Whether Ronald Leary has the skill to warrant a selection among the 254 picks of the 2012 NFL draft will come into question, but the Memphis offensive lineman clearly has a determination to succeed and a passion for the game of football.
“As far as football, it’s my No. 1 thing, my heart, my love, and I wouldn’t put nothing over football,” Leary said passionately, as I had the opportunity to speak with him this past Saturday, one week before his scheduled date to take the field with the offensive linemen at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
Leary played left tackle at the University of Memphis, and was named to the All-Conference USA second team as a senior. That said, Leary is not expected to remain a left tackle at the next level.
“Some say right tackle, but the majority of (NFL scouts) are saying guard,” reported Leary on where scouts see him fitting in at the next level.
Leary played at left guard for the first time ever earlier this month at the Players All-Star Classic, a first-year all-star game held in Little Rock, Ark., for 2012 NFL draft prospects. Leary characterized the experience as good, saying he “met with a lot of scouts.”
Commenting on his performance in Little Rock, Leary said that “I felt like I dominated in the run game, pass blocking was all right, I know there’s a few things I just need to work on with that, but overall, I feel like my performance was very good.”
Leary said that his preparation for the combine “has been real good.” Asked what he wants to display to scouts at the combine, Leary added that “I want to show them I’m athletic, that I can change directions real well, I’m strong, quick and I’m fast and just hoping that one of the 32 teams takes a chance on me.”
Leary believes that an NFL team should take a chance by drafting him because of his work ethic and love for the game. “I’m a professional, I’m going to be that guy that's going to show up first and leave late,” Leary said of his work ethic.
Leary explains that when takes the field for a football game, he becomes a different man. “I’m a guy that’s going to play every play like it’s my last, and I’m going to bring that attitude to the offensive line that it’s time to get down and dirty. Off the field, I’m a great guy, but on the field, it’s all about beating them, I’m trying to dominate that man across from me.”
Leary mentioned Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher and Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, a former teammate of Leary’s at Memphis, as players he looks up to in the National Football League.
Asked if he has any preference of what team he would like to play for, Leary said he does not, and that “I will play for any of the 32 teams that takes me.” “I love all 32 teams, I love the NFL, and I will just play anything, it does not matter,” he added.
Leary could face an uphill battle to getting drafted, but Leary is approaching the draft process with a tremendous attitude, and could sell an NFL team on a late-round selection with his tremendous attitude and professionalism.
Leary’s biggest opportunity to work his way up the NFL draft boards, however, comes when he takes the field with many of the draft’s top offensive linemen during his day on the field on Saturday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
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This is the fourth of five articles featuring exclusive interviews with NFL draft prospects that I conducted last weekend. Check back again on Friday for another!
Tuesday: East Carolina QB Dominique Davis
Wednesday: Iowa WR Marvin McNutt
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