Cowboys Check on Big 12 Center

The Dallas Cowboys will now look towards the NFL Draft to improve their depth on the offensive line.

Oklahoma's Chris Chester, a 6'4, 300-pound offensive lineman from Oklahoma, raised his stock considerably at this year's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. A tight end who converted to center late in his collegiate career, he's a versatile, athletic prospect who drew interview requests from over half of the NFL teams and should be selected in the upper half of the NFL Draft in April.

In addition, the Dallas Cowboys were one of a handful of teams to formally interview the former Oklahoma standout, TheRanchReport.com has learned.

After his performance at the Combine, Chester was moved up to the No. 2 center available in the 2006 NFL Draft. Recently, we caught up with Chester, to get his thoughts on the Combine, the draft, and a host of other topics:

Did any team at the Combine talk to you about being a tight end, instead of an offensive lineman?
Chester: The Chiefs did. They said, if for some reason I don't come in right away and get a chance to play at center or guard, I could just be kind of a second tight end in situations so I can get on the field, make an impact and contribute while still working at center at guard.

How much special teams work did you do during college? Were there any specific special teams that you feel you excelled at?
Chester: I was on the punt cover team, kickoff return and field goal team as well. The team I liked the most was punt coverage. It was more or less pass set. I was pretty big. We saw a lot of DBs and a lot of smaller guys on the rush. So it was pretty easy to block for the punt team. But also I had good enough feet, where I could be effective in coverage.

How much of an issue was your broken hand and knee injury from your senior year? Did that get brought up quite often during your interviews?
Chester: Everyone asked about it because I ended up missing four games. But the injury itself was kind of a typical injury. I didn't even have an MRI on my knee. I was back pretty quick actually. It's usually a four to six weeks for recover, and I was back in four weeks. Also, I didn't have any surgery.

When you had your interviews with the GM's, head coaches or coaches, what is it that you wanted to get across to them about you as a person?
Chester: I've always had this kind of lineman mentality and this concept of football. My beliefs on football, especially as a lineman, it's always hard work. And I think that playing offensive line kind of exemplifies that hard work. It's something that always had a whole lot of respect for.



Scouting Report
C Chris Chester School: Oklahoma

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 303 40: 4.90 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Former tight end who started four games at guard last season and three more at center.

Pos: Athletic lineman with terrific upside potential. Plays with good pad level, gets leverage on opponents and a great position blocker. Opens holes in the middle of the field and attacks assignments. Explosive, jolts defenders at the point and plays hard until the whistle blows. Quickly gets out to the second level and removes linebackers from the play. Solid with the shotgun snap.

Neg: Needs to add bulk, improve his playing strength and learn to finish blocks. Suffered with durability issues in the past.

Analysis: A prospect starting to hit his stride, Chester's combination of explosion and athleticism gives him a decided advantage. Offers starting potential in the NFL as he physically matures.

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