Draft Prospect In-Depth Q&A: Cory Ross

ColtPower.com's Ed Thompson talked to Cory Ross about his collegiate career, the NFL Combine, and his future. The running back said he interviewed with Vikings position coach Eric Bieniemy at the combine, along with a dozen other teams.

Q: You finished your college career as the only player in Husker history to rank in the top 10 in both career rushing yards and career receptions. How much of a role has that played in gaining the attention of pro scouts?

CR: Definitely it's played a huge role because it shows my ability to run the ball and catch. I owe that all to Coach (Bill) Callahan bringing his system in because it's unheard of that a running back can be a receiver at Nebraska. He brought the West Coast offense here, which I felt very comfortable playing in. It utilized my ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. I've run the ball pretty good the last three years I've been here. I'm just honored to be one of the guys who has been able to do that.

Q: I noticed you averaged 12.4 yards per return on seven punt return opportunities, is that a position you see yourself competing for at the pro level?

CR: Oh yeah. I've lived my whole life as a punt/kick return guy. My first couple years at Nebraska I had a chance to do it, but at the same time we did have All-American guys ahead of me. During my career here I probably only had seven or eight returns so it doesn't show that I am a return guy … I'm willing and ready to show guys that it does come easy for me.

Q: Our Nebraska affiliate at Scout.com recently noted, "You lose Cory Ross and he's impossible to replace as a leader." Do you think you were able to convey that quality well during your interviews at the combine?

CR: I sure hope so. I don't know how coaches listen and read between the lines, but I hope I came across as that type of person. I don't try to act like that, that's just who I am. I'm able to relate to any and everybody. I've been blessed with that.

Q: I saw a reference to your nickname being "Chop." Where did that come from?

CR: (Laughs) When we were freshman we'd have nicknames all the time, like there was a guy with a big nose and they called him Gonzo. When I was a freshman another running back cooked some pork chops and he told the coach I ate seven pork chops, so ever since then everyone's called me "Pork Chop" and then just "Chop".

Q: Let's talk about the Combine experience, what was that like for you personally?

CR: I felt comfortable. It was something new and an honor to be invited to that type of showing. It was fun. Some guys probably felt stressed out, just hating it. But I actually liked it … being around other players and meeting some of the guys you always watched on T.V. and seeing some of the head coaches you always watched, being able to talk to them and show them what you can do. That was a fun thing for me.

Q: What were you happy about regarding your performance there? And were there any areas you wished you had performed better in at the combine?

CR: I ran pretty good, I felt I could have ran faster. I did my drills pretty good. I tweaked my toe there, so I wish I could have done a little more and show them how quick I was with some of the other drills. But other than that I felt I had a great showing and I had fun doing it.

Q: Did you have you have any past injuries at Nebraska that came up as questions or that you had to have some extra tests done to prove to the NFL that those injuries were history?

CR: I had some shoulder injuries from high school and my freshman year. It's the NFL and they've got to make sure that my shoulders were okay by trying to yank it out of socket to see where it really was. That's really about it. I've had no knee injuries -- knock on wood for that -- I've been blessed.

Q: Were you surprised by any of the questions you were asked at the Combine or by any particular team's interest in you?

CR: Not really, I think you pretty much know what the teams are going to be asking about your personal life to see what you've done, have you been in any trouble, things like that. I heard about coaches putting you on what they call the board, where they have you draw up defenses, offenses and schemes and I felt really comfortable with that. That's a big tribute to Bill Callahan because I learned different defenses and schemes here at Nebraska.

Q: You had your Pro Day on March 8th, how do you think that went for you?

CR: I ran my 40 over again and ran it a little better than I did at the combine, a 4.47 and a 4.49. I've ran it better before, but something just wasn't feeling right.

Q: What teams did you talk to at your Pro Day?

CR: I talked to Chicago, Indianapolis, the Panthers … and there were about 18 teams there.

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