INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The first group of players available Wednesday at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine were offensive lineman, tight ends and specialists. Titans Online caught up with three of Wednesday's top prospects that addressed reporters.
Laken Tomlinson, G (Duke)**
Tomlinson took the podium with supreme confidence, saying time and time again that the team who picks him will have made a great investment.
"Some of my strengths are I play with great physical fundamentals. I play with great pad leverage and I'm a nasty player," he said.
The former Duke guard played on Ken Whisenhunt's North Team at the Senior Bowl last month and was one of the most impressive players throughout the week. He credited Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad with teaching him an NFL scheme.
"It was extremely important having the opportunity to go against the best of the best, matching your skill level and your talent level to the best out there. It's important to any player," Tomlinson said of his Senior Bowl experience.
Tomlinson compared himself to Larry Warford, a second-year guard for the Detroit Lions. He said he wants his technique and foot skills to be as good as Warford's when he's in the NFL.
"I've been compared to him so I figured I needed to go check him out and watch his tape," Tomlinson said. "I see the resemblance to my own technique, so I continually watch more film on him."
He said he'd be comfortable playing right or left guard at the NFL. Tomlinson showed time and time again at the Senior Bowl that once he gets his feet set and gathers his center of gravity, he is an immovable force.
Tomlinson is also a brilliant mind. Double majoring in evolutionary anthropology and psychology, Tomlin said he would want to be a neurosurgeon if he wasn't a football player.
Andrus Peat, T (Stanford)**
Peat is seen as the one of the top tackles in this year's draft. If Brandon Scherff is selected as a guard, then he will be the top-ranked tackle of 2015. Peat was much more soft spoken than Tomlinson, but still made it clear he is ready for the NFL after deciding to forgo his senior season.
Todd Peat, Andrus' father, played six seasons in the NFL but didn't want his son to play football until he got older. Taking his father's advice, Andrus didn't begin playing football until high school.
With the Titans releasing Michael Oher, Tennessee will be in the market for a new right tackle, a move Peat says he'd have no problem making.
"I played right tackle in high school a little bit and in college I played only left tackle," said Peat. "I've been working since the season was over in a right handed stance as well just to prepare myself to play both."
Clive Walford, TE (Miami)
Walford left Mobile, Ala. as one of the biggest risers from the Senior Bowl. He proved to be a matchup nightmare for both linebackers and safeties, dominating the 1-on-1 portion of each South Team practice.
"A dominant player, a dual threat tight end, a competitor, a will to win and I play with my heart," is how Walford described himself. "They're going to get a player who's going to lay it on the line every down."
He said the week of the Senior Bowl helped him show teams he was healthy and ready for the NFL.
"There were reports and people thought I tore my MLC which I didn't, I just had a scope on my meniscus," he said.
Titans brass continues the evaluation process at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn, AP)
He also picked a pretty good tight end to emulate his game after.
"Rob Gronkowski – him running with the ball after the catch,making crucial blocks, pass protecting, pretty much everything. He's an all around tight end," he listed off the traits he admires of the Patriots tight end.
Walford didn't start playing football until his senior year of high school because he wasn't a fan of the game. He says he needs to work on his second level blocking, but that the sky is the limit for his NFL career.
The former Miami Hurricane caught 44 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.
What's On Tap Thursday: QB, WR, RB
Thursday will easily be the most intriguing day of the combine in terms of media availability. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota will both meet with what is sure to be a large amount of national reporters.
Both will be asked to confirm they will be throwing with the rest of the quarterbacks on Saturday. Winston will be grilled about his interview process and off-field issues. Mariota will be questioned about his ability to transition to the NFL.
It will be a circus, and Titans Online will have it all covered here in Indianapolis.