Kentrell Lockett leaves Thursday for minicamp with the Washington Redskins.
A career defensive end at Ole Miss, the Redskins like Lockett as an outside linebacker in the 3-4.
He thinks he’ll make the switch from hand on the ground to standing up with no trouble.
“It’s completely opposite from being that defensive end with your hand in the dirt, but standing up in that 2-point stance, I think it gives me more freedom. I’m able to do more things, just being that natural pass rusher actually gives me more of an edge on the tackle or the guy I’m rushing, because I’m up. I got more space, more time to play with. I have more time coming off the edge than being in that clutter and all that stuff.
“I played a little of it before when coach Orgeron was there. We did some stuff like that. We had a couple of packages. Coach Nix had a couple of packages. I’ve done it before, it’s not something that’s completely left field for me. It’s football. You get out there, and you learn. It’s going to become second nature.”
Lockett was on course to be drafted and not have to worry with free agency before he tore his ACL in 2010.
Coming back from the injury in 2011 he was unable to duplicate his 2009 success.
However, he says he’s cleared the mental hurdles of coming back from a torn ACL. He believes he can play free and fast and that he has a real chance to make the Redskins’ roster.
“It was more of a mental struggle than a physical struggle with me, but all that’s over with. My legs are fine, they’re strong, I can come off the edge again, and everybody’s going to see it … everybody’s going to see it.
“It’s football. You can’t play scared, can’t play timid. That’s when injuries do happen. In the back of my mind I was like, ‘What if someone cuts me? What if I get twisted under the pile? What if I get leg-whipped? What if this happens or that happens? In my mind I was protecting myself. I didn’t want to miss any games, didn’t want to feel that pain again.
“But then it was just playing football. Those things did happen. I did get cut, I did get leg-whipped, and nothing happened. I did get under the pile, and I felt fine, and then I was like, ‘It’s go time. Time to play ball. We back in business.’”