Perfect for a zone-blocking scheme, but still flexible to play in any blocking system
Ready to play quickly in the NFL
Good knee bend
Good at pulling
Phenomenal initial quickness to get to blocks off snap
Moves well laterally
Ability to mirror speed rushers
Secure, accurate shotgun snapper
Intelligent; understands setting protections
Very versatile on the inside
Will need continued improvement to handle elite nose tackles (zero techniques)
Could use more power to be a guard in a man blocking scheme
Summary: Every year, there are some under-the-radar interior offensive line prospects who end up being extremely good value picks. Schwenke could keep that trend going in 2013.
NFL offensive line coaches love versatility in their interior offensive linemen. They want them to have the ability to flip to guard or center in the middle of a game if an injury hits. They want one of their backup offensive linemen who dresses for game day to have the ability to play all three positions on the inside of the offensive line. Schwenke has proven that he has that ability over the past three seasons at Cal.
Schwenke started 36 games on the inside of the offensive line at California with 16 starts at left guard, 12 at center and eight at right guard. He was a First-Team All-Pac-12 pick by the coaches in 2012. Schwenke consistently beat college defensive linemen with superior quickness and athleticism.
Schwenke used the Senior Bowl to show that he is one of the top five center prospects in the draft. He had a tremendous week. Not only did he provide examples of his speed and athleticism matching up against elite talent; Schwenke showed impressive strength. He had the power to anchor against bull rushes and did very well against physical tackles. Schwenke's pass protection skills were very impressive in the one-on-ones.
Schwenke continued his upward trend with a great Combine. He had a fast 40 time and did well on the bench press (31 reps). Since the end of the season, Schwenke has shown a nice ability to add power while maintaining his quickness. He is said to be about 10 pounds heavier than his previous playing weight at Cal.
Schwenke could be a starter at guard or center at the next level, though the latter would be his best position. He can use his quickness to pull and hit blocks on the second level. Schwenke is intelligent and should do a good job of setting the protection. He will be very skilled at pulling. As a center, he could fit a zone or man blocking scheme. At guard, he probably should be in a zone scheme. A zone blocking system is his best fit.
Schwenke looks like a value mid-round pick that could turn into a quality starter in the NFL.
Player Comparison: Jeremy Zuttah. Zuttah (6-4, 308) has a similar skill set to Schwenke. Both are excellent athletes who aren't power players, but have displayed good weight-room strength. Schwenke has the same quickness as Zuttah with both players having enough power to anchor. Zuttah is a good athlete who started out his career as a backup at guard, center and right tackle. After moving around, Zuttah has found home as a starting center. He has been a starter at guard over the past four seasons, mainly because of injury. Schwenke has the versatility to do that if his team asks that of him.
In the 2008 NFL Draft, Zuttah was a third-round pick. Schwenke could go in that range, but it looks very possible that Schwenke will be a better player than Zuttah.
NFL Matches: Detroit, San Francisco, Baltimore, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Atlanta
There are a few teams on the second day and early on the third that could consider Schwenke. The Lions have to get a young center to work with Matthew Stafford, and the athletic Schwenke is a good scheme fit in Detroit.
The 49ers will eventually have to replace center Jonathan Goodwin, 34, and with their plethora of mid-round picks, adding a center to develop for a year or two behind Goodwin makes a lot of sense.
Baltimore saw Matt Birk ride off into the sunset after their Super Bowl victory. Gino Gradkowski is waiting in the wings, but the Ravens could use Schwenke to compete with Gradkowski and provide depth.
The Packers lost Jeff Saturday to retirement. They could use a starting center or guard depending on where they play Evan Dietrich-Smith. Indianapolis could use an improved interior in front of Andrew Luck.
Atlanta is a perfect fit for Schwenke. He would be an excellent fit in their zone blocking system. With Todd McClure retiring, Schwenke could play right guard or center with Peter Konz manning the other spot. Schwenke would make a ton of sense for the Falcons' third-round pick.