We're always striving to bring something unique to our readers, and with the NFL Draft fast approaching we had a chance to talk to a few athletes that participated at the NFL combine. Some may be legit Chicago Bears prospects, some may not be, but until they hear their names called who's really to say. We want to bring you the perspective of an NFL hopeful and some of their experiences from the combine. First up is Penn State linebacker Nathan Stupar, who early on in his collegiate career spent considerable time on the special teams. He's the kind of versatile athlete the Bears usually covet.
Stupar measured 6'2" 241 at the combine and his 6.84 3-cone time was best among all LBs, and his 60 yard shuttle time of 11.64 was 4th best. He was 3rd on the Nittany Lions in tackles and was named ALL-Big Ten Honorable Mention as a senior.
Windy City Gridiron - What teams do you feel showed you the most interest at the Combine?
Nathan Stupar - I had a lot of interest from all teams at the combine. It was fun to sit down with them to talk football and to demonstrate my knowledge of the game. There wasn't a specific team that showed me the most interest.
WCG - Which performance do you feel was your best at the combine, and which were you disappointed in?
NS - I feel my best performance would have to have been my positional drills at linebacker. I did a great job of showing the coaches that I can move in open space and that I have great hips where I'm able to swivel and move smoothly.
I would also say my 3-cone since I had the best time in that specific drill. I was really very happy with my performance overall and I improved on my 40 time at the Penn State pro day where I ran in the mid 4.5's.
WCG - Where do you think you'll be drafted?
NS - Everyone has high hopes of where and when they want to be drafted and I would be blessed to be drafted in any round, but if I could choose, I would love to go in the 4th-5th round. When NFL teams see my new 40 yard dash time at the Penn State pro day, it could easily place me in those rounds.
WCG - What was the strangest question you were asked during the team interviews at the combine?
NS - The strangest question I was asked at the combine wasn't really strange, but a question of asking if I had any children or not. It is crazy for me to think of having kids right now, because I am definitely waiting a couple years after my wedding to start having kids. I just recently got engaged.
WCG - Did you meet with the Chicago Bears people at the combine, and if so how did that meeting go?
NS - The Chicago Bears did meet with me at the combine, and like every other meeting, it went very well. It would be excellent to play on that great Bears defense with great linebackers like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. The Bears me asked a lot of questions about defenses and specific points within those defenses. I thought I did a excellent job of showing my learning ability and knowledge of the great game called football.
WCG - Do you think your experience on special teams at Penn State will help you come draft day?
NS - I do believe my experience on special teams at Penn State will help me. I was very active early in my career there and made a large impact. I blocked about 3 or 4 punts in those first two years and had some big blocks to open up touchdown returns on kickoff and punt return.
I take passion in playing my hardest, no matter what position I'm playing. Special teams is a vital role in winning games. Just look at this past NFL season with the championship games before the Super Bowl. Both games came down to special team plays to win the game. Not a lot of people take pride in those roles, but I'm one of those guys who loves any second being on the field, no matter the role.
WCG - Which linebacker position do the NFL people see you fitting it at, and do you agree with their assessment?
NS - With my athleticism, NFL coaches see me playing either as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 or an inside linebacker in a 3-4. I have the natural skills to move from either position without hesitation or a loss of contribution. I feel that I am a very intelligent player who can know different positions at a single time. I am also very talented in pass coverage which helps me with the transition to the NFL which is a heavy passing league. If I could chose to pick a position, I couldn't. I'm going to work my hardest regardless of where they place me on the field.
Thanks to Nathan for taking some time to answer our questions.