Thursday's Combine Six Pack: All Business

Which NFL draft prospect was all business at the Combine on Thursday? And which ones got the media laughing?'s Ed Thompson provides some top moments, insights and observations from inside the media room at the NFL Combine.

All business: Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung could be the first offensive lineman off the board in April and is a likely top-five selection overall. And on Thursday in the media room, it was easy to see why. The 6-foot-5, 307-pound blocker is totally focused on being successful at the next level.

When asked if he agreed with the assessment of others who are calling him the top tackle in this year's draft, Okung replied, "Really not my place to say, whether I agree with it or not. I'm just out here trying to compete."

Then he was asked if he had dinner plans with any teams. "No sir," was the answer with a firm tone. "As far as I'm concerned, tomorrow we bench press."

How about his memory of any bad plays he made at Ole Miss?

"I never really recall any bad plays. I just don't talk about ‘em," he said. "[I] don't speak them into existence."

OK, well how about a quick summary of his approach to the game of football?

"I'm going to try to hit you in the mouth more times than you hit me in the mouth. That's just the way I am," he said. "Wherever I am, whatever offense I'm in, whatever setting, I plan to excel."

Message received. This guy is ready to roll.

Dorin Dickerson
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

He's flexible: Pittsburgh tight end Dorin Dickerson started his collegiate career as a linebacker, but he switched to tight end before the start of his junior year. And now he has a couple of NFL tight ends that he admires--San Francisco's Vernon Davis and Indianapolis' Dallas Clark.

"Smaller-type tight ends. That's what I classify myself as, a smaller receiving-type tight end," said the 6-foot-1, 224-pound player.

But Dickerson may bulk up a bit for his role in the NFL, adding 10 to 15 pounds to push his weight closer to 240.

"I think they're going to look at me as a flex tight end," he said. "In the slot I'll be used, and as a wing, all the H-back stuff.

"I think that's how I'll be used, but some teams might want me as a bigger receiver, I don't know yet."

Dickerson has been drawing interest from the Cowboys, Cardinals, Chiefs, 49ers, Lions, Raiders, Bengals, Dolphins and Ravens.

Formidable opponents: During their interviews with the media on Thursday, four offensive linemen tipped their hats to defensive linemen that they faced during their college careers, honoring them as the toughest opponents that they had battled.

LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black complimented Florida's Carlos Dunlap for his consistency of energy and effort throughout a game--and his strength. And he also added Auburn's Antonio Coleman to his list. "He's one of the fastest I went against this year," Black said.

Iowa's Brian Bulaga picked three opponents: Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan, who he called one of the most complete defensive ends he's faced, Wisconsin's Brian Schofield and Michigan's Brandon Graham. "I think he's a phenomenal player," Bulaga said.

Mississippi offensive tackle John Jerry picked Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams. "Me and Dan had some great battles last year and some great battles at the Senior Bowl. I think he's a pretty good player," he said.

Penn State's Jared Odrick
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

But no one provided a more detailed explanation of their top foe than Illinois guard Jon Asamoah, who selected Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick.

"I just knew it was 'go time', and every time he lined up in front of me, he was coming hard," Asamoah said. "If you just put your hands out there like Frankenstein, he's just going knock them away. He's quick--and real quick with his hands. He's a big guy, powerful and quick. Not a good experience [playing against him]"

"I watched him on film, but you don't get the magnitude of his power from film."

Upon further review: The usefulness of the 40-yard dash for offensive linemen has been debated over the years, but Notre Dame's Sam Young understands why it's a good idea.

"I think it shows a lot. Our coach taught us to follow the running back down the field in case the ball pops out, you're there. That's where the 40 yard dash can come into play," Young explained. "I'm not a scout or GM, so I don't know exactly what they are looking for. I would imagine that it's the general athleticism and the burst off the ball."

The 6-foot-8, 305-pound offensive tackle started 50 consecutive games for the Fighting Irish and is very proud of his durability and work ethic. And he thinks there are a number of things that pro scouts and coaches like about him as they've been evaluating him as a possible addition to their rosters.

"I think they like my size, the way I play the game," he said. "I was fortunate enough to play under Coach (Charlie) Weis in a pro-style offense. I think they're looking for me to display my athleticism, that's a question mark for me."

His own man: Ole Miss offensive lineman John Jerry watched his brother, defensive tackle Peria Jerry, make the leap to the NFL this past year with the Atlanta Falcons. And for the record, he says that there is no sibling rivalry between the pair.

"We're very close. My brother's my best friend, and I'm his best friend,"  he said. "I played with him for three years, so there was a lot of battles out there."

John Jerry
AP Photo//Michael Conroy

That said, little brother is clearly ready to break away and forge his own path during this year's NFL Draft.

"I really don't want to go to the same team with my brother," he said. "I played with him in high school, I played with him in college. I'm just trying to be my own man right now."

Jerry, who started eight games at right tackle and four at right guard for the Rebels in 2009, is expected to be among the top offensive linemen selected in this draft. And he hopes to post a strong result in his bench press at the Combine.

"I broke the school record last year at Ole Miss," he said. "I got 34, so I'm looking to top that."

Just for laughs: Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis and TCU offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse provided two of the funniest moments of the day while interacting with members of the media in Indianapolis.

Davis was asked what he thinks he does the best as an offensive lineman.

"I would say pass blocking, but I need work in both. I need to get better in both run and pass blocking," he said.

But when asked why he picked pass blocking as his strength out of the two choices, Davis sheepishly smiled and said, "I just picked one."

Meanwhile, Newhouse commented on the whirlwind of activity that he had been caught up in since arriving in Indianapolis.

"Today I started at four o'clock in the morning, so it's still going on. It's been exciting, though," he said.

When asked why he had to roll out of bed so early, Newhouse explained that they had to do a drug test and needed to provide a urine sample. When asked by a reporter if he had passed, Newhouse paused and said with a smile, "Absolutely."

Newhouse is the cousin of former NFL running back Robert Newhouse. He's already talked with the Raiders, Chiefs, Texans and Cowboys.

You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at

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