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Draft's top centers: Mack leads talented class of men in the middle

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Typically, teams in any sport say the key to success is being strong through the middle. Yet, in pro football, it's the edge players on defense and the skill players on offense who make the money and the highlights, in large part because of the grunt work done by the interior worker bees.

This year's center class, highlighted by California's Alex Mack, is a deep and talented group. They'll receive playing time, as teams throughout the league need depth at center because so many players currently starting at the position, such as Tennessee's Kevin Mawae and Baltimore's Matt Birk, are getting older.

In last year's draft, the first center was chosen 107th overall -- Cody Wallace of Texas A&M went to the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round. Kory Lichtensteiger of Bowling Green was taken one pick later by the Denver Broncos. But the strength of this year's group could result in some centers coming off the board earlier this time. While no center is expected to go in the first round, Mack could sneak in late, possibly to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the last pick at No. 32.

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