VU: What's your reaction to the Percy Harvin selection and if it's worth the risk?
BL: I love the pick. Some are worried about his durability, but I think a lot of times young athletes can get hurt now and then in high school and college and then be fine in the pros. I know my senior year, I got hurt in summer and missed three weeks, the only real time I missed any football. Then I played 12 years in the pros and missed two days. Sometimes you can overreact to a person's durability at a young age. I guess that's contradicting what Bud Grant always said about being able to predict who is going to be hurt after the first week or so because of tendencies. Having lived the way it happened to me, with my injury and surviving it, I kind of pass over that more than a lot of other scouts or coaches might.
The marijuana charge would bother me more, but young kids all make mistakes and they'll wake up one day or another. But now he is going to be surrounded with a bunch of good athletes, but more importantly good-attitude type athletes. That's what the Vikings locker room really feels like. I think once he gets away from some people who may have been bad influences and all the hangers-on, he'll have everything in front of him. Post-career, you hope he's smart enough to save his money and direct it toward his future business and make great decisions. In the NFL, there are people who help the players scrutinize the people they are involved with by doing background checks, but they also have courses to give them direction for their business. The odds are pretty good for him, so I'm just optimistic. I'm just tickled pink because he's what they really need. They've got to put a little spark in that vanilla offense.
VU: His coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, talked about Harvin's temper flaring up, especially in high school, and indicated he's an ultra-competitive guy who might be too competitive at times off the field. You're a very competitive guy, so could you see athletic competitiveness getting in the way of some people's demeanor off the field as well?
BL: Not on the field. Being competitive on the field will never hurt you. Most of the time, offensive linemen are more introverts. Defensive linemen are extroverts, and all during a game an offensive lineman will say, "Oh, great rush, Bob. You're the best defensive lineman I've ever played against. I'm voting for you all-pro." All they're trying to do is keep you down. They don't want that attitude to get you mad. If they say to you, "Hey, Lurtz, you're the worst defensive lineman I've ever played against," that's going to pick up my game. You want to try to maximize the competitiveness within you. The good athletes just automatically have it. It's a positive on the field.
Off the field, it could be a big negative. You just hope that his head doesn't get so big where he makes a mistake like Dwight Smith, who wouldn't listen to the cops outside a nightclub. You hope athletes aren't disrespectful to management at a facility, whether it's a nighclub or whatever, or, even worse, authority figures like the cops. When they say stop, you stop. Whenever I was stopped by the cops, of course I was 100 percent right (sarcastically), but it was always, "Yes, sir" and "No, sir." That's just the way it is. You've got to understand that.
I think he's had enough warnings. He mentioned that he did cry when talking about his mistakes with his mother and she told him to stick with it. If I told anybody I cried, I'd want to be sure that I followed up with the fact that I was crying because of all the stupid mistakes I've made and what I'm jeopardizing. For a young kid to admit that he cried, that shows me a little bit of a positive in his character.
VU: How much do you think having his family move up here will help? I know you tweaked Jay Cutler for having his dad move with him from Denver to Chicago. As a rookie coming in, do you view that as an asset or a precautionary measure?
BL: I have no logical explanation for it. I'm not for it. You have to cut the cord sooner or later. He is only a junior. When a family can up and move like that, I wonder about the stability of the family. I know for parents to move, I know how my mom felt about the neighborhood and my dad's job, it just couldn't be done. That's a big question mark. He should be able to afford the phone calls at night to talk to them. That's part of the growing experience. You've got to get away and the family could still come up for games. With Jay Culter moving his dad from Denver to Chicago, if my parents kept moving with me, I'd be embarrassed.
VU: What are you expectations for their second-round, offensive tackle Phil Loadholt? He's a huge guy and you being a tall player yourself, is it easier to get leverage on a tall offensive player?
BL: He's a big guy and he's on the run side. Playing on the right side, that's usually where you like to run. Right-handed people usually seem to be more comfortable running to their right and left-handed people to their left. He slides off his blocks really well. In other words, if they do a double on a tackle – whichever way the defensive tackle goes, the other person slides to pick up a linebacker – apparently he's real agile that way. It's good to see that.
I liked going against bigger guys. I didn't like going against small, quick guys. The bigger guys, you can get them going one way with their momentum and then use it. Get their feet crossed over. That's what Reggie White used, that slap move. He'd get them leaning one way and then he'd take that big paw of his and slap them on their cheek to continue them over. It looked like he took their 350 pounds and would roll it around like a basketball. That's just using the opponent's weight to his disadvantage. If they've got really long arms, that bothers me (Loadholt's arm are about two inches longer than most of the other tackles at the NFL Scouting Combine) because I can't get underneath his shoulder pads. Once you get inside the frame of their body, you can throw them any way you want. I did have longer arms and it came to my advantage many times. It causes more problems when you have linemen with longer arms.
VU: Anything else from the draft strike you?
BL: I'm really impressed with this third-round pick, Asher Allen, listening to his interviews. He seems to be all quality with his interviews. I love Antoine Winfield and that was who Allen idolized coming up. He plays like him and everything. If you get two Winfields on this football team, that defense will be No. 1. I'm really excited about him.
Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins VikingUpdate.com for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.
Lurtsema's Reaction: The Percy pick and more
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