Before They Were Pros: Phil Loadholt

Before Phil Loadholt knew if he would be a first- or second-round pick, or which team he would join, he was busy preparing for the draft and answering all sorts of questions at the NFL Scouting Combine. He talked about playing left or right tackle, watching tall players before him, the improvements he's made and more.

On which tackle position he should play …

"Wherever I have an opportunity to make an impact, wherever I have an opportunity to play at, I'm ready to do that."

On where he is more comfortable …

"Right now, I'm more comfortable at the left, the position I've played the last two years."

On feedback from teams …

"Different teams are saying different teams. Some say they can see me at right, some see me at left. Whatever they're comfortable at, I'm comfortable at."

On why he thinks he should play left tackle …

"The main thing is being accountable and blocking for your quarterback. Keep your quarterback clean. That's the main thing for selling yourself as a left tackle."

On which of the 2008 draft class tackles he watched …

"I got to watch Jeff Otah a lot. Looked like he came in and did a good job of fitting in right away. Showed a lot of emotion. I watched him and he looked like a leader out there on the line. I liked to watch him from the past class."

On if he watched Ryan Clady

"Yeah, I've seen him too a lot. He had great footwork coming in."

On how he compares to the 2008 tackles …

"I think it's a good comparison. They played at a very high level in college and made the transition very well. I think I'm the same type of guy that can make the transition well like they did."

On playing right tackle …

"There's a couple of differences, but I think so."

On watching taller players …

"My favorite player of all-time, Jonathan Ogden, he's about the same height as me, if not taller. Tre Thomas is a tall guy, Flozell Adams, all those guys. I've always been watching those guys to see if they can bend at the knees, not at the hip. You see a lot of guys get low and try to make us bend. I've just been paying attention to those things for a while now."

On playing against Texas DE Brian Orakpo

"It was tough. He's a good player. You've got to be technically sound when you're going against players at all time. That's probably the main thing. I don't think it hurt me. I think we had a good battle all game. It's not like I got destroyed out there or anything, and likewise to him. We battled and went hard at it all game. I think that film will help both of us."

On what teams met with early on at the NFL Scouting Combine …

"I met with a bunch last night. Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys, I mean, it was a lot of teams (he eventually met with the Vikings and Bears, too). I can't think of all of them right now."

On his height and weight at the Combine …

"It's pretty good. I played this past season at about 340, 338, something in that range. I'm down a little bit."

On OU teammate Jon Cooper (who eventually signed as undrafted rookie with the Vikings) …

I think he can [play in the NFL]. He's played with a lot of passion, a lot of heart. He's a definite leader. I think he's got a good shot. I think he weighed it at 295 today, up from 280, so that's real good."

On why he went the JUCO route first …

"I was an academic non-qualifier. I was going to originally go to the University of Colorado."

On the Bears and potentially playing with OU alum Tommie Harris

"I got an opportunity to workout with those guys a couple of times in my time at Oklahoma. I was not there when they were there because I came from junior college, but I got a chance to work out with them. I know them pretty well."

On the challenge of playing right tackle …

"I'm comfortable wherever I need to go. Wherever a team needs me to play at I'm comfortable playing at. If I need to learn some things to be better at the position or whatever, I'm willing to do it. Right and left."

On his Combine preparation …

"I've been working out in LA, at Athlete's Performance, just going over some combine drills and things like that in the program they've got there."

On the difference between that training and football training …

"It's totally Combine training. It has nothing really to do with football."

On noticing any changes …

"I definitely feel like I have more explosiveness since I've been there. Stronger. Basically just got stronger at the drills we're going to be doing here."

On his biggest weakness to improve …

"Becoming more consistent with my technique through four quarters of a game. That's probably the main thing for a lot of offensive linemen. In this league you've got to be a technician if you want to last long and do your job good. So that's probably the biggest thing."

On the best defensive lineman he faced in college …

"Calais Campbell."

On how Oklahoma prepared him for the NFL …

"It was great. I think I competed at the highest level every day. I competed against great players in practice, and the Big 12 is a great conference. I had great coaching out there. I feel it was a great step for me."

On if he feels like a first-round pick …

"Yeah, definitely. Everyone wants to go as high as possible. That's definitely one of my goals."

On why he wasn't included in the top tier of tackles in this class …

"I think I should. I don't know how all that goes with the gradings and the rankings and all that stuff. All I can do is do everything I'm capable of. The film is on. The film doesn't lie. And then have a good showing here. That's all I can do. I can't control anything else, any rankings or any of that stuff. So I've got to continue to go hard here in the drills the next couple of days. The film doesn't lie. Just let it go from here."

On what skills he's trying to improve …

"Overall foot quickness. Things I've been working on already. Technique. I dropped some weight already, and I'm probably going to drop some more. A bunch of little things that are going to be easy to take care of."

On how he is improving foot speed …

"I'm on the speed ladder every day. I'm working with some fast D-ends. It's a lot of little things, different drills you can do."


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