Draft Exclusive: Leader of the Sack

We follow up on Monday's draft scoop with an interview with Colorado School of Mines' Mark Schiechl, who holds the Division II career record for sacks. Schiechl will visit Green Bay on April 13-14, a source told Packer Report.

Marc Schiechl holds the Division II career record for sacks.

And he somehow wasn't good enough to get a Division I offer?

"Coming out of high school, I was way too small," Schiechl said. "My senior year, I played defensive end and I think I was 6-1, 185."

Schiechl was a two-year letterman and academic all-state selection at Bear Creek HIgh School in Lakewood, Colo. His coach there recommended him to Colorado School of Mines in nearby Golden, Colo. It wound up being his only scholarship offer.

"Initially, I wasn't going to play football because I didn't think I had a shot. I decided to give it a try," Schiechl told Packer Report on Tuesday, eight days before he makes a pre-draft visit to Green Bay.

Good decision.

After a redshirt season allowed him to bulk up to about 210 pounds, Schiechl burst onto the scene and set school records in sacks (13.5) and tackles for losses (17.5) as a freshman. It was the start of an overwhelming career in which he became Division II's career leader with 46 sacks along with a fourth-ranked 70.5 tackles for losses.

Now, a shot at the NFL beckons. As we were the first to report, Schiechl will visit the Packers next week after being one of three teams to make the trip to Colorado School of Mines for its pro day. After that, it's off to Jacksonville. He's already had on-campus workouts with San Francisco, Oakland and Indianapolis.

Mark Schiechl
Courtesy Colorado School of Mines
Clearly, he's a man in demand after not getting invited to the Scouting Combine. His only real NFL exposure came at the Cactus Bowl, Division II's all-star game, when he had two sacks to win defensive player of the game honors.

"It was really exciting," Schiechl said, thinking back to the end of his junior season, when NFL teams started checking in. "I didn't know what to think. When it first started happening, I was thinking maybe it was just a fluke or someone made a mistake. I didn't really know how my name got out there. Once more and more people started talking, that's when I realized this was an opportunity."

An opportunity that would close without a big senior year. So, he delivered his third consecutive All-American season. Even while facing a steady stream of double-team and chip blocks, Schiechl recorded 12 sacks, 19 tackles for losses and six forced fumbles.

"I use speed first," Schiechl, who ran a 4.64 40 at the pro day that Green Bay attended, said of his pass rushing game plan. "If I know I can run straight around him, I'll do that. If I know they're trying to kick back really fast to keep up with my speed, that's when I'll try my bull rush or just try to throw them up and go underneath them."

With 38 reps on the bench press, that's a pretty good bull rush.

Schiechl was a defensive end in Mines' 3-4 scheme but would be an outside linebacker with the Packers. To help make that transition, he's been working out with Chad Brown, a former Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They got hooked up through Schiechl's acclaimed Denver-based trainer, Loren Landow. He went through linebacker drills at Mines' pro day as well as Air Force's pro day, showing plenty of potential in both workouts.

As a kid, Schiechl rooted for the home-state Broncos as well as the Bears, since his dad's from Chicago. Now, he's a big fan of DeMarcus Ware, who's a premier 3-4 outside linebacker with Dallas.

"He's not one of those flashy players," he said. "He's got really good pass-rushing moves and I think he's overall one of the best players in the NFL."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.

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