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  1. #1
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    NFL scouts loving Virginia tackle Monroe

    NFL scouts loving Virginia tackle Monroe
    By Norm Wood
    March 22, 2009

    Eugene Monroe stood his ground as the pudgy, middle-aged man pushed on his chest, tugged at his arms and slapped at his hands and elbows.

    After the brief position drill this past Thursday at the University of Virginia's Pro Day, Cincinnati Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander — the aforementioned pudgy, middle-aged man — walked off the practice field and smirked a little as he kept his eyes to the ground. It was almost like he was trying to keep a secret to himself.

    Too late. The secret is out about Monroe.

    He's going to be a first-round selection in next month's National Football League draft. There's a chance he could be the first player chosen, so even though he already did all of the weight lifting, jumping and running at last month's NFL combine in Indianapolis, he still takes every workout seriously.

    "It's not superfluous at all," said Monroe regarding Pro Day, an event held on campuses across the country for NFL scouts, coaches and team personnel to get closer looks at possible draft picks. "Any time you get a chance to perform in front of your potential team is a great time."

    Monroe, a 6-foot-5, 309-pound native of Plainfield, N.J. who just finished an All-American senior season at U.Va., has made his way to the top five of everybody's mock-draft list. He impressed NFL types at the combine with his solid athleticism (281/2-inch vertical leap, 40-yard dash in 5.18 seconds) and strength (23 bench press reps of 225 pounds). The love continued to pour in after Pro Day.

    "It was impressive," St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after coming to Charlottesville to see Monroe's brief workout, which consisted only of position drills. "He's really a good guy, and he's going to be a really good player."

    Monroe has been on the radar screen for teams like St. Louis and Cincinnati, which have the second and sixth selections in the first round this year, respectively, for quite some time. In his senior season, he surrendered just two sacks — the only two sacks he gave up in 2,117 career snaps at U.Va. He was responsible for just nine penalties combined in his last two seasons.

    Though he's a virtual shoo-in to be invited to the NFL's famed "green" room on draft day, he hasn't gotten the invitation yet.

    "You see those (mock drafts), but you can't read in to it," said Monroe, who is one of 16 children in his family, including 10 brothers. "You can't pay attention … you see this media stuff, and then (the teams) haven't even constructed their draft boards yet and finalized anything."

    So, with that in mind, Monroe, who overcame knee injuries in 2006 and '07 including a dislocation, is jumping at every opportunity to at least do a position drill or two for a potential employer. He showed Alexander how he sets up at the line of scrimmage, the angles he takes and spots he goes to on certain plays and he worked a little on run-blocking technique to she how he moves his hips at the snap of the ball.

    "I've been working for four years, so this is the easy part," said Monroe, who was considered by most recruiting analysts to be one of the nation's top three prospects coming out of high school.

    U.Va. coach Al Groh said there's only one offensive lineman with more athleticism that comes to mind that he's coached, and it was the guy Monroe played behind as a freshman.

    "D'Brickashaw (Ferguson) was rare in that particular circumstance, but … just as I kind of quickly run down the guys in my mind as we speak, next to 'Brick' he'd be right up there in that area," Groh said.

    "I can say that with some confidence. (On Thursday), one of the personnel people (at U.Va.) for the workout talked about how impressed they were with (Monroe's) flexibility and his agility."

    In '06, Ferguson was drafted fourth overall by the New York Jets. Despite the pressure of draft day creeping up on Monroe, he said he doesn't really feel such things. Though he's continuing to workout whenever he's asked to do so, he doesn't lack for confidence regarding where he thinks he can go in the draft.

    "I think I can go '1.' " Monroe said.

  2. #2
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: NFL scouts loving Virginia tackle Monroe

    I think he may end up being better than Ferguson, I think he is stronger and Ferguson is a little soft. I like him a little more than Jason Smith

  3. #3
    Revelstoke Guest

    Re: NFL scouts loving Virginia tackle Monroe

    The guy used 'superfluous' in a sentence, the last time I heard anyone do that was Bart and Lisa talking about Krustys third nipple!

    I say we draft him (if hes not the #1 pick) based on vocabulary alone!

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