Versatile Tackle Would be a Pick Well Spent

Jamon Meredith comes from a pass-heavy system at South Carolina, perfect for the Arizona Cardinals. Meredith is also confident on the run and could switch to guard at the drop of a hat. caught up with Meredith at the combine, and the first order of business was: did the Cardinals like what they saw?

Jamon Meredith (6'4", 304) out of South Carolina understands the trials of draft day. That said he just wants to get drafted. But Meredith is projected as one of the top-10 offensive tackles in this year's draft. Meredith could go as early as the second round.

The Cardinals capitalized on the chance to set up a formal meeting with Meredith at the NFL Scouting Combine.

A second or third round pick would be money well spent on Meredith. His athletic ability, as well as versatility put him at the top of his class.

Part of Meredith's versatility is switching from tackle to guard his senior year. He was able to adjust but not as quickly as he would have liked. By the end of the season, Meredith felt a lot more comfortable in the role.

"The first couple games were a little shaky," Meredith said. "I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. It's a lot different as far as techniques and responsibilities. The more I got used to it, the more I got better and the more I felt comfortable."

Meredith's jump into a different role his senior year had a lot to do with pure athleticism, and as he says "God-give ability."

The tackle to guard transition could have been Meredith's saving grace.

"Yeah I really think it was a blessing," Meredith said. "At first I thought it was a demotion. But then my coach explained that it wasn't a demotion. He needed me inside, and I wanted to do what's best for the team. I'm not a selfish guy, so I wanted to do what's best for the team. And come to find out, a lot of NFL teams like when you play more than one position. In the NFL you only have seven-eight guys traveling, so a lot of them double-train. So I guess it was a blessing."

So what exactly did Meredith showcase in each position?

"At tackle you've got to show a lot more athleticism," Meredith said. "In the middle you've got help from both sides so you've just to be stout and stay in there and hold your ground. On the outside, you're in a lot of space. Make the wrong move and the quarterback is impaired."

Here is more with Meredith:

On what keeps him out of the elite level of tackle prospects:

"I think a lot had to do with my switching positions and not being as good as I would have liked to be starting the season. Most of the time you get graded early in the season. That's everybody's impression -- what you do in the beginning of the season. I don't want to say if I were playing tackle I'd be up there with them, but I'd have a lot better shot to be where they are."

Cardinals' O-line

Would you like to play on the right or left side?

"Either one. It really doesn't matter. I can play either. I can switch in the middle of the game if I need to. It's a little bit easier to run block from right tackle, and it's a little easier to pass block from left tackle."

On if Spurrier's offense prepares him for the NFL:

"It helps me pass block a lot better. We pass the ball a lot and coach Spurrier runs a pro-style offense and do some balance run stuff too. So it helped a lot."

On if his smarts help him with teams:

"I guess I just pick up the plays a lot better than some other guys. I can get a playbook a week early and pretty much know the whole thing a week early so I don't have to learn too much on the run."

Most difficult assignment in college:

"A couple years ago Clemson had Gaines Adams and Philip Merling. They were pretty tough, and that was a big rivalry game. Gaines was like two steps away from the record, so I know he had his ears back coming for the quarterback. That was the best tandem I had to face."

On what happened vs. Adams:

"He didn't get the sacks against us. I think he got them in the bowl game but he didn't get them against us. I was honored to be the SEC lineman of the week after blocking him. That was the highlight of my career."

On potential concerns about his run-blocking after being in a pass-heavy system:

"I don't think so. I still can run block; I just don't do it very often. I can run block probably as good as anybody else. Just not had as many reps at it."

Healthy rivalry among other tackles?

"Not really. There's not much of a rivalry. I admire them from a distance and watch them on film. So I have a lot of respect for them."

On pressure to produce right away:

"I wouldn't say it's pressure. You should want to, want to come here and play. No matter where ...if I get drafted in the fifth, sixth, seventh round, I still want to come and play. I guess it's a little bit more pressure if you're on of those top guys taken."

On standing vs. hand on the ground:

"Usually we stood up on third down situations. Other than that we put the hand down, especially if you've got a tight end beside you."

On why he missed the first two games of last season:

"In '04, I came in as a true freshman and I was working with the second team in fall camp. When we played Vanderbilt, we were beating them by like three touchdowns and they called for the second team. Being a young guy, I'd run in. My coach wasn't quite ready to play right away, but I wasn't aware that I was getting red-shirted till after the fact. And then I had to appeal to the NCAA to get my year granted back. And they said they would grant my year back, but I would have to sit out the first two games of my senior year. But you know I would gladly take it instead of losing a whole year."

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