Speedy Sims presents intriguing LB prospect

Florida State product Ernie Sims is one of the top junior prospects to declare for the 2006 NFL draft, and he's also regarded among the top three outside linebackers and has moved among the top 20 players available overall according to some analysts. Sims (6-foot, 230 pounds) is a bit undersized, but his speed and ability to both rush and cover from the edge make him an intriguing prospect for the 49ers. Following his stellar performance at FSU's 2006 NFL Pro Day, Sims answered a few questions.

Q: What was the emotion like walking out here just knowing how big of a stage this is with all these scouts out here?

Sims:
It was big. I talked to my agent before and he was telling me that there were some general managers coming out here to look at me and several coaches (too). I was real excited about it. This is big time for me and my family. It's a dream come true. This is something that I've wanted to do ever since high school. I am just real excited right now.

Q: How does it feel to know that there are so many guys out here from the Tallahassee area that have a shot at the NFL?

Sims:
Yeah, that's what I was saying at the combine. It's crazy that the guys that you competed against when you were younger and now you see that we've grown up together and we've made it to the next level. I was telling (the scouts) that back in eighth grade I used to beat (Antonio) Cromartie in the 100 (-yard dash) but don't nobody want to believe me. They don't believe that I was faster than Cromartie. I was telling them. I really feel that it's a fun time. All the athletes from Tallahassee and I have been in Arizona for a month and it's kind of weird out there. It's kind of different so it feels good to be back in Tallahassee.

Q: Do you have any private workouts coming up with any NFL teams?

Sims:
Oh man, I've got a lot coming up. I am visiting some teams and there are some teams coming down to work me out. It's about to get real hectic for me. I am going to be moving everywhere across the whole country seeing all these teams.

Q: Since deciding to turn pro, do you think that you have done everything you set out to accomplish in preparing for the NFL?

Sims:
I think I helped myself a lot. I talked to a lot of teams. I sat down with the Atlanta Falcons' linebacker coach and he was telling me that I am doing good for myself and I talked to my agent and he said that a lot of teams are high on me. When I came out, I said that they had me projected early second round and it just switched around so quick. I am really excited.

Q: After playing at strong-side linebacker this past season, you said that you learned so much after switching from the weak side. Has that transferred over to your preparations for the draft and where you will play at the next level?

Sims:
At Will (weak side) I didn't have no cover skills or nothing. Now that I can cover, teams are talking about putting me in the slot and covering receivers and that makes me more versatile.

Q: Do you read any of the mock drafts?

Sims:
The only one that I read is the Mel Kiper one. As far as I know, that's the big one. He has me at like 14 or so. Hopefully it sticks to that because I'd take that. I don't care. It's the first round so I am excited.

Q: How do you see this draft for Florida State? What will all these guys being drafted mean for the school?

Sims:
It's big. I remember one year that Miami had like six selected in the first round that got drafted. We are going to have about three in first round and several that are definitely second round and third round. Overall, I think we should have at least 12 or 13 that should get drafted so that's pretty big for our university. People can see that we have a lot of great athletes coming out and we have a lot of great athletes that are coming up right now that are going to be drafted also.


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