Williams fields questions at Combine

North Carolina State's Mario Williams is the top-rated defensive end in the upcoming NFL Draft. Many experts feel the Green Bay Packers will select him with the fifth overall pick of the April 29-30 NFL Draft. Williams took time to answer questions from reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this weekend, including his thoughts on playing for the Packers.

Name: Mario Williams
Position: DE
College: North Carolina State
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 295
40-yard dash time at Combine: 4.76 seconds

Q: How do you feel about playing for the Green Bay Packers?
I mean, it would be a great feeling. You hear everybody talk about Lambeau Field. To go out there and play on that turf. You know, I just feel like if I go there I just want to listen and learn and just fit right into a program. I'll do that. Whatever they want me to do - play defensive tackle, lose weight, gain weight - it really doesn't matter. It's all about the team.

Q: What do you think of the Julius Peppers comparisons to you?
It's actually an honor. He's a great player. Just to be compared to somebody like that I take that very highly. I'm thankful.

Q: The art of rushing the passer ... What's your modus for getting to the quarterback?
I just do what I do. I'm just out there and come off the ball. It's second nature. I just play. It's like my instincts. Something that I do. I can't say I do this or do that. Besides maybe knowing the down and distances and being prepared and having an idea in your mind and just comign off and executing what I planned on doing.

Q: Is that what you were always into, rushing the QB?
I wanted to play running back, but I guess was a little too big for that. ... But you got to be able to do a little bit of it all. You have rush the quarterback. You have to be able to stop the run. I think I'm pretty even on both aspects of the part of the game.

Q: Ever play basketball?
I played at the beginning of my high school career. But I stopped after I rolled my ankle. I cut it loose. Didn't want to anymore.

Q: Play guard?
No (laughing). I was inside.

Q: When did you run your last 40 yard dash and what was it?
It was a couple weeks ago. Kind of want to say (pause) it was fast enough. I don't want to spoil it right now. I've been training at API, and great things are going to come from training at that facility.

Q: What do you expect to run?
That's about the same question. He's trying to turn it around on me. ... at 295 ... it'll be faster than a 4.8, put it that way. Yeah, it'll be faster thhan a 4.8, I'll say that.

Q: Did you ever play any other position?
My senior year of high school, about half of the end of my senior year, they put me at running back and I was lighting it up. Big guys always want to touch the ball and run around. I had a chance to do that and it was a great feeling and something I really enjoyed. ... that was it. Never got a chance to carry the ball in college.

Q: Peppers has caught some passes...
Yeah, I know. If they're going to compare me to him, you'd think they'd let me do it. But, no, not yet. We did have a couple plays set up like that, but never got the opportunity to do that this past year.

Q: Why did you decide to come out of college early?
I felt as a team, and most importantly, we pulled together and finished strong. I felt I had a pretty good run there at the end and that my opportunity for the next level was pretty good right now. I just didn't want to, maybe, [have] something happen next year, whether it was on the field or off the field, that might mess up my chances. I felt I had a great opportunity to go ahead and enter the draft.

Q: How would you assess the NC State defense this past season?
For the last two years, we've been a family that has really pulled together and gotten things right. I believe personally this was our best defense at State this past year.

Q: How do you prepare for the defensive scheme you'll play in (4-3 or 3-4)?
No, I actually do not. That's why I wanted to show that I can weigh 295 and you'll see the times Monday. I can do whatever. I can play the 3-4. I can play the 4-3. If you want me back at linebacker I can do that coming off the edge. My main goal coming into this was to be versatile and let the teams put me where they want to. It's all about the team, put me where I fit it.

Q: Right side or left side?
No, it really doesn't matter. I played defensive tackle, outside linebacker and defensive end this year. and I moved up and down the line, so sometimes I had to be put my left hand down, sometiems my right hand. But if I had to say or choose, I would say my left because I've always played on that left side with my right hand down.

Q: Why does 40 yards matter for a big linemen versus a 10-yard dash?
That 10 is very important. I really have to focus to make sure of my footing and get that true 10 down. Like you said, unless you're picking up a fumble and running for a touchdown, the 40 doesn't really come into play. I mean, it's an overall thing I've got to do.

Q: When you start growing out of that running back body?
I guess before I came into ... like 6-6, 250, or so. I was kind of big at running back. Now, I'm really big. I guess after high school, I started to get out of it because I really started gaining weight.

Q: What was your playing weight in college?
This past year, I was around 285 or 290. It fluctuated. I usally gain about 10 pounds every year. My freshman year I came in and was about 255. Gained 10. Then 10 more. Right now, 295.

Q: Do you want to be any bigger than that? MW: It's kind of like saying, if you're still big and fast and can still make the play ... Well? I could see where if I was 300 or something and I couldn't pass-rush worth anything. I just feel like no matter how much I weigh, as long as the results are still there - I'm fast or faster - it's better that way.

Q: How did the Wonderlic test go for you?
We took it today. ... They had a few questions that were basically 'are they the same? Neither-nor. There were a lot of questions like that. Some others where you had to make a triangle out of the given objects, stuff like that. Really, the only thing was you had to catch and pay attention to what you were reading and put it together. There really wasn't anything that difficult. Just had to focus.

Q: Do OK?
I hope I did. It was kind of early this morning and my eyes were blurry, but I think I did pretty good.

Q: What are your thoughts on teammate Manny Lawson?
He's a great player. I fed off of him all season. Me and him were like, 'Meet me at the quarterback.' A lot of competition, but it was never like, we're better than each other. With the team focused, we did what we had to do.

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