Getting applause from coaches on both the North and South squad during Senior Bowl week certainly will pump up the stock of any player. When that player is already being mentioned as a possible first round pick in April, it only enhances the opportunities on Draft day 2005.
Turning in one of the best weeks of any prospect in Mobile was defensive end Matt Roth. He was so good that teams playing the 3-4 took time out to talk to the Iowa end, not caring how he would fit into the scheme.
A player with a non-stop motor and work ethic in practice that mirrors his game, Roth earned praise from both coaches during his week in Mobile.
After one full pads practice, North head coach Norv Turner said, "Matt Roth had a heck of a day. He was outstanding."
One day prior to Turner's revelation, South coach Jon Gruden went to watch the North practice. He came away impressed by Roth. "The defensive lineman from Iowa caught my attention."
That has been the scenario every step of the way for Roth. He continually puts in the hard work and goes till the whistle blows, even in no-pads practice. He doesn't know the meaning of letting up.
"More than anything coming out (to Mobile) they push you pretty hard and wanted to see how you work," Roth explained. "If you go the whole practice and do everything they throw at you and see how you respond against the best linemen in the country."
At 6-fot-3, 263 pounds, Roth showed explosion off the ball and the ability to rush from the edge. He also showed solid lateral movement but at times could not disengage from blocks.
Roth ended his collegiate career with 30 sacks and 43 tackles for a loss. As a senior he tallied eight sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles.
He is a high intensity player that is passionate about the game of football. That alone has elevated his stock among scouts and coaches. At the same time, he knows the limitations of his game and is looking forward to the test at the next level.
"It is the next level," Roth said of the jump to the NFL. "It is a lot of game preparation, because everyone is a great athlete. You have to get the mental edge, that is the biggest part."
His confidence in his own game brings attention to his play and enhances those around him. He may not even realize that he is a leader just by how he acts on the practice and playing field.
A three time winner of the "Hustle Award" given by the team to the player that gives it his all, Roth understands what he will be expected to do at the professional level.
"I am looking at a straight defensive end," Roth said when asked if teams have looked at him to make a switch to linebacker in a 3-4. "I haven't had anyone ask me to do anything else. I am just doing what I do best, rushing the passer."
And he does it with such zeal that teams have been lining up to talk to him. Perhaps he doesn't fit their defense but football players are tough to come by and exceptions to the rule can be made.
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