Dating back to high school, Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort has played every position on the offensive line. That kind of versatility is a rarity among top NFL draft prospects.
Currently rated ninth as an offensive tackle by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller (77th overall), Mewhort is coming off of a stellar Big Ten career, and is projected by most into the NFL as a right tackle prospect.
OT Jack Mewhort is a much better NFL prospect than former Buckeyes OT Mike Adams IMO. Stout and tough. Plug and play type day one #NFLDraft— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 24, 2014
However, Mewhort credits his versatility and love of the game and is willing to play wherever the team that selects him in May needs him the most—even center, where he was a high school All-American.
At Ohio State, it's hard not to love the game, as Urban Meyer has turned around a program that was barely headed in any sort of the wrong direction under former head coach Jim Tressel.
It was just a momentary blip in the radar between the two coaches, and Mewhort credits both men (along with his parents and sister, "family first") with helping him become who he is today.
"Under Coach Meyer, everything you did was competing. He charted everything. If you were slacking in practice, it was up there on a board somewhere. Then, under Coach Tressel, we did this thing called quiet time and he’d talk to us every day. I remember, 'You are who you hang with.' The people you surround yourself with define you."
For the past four seasons, however, Mewhort has been defined as a "Buckeye," and that has meant a burning hatred—or, at worst, a competitive dislike—for those guys up in Ann Arbor. Asked about the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry, Mewhort said:
"Yes, it's definitely it’s the best rivalry in all of sports. Growing up in Toledo, I got to see both sides of the rivalry, which was pretty cool. There’s always something extra. Sure, you put everything you have into every game, but Ohio State/Michigan—coaches' careers end if they don’t win that game. We know it’s a bigger game."
Now that he's leaving Columbus and set to graduate with a degree in consumer and family resource financial services, Mewhort is working toward an NFL career. To further that goal, he's been training at IMG's facilities in Bradenton, Fla., as the draft approaches.
"Your body is your business. That’s something that’s changed a little bit—just dedicating more time to making sure my body is healthy. Sometimes (as a college student), you get lost and just want food in your body. At IMG, they have a whole nutrition plan worked out for us."
On the field, Mewhort knows there's some things he needs to work on:
"Confidence in my game—there are times that I let things get to me and end up being too hard on myself. I would also like to get NFL coaching on how to protect the edge better."
For the past couple of seasons, Mewhort's been tasked with protecting more mobile quarterbacks in coach Meyer's scheme, and he knows that's helped him, saying that having a quarterback who can move "can make you look really good."
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller provided this projection of Mewhort's game:
"I like Mewhort as an early starter in his NFL career, but he lacks the agility and fluid movements of the other top tackles in this class. A possible move to right tackle may help, but he has shown flashes of sound pass protection. Speed rushers gave him fits throughout his career, but Vic Beasley of Clemson may have personally killed Mewhort's draft stock with his Orange Bowl performance."
Mewhort, when asked to scout his own game, was confident he could play all five positions on the line at a high level and said that his new team will love his versatility. He also called himself a "tough football player" and doubled down on his love of the game.
While he may not have the buzz or publicity of some of the other top tackles in this class, Mewhort simply has too much to offer NFL teams to not make an impact throughout his career. The kind of guy who will simply grab his lunchpail and get to work, Mewhort has the talent and tenacity to appeal to just about any NFL team.
Michael Schottey is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff on his archive page and follow him on Twitter. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.