Before They Were Pros: DB Robert Blanton

Most of the talk with Robert Blanton at the NFL Scouting Combine revolved around him at cornerback. These days, he is transitioning to safety for the Vikings. See what Blanton had to say before he knew the Vikings would select him and switch his position.

On the different defenses at Notre Dame

"It was a blessing to be able to experience two different coaching staffs and also be able to experience two different defenses as well. A lot of the defenses kind of ran together. Man-to-man is man-to-man and Cover-2 is Cover-2, but they actually coached our cut technique in Cover-2 differently. They liked our man-to-man … our coverage and press and off a little differently than coach (Charlie) Weis' coaching staff had taught us, so it was a blessing."

On tackling better when Bob Diaco was defensive coordinator …

"They stressed tackling. If you make tackles, you eliminate a lot of big plays. So we practiced it every day and it worked out great for us."

On what part of his game fits best at the NFL level …

"I feel like I have great size, great physicality. My football intelligence is key."

On his size helping against bigger receivers and tight ends …

"Yes sir."

On the Notre Dame experience transferring to the NFL …

"It's a great environment to play in. It's a big stage to play on. Got some great coaching there. Coach Weis used to coach in the NFL and a lot of the staff came from the NFL so we got to see that, and also got to see Brian Kelly, who was primarily all college coaches, which was great."

On his measurements at the combine …

"My height was 6-0-0-6. My weight was 208."

On going against WR Michael Floyd

"It was great to make myself better and good competition. It got you prepared for game day."

On his comfort level playing man versus zone …

"We played both zone and man at Notre Dame, depending on down situation. Down and distance."

On what he's heard about meeting teams at the combine …

"Not much. Haven't gotten much feedback. Just heard they asked some questions, some people get put on the board and some people don't. Hopefully my meetings go great."

On if he's looking forward to drawing up coverages for teams …

"Yes sir. I'm prepared for anything, so hopefully I can be great at it."

On how he prepared for the combine …

"I worked out at EFT in Chicago. Just worked on my leg strength, getting my legs bigger and stronger so I can be more powerful."

On his mindset about the combine …

"I'm pretty excited. Great opportunity."

On the different defenses he played in at Notre Dame …

"Coach (Jon) Tenuta and coach (Corwin) Brown were pretty similar. We ran a 4-3. Coach Brown was still the DB coach there, although he wasn't the D-coordinator, so he still kind of taught us the same way, technique-wise pretty much blitzing team, bringing pressure, man-to-man, Cover-3 team. And then when Coach Diaco got there, my junior year we were predominantly zone, Cover-2. Last year we mixed it up a lot, a lot of man, some zone, but a lot of man."

On what he liked better …

"I like man-to-man, but zone's great. Cover-3, Cover-2, they're all great."

On Michael Floyd helping him with covering bigger receivers in the NFL …

"It helps you a lot in practice, making sure you go up and play the ball. Work on your technique and footwork, make sure you're disciplined and fundamentally sound."

On whether he had much experience on special teams …

"Yes sir. I played on kickoff, punt and punt returns."

On who he likes watching in the NFL …

"I usually watch everybody. I turn on the good games and try to watch all the corners. I'll get some tape on a certain game and watch all the DBs."

On what drills he's doing at the combine …

"I'm running. I'm doing everything."

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

"Uh, super fast."


Viking Update Top Stories

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Coach Weis used to coach in the NFL and a lot of the staff came from the NFL so we got to see that, and also got to see Brian Kelly, who was primarily all college coaches, which was great.\" \"My height was 6-0-0-6. My weight was 208.\" \"It was great to make myself better and good competition. It got you prepared for game day.\" \"We played both zone and man at Notre Dame, depending on down situation. Down and distance.\" \"Not much. Haven't gotten much feedback. Just heard they asked some questions, some people get put on the board and some people don't. Hopefully my meetings go great.\" \"Yes sir. I'm prepared for anything, so hopefully I can be great at it.\" \"I worked out at EFT in Chicago. Just worked on my leg strength, getting my legs bigger and stronger so I can be more powerful.\" \"I'm pretty excited. Great opportunity.\" \"Coach (Jon) Tenuta and coach (Corwin) Brown were pretty similar. We ran a 4-3. 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