Ohio State center Billy Price followed Pat Elflein as a Rimington Award winner for the nation’s best center, and now he’s following him to the NFL.
One year after Elflein was selected in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings, Price was chosen by Cincinnati in the first round. He’s the third center under Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to be drafted, joining Elflein and Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley, who was chosen in the fifth round in 2014.
Price’s stock became more precarious when he suffered an incomplete pec tear while doing the 225-pound bench press at the NFL combine in early March. The injury needed surgery to be repaired, but Price said he anticipates being ready to go by June, meaning he won’t miss any time in training camp.
“Getting ready for the bench press, I got into my warmup set, had no problem, no issues. Got the first rep off, got to the third, thought I was still doing well, felt a pop. Immediately racked it,” Price said. “Something didn’t feel right. I’ve been lifting since I was in the fifth grade. I’m familiar with my body and I try to be very aware of what’s going on. I didn’t feel something right. I grabbed it. Felt a little bit of swelling, a little bit of a pop or a tingle.
“It was officially an incomplete pec tear with no grade, no issues like that. Something very minor. Looking at the MRI results, we were able to see a little bit of an issue, nothing that’s going to force me to miss time at all. I’ll be fine for the season going forward and I should be fine going into training camp.”
Price had the distinction of being an All-American at two different positions at Ohio State, doing so at guard in 2016 and center in 2017. At Ohio State’s pro day workout, he noted that it was possible that he’d play either one at the next level, especially since there are only so many centers to go around in the NFL.
“I’ve heard [there’s interest in playing me at] both,” Price said. “I think it’s an opportunity with my flexibility and versatility to go into a franchise and be able to play at a high level at guard and be able to play at a high level at center. I’ve had both, because most of these teams have veteran centers. To be able to be groomed into it, it’s just a great opportunity for me.”
Billy Price NFL draft evaluation (NFL.com)
“Plays like a Wildling at times with tremendous explosiveness, strength and, almost excessive initial charge. Price’s power and leverage give him a huge advantage over most centers in this draft. He should be able to come into the league and deal with NFL power right away. However, his impatience as a blocker and tendency to charge in headfirst will be used against him by savvy NFL opponents, if he doesn’t get it cleaned up. Price should be a good, early starter.” — NFL.com scouting report