Troup a nose with a love for contact

The Vikings are bringing Central Florida DT Torrell Troup in for a predraft visit. After seeing what he said at the NFL Scouting Combine, it's easy to picture him as a young Pat Williams.

The Vikings scheduled a predraft visit with Torrell Troup, but who is he and what does he see as the strengths and weaknesses of his game? He answered some of those questions at the NFL Scouting Combine.

First, Troup was formerly known as Terrell Johnson but changed his name after his sophomore season at Central Florida to honor his father, who became part of his life again at age 13. Now he is a projected mid-round pick that considers himself a nose tackle and played strictly in a 4-3 defensive system. Given the Vikings' style of defense and the age of Pat Williams, the team's interest in Troup makes perfect sense.

But Troup knows he has some things he needs to improve in his play.

"The strengths of my game would be my run defense. I've got great pad leverage, a good first step. I can finish right into the backfield," he said. "What I need to work on is my pass rush, using my hands, and separating from my man and clearing the hip."

Former Vikings defensive coordinator George O'Leary worked with Troup at Central Florida and helped him with his rush defense.

"Coach O'Leary worked closely with me, helping me with my hands and pad leverage. He also preaches good pad leverage," Troup said. "You can't be a good defensive lineman without pad leverage."

Troup's hard work paid off. He earned second-team All-Conference USA honors in his junior and senior seasons. As a junior, he had 52 tackles, including 12½ for losses, and as a senior those numbers fell to 35 tackles and five for a loss as he received more attention from offensive linemen.

"I honestly feel like I'm one of the better players in the nation. This year my stats are down because I played a different role on our team," he said. "I was more of a guy who took on double-teams and let everybody else make plays, and everybody else did make plays."

NFL teams understand that he was receiving more attention, he said.

Troup said he takes pride in playing in a strong rush defense, and the Vikings' top-two standing in rush defense the last four years would seem to be a good fit. As an individual, he just wants to establish himself.

"I just want to solidify myself as one of the better defensive tackles in the country. I have a lot to prove," he said. "… I want to show everybody what I've got."

One thing he has is more stamina. He dropped weight before his senior season and it allowed him to stay fresher longer. That work ethic has carried over into the offseason at the East-West Shrine game and as he prepared for the Combine.

Now around 315 pounds, he's at a weight he's comfortable with but said he would be fine with putting on 10 to 15 more pounds as well. Whatever it takes to get the dirty job done in the middle of the defensive line.

"You've got to love contact to play in the middle. You get hit every play. Sometimes the defensive end doesn't even get touched; in the middle you're gonna get touched every play," he said. "I love the contact in the middle. Some people want me to play three-technique, and I actually tell them I love contact, I love the middle, I love the nose.

Sounds like a young Pat Williams.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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