Youth is served with Finley

After only playing two seasons for the Texas Longhorns, TE Jermichael Finley is a raw prospect, but one that has immense upside heading into his pro career. Fans and a lot of pro personnel people hate the word "upside" and "potential", but Finley is out to prove to everyone that he's ready for the pro game after learning from the player who was ahead of him on the depth chart.

"He was a great player at the University of Texas," Finley said of current New England Patriots tight end David Thomas. "Everything David Thomas did, I was right behind him, looking at him, step-by-step.

"He was a great player, and a consistent player. He taught me how to be consistent, every play. Try to make it your best play and never take a play off."

Playing for a school like Texas, Finley also has had the chance to work with a current NFL quarterback over the past three weeks.

"Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go out with (Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young) and we throw balls, run route and it's a real nice experience because I'm getting balls from an NFL quarterback and I'm getting my timing right."

While he was in Austin, Finley, who measured in at 6-4, 243 at the Combine, felt he wasn't utilized as much as he could have been and he said that is one of the reasons he left for the NFL.

"(The Oklahoma game) showed that I needed the ball more in my hands and Texas couldn't do it," Finley said about his four-catch, 149-yard, one touchdown effort against one of Texas' biggest rivals. "So I had to come to the next level and hopefully at the next level I can get the ball and the offensive coordinator can get me the ball some kind of way.

"And it was against a great defense. They were ranked in the top 5 defense. SO I came out and showed what I could do against them.

"(The Texas coaches) regret it and they wish they could've (gotten him the ball more), but now I'm at the next level," Finley said. "If they would've, I would have stayed probably. But to tell you the truth, it wouldn't have changed probably because I'm in the top five of tight ends right now, so nothing really would've changed."

Finley said while the Longhorns didn't get him the ball enough, their offense still prepared him well for the NFL.

"I was flexed out a lot, so NFL teams are going to flex me out a lot and have me run deep routes and stuff like that, Finley noted. So that prepared me real good.

"I'm just going to have to get used to being down on the line with some big guys. It's going to happen."

Another thing that's going to happen is Finley's name will be called relatively early in April's NFL Draft and he's already got teams like the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals looking for interviews in the coming weeks.


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