating that reflects the most efficient pass blockers on a per-pass-blocking snap basis with scores closer to 100 being best. We’ve got these ratings available for full offensive line units and individually for tackles, guards, centers, tight ends, and running backs.
Andy Dalton was sacked 39 times in 2017 after being sacked 41 times in 2016. Bodine was a key contributor in allowing Dalton to be sacked so frequently, so after allowing only five sacks from 2015 to 2017, Price should be a big help to the line and ensure Dalton is sacked far less frequently in 2018.
As for how Price was viewed by PFF in relation to the other centers in the 2018 NFL Draft, the analytics site had him as the fifth best center. He fell behind Frank Ragnow (Arkansas), James Daniels (Iowa), Austin Corbett (Nevada) and Will Clapp (LSU). Only Ragnow was drafted prior to Price and it was the Lions who grabbed him, just one pick ahead of the Bengals.