In the 7th round of this year's draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected AQ Shipley, who played his collegiate ball at Penn State. Before that, he played in the Pittsburgh-area for Moon Area High School.
Despite winning the Rimington Award as the nation's best center last year, Shipley fell all the way to the 7th round of the draft. Many scouts felt he did not have the height or arm length to be a successful lineman in the NFL.
Shipley's been extremely successful at every level, though, and will look to prove his doubters wrong in the future. For now, he will learn from experienced center, Justin Hartwig, who will be the Steelers' starter this season barring injury.
Here would be my opening questions for an interview with Shipley. There would surely be follow-ups and other questions depending on Shipley's answers.
1. Why do you think you fell to the 7th round despite being awarded the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center last year?
2. One of the knocks on you is your height and short arms, does it bother you that your play on the field didn’t mean as much to scouts as numbers from the combine?
3. Does this give you extra incentive to prove the doubters wrong about you?
4. When you were picked, how did it feel to find out you would get a chance to play for your hometown team?
5. What are your goals this year?
6. How much has it helped to you to be able to learn from Justin Hartwig, someone with lots of experience who was also picked late in the draft?
7. Have the veterans, as a group, been helpful in helping you learn the nuances of the offense?
8. What’s the biggest challenge of learning the offense and the calls you have to make as the center?
9. How much do you think about the storied tradition of the center position for the Steelers and the possibility that you could carry on that tradition?
10. What’s the general atmosphere around the team?
11. Is there a feeling of the urgency to repeat as champions?