LeFors, Rhodes talk NFL Combine

Stefan LeFors and Kerry Rhodes spoke with the media about their performance at the NFL Combine last week.

Johnny Unitas, Ray Buchanan, Ted Washington, Mark Clayton, Sam Madison, David Akers, Tom Jackson and Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch are just a few of the many former Louisville Cardinals that have gone on to have outstanding NFL careers. A number of the seniors from this past season will attempt to follow in their footsteps when they hear their names called during the NFL Draft in April.

Over the course of the last week, Stefan LeFors, Kerry Rhodes, Robert McCune, J.R. Russell, Lionel Gates and Eric Shelton ran, jumped, answered questions and had their bodies examined during the NFL Combine, in an effort to improve their stock in the NFL Draft.

"I thought I did well," said quarterback Stefan LeFors. "That was a big stage up there. There were a lot of eyes on each individual. It was a long four days. I just had to go out and perform and I think I did well."

LeFors left an impression with those observing the workouts when he clocked a 40-yard time of 4.54, second fastest among the quarterbacks. Only Arkansas' Matt Jones posted a quicker time, but there is speculation that he will be moved to receiver in the NFL.

"The way I look at it, you have Matt Jones from Arkansas, who I think they are going to move around to receiver, so if he's not in the picture I was the fastest quarterback there," explained LeFors.

However, LeFors realized that most NFL scouts are aware of his ability to run, so he set out to impress them with his arm.

"I think teams knew that I could run," explained LeFors, who weighed in at 208, 14 pounds heavier than when he scaled in at the East - West Game. "The throwing part is where I might have surprised some people. I think I threw some of my long balls well."

Safety Kerry Rhodes added that the pressure of performing well in that type of stressful situation is part of the scout's evaluation process.

"They know what you can do. They just want to see you do it on a bigger stage with all the pressure and all the scouts there."

However, Rhodes, who also posted impressive numbers at the combine, felt that the opportunity to meet with representatives from a number of teams helped improve his draft stock.

"Wow, it was the longest four days of my life," said Rhodes of the combine experience. "I think the interviews helped a whole lot. Meeting with the teams, so they can see what your character is like helped. I think the interviews went well and I think I improved my stock."

In addition to what boils down to as a free-for-all networking opportunity where all players have opportunities to visit with coaches from every NFL team, the participants at the combine also had the more formal scheduled interviews.

"I had seven scheduled interviews, so I talked to quite a few teams," said Rhodes, who includes Arizona, Pittsburgh, New York Jets and the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, among those teams that he visited with. "The important thing with the interviews is just to be yourself."

"I talked with all the teams and their quarterback coaches," said LeFors, who also had scheduled interviews with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. "They would quiz you to see how smart you were with football and would ask you things like what's your favorite play with certain coverages."

They both, along with the other Louisville seniors, will get an opportunity to showcase their talents and improve their stock once again on Monday, when NFL scouts arrive in town for U of L's Pro Day.

Of course, the goal is to hear your name called at the NFL Draft.

"At the beginning I would have said that just hearing my name called [in the draft] would have been a good thing," LeFors said. "Now, that I'm hearing a little bit more and I feel that I did well at the combine, let's see how high I can get. Really it is about making the team."

"I'm hearing right now that it is second to third," said Rhodes. "The big thing is just to be drafted and to hear your name. Right now I think I'm sitting pretty good."

Both are looking forward to that day in April. The day that they can watch their name scroll across the ticker on ESPN News as an NFL draftee.

"I'm pretty positive that I'm going to hear my name called," said a smiling Stefan LeFors.

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