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More athletic interior offensive linemen in demand

Because of changes on the defensive side, franchises are placing more value on interior offensive line prospects.

Updated: April 22, 2006, 8:21 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Seventeen of the 32 starting centers in the NFL last season were players who entered the league as fourth-round picks or lower. There were four times as many starting centers who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents (eight) than as first-round choices (two). And one of those two first-rounders, Jeff Hartings of Pittsburgh, actually was drafted by the Detroit Lions as a guard.

So, the longtime practice of rating centers somewhere between slugs and afterthoughts in the personnel ...

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