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College football week 8 - Prospect preview: Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa)

Taking a look at a player who should definitely be on the Giants’ radar

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Iowa v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning New York Giants fans!

Happy Saturday and welcome to week 8 of the college football season. We have a bunch of ranked teams in action this week, though none of them are in action against each other. The best match-up we have this weekend will likely be the afternoon game between Oregon and UCLA. Not only is it an unusually early matchup between west coast teams for those of us on the east coast, but we could get the opportunity to see one of the top EDGE defenders in the draft go against one of the better offensive tackles in this draft class.

But first, we take a look at Iowa red-shirt junior center Tyler Linderbaum, who is one of the top offensive linemen at any position.

Prospect spotlight - Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa)

Background

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum has one of the more diverse and fascinating backgrounds you’re going to find for a center prospect.

Linderbaum lettered in three different sports as a high school athlete — football (obviously), basketball, and wrestling. His background as a diverse athlete really shows up in his game, as he plays with uncommon athleticism, agility, and “twitch” for an interior offensive lineman. That’s befitting a former basketball player, and his experience as a wrestler shows up in his balance and refined understanding of leverage and angles. In fact, he pinned fellow Hawkeyes alum Tristan Wirfs when the two were in high school.

A wrestling background is one of the best things to see in an offensive, or defensive, lineman. The grit to fight through the whistle, the innate understanding of balance, leverage, angles, and positioning all show up on the field.

But wait, there’s more. Lindebaum was actually a defensive tackle when he arrived at Iowa and converted to center after two games. Again, that makes sense looking at Linderbaum’s compact, athletic build and ability to play with quickness and explosiveness.

Let’s take a look and see what the tape has to say about him.

Strengths

  • Great athlete. Quick, agile, fast, and explosive.
  • Natural knee bender. Sits into his stance with a nice, wide base and keeps his pads low throughout the rep.
  • Pro-ready technician. Excellent hand placement and usage.
  • Scheme versatile. Plenty of athleticism to execute zone blocks as well as pull in a man-gap scheme.
  • Good awareness. Knows where to apply the double team.
  • Quickly recognizes and reacts very well to stunts, twists, and blitzes.
  • Works off of double teams well to the second level.
  • Easily able to get out in front of screen passes.
  • Great competitive toughness. Blocks through the whistle and looks for work.

Weaknesses

  • Could be too small for some teams.
  • Can occasionally be overwhelmed by bigger defensive tackles.

Games to watch

Noon games

We don’t have any highlight games at noon this week, but we should have a trio of ranked teams to start your day. While I don’t think the outcome of any of these games is in serious doubt, there are going to be future NFL players on the field who will be worth a watch.

  • Kansas vs. (3) Oklahoma (ESPN)
  • (6) Michigan vs. Northwestern (Fox)
  • (7) Penn State vs. Illinois (ABC)

Afternoon games

We don’t have to wait too long for the game of the day this week, with Oregon facing UCLA. In particular, the potential matchup between Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux and UCLA OT Sean Rhyan could be must-watch scouting tape.

Primetime Games

  • (4) Alabama vs. Tennessee (7pm - ESPN)
  • (13) Notre Dame vs. USC (NBC - 7:30 pm)

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