15 Apr Josh Myers: The 2021 NFL Draft Most Underrated Offensive Lineman
Excelling Out Of The Spotlight
Coming from a football family, there weren’t many questions about what the athletic path would be for 2021 NFL Draft prospect Josh Myers. There also wasn’t much question about what position he would grow into, seeing both his father and brother were both collegiate offensive lineman. The question, at least early on, was whether he would follow a familiar path when made his college decision. Both Myers’ father (Brad) and brother (Zach) suited up for the Kentucky Wildcats during their college careers. Josh would, as you could imagine, receive attention from the Wildcats staff to continue the family legacy. Some recruiting analysts even favored the Wildcats to ultimately land Myers throughout the process. Rated as a high four-star recruit by every major recruiting platform, Myers would become one of the more highly coveted offensive line recruits across the country. Boasting offers from perennial powers Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, the recruiting process started early on for Myers.
“After my freshman season is when I got a majority of my offers,” Josh Myers explained. “I was too young to be thinking that far ahead but it was really cool.”
With his roots already in the Buckeye state, Myers ultimately decided to stay at home and play for THE Ohio State University. The obvious allure of tradition that Ohio State brings is an easy sell for most recruits. Myers let me in on his personal reasoning while making the decision.
“There’s a lot of things about Ohio State that I loved,” said Myers. “I took some visits but Ohio State is where I ultimately wanted to be. You could visibly see how close they were as a team.”
Now that the destination was decided, the next question was what position Myers would ultimately grow into. Recruiting both as an offensive tackle and inside at guard, opinions on the best possible fit were all over the place.
“I was a guard in high school, playing in the Wing-T offense to work as a pulling guard,” Myers recollected. “If I didn’t have to pull so often, I would have been a tackle but it’s what the team needed.”
As you can imagine, a move to the outside was one that Myers was expecting. With his work physical profile, it would have been one that everyone would have understood.
“I thought I was going to play tackle like every other recruit does,” Myers explained. “They told me they were gonna start me out as guard and see from there.”
That plan again took a detour when the Buckeyes depth at the center position was lacking during his true freshman year. Already set to redshirt his initial season, Myers was approached about moving to a position completely foreign to him. For Myers, the move represented opportunity.
“My coaches asked me what I thought about playing center. I asked if it would get me on the field quicker and they thought so. It was a no-brainer at that point for me.”
Making the transition to college is difficult enough. Doing so at a new position adds a completely new list of complications. Myers was a quick study.
“There were some (difficulties) but honestly it was easier than I thought it would be,” Myers said. “The biggest hurdle was snapping. At that point, I had never snapped a football in my life.
Having been a part of one of the more talented offensive lines in all of football, Myers was gifted the ability to grow amongst a talented group of players. Success on the offensive line is usually attributed to comfortability with the others around you. That unit is only as strong as the weakest link.
“I was super fortunate to have the guards that I had in college. I was the second-string center in 2018 and Wyatt (Davis) was also the backup at guard so we played together for four years,” Myers explained. “Then adding a player like Jonah Jackson was huge. We were all so impressed by how he handled everything with the tough transition.”
In hindsight, the move to center was pivotal for Myers’ career projection. Taking a step back, Myers accomplished a ton in his two years as a starter upfront, including two All-Big Ten honors. While paving his own legacy, the scouting community is excited to see the progression of Myers moving forward. This Ohio kid stayed home, carved out his own path, and in just two weeks will officially become an NFL football player.
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FROM A SCOUT’S EYE
With a background as a highly coveted offensive tackle recruit, Josh Myers uses his roots to assist in pass protection. He frames with ease and comfort, staying balanced and calculated in his approach. This allows him to stay attached, using his length to his advantage when he fits inside. Myers also has enough sand in his pants to sit down on power against denser rushers.
Awareness is a trait that can not be undersold at the position. Working in pass protection, being able to see and react against movement is paramount. Here, the left guard does a poor job diagnosing and passing off the slanting defender. Myers sees the leak and is aware enough to redirect and contact the looper to save Justin Fields on the pressure.
The box score will cite a nice run by Fields. The tape says that Myers created that play.
There is no center in the 2021 NFL Draft that does a better job working inside zone than Josh Myers. His combos up to the second level are a thing of beauty. He does an outstanding job remaining hip-to-hip, creating a ton of movement at the point of attack. Once he carries to the second level, his awareness again is on full display, locating second-level defenders and getting his body positioned properly into the hole. Myers is a vital piece here of springing Fields for a nice game.
Here, Myers again works well up to the second level. He gets quick contact on the defensive tackle, forcing his momentum to carry with the offensive guard. Myers is then able to work up to the second-level defender and force him out of the play, providing a cutback opportunity. Awareness, again, is a trait that sticks out on film constantly for Myers.
With his combination of size, awareness, and smoothness, Myers stakes claim as one of the more physically impressive interior offensive lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft class. He is a starting level option early if he falls into the right situation.
Lost amongst the shuffle a bit in the 2021 NFL Draft class, Ohio State center Josh Myers still remains as one of the more impressive players in the cycle at his position. He had a lot going against him: abbreviated Big Ten season, a foot injury that affected his level of play down the stretch of the season, and a large portion of the draft process. Add in the consistent feel of Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma) and the meteoric rise of Quinn Meinerz (UW Whitewater), Myers has just suffered from recency bias down the stretch. With that considered, one lucky NFL team could be in for a bargain when the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off. With outside noise faded out, Josh Myers has a legit conversation as perhaps the 2021 NFL Draft’s top center prospect.
An NFL Draft Analyst with extensive credits to his name, Ryan has joined XTB for a special edition series covering the next wave of prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft. Ryan is a former member of the Sports Illustrated affiliated Draft Bible, where his work has been featured on SINow and Bleacher Report. Ryan also co-hosts the NFL Prospects Podcast.