One the most highly touted offensive linemen in this years draft, Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe spoke to the media at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine. Here are some of the highlights of his media session...**
Q: Why are you working out here?
A: You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to show you have the ability to do as well or better than if you decide not to do the drills.
Q: Why should you be the first offensive tackle selected?
A: I think over my career at Virginia I've proven I can block anybody. I have the determination to improve my game and the ambition to succeed and I never stop. I continue to set goals. When one step is completed, I set another goal. I make sure i do everything in my power to achieve that. If I can't, I'll re-set everything and I'll go back to the drawing board and just continue to grind.
Q: How many sacks did you allow in college?
A: Two sacks, one against Duke and one against Georgia Tech.
Q: Who in the NFL do you like to watch?
A: When I study film I watch Walter Jones. I wouldn't say I compare my game to his but I would try to learn from him. It's because of how consistent he is with his footwork. He's a really good player.
Q: Where do you think you'll be picked?
A: Ultimately that's not my decision. All I can do is prepare myself. Everybody knows about Eugene Monroe and what type of player and person he is.
Q: You played with Brandon Albert at Virginia and he now starts for the Chiefs. What are your thoughts on him?
A: It would be great to play with Brandon again. I think it just says that we're both just really good players. I wouldn't say I kept him away from playing the tackle position because he's playing tackle now in the NFL. I'd love the opportunity to play with him again.
I believe our program (at Virginia) has a level of professionalism that is second to none. Everyone is just used to doing things the right way and we get talented players. Those two things put together and you get guys like Chris Long and Brandon (Albert) getting drafted in the first round and those other guys get drafted later.
Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A: I would say at this point pass protection is one of my strengths. There are things I have to work on with the running game as well. I played right guard my freshman year in college and if I have to play the right side I'll go right over there.
Q: You were one of 16 children, correct?
A: I was the baby. I was the youngest. The entire family wasn't together. I have a lot of half brothers and sisters. Most of them were not always around. We'd have a lot of family reunions and everyone stayed in touch. It's a good thing to have.
Q: Did you guys compete at the dinner table?
A: All of them are much older than I am. It was just me and my brother, who is a few years older than me, and my mother. It wasn't that bad.
Q: What do you think of your chances of being the first overall pick?
A: That's just something we'll have to wait and see. I'm not one to predict the future. I'm just going to do what I can to move up to that draft pick.
Q: Do you still keep in touch with Brandon Albert?
A: We talk on the phone every week. I ask him how he's doing, not just in football, but we have a good relationship.
Q: How did Albert handle being 2-14?
A: In speaking with him I could tell he wasn't satisfied with the way things were going, but he's just going to keep working to improve things. I'm very proud of him. I've seen the work that he put in - even coming out of high school, nobody knew who he was (and then he was) drafted in the first round.
Q: What are your thoughts about playing on the same team as Chris Long?
A: It would be great to play with Chris or Brandon, two really great guys. Chris and I have spoken and he told me if he heard anything he'd let me know."
Q: Is there competition between you and some of the other potential top picks?
A: Who is going to be the first one picked? We'll see in April. I can't predict that. We (he and Andre Smith) speak and get along pretty well. It's a very good group. I knew Michael Oher from the high school All-American Bowl.