NFL scouts scour over film on every possible prospect eligible for the upcoming draft. During draft weekend not all the players that hear their names called had an opportunity to showcase their skills at the NFL Combine. The NFL Dream is alive and well for many college seniors.
Earlier this week we had a chance to talk to a couple of prospects that were in Indy at the combine, Penn State's Nathan Stupar and UConn's Kashif Moore. But this time we're chatting with a player that had to wait for his schools pro day to show what he can do. Rutgers offensive tackle Desmond Stapleton.
Windy City Gridiron - Do you feel it was a set back to your professional aspirations not getting the Combine invite?
Desmond Stapleton - No, it was a reality check that I have to continue to work hard. It was motivation to prove that I could compete on the same level as the more elite guys in the league.
WCG - Is there one area of your game that you've really been working to improve on before the draft?
DS - Yes, I have worked on being more versatile so that if need be, I can play all five positions on the line. Also, striking and bending is a focal point in my game.
WCG - Did you do the position drills at the Rutgers pro day, and if so how do you think you did?
DS - Yes, I was involved in the position drills at Rutgers pro day and I felt like I did well. I felt like I excelled in snapping and driving. I also felt good kicking and powering down. Pulling was ok, but could have been a little sharper after reviewing the film. Overall, I feel positive about my performance at the Rutgers pro day.
WCG - What kind of advantage do you think it is for you having a brother that already played in the NFL? (Stapleton's brother Darnell was the starting guard for the Pittsburghduring their 2008 Super Bowl run.)
DS - I think by having a brother that played in the league, I immediately became a smarter player, whether it's defensive tips or learning the basic concepts of an NFLs offensive line play. We are constantly talking about the differences in college and NFL play.
Secondly, I have a mentor that actually played and was successful which allows me to correct the mistakes that I am making now. This will ultimately make me a better player.
WCG - What type of blocking scheme did you have at Rutgers?
DS - Since I've been at Rutgers, the personality of the offensive is Power, which is a gap scheme. However, we do have our share of strong and weak side lead zone.
WCG - What do you envision as your best NFL position?
DS - I envision myself playing offensive tackle. I feel as though I can move in space and play aggressive in the run.
Thanks to Desmond for taking some time to answer our questions.