Four Buckeyes Working At Combine

A group of four former Ohio State football players head to Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine this week with more work to do than the usual contingent of former Buckeyes that takes the Circle City this time of year.

Ohio State has had at least one player picked in ever NFL draft of the past four years, but none of the 2010 group of kicker Aaron Pettrey, defensive linemen Doug Worthington and Thaddeus Gibson and defensive back Kurt Coleman is highly regarded by NFL draft prognosticators yet, so they hope to turn some heads of NFL personnel to begin to change that.

Pettrey, one of three place-kickers invited to the combine, is first up. Kickers, punters, other special teamers, offensive linemen and tight ends were due to arrive in Indianapolis yesterday with measurements, physical exams, psychological tests and media interviews set for today.

Pettrey intends to prove to NFL teams he has completely healed from a torn knee ligament that prematurely ended his regular season but did not prevent him from kicking in the Rose Bowl or the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game Feb. 6.

"Once I got hurt I knew I had to go to the combine to show that I would be healthy to be drafted or signed as a free agent," he said. "It will be a real blessing to be able to go in there and be able to compete against the best guys coming out and show what I can do."

Defensive linemen are expected to arrive Friday with workouts scheduled for Sunday. At that time, Worthington wants to show NFL teams the athleticism that called for Scout to rate him a five-star defensive end prospect when he was a senior at Athol Springs (N.Y.) St. Francis.

In three years as a regular in defensive coordinator and line coach Jim Heacock's rotation, Worthington saw time at both inside spots as well as at defensive end, and he hopes all that experience makes him a target on draft day.

"I'm very excited Coach Heacock let me do (play different positions)," he said. "He let me play nose guard, let me play 3-technique (tackle) and let me play end, and I give him a lot of credit because he had to teach me different things for every position I had to play. He helped me become more versatile."

Worthington envisions himself in yet another role in the NFL.

"I would love to play anything really, but a 3-4 end would be tremendous for me, just going out there and stopping the run and letting (other) guys come off the edge in pass blocking and using my long limbs to get into those passing lanes for the quarterbacks," said the 6-8, 292-pounder. "That's something that I think I can excel at at the next level."

In that case, the spread of the 3-4 in the NFL figures to be a good thing for Worthington, and the same is true for Gibson.

While Worthington has three years of film to fall back on when his workouts are finished, Gibson is more of a blank slate.

He is listed as a defensive linemen, as he was at Ohio State, but at 6-2, 245 pounds, Gibson's size and skill set seem to translate to 3-4 outside linebacker.

After starting 23 games at Ohio State, Gibson will be in Indianapolis hoping to show teams there is more to his game than just the nine sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 71 stops overall he was credited with.

"I think the difference in my game now is that I know my role better," he said. "I play my position better just because of watching more film and getting in there on the chalkboard and going over coverages and things like that with the coaches and knowing what the guys around me are doing. That makes the game slower and easier to play. Just my knowledge of the game, for sure."

The end of the combine is reserved for defensive backs, and Coleman hopes a fast 40-yard dash and good strength numbers will translate to a rise up some draft boards.

"I know how to interview well and I know what I can do, so I'm just going to go down there and show them," he said.

In workouts scheduled for Tuesday, Coleman hopes to run a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash to prove to teams he could play corner or safety in the NFL.

"I don't think a lot of safeties out there are able to cover coming down on the slot or fill in run responsibilities, and I feel like I'm a combination of both," said Coleman. "That's what teams like to see, that versatility. I think I just need to shore up my man skills. I was playing a little bit of corner out there (at the Senior Bowl), one-on-one, and it was a little new for me. It's been three years since I've been out on the outside, so I've just got to continue to work on that here and I should be ready by the time workouts come."

In Scout's pre-combine rankings, Gibson is the highest-rated Buckeye at No. 140 overall, while Coleman follows at 205. Worthington checks in at No. 350.

Scout ranks Gibson the 14th-best outside linebacker prospect with Coleman the No. 20 safety, Worthington 29th at defensive end and Pettrey the No. 5 kicker.


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