The 2009 NFL Draft is full of pass rush specialists. Hybrid defensive end/outside linebackers that can wreak havoc on quarterbacks from a two- or three-point stance.
Two of the most elite hybrid prospects in the draft are Texas Longhorn Brian Orakpo and Florida State Seminole Everette Brown.
On March 6, through ESPN, I was able to ask these two physical specimens about the NFL draft process and how their choosing the universities they did has helped them along the way.
JL: Your pick will make the 72nd consecutive draft a Longhorn has been taken. How did choosing Texas help make you a better pro prospect?
BO: Going to Texas brought a lot of things to the table, both athletically and academically. Texas plays in big games every week and that prepares anybody to play on the next level.
Orakpo delivered a well-crafted answer that shows off his exceptional character. As a student-athlete there's more to life than weights and film; clearly Orakpo feels choosing Texas is a move that will help him for life.
He makes a great point about playing in big games. Some small D-1 and D-1-AA prospects are not used to all of the attention that comes with playing on Sunday.
Orakpo has to mentally prepare himself every week to play at an elite level; this preparation should transition into early NFL success.
Later in the chat Orakpo said, "Playing at Texas we always played in front of a big crowd, I mean our stadium holds 100,000 people. I love when I have a crowd watching what I can do."
Look out QBs, look out.
JL: Have some of the FSU Alumni been giving you advice as you prepare for the draft?
EB: Yeah, I've received advice from many of the former players, like Terrell Buckley, guys on the coaching staff. Kamerion Wimbley. Guys that went through the process and were able to help me.
Some of the NFL's most tenacious defenders have hailed from Florida State and Brown hopes to be one of them.
Established football powerhouses like Florida State and Miami are known for the alumni networks. Often times these players will return in the summer to workout with and mentor the current student-athletes.
In 2006, Brown's former teammate Wimbley set the Cleveland Browns rookie record for sacks with 11. Everette Brown, roughly the same size as Wimbley, could play the hybrid pass-rusher opposite of Wimbley on the Browns, who pick fifth.
Not only do the alumni help out, but Coach Bobby Bowden is very supportive of his pro prospects. Brown stated, "Coach Bowden, the first thing he told me after I made my decision was that he was behind me 100 percent.
"Anything I needed, to give him a call and he would assist me. I've talked to him. Going through the draft process so far has been good. His door is always open."
For blue chip high school football players with pro aspirations, they should be seriously factoring in how the school will help them get to the next level like Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown did.