Cardinals Shop for Backup Plan for Sendlein

Lyle Sendlein proved his merit last season, but he wasn't the Cardinals original plan for the starting role. That said, Russ Grimm had a formal meeting with a top-center prospect at the combine, who was awarded for his outstanding collegiate play, even though he didn't start out as a center. Find out who he is, and why he is a good fit in this exclusive interview from Indianapolis.

Center Alan "A.Q." Shipley out of Penn State smelled the roses in January, but USC pounced on any hopes of a Rose Bowl victory.

As the anchor of Penn State's offensive line, Shipley was awarded the Dave Rimington Trophy, which is presented annually to the outstanding collegiate offensive center.

Shipley arrived on the Penn State scene to play defense, and wasn't too happy when Joe Paterno made the switch.

Paterno thought Shipley could be a good defensive tackle, but could play at the next level as a center. Paterno's learned a thing or two in his nearly 60 years of coaching.

Shipley went on to be a three-year starter, a team captain and most recently a NFL Scouting Combine invitee.

"[It's been] good fun, you know when you come into this its going to be like a meat factory where they are going to push you and prod you and watch your every move," Shipley said of the process. "But I think you understand that the only thing you can do is just stay strong and roll with the punches."

Shipley admits that the process can be nerve racking to a certain extent, but he and the rest of the selected invitees are pretty confident.

Hopefully confidence isn't mistaken for cockiness because the Combine can be the X-factor in a player's draft stock.

"I think the combine is a great factor but I think there are three pieces to the puzzle and that's your game tape, your postseason all star games and the combine," Shipley said. "So it's measured into the equation and it can do a lot of good and a lot of bad."

The Cardinals like how Shipley's equation is panning out.

"I met with Russ Grimm, the offensive line coach," Shipley said. "It was a formal meeting but we talked about background, offensive line stuff, little things like talked about my family, and also talked about football."

Wherever Shipley ends up, he will remain a tough guy.

"I'll fight to the death," Shipley said.

To the death?

"To the death."


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