If you’ve missed any of the look at our best graded performances from 2011 you can find the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, tackles, and guards with a simple click. For now however it’s the turn of those men who spend every snap snapping the ball.
Here are the Top 10 center performances from 2011:
10t. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns: Week 15 vs. Arizona (+4.0)
10t. Chris Myers, Houston Texans: Week 15 vs. Carolina (+4.0)
The Browns and Texans centers did enough in Week 15 to both earn a tie for the 10th spot, with Myers excelling against the Panthers and Mack enjoying himself against the Cardinals. Both men gave up a pressure (though Mack had his nullified by a penalty), but their run blocking was superb a they did a great job of getting to the second level. Just ask Paris Lenon and Dan Connor who were on the receiving end of the efforts of these two men.
9. Brian De La Puente, New Orleans Saints: Week 9 vs. Tampa Bay (+4.1)
‘BDP’ started the season as a backup to one-time perennial Pro-Bowler Olin Kreutz, and not many Saints fans would have been that excited with him replacing the former Bear. But De La Puente didn’t just fill in serviceably for Kreutz, he offered a big upgrade, and this was extremely evident against the Bucs in Week 9. Perfect in pass protection, he had no problems besting Brian Price on a regular basis.
8. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 15 vs. Detroit (+4.2)
The problem with Satele is you never quite know what you’re going to get. When he’s on form, he has talent that many centers in the league would struggle to replicate, though he too often fails to deliver. That wasn’t a problem in Week 15, with the Raider not allowing a single pressure and not grading negatively once in the run game.
7. Lyle Sendlein, Arizona Cardinals: Week 2 at Washington (+4.3)
While the Cardinals’ line has often flattered to deceive, Sendlein has turned himself from undrafted free agent into one of the league’s more solid centers. Against Washington in Week 2 he had some fun against Barry Cofield on the nose, and showed some nice athleticism to get to the second level and open up some running lanes by neutralizing London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh. Perfect in pass pro and even recovered a fumble to boot.
6. John Sullivan, Minnesota Vikings: Week 8 at Carolina (+4.5)
After spending a large part of his early career as something of a liability, a healthy Sullivan finally showed what he was capable of in 2011. The shining example of this came in Week 8 against the Panthers where in addition to being perfect in pass he won his battles with the Panthers defensive tackles. Good day.
4t. Nick Mangold, New York Jets: Week 14 vs. Kansas City (+4.6)
The only entry from one of this generation’s premier centers. Mangold battled injury at points in the 2011 season, but he looked 100% when the Chiefs came into town. Kelly Gregg is never the easiest player to go head-to-head with, but Mangold comprehensively won nearly all of their battles (Gregg earned just one positive grade versus Mangold). When he wasn’t busy bullying the Chiefs’ nose tackle, he was showing some good agility pulling on screen blocks and getting hands on linebackers. At his best here.
4t. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 3 vs. New York Jets (+4.6)
You don’t often see a center do so well against Sione Pouha and Mike Devito, but other than getting beaten badly once by Devito, Satele enhanced his reputation with a strong display. Giving up no pressure and winning both in the trenches and at the second level, the Raider was exceptional.
3. Scott Wells, Green Bay Packers: Week 1 vs. New Orleans (+5.1)
Wells’ brilliance in Week 1 was highlighted for all to see as he manhandled Shaun Rogers at the goal line with 11:52 to go in the fourth quarter, but his game was about so much more than that. The Saints got plenty of use out of Rogers, Sedrick Ellis and Aubrayo Franklin but none of them were a match for Wells who was fired up for the season opener.
2. Chris Myers, Houston Texans: Week 9 vs. Cleveland (+5.9)
His taunting penalty didn’t go down well but his run blocking (and pass protection) did. In addition to not giving up a single pressure, Myers went to work on the big bodies of the Browns up front. Phil Taylor had the hardest time of all, but Ahtyba Rubin and Brian Schaefering were others who found out how in the zone Myers was at this stage of the season. A practically flawless performance.
1. Chris Myers, Houston Texans: Week 1 vs. Indianapolis (+8.0)
Myers couldn’t have played much better than he did in Week 1 and while he was the league’s top center in 2011, so it proved. That owed to a tremendous performance, the likes of which you just don’t see often. It didn’t matter if it was Antonio Johnson, Drake Nevis, Fili Moala or anyone the Colts tried on the interior of their defensive line; Myers dominated them to such an extent he achieved the best grade of the year by any center.