Before They Were Pros: Christian Ballard

The Vikings are likely to start working versatile Christian Ballard at defensive tackle, but he sounded like he was preparing for more work at defensive end at the NFL Scouting Combine. See what Ballard had to say back then, about two months before the Vikings figured they had good value in selecting Ballard in the fourth round.

On the best aspects of his game …

"My versatility, my ability to play the defensive end or tackle spot. Playing at Iowa, playing for a guy like Coach [Kirk] Ferentz, who has been in an NFL program before, I'm able to adapt to a new program."

On if he's lighter than when he was playing …

"A little bit. I'm about 280, 285. I'm down from 295 pounds. Right now, I feel like a lot of people are looking at me as a defensive end. I want to be about 285. I can weigh more if I have to. Scouts know that."

On his toughest games …

"The games against Wisconsin were tough, physical games. Playing in the Big Ten Conference, playing against Ohio State, those are always big games."

On the players who tested him …

"At the Senior Bowl, guys like Gabe Carimi, Anthony Castonzo, Nate Solder."

On playing defensive end …DE: I'll play wherever they need me to play at. I'm looking to play defensive end. I have the ability to play defensive tackle. I come to work every day and I've been tested by some of the best in the country."

On have a dominating Senior Bowl week …

"Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to put my name out there as one of the best defensive linemen in this draft.
Going against guys like Carimi and other top linemen like Anthony Castonzo and Solder, you want to show you can compete against them. I think I did a pretty good job of that and I still have a long way to go. There are tougher offensive linemen in the NFL. You have to work hard. Those guys are good, but there are better guys in the NFL. You need to know what you need to do better."

On playing basketball growing up …

"Growing up in Kansas, basketball is huge there. I was just okay at it. I didn't even have a jump shot."

On what he would do without football …

"I'm an art major; I will put it to use. I would love to be a graphic designer. I would love to do something in the sports world or design shoes. I don't know how many tattoos I have. It's a lot."

On facing Brian Bulaga at practice …
"They were physical matchups. It was a good way to see where you are and how you match up against competition. It was a great competition."

On dropping into coverage …

"I have dropped back in pass coverage. I played outside linebacker in high school. I'm not terrible at it. I think when people see me run on Monday they'll see I can cover tight ends."

On what he expected to run in the 40-yard dash …

"Hopefully in the 4.7, 4.6 range. I'm a little bit lighter now, so that should help me get my time down. … I think the 40 is big for me to show that I can run fast. I want to show people how fast I truly am."

On his weight …

"About 283 pounds."


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