Skins Draft Target Day Two: Ronald Bartell

Among the prospects who attended the Redskins' draft tryout camp in late March was Howard cornerback Ronald Bartell. Should they decide not to draft a corner in the first round, they may be taking a look at Bartell on the second day.

At 6-1, 211 Bartell is big for a corner but his 4.45 speed shows that he is fast enough to play the position. A poor showing in the Senior Bowl has pushed him back into the back half of the draft. His technique needs some work. Still, he has the tools to be a physical presence in the secondary and could help the Redskins match up with the bigger receivers in the division's Denis Savage talked with Bartell recently:

Q: Why did you transfer from Central Michigan to Howard?
A: I felt like I wasn't getting any better. It was a great coaching staff, but it got to the point where they were bringing in a new DB coach every semester for me. I had four or five DB coaches in 2 1/2 years, and I was switching positions weekly, so I just felt I wasn't getting any better.

Q: Why Howard?
A: My best friend went to Howard, Bill Nine(check spelling). We played together in high school. I had been there a couple of times and I always told him that if I ever left Central, I was going to Howard. It worked out perfectly, if you ask me.

Q: What did you get out of the Senior Bowl?
A: Just a lot of confidence. It showed that I can compete with everyone. There's a lot of questions coming from a small school about the competition level. I think I put a lot of those questions to rest. I can compete with anyone.

Q:Do you feel out of place at the combine?
A:Oh, no. Not at all. I feel like I belong. We have the best group of players in the country here, and I feel like I'm one of the best. I never feel out of place. They've made me feel welcome, too. There have been some jokes back and forth, but it's all in good fun.

Q: Like what jokes?
A:People will talk about rivalries and then look at me and ask, `Who was your rival?' and start laughing. But it's no big deal. Everybody has been real cool.

Q: What position suits you the best?
A: To be honest, I think I can play any position in the secondary. That's what makes me so attractive. My size and speed and athleticism allows me to play any position in the secondary. And I've played all three positions in the secondary. I have no objections to playing corner or safety.

Q:About your size...
A: (laughs) Yeah, I'm bigger than most of the corners and faster than all of the safeties. And faster than most of the corners, too.

Q:Will you play special teams?
A:I'll do everything on special teams. Just not returns. Don't put me out there to do returns (laughs).

Q: Does being from a small school give you more to prove?
A:I think so. I think it gives you extra incentive. I know I have a chip on my shoulder. Coming from a small school, I think there is so much more to prove. You have to put the doubters to rest, and I think that made me work that much harder.

Q:: Talk about your game and how you plan to handle tall receivers in the NFL.
A: You can be a corner that's 6-2, 6-3, but if you can't move, it doesn't matter. I think the good thing about me is I have pretty good hips. I'm able to move quickly. I still need to work on my technique, but if I get with the right team and right coaching staff, I'm sure I will turn out pretty good.

Q: Are you a physical player?
A: I love to be physical. With the bigger guys, it's so much easier. I'll be able to match up with receivers, as far as size.

Q: What do you think of the NFL's emphasis on illegal contact, and how will it affect you in the NFL?
A:It takes some getting used to. At the Senior Bowl, we played with the NFL rules. It takes some getting used to because I like to be physical and use my hands. But that just means you have to work with your feet more. That's where good technique comes in. You have to be more technically sound.

Q: How long will it take you to adjust?
A:A little bit. It's not going to come too easily, but I'll just work at it and go hard.

Q: Are NFL teams looking at cornerbacks differently because of the illegal contact emphasis?
A: I'm sure they want a lot more speed at corner. The rules are set up for the receivers, so teams need a lot more speed at corner. I think that plays a big difference.

Note: He said he hoped to run low 4.3s to high 4.2s at the combine. Don't know what he actually ran. If he's like the rest of the players I listened to, he overestimated his speed and probably ran high 4.4s or 4.5

Q:Who recruited you coming out of high school?
A: A lot of the MAC schools. That's about it.

Q:Are there any of your peers at the combine who don't know who you are because you're from a small school?
A:: I think some people may act like they don't know who I am. But I'm sure they've heard about me. And if they don't know who I am, they will know pretty soon. So I'm not too worried about that.

Q: Describe the best play you had against your rival, Hampton.
A: I've only played Hampton twice. Last year, we had a play where a teammate of mine had a fumble. He pitched it to another teammate. Then that guy pitched it to me and I ran it down to the 1-yard line. It was a pretty good play. That was the best play I had. Hampton didn't throw the ball my way that much.

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