INDIANAPOLIS - Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley awoke at 4 a.m. yesterday and immediately had to submit to a drug test. They spent much of the day having their bodies poked and examined by a succession of NFL team doctors. That's hardly the definition of a fun day for most people, but the two former Ohio State offensive linemen were all smiles yesterday at the NFL scouting combine.
INDIANAPOLIS — Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley awoke at 4 a.m. yesterday and immediately had to submit to a drug test.
They spent much of the day having their bodies poked and examined by a succession of NFL team doctors.
That’s hardly the definition of a fun day for most people, but the two former Ohio State offensive linemen were all smiles yesterday at the NFL scouting combine.
After helping lead the Buckeyes back to national prominence following the NCAA scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job in 2011, Mewhort and Linsley are ready for the next chapter in their careers.
That starts with the combine.
“It’s an amazing experience — a hectic one, but worth it,” Linsley said. “I got up at 4 a.m. for the drug test and have been up ever since. Then we had the doctors, going from room to room.”
With the draft more than two months away, predicting a player’s draft status can be tricky. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock predicted that Mewhort is a likely second-round pick and Linsley a late-rounder.
At one point last season, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer referred to Mewhort as the Buckeyes’ best offensive player. The left tackle was the unit’s leader and played superbly, though his performance in the Orange Bowl against Clemson’s Vic Beasley wasn’t his best.
At the Senior Bowl, Mewhort got to display the versatility that he believes will be a major asset in the pros.
“I think he’s either going to be a starting right tackle or a starting guard,” Mayock said. “He played some guard at the Senior Bowl and played it pretty darn well. I think people were surprised at how well he played it.”
Mewhort played right guard for half of the 2011 season. He said he doesn’t have a preference for where he plays.
“I truly believe I can play any position on the offensive line,” Mewhort said. “I played left tackle the last two years, I played guard in 2011 and both guards at the Senior Bowl. I was an All-American center coming out of high school. You point me in the direction and tell me to play the position, I’ll do it as hard as I can go.”
Three years ago, the notion that Linsley would even be invited to the combine would have seemed far-fetched. He was suspended for the first two games of the 2011 for undisclosed reasons, and only after that season did he resolve to dedicate himself to reaching his potential.
He played through a painful foot injury at the end of 2012 and nursed it throughout last offseason, but he proved durable and effective in 2013.
“It’s been a roller coaster, really like Ohio State has been a roller coaster in the past five years,” Linsley said of his Buckeyes career. “It’s been crazy, but that’s why I think it’s such a blessing for me to be there. I’ve definitely had a lot of questions about the suspension — everybody asked me about that — but I just have to be honest and truthful.”
To the teams, that is, not for public consumption.
“It’s confidential,” he said with a laugh.
Centers generally aren’t taken high in the draft, so Linsley knows he must make an impression. His selling point?
“I’m a workhorse,” he said. “I think I’m a lot more athletic than people have given me credit for. I don’t think people know how strong I am yet. Honestly, I’m an accountable guy that you can depend on. They want the good player, but if the good player can only last for two years, what’s the use? So I think that’s a big selling point for me.”