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Weston Richburg, Brandon Thomas could start as rookies

Four offensive linemen whom most analysts project to go in the second or third round have the ability to start as rookies, NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah says.

Brandon Thomas and Joel Bitonio were tackles in college who some think project best as guards at the next level, while Weston Richburg and Marcus Martin are centers. In a later tweet, Jeremiah clarified that he thinks Bitonio and Thomas "are better interior prospects" than tackle prospects.

Martin and Richburg are in the mix to be the first center selected, while Bitonio and Thomas generally are seen as second-tier tackle prospects, behind the "big four" of Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Notre Dame's Zack Martin, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson. Lewan, Matthews and Robinson are all likely to be off the board by pick 13 or 14, while Martin appears to be a guy who will come off the board in the second half of the first round.

Bitonio (6-foot-4, 302 pounds) and Thomas (6-3, 317) were left tackles in college. Both are seen as more likely to play on the right side or slide inside to guard in the NFL than to be a left tackle. While both would be among a big group of second-tier tackle prospects, there isn't as much separation among the guards after UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo.

Martin (6-3, 320) and Richburg (6-3, 298) will vie with Arkansas' Travis Swanson to be the first center drafted.

Cleveland, Miami, Minnesota, Oakland, the New York Jets, St. Louis and Tampa Bay are among the teams who could be looking to add a guard in the second round, while Baltimore, New England and San Francisco could have interest in Martin and Richburg in the second round.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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