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Quotebook: Top Offensive Line Prospects

Posted Feb 21, 2014

See what the top offensive line prospects had to say in their media availabilities.

Here are a handful of quotes from some of the top offensive line prospects here at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Taylor Lewan (T) – Michigan

On the strengths of his game…

“I like to think I’m very consistent and I play through the whistle. That’s one of my weaknesses, too, as everybody likes to comment on. But no doubt about it, I like to play through the whistle and do whatever I can to put people in the dirt as much as possible.”

On the benefit of returning to school for the 2013 season…

“Just being at Michigan for another year. One hundred and thirty four years of that kind of tradition is unbelievable. Being part of something like that for one more year – you only have college for so long. And fortunately enough I am still here standing in front of you all, still with the same opportunity as last year. I am thrilled to be here and I can’t wait for the future.”

On playing with swagger and nastiness…

“My main focus in my game is to give my running back an opportunity to gain yards and give my quarterback the opportunity to be successful in the pocket. My job doesn’t get my highlights or stuff like that. I love doing what I do, whether it’s right tackle, left tackle, center or guard. It doesn’t matter as long as I have the opportunity.”

Marcus Martin (C) – USC

On how he feels physically…

“I’m coming off an injury, so I’m feeling the best I can and trying to be ready for my pro day. I’ll be ready for my pro day March 12 at USC, but I won’t be competing this weekend at the combine. I’ll be doing the bench press…I dislocated my kneecap and had a high-ankle sprain on Nov. 30 against UCLA.”

On making the transition last year to center…

“I was really focused and concentrated on developing my game, learning how to snap, trying to understand our offensive scheme as best as possible. And it was something that played a pivotal role with me being successful this year at center.”

On presnap responsibilities…

“All the line calls were basically predicated on who I declared as the MIKE linebacker and I made the majority of the line calls. The quarterback would identify some free safety rotation or something like that, but the majority of the line calls, I made.”

Jake Matthews  (T) – Texas A&M

On his objectives at the Combine…

“Really just trying to come out here and reiterate what I’ve put on film all year, what I’ve done throughout my career at A&M. Coming out here, trying to put up good numbers, put on a show and just reiterate that I’m the best tackle out here.”

On when he realized he was NFL ready….

“I think towards the end of the senior year. Last year, when it was time to make the decision, you know I wasn’t really sure. Just felt real comfortable at A&M and really wanted to go back and finish up my senior there. But finishing up this year, I could tell I was definitely ready.”

On his dad, Bruce Matthews, influence…

“Yeah, he actually helped me out a little in high school right when I switched to offensive line. I mean, having a Pro Football Hall of Famer help you figure out the position is definitely beneficial to make (me) the player I am today.”

Jack Mewhort (T) – Ohio State

On his versatility…

“I see myself as an offensive lineman. I truly believe I can play any position on the offensive line. I played left tackle the last two years, I played guard in 2011, both guards at the Senior Bowl, I was an All-American center coming out of high school. You point me in the direction tell me to play the position, I'll do it as hard as I can go. Versatility is huge in this league because I think you only carry seven O-lineman on a 53-man roster. I think being able to play more than one position brings a lot of value to an organization.”

On his performance at the Orange Bowl and Senior Bowl…

“I think I competed hard and I went against some great players. I got to measure myself up a little bit and I think I helped myself. Obviously the Orange Bowl didn't come out the way we wanted it to, and I think we all could have played a little bit better. But I give a lot of credit to Clemson.  They're a great squad, and I actually got to run into a few of those guys here and at the Senior Bowl. I have a lot of respect for them. As far as the Senior Bowl, it was just a great measuring stick to see where I am currently and see where I need to get better.”

On his basketball background…

“I thought I was a hooper. I had the hoop dream like every kid does, then I realized I couldn't jump, so I gave it up. I put on some weight and really dedicated myself to being a good offensive lineman. I played for a great high school coach who helped me with that. I still love basketball. If I could go back, I probably would have played all four years of high school. But football is my love.  It's what I love to do.”

Cyril Richardson (G) - Baylor

On adjusting to the NFL Game…

“I am going to prove that I am pretty versatile and that I'm open. I'm not going to be stuck in one way. I'm going to change. Change happens.”

On his strengths …

“I'm a road grader. I get things done on the line. I take over the line of scrimmage and I keep it that way.”

On surviving Katrina…

“First and foremost, I know I am blessed. The road I went down you would have never known I would get here. In the beginning, when I was younger, I wasn't all that into football. But then I got to experience, see how it works, be a part of it, that I could do something with this and that I'm having fun while I'm doing it. And I love the guys that I work out with. Any guy that is trying to go for the same goal as I am, we are going to gel together.”

Xavier Su'a-Filo (G) –UCLA

On who he compares himself to in the NFL…

“Honestly, I don’t watch a whole lot of guys who kind of remind me of me. I watch a lot of the guys I try to pattern my game after. I watch a lot of Logan Mankins, left guard from the New England Patriots. I think Logan, he was a high draft pick, but he’s physical. He’s a bad-ass.  He started from Day One in New England, and I love how nasty he is, something about his game that I really try to implement. Other guys like Mike Iupati and Trent Williams, are really mean and nasty like that and that’s what I’m trying to be like.”

On his college coach, Jim Mora Jr….

“Coach Mora really treated us like men unless, you know, he had to treat us like boys. To me, him and his staff and their coaches, the environment that they created at UCLA was something that I imagined at the NFL, the next level. Very perception is reality, body language, things that you say, you know normally a college kid would do or act like, wasn’t acceptable with them. He was understanding, but how you acted on the field, off the field, your attitude toward team things, his decision meant a lot and really affected the room and the staff and what they thought about you. Perception was reality with coach Mora.”

On his decision to leave school early…

“Yeah, it was kind of tough as far as deciding what to do, knowing I had another year of eligibility, but I was ready. I consulted three people that I’m very close to - my father, my head coach, my position coach. They laid out the pros and cons for me, really just encouraged me to make the decision that I’m going to be happy about, and I felt like I was ready to go to the next level, play football and chase this dream that is something I love to do. Once I made the decision, I never looked back.”

Travis Swanson (C) – Arkansas

On what separates him from other centers…

“I would say my football intelligence. I’ve met some of them. I’ve never watched any of them play. So I’m not going to talk on their behalf. I just know I’m a very smart player and a leader.”

On his favorite question asked by an NFL team…

“Actually, at the Senior Bowl, I got asked to name all the things I could do with a single brick in one minute. That kind of threw me off.”

On what he brings to the NFL…

“I’m a tough player that’s a leader. A very smart player who knows how to work. I guess I take a blue-collar mentality. I come to work every single day.”

David Yankey (G) – Stanford

On what he will bring to the NFL…

“I’m going to bring a physical demeanor. I’m going to play with that mentality that we have at Stanford and also bring a lot of athleticism and natural football intelligence, just understanding the game and being able to play fast.”

On who he patterns himself after…

“Justin Blaylock with the Atlanta Falcons was a guy that I met a couple of years ago and think he’s a really good guard in the NFL. And even though he’s a Stanford guy, Dave DeCastro is coming on really strong with the Steelers and he’s someone I played with, learn from and now to see him play in the pros is pretty cool.”

On what he wants to prove in interview portion…

“The impression I want to leave is a guy who has a great work ethic, great character, is not going to have any off-field issues. A guy who’s going to come to work every day and be a help to the team, make the team better.”

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