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With the declining play of Steelers’ C Maurkice Pouncey coupled with his steep $8 million dollar cap hit in 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to look into drafting a center in this year’s upcoming NFL draft. While there are a few spots to improve on the offensive line, center and tackle will be the two points of emphasis during the entire draft process. In terms of the center position, there are many names that are considered top round talents this year. Some of those names are Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, Ohio State’s Josh Myers, and Alabama’s Landon Dickerson. In this profile, we will focus on Landon Dickerson. What are his strengths? Weaknesses? History? Find out below.
Dickerson has been a name known amongst college football experts for some time now as he was a 4-star recruit in his home state of North Carolina. After being heavily recruited, Dickerson chose to play college ball at Florida State University, where he would start at guard immediately. Dickerson spent 3 years at FSU, but after sustaining an injury in his junior year, Dickerson used his last two years of eligibility to finish his collegiate career with Nick Saban at Alabama. In his first year at Alabama, Dickerson was selected as second-team All-SEC in 2019. Just a year later, he would receive first-team honors in a season that he was also selected as an All-American unanimously. To add to his 2020 accolades, Dickerson won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy which recognized him as the best blocker in the SEC. He also was awarded the Rimington Trophy which recognizes the nation’s top center in college football. In a year that was highlighted by personal achievement for Dickerson, his team also won the National Championship. Though he did not get to start the game due to an injury, Dickerson came in to play on the last snap of the game which sealed a victory for the Crimson Tide.
Landon Dickerson stands at 6 ft 6 and weighs in at a whopping 325 lbs. This stature makes Dickerson well above average in size for an interior offensive lineman. However, it is not just his size that makes him dominant. In addition to his size, he has shown the ability to play both guard and center, a trait that has to make GM Kevin Colbert all the more interested. His strength and versatility are the main reasons why many teams, not just the Steelers, will fall in love with him during the draft process. Jordan Reid of The Draft Network says that Dickerson is “Extremely strong at the point of attack, he has above average hand power, body strength, and awareness.” There are many instances where Landon Dickerson completely overwhelmed his opposition in both the run game and in pass protection, and many will expect that to continue at the next level. All of these traits have him graded out to be a late first or second-round pick, but injuries have certainly impacted his standing. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had Dickerson listed as his 44th overall prospect.
The injuries have accumulated throughout Dickerson’s career and that is surely a red flag for many GMs across the league. At Florida State Dickerson was unable to complete a full season due to injuries of his knee and ankle. Just as well he had another injury in 2020 that prevented him from playing any meaningful snaps in the College Football National Championship. His first year at Alabama was his lone healthy season, where he started at both guard and center in order to help fill out the offensive line because of other injuries. Dickerson is believed to be able to play at a high level in both spots, perhaps giving a team a reason to take a risk and overlook his injury history.
Landon Dickerson is undoubtedly a plug and play offensive lineman in the NFL, the question is whether the Steelers will feel comfortable using a Day 1 or 2 pick on a player with a deep injury history. After a 2020 campaign that was marred by injury, Pittsburgh may feel more comfortable selecting players who have been healthy more often than not. While this may be true, it most definitely does not rule out the Steelers taking a shot on a guy that they believe can be a staple on the offensive line for the next decade.