Exclusive Q&A with Oregon's Max Unger

With the 31st pick in the draft, the Cardinals have the rare opportunity to sit back and relax as players drop off the board. One player the Cardinals hope will still be available is Oregon center Max Unger. Unger (6'5", 309 pounds) is one of the largest and most versatile centers in the draft. AZRedReport.com's Jason Harris caught up with him for an exclusive Q&A.

Considered a top prospect at his position, Unger has the versatility, consistency, and bad attitude (in a good way) to help a Cardinals offensive line that lost starting center Al Johnson prior to the 2008 season. Backup Lyle Sendlein did an outstanding job stepping in but the Cardinals' coaches aren't convinced he can be the guy.

On versatility
Max Unger: I've played center for a little while and also at tackle. I was playing guard a little bit down at the Senior Bowl. I've never done that before. It's one of those things where the more versatile you can be, the better it will work out for you.

There are only really seven guys who are active. There's a backup for the two tackles and a backup for a guard and center. So it's one of those things where it's not a luxury as much as it is a necessity. So you've got to have it.

On what an NFL team will be getting
MU: A guy who can play pretty much anywhere on the inside, and a guy who shows up to work everyday. It's kind of sounds pretty cliché, but it's one of those things where you always hear about rookies hitting the wall at some point, and you're going to have to be able to deal with stuff like that.

Somebody who's very, very serious about playing football. But at the same time a person who is able to let certain situations go. So, I think that's probably the number one thing. I guess the switch that you flip, is another word.

On transition to a pro style offense
MU: We ran the spread up at Oregon and it's night and day, completely different than a pro-style offense. And I guess I learned that a couple weeks ago down in Mobile (at the Senior Bowl). But it takes awhile, no question about it. Especially coming from an offense where we had shotgun snaps almost exclusively, then you go to a system where it's almost exclusively under center. You'd be surprised how much different that is. So, you know, it takes time just like anything else.

Are you worried about that transition
MU: Not really. I kind of realize what it's all about. It's just practice, practice. I mean it's a different mindset I guess.

On starting 51 games in four years
MU: Aside from graduating from school that would probably be my next accomplishment that I would be most proud of. It's pretty rare that I would get to do that. But at my school we had me and another one of my teammates, Patrick Chung, do that from the same class. So it's something that's pretty special.

On anchoring down against those, big defensive lineman at the next level
MU: You're going to have to do it, or else you're not going to stick around for very long. It's just one of those things where you have to deal with it.

On Former college teammate Haloti Ngata (DT Baltimore Ravens)
MU: I can just recall the nightmares he conjures up when I had to block him my freshman and sophomore years. Yeah, he's a really good player. I can't believe he wasn't a starter on the Pro Bowl. They don't make people like Haloti. They broke the mold with him.

Facing a guy like that everyday, does that help you develop as a player
MU: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean it doesn't get any better than that. Going against guys like that can only help you. There's no way that can hurt you.

Are you more prepared to face a guy like Haloti now
MU: I'd like to think so.

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