Formerly a defensive end and defensive tackle, Sean Locklear moved to the offensive side of the ball in 2002. With limited experience playing on the line he was recognized as an ALL-ACC performer as a senior.
Locklear played in every snap for the Wolfpack over his junior and senior seasons. With his experience piling up, he was still in awe when he first arrived at the Senior Bowl.
"It was a good experience going to the Senior Bowl," Locklear reflected. "I was a little bit nervous because I went there thinking these guys have been playing offense four or five years and you are seeing guys that are getting all the hype and you wonder how I am going to compete against them, the offensive lineman. When I got there, the offense we were running was basically the same thing we were running at State, just a different formation.
"Once I got the plays before the first practice and went to the first practice, I actually enjoyed it."
Locklear enjoyed it so much he was credited by TFY Draft Preview as the man who tore the jersey clear off Darnell Dockett during the week of practice. The word is he manhandled Dockett at the point of attack.
"It got torn," Locklear shyly admitted. "I don't know if I was the one to tear it but it was definitely ripped off. I know I got a hand in there. I don't know if I tore it, but I know I got a hand in there."
Locklear was a bit of a rover on the NC State line. He played the first eight games of his senior season at right tackle before moving inside to play two at guard and then showed his versatility by playing the last game at left tackle.
NFL teams have discussed all avenues. There is talk of putting him at both guard and tackle. It will likely shake out in training camp, depending on the team that selects him.
"They have been talking about – you look like a guard but we have seen you play tackle and we like the way you play tackle," said Locklear. "It is just one of those things that once we get you in we will look at you.
"Tackle is the biggest part of the offensive line. They said they would try me out there. Some guys think they are going to come in and play tackle and end up playing guard and vice versa."
For some players, playing both tackle and guard may actually hurt a players stock. Locklear does not think he is one of those players.
Instead he looks at the benefits of playing both positions and now knows what each position is supposed to do. It is the equivalent of a quarterback knowing all the routes his receivers run or the blocking scheme they will deploy.
"It is actually good," Locklear admits. "It definitely helped me that I played tackle. You can find any guy on the line that can play guard. There are not a whole lot of people who can play tackle. If you play tackle, you might need a little work, but you can always move inside to guard and then eventually move back to tackle. It is good that you can play both."
One thing is certain, although he readily admits he misses playing along the defensive side of the ball, Locklear takes pride in his work on the offensive line. The former tight end recruit reported to NC State at 280 pounds as a defensive lineman.
"I enjoyed it," said Locklear. "Going out there and making tackles. Running after people and making tackles and getting sacks. But I have the same enjoyment at pancaking a guy, making a key block on the offensive line."
Many offensive linemen in the NFL are former defensive players. Teams believe there is a certain mean streak that goes with playing on the defensive side of the ball.
To hear Locklear speak on the subject, the pride he exudes is clear. He believes that it is his line they are trying to beat and his quarterback they are trying to sack.
"I have the mentality that there is a guy on the defensive side of the ball that is trying to beat me, trying to get to my quarterback. I have to be mean and aggressive in not letting him get there. You have a chance to be a lot more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball because you can take a guy wherever. He is trying to avoid you and you are trying to deck him and not let him get to your quarterback."
Locklear has visited with a number of teams through the months of March and April. Teams such as New England, San Francisco and the New York Jets were among his private visits.
While he admits, "New York would be a nice place to play", he is not ready to claim that is the only place he wants to go, nor would he propose that a team not take him. He is just happy to have the chance to play at the next level and considers it an honor, the same way he plays the game.
His high character is evident when he speaks. While his work in college may have gotten him to this point, he also realizes the work has just begun.
"You have to stay in shape – basically forever now," Locklear says laughing. "After this you have rookie camp and then training camp and then whatever else is lined up after that."
2004 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Sean Locklear
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