It's not often that college roommates get to come to the NFL Scouting Combine together. It's even more rare for two roommates who play the same position to come to the Combine together and work to build off each other's performances.
However, that's exactly what's happening in the case of Georgia linebackers Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera.
For each of the past two years, both members of this close tandem have been among the SEC's top tacklers, as they have combined for an impressive 470 tackles total in their junior and senior seasons. On Friday at the Combine, Acme Packing Company caught up with both players to talk about their experiences in college and in Indianapolis as they compete with and against each other.
It's clear that each player thinks highly of the other's skill sets, and that their days playing together go way back.
"Me and Amarlo, we've been together since high school," Wilson told APC. "All-American games, we always play right next to each other. He's like my brother. We're always together, we do everything together."
Apparently everything includes the combine, where Herrera says "We're trying to make each other better ... we just want to build off each other."
Herrera, who measured in at 6'1" and 244 pounds, is more of the traditional middle linebacker of the two, and played the Mike position in Georgia's 3-4. He feels he would be a fit in any scheme, saying "a linebacker's a linebacker" and that he could "definitely" stay on the field in coverage on third down.
He was also charged with calling the formations on the field and ensuring his teammates were aligned properly. That is an aspect of his game in which he takes great pride, saying "if anybody ain't lined up right, they don't get a minus (grade), I get a minus, so I take that personally."
Wilson, on the other hand, is a little leaner at 6'2", 237, and has shown more versatility by playing a wider variety of positions, including rushing as an outside linebacker on passing downs. Herrera described Wilson as "a different type of linebacker" from him, saying that Wilson "don't look as big as he is. He can run with anyone on the field." The more prolific blitzer of the two, Wilson recorded six sacks and 18 tackles for loss as a starter.
Though teams are looking at him to fit a variety of different positions, Wilson has no shortage of confidence in his abilities, saying he could play at the "Sam, Mike or Will" linebacker spots. He also noted that he had met with the Packers at the Combine to discuss his fit as an inside linebacker in Dom Capers' 3-4 system, and that the meeting went well: "It was intense. They was asking a lot of questions...why I do this, why I do that, (to) talk through the scheme. It was great work and I felt like I had a great connection with them."
On the field in Athens, though, the two were always in sync. "We worked well together," Herrera said. "We mesh together ... I knew what he was thinking, he knew what I was thinking."
For now, Wilson is projected to go higher in the 2015 NFL Draft, but both are focused on showing what they can do on the field in Indianapolis on Sunday. And if there were a chance he could play next to his buddy Amarlo someday in the NFL, Wilson would be a fan:
"I'd love to have him on my team again, that would be awesome."