At 6-foot-6, 309 pounds, Eben Britton knows how to use his size and his technique to his advantage whether he's protecting the quarterback or opening up a running lane for a running back.
At the University of Arizona, he started 37 consecutive games through his junior year before deciding to make the leap to the pro ranks with one year of college football eligibility remaining. A highly respected leader on the field, he was elected a team captain as a junior after consistently displaying his field intelligence and his brute strength.
But off the field, Britton is a creative writing major who definitely has vision and some poetry in his soul.
I caught up with him and we talked about his life and his pre-draft experience in this exclusive Scout.com interview.
Ed Thompson: You were born in the Brooklyn, New York area, but your family is now in California. That's quite a culture shift. How did that happen?
Eben Britton: I was born in New York City and then lived in Brooklyn for 11 years. My parents got divorced and my mom decided to move my brother and I out to L.A. That's where I went to high school and played football and everything. It was a hell of an adjustment, but I'm not mad at my mom or anything because I might not be the guy that I am now if it wasn't for that move. It was good. It was tough then, but I think overall it was a good thing.
Thompson: What did you learn about yourself during that transition?
Britton: You really have to learn how to take care of yourself. My brother and I really bonded over that whole experience and learned we needed to take care of each other. That was really the big thing. There is a difference between a guy who always has things going well for him and what's that guy like when he faces a little adversity and things aren't going so well. It builds a lot of toughness. It didn't make me hard necessarily, but it made me understand that things don't always go the way you want them to and you've got to deal with that.
Thompson: You're the first draft prospect I've talked with who is majoring in creative writing. What do you enjoy writing?
Britton: I write a lot of fiction, short stories, some poetry. It's good stuff. I guess it started in high school. I really decided that creative writing was something I really enjoyed doing. Arizona had a creative writing major and I was like, 'That's awesome.' I can do that and play football. … It's something that I really do have a passion for, but at the same time, at this point in my life football has really taken the wheel. I do write in my spare time, and whenever I have a minute to jot down a few notes. It's definitely something I've been working on.
Thompson: You seem like a guy who is pretty humble and well-rounded.
Britton: My family has always preached (to) always be thankful for what you have, never be too cocky. Don't be content, but don't be a showboat. Don't be a guy who takes everything for granted and rubs it in everyone's face.
Thompson: What are you most proud of from your career at Arizona?
Britton: I went to Arizona because I really wanted to be one of the guys who helped bring it back to national prominence and winning bowl games. Finally, this past year, we went to the Las Vegas Bowl and beat BYU. That was probably the greatest moment in my whole football career. That was something I really wanted to do, and after a lot of hard work it all paid off.
Thompson: What are you hearing from scouts and teams that you've talked with through this process?
Britton: I think they just see that I have great character and I'm a guy that can be a leader in the locker room. Toughness, really. I've seen my toughness really come through on film. Those are some really good qualities, I think, when coaches are looking at you.
Thompson: Talk about your blocking skills...
Britton: That was something I really got good at these last two years when they brought in our new O-line coach, Bill Bedenbaugh. He did just a tremendous job with us technically and working on all the little intricacies of pass blocking. Our first O-line coach, Eric Wolford, was a great motivator and a guy who really expressed playing nasty and playing hard, just kind of the psychological tools. But Coach Bill, he was a guy that I really learned a lot from technically and a guy who was just a great coach as far as learning how to play the position, as far as where to put your body and how to use your hands. I was really fortunate with the coaches that we had here and they really helped me as a player.
Thompson: The Steelers are one team that has to be thinking about you with their offensive line situation.
Britton: That would be awesome, especially playing for a team like that with so much tradition and such an incredible fan base. That would be a dream come true. You can't beat playing for places like Pittsburgh and Green Bay—these teams with the tradition. It'd be great. It's hard to talk about because I'm not quite there yet, but I'm on the verge.
Read more about Eben Britton through the links on his Scout.com profile page.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email through this link.