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    John Greco might go as guard ..

    John Greco might go as guard ..
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    04/18/2008

    John Greco
    (Courtesy of UTRockets.com)

    Fifth in a series of NFL Draft notebooks by Jim Thomas, exclusively on Stltoday.com. Todayís topic: offensive linemen.
    Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, not only did John Greco attend the same high school as Bernie Kosar, he went to the same elementary school as the former Cleveland Brownsí quarterback.

    "So I kind of heard that name growing up, looking at all his accomplishments," Greco said.

    But Greco isnít really following in Kosarís footsteps. As an offensive tackle at the University of Toledo, Greco is following Nick Kaczur. A third-round draft choice by New England in 2005, Kaczur has been a starting OT for the Patriots for most of his three years in the NFL.

    After starting at right tackle as a Toledo freshman in 2004, Greco moved into Kaczurís left tackle spot in Ď05.

    "Even at Toledo, I looked up to Nick," Greco said. "I kind of modeled my game after him. We were good friends. Seeing his success, it kind of helps you, and gets you in the right mindset that you can do the same thing."

    As the NFL draft approaches, Greco is on course to do just that. He was a two-year captain at Toledo and started 49 consecutive games. At 6-4Ĺ, 303 pounds, Greco combines good feet and athleticism with strength. Despite playing tackle throughout his college career, some NFL teams are projecting him as a guard.

    "Pretty much half and half," Greco said. "Some say tackle. Some say guard. Some say start at tackle and move in."

    Greco projects as a second- or third-round pick, and appears to be one of many options for the Rams once they get out of the first round. He paid a pre-draft visit to Rams Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN

    Utah State offensive guard Shawn Murphy tried to make it in baseball, but wasnít in the same league as his father, former Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy.

    "I couldnít hit the curveball or the fastball," Shawn said.

    He gave up baseball following his junior year at Lone Peak High in Highland, Utah.

    "I was decent," he said. "I didnít live up to peopleís expectations. I was OK. Iíd hit a home run here and there, and struck out a lot."

    Dale Murphy was a seven-time all-star in baseball who won National League MVP honors in back-to-back seasons in the 1980s.

    Shawn Murphy, who projects as a late-round NFL draft pick, is trying to carve out a career of his own in football. At age 25, heís getting a late start on his pro career because of a church mission in Brazil.

    "I was there for two years after my first year of college football," he said. "Iím fluent in Portuguese now. It was dangerous. . .got robbed a few times. Some gunfights between police and drug dealers. It was an eye-opening experience."

    TURLEY FAN


    Ohio State right tackle Kirk Barton says he patterns his game after former Ram Kyle Turley.

    "Heís just more like my body type," Barton said. "Heís 6-4, a good athlete. . . .Heís definitely a physically gifted player. But the great thing about him is heís tough and he finishes blocks."

    But any similarities end there. Barton, whoís 6-4, 310 pounds, laughed when asked if he patterned his personality after Turley, too.

    "No," Barton said. "You donít have too many characters like that. Something like that may raise a question mark or two."

    Then again, Barton did raise the ire of Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel when he brought a cigar into the interview room moments after pouring out champagne to his teammates in the locker room following the 2006 Michigan game.

    "It was a silly thing, and itís something that I definitely regret," Barton said. "Iím a college graduate and thatís really the only thing I have against me. Itís a small thing compared to what a lot of other guys have on their record. But itís something you wish you can take back and have a completely clear slate."

    Barton is a tough, blue-collar type who started 41 games at right tackle for the Buckeyes, although some scouts figure heís better suited for guard in the NFL. He projects as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

    DOWN ON THE FARM

    What Oregon Stateís Roy Schuening may lack in quickness, he makes up for in toughness.

    "I offer a lot of toughness," said Schuening, a potential mid-round pick at guard. "Iím a hard worker. I know a lot of guys come in here saying that, but I really live up to that."

    Some of Schueningís earliest memories were of working from dawn to dusk on the family wheat farm in Pendleton, Ore.

    "So I donít shy away from hard work," he said. "We had rock-picking crews where we had big old boulders in our fields, and we had to go pick those up and dump them in the back of the truck. I was doing that before I was in kindergarten."

    PROTEST BACKFIRED

    Kansas OT Anthony Collins, who should go in the second or third round, was benched ever-so-briefly last season against Toledo.

    "I was suspended for the first series of the game because we were going through conditioning drills the week of the Toledo game, and the leader that I am, I felt I needed to let coach know everybody was dying, everybody was tired," Collins said. "I guess I said the wrong things to him."

    Collins was sent to the locker room.

    "Five minutes later, I went to his office and apologized, wrote a letter, and we were cool ever since then," Collins said.

    THE McGLYNN WEIGHT LOSS PLAN

    Pittsburgh guard Mike McGlynn, who projects as a mid-round draft pick, always had trouble making the weight limit for his youth league team growing up in Youngstown, Ohio. Suffice it to say he had an unusual method of making weight.

    "Iíd be down to my underwear, and my dad used to hang me upside down so Iíd lose a couple pounds to make weight," said McGlynn, who is now 6-4, 311. "I was always the bigger kid. When I was 9, I was playing with 12-13-year-olds.

    JAMAICAíS FINEST

    Texas El-Paso offensive tackle Oniel Cousins was born in Jamaica and moved to the U.S. when he was 15.

    "I started playing football when I moved to the States," said Cousins, who projects as a mid-round pick and played both right and left tackle at UTEP.

    Cousinsí sport of choice in Jamaica was soccer, which has helped his footwork in "American" football.

    "I think it has a little bit, because we did a lot of running when we played soccer - a lot of speed stuff," he said. "I played goalie and I played sweeper."

    WHATíS IN A NAME?

    Boston College OT Gosder Cherilus once asked his father about his unusual first name.

    "At first he said to me: ĎYou donít like your name?í " Cherilus said. "I just told him I wanted to have an answer for those who asked the question. He told me he just wanted something unique that nobody else has. Thatís what he came up with. Pretty creative, huh?"

    Cherilus, who could be a late first- or early second-rounder in the draft, is from Haiti.

    "I have a lot of pride, and I love being who I am, as a person," Cherilus said. "Where Iím from, there are so many little kids. . .who have no leaders. No one to look up to. I want to be that guy to them."

    LAST YEARíS TOP 5


    Player Pos. College NFL Team Rd. (Overall)
    Joe Thomas T Wisconsin Cleveland 1 (3)
    Instant anchor of offensive line at left tackle; named to AFC Pro Bowl squad.


    Levi Brown T Penn State Arizona 1 (5)
    Eleven starts at RT; missed three early-season games with ankle injury.


    Joe Staley T Central Mich. San Francisco 1 (28)
    First ***** rookie offensive lineman to start every game since 1968.


    Ben Grubbs G Auburn Baltimore 1 (29)
    Started final 12 games at RG; named to Pro Football Writers all-rookie team.


    Arron Sears G Tennessee Tampa Bay 2 (35)
    Started all 16 games for Buccaneers, plus playoff loss to New York Giants.

    LOCAL LINE

    Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.

    Brandon Joyce OT Illinois State 6-5 319

    Duchesne High grad had private workout Thursday at Rams Park.

    Tyler Luellen OT Missouri 6-6 305

    Could be late-round pick or rookie free agent.

    Darren Marquez OT Southern Illinois 6-5 315

    Could be late-round pick or rookie free agent.

    Akim Millington OT Illinois 6-5 312

    Could be late-round pick or rookie free agent.

    Adam Spieker C Missouri 6-2 302

    Could be late-round pick or rookie free agent.

    DRAFT POTPOURRI/OL


    _ Itís not a nickname. The first name of Auburnís 6-foot-9 OT, King Dunlap, has been handed down through the generations. His full name is King David Dunlap V. He begin playing football at age 5. "So Iíve got a long career already, I guess," he said.

    _ Southern Cal offensive tackle Sam Baker, who could be a second_ or third-rounder, is the son of Arena Football League commissioner David Baker.

    _ Bakerís teammate at USC, guard-tackle Andrew Radovich, surfs with his father Mark during down time. His father was a linebacker for Arizona State in the mid 1970s.


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    Re: John Greco might go as guard ..

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