For most players drafted on the third day of the NFL draft, the main focus for the next four months is improving their craft and learning from the veterans on the roster. For new Packers center Corey Linsley, there is no such luxury. Taken in the fifth round, Linsley is expected to compete with J.C. Tretter for the starting center job. That's a unique situation for a rookie, and with it comes considerable pressure.
We sat down with Linsley to discuss how he became a Green Bay Packer and his approach to his profession:
Acme Packing Company: You and your agent surely dealt with a lot of teams during the pre-draft process. How much time did you spend talking with the Packers?
Corey Linsley: I had very limited contact with them. The Packers came to me at the Pro Day we had at Ohio State, and then I might have gotten one phone call from them. Other than that it was kind of a surprise.
APC: Your career at Ohio State really seemed to take off with your redshirt junior season, the same year you switched from guard to center. Was the position change the reason for your success, or was there more to the story?
CL: I was definitely making a change for the better in my life. Started to get going in the right direction, find the right people, and took advantage of the help they were giving me. Just pushed myself to be a better person and football player. It all worked out. Luckily, I had people around me that wanted to help.
APC: Did that play a role in Ohio State going undefeated that season?
CL: No one person has that much of an affect on the team unless something absolutely dramatic happens like a devastating injuries or deaths, god forbid. I definitely think that our offensive line as a whole committed ourselves to becoming better offensive linemen and better people. I think that the offensive line as a whole was a main factor in driving the success that we had.
APC: Your 36 bench reps at the combine were tied for second among centers. How much of your game is dependent upon strength, and do you think you're physically ready for the NFL?
CL: I think anybody who has a shot with the NFL is physically ready. That's why everybody that leaves college is physically ready. It's not a matter of that. My strength is great to have, but it doesn't really matter now because everybody's strong up there. It's really about going hard and all that. Executing and being in the right position and knowing what to do I'm finding out play a huge part in determining your success. It's nice to have all the physical attributes I feel that are necessary to play my position, but I still got to work on athleticism, quickness, and flexibility and everything. Those are some of my, I don't know what you want to call them, weak areas. Other than that it's a matter of learning the playbook and going 100%, you know?
APC: Have the Packers told you whether you'll compete for the starting center job?
CL: I'm not even worried about that. I think we all know the situation. You know there's an opportunity there, but all I can worry about is what I do. I can't worry about what anyone else does. That's what competition is. It's all dependent on what other people do. I'm not really focused on that. I'm focused on learning the playbook and doing whatever I can to help this team. At the end of the day nobody cares whether I start or not if we don't win the Super Bowl, you know? I just need to do whatever I can to help this team win the championship.
APC: While you grew up in Ohio you spent your youth rooting for the Packers, so I have a Packer-centric question for you. Who was the best Green Bay center of the past 25 years, Frank Winters, Mike Flanagan, or Scott Wells?
CL: Jeez, I'm trying to be as good as one of those guys, you know? [Laughter] I don't think I'm in a position to pass judgment on who is the best out of those three. So I guess that's for you. If I can be as good as any of those guys I think that would be awesome. That's what I'm working towards. All three of those guys are great players, and obviously playing for the Packers you have to be. But you know I'm in no position to pass judgment on that.