Austin Blythe, C
School: Iowa | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 291 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Corey Linsley
Austin Blythe has a wrestling background. I don't know much about real wrestling other than it's taken rather seriously in Iowa. Blythe set a state record with 143 pins. I hear wrestling is about strength, leverage and your use of hands. All three have translated for Blythe at Iowa while he played center. Blythe has had a solid career at center for the Hawkeyes starting 40 consecutive games at the position. He's a consistent player though he isn't the biggest, and he doesn't have the longest arms, but he has been consistent in his play for the last 3 seasons improving each year. Despite being undersized for the position Blythe has impressive functional strength, solid fundamentals when blocking the center of his targets, and can create space for the RB on running plays. Blythe was named a Rimington trophy finalist this year along with Ryan Kelly and Jack Allen.
- Good base and footwork. Fundamentally sound. Can get low and maintain balance and leverage while absorbing the power of DL's
- Very good at driving his opponent back and off their spot. Has the power and leverage to sustain blocks on the run and he keeps his feet moving. Can get the second level and take on linebackers after his initial blocks.
- Has a clean snap motion with good location with the QB under center and in shotgun. Has a quick get off after the snap to get to his block too.
- He was the obvious lead blocker / anchor on a lot of run plays it was clear the run game went through him.
- Has "gator" arms, and doesn't always use his punch when he should. When creating separation "arm's length away" is shorter than other guys' reach. Undersized my nearly every metric that most NFL teams use when grading a center.
- Susceptible to inside moves and has trouble reshuffling feet and recovering. Can be fooled and hesitant when making a decision by stunts coming through the middle.
- When beat can get grabby and be called for holding.
Let's see his work:
Big Ten: MSU OT Jack Conklin pretty sloppy in mirror drill, straying north-south instead of east-west. Iowa C Austin Blythe excellent feet.— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) February 26, 2016
One of my favorites all year along: Austin Blythe. The man can really play. Don't worry about his physical limitations. Too good.— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) February 26, 2016
Austin Blythe had 29 reps on the BP. Short arms but still a solid number. Scherff had 23 last year.— Steven Dailey (@Stevemontana) February 26, 2016
Not good news for Iowa C Austin Blythe who has the shortest arms among offensive lineman among linemen at the Combine.— John Blair (@nfldraftitwr) February 24, 2016
Is Austin Blythe flashy or dominant with AA? No, but he is one of the most effective interior blockers in this class. Technician— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) February 16, 2016
Iowa C, Austin Blythe fits the zone blocking scheme well. Could be a good fit for a team like Denver later on in the draft. #NFLDRAFT— DraftRecon (@draftrecon) February 14, 2016
I like Austin Blythe. Use of pad level and hands to win leverage stands out with him. Helps overcome lack of size. pic.twitter.com/zQ645KfA0H— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) February 10, 2016
Guys like Jack Allen and Austin Blythe aren't the biggest or most physical guys, but they'll play a long time in the league.— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) January 30, 2016
Austin Blythe vs Matt Ioannidis pic.twitter.com/5EtGWr3UEw— Playmaker Mentality (@PlayMentality) January 28, 2016
Austin Blythe really nice work in pass pro against Austin Johnson. Giving up about 30lbs.— Pete Smith (@_PeteSmith_) January 27, 2016
Impressive push here by Iowa's center, Austin Blythe. Very good at creating lanes. Another option in a deep C class. pic.twitter.com/VIafmE0V5M— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) January 12, 2016
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
I really like Blythe he's a grinder despite his physical limitations. I think he will be a starter for an NFL team but I'm having trouble seeing the Redskins take a chance on him. On one hand if we listen to all the talking head's (including the fan writing this) they'll say Blythe is too small, his arm length is extremely disappointing, and he needs a lot of work in improving his pass pro despite being a force in the run game at Iowa. On the other hand, I have heard McCloughan say that a guy doesn't need to be the most talented, flashy, or pretty to be considered a "football player". I certainly think Blythe is a football player though I think his success will be on a team that has a zone blocking scheme. Blythe plays with the amount of understanding and fundamentals you would expect out of an Iowa lineman and I believe he would be able to come in and leapfrog guys like Rieter, and LeRibeus and compete for the starting role at some point early on in his career.