Local players headed to NFL Combine

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Chris White is ready to get poked, prodded, and picked apart. Not just physically, but mentally.
The former Mississippi State linebacker reports to the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Friday to go through four days of workouts, interviews, psychiatric evaluations and the like as teams try to solidify their draft boards for the NFL Draft, to be held April 28-30.
The combine began Wednesday, with offensive linemen, kickers and tight ends reporting. MSU’s Derek Sherrod, a left tackle, checked in Wednesday, and joining White on Friday will be two other teammates, defensive end Pernell McPhee and linebacker K.J. Wright.
White (6-foot-4, 245 pounds), who led the team in tackles (105), tackles-for-loss (15.5) and sacks (6.0) from his middle linebacker spot, has readied himself for the process.
“I heard you (should) get a lot of rest before you go, because when you get there it’s busy four days straight,” White said. “Just get your mind ready to stay busy.”
Draft analyst Mike Detillier said the physical drills are designed to simply confirm what scouts and general managers think they know about a player. Their greater focus this week is on two areas in particular: physical health and mental makeup, especially the latter, which is learned during one-on-one interviews.
“If you’re spending this kind of money on a player, you want to find out kind of what makes him tick,” Detillier said. “You know a lot about him – background work, what he did on the field, what he didn’t do – so you’re trying to get some knowledge of his passion for the game.”
For White, neither production nor passion have been a problem. Yet despite his exploits, he’s expected to be taken after Wright in the seven-round draft.
Detillier projects White going in the fifth or sixth round and said he’s more of a football player than an athlete. While some of White’s measurables might not blow scouts away, Detillier thinks he can make up for that with his smarts, toughness and instinct.
“Every time he hits the field, he’s a playmaker,” Detillier said. “He has a knack of getting around blocks and getting to the ball carrier.”
The combine is only one “piece of the puzzle” as teams prepare for the draft, Detillier said.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to said it’s mostly based on film, but this has something to do with it,” White said. “But I don’t really feel too much pressure about it.”

Powe reports Friday
Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe (6-2, 320) was also invited to the combine and will report Friday. Detillier has projected Powe, who recorded 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks last season, to go in the third or fourth round.
Also invited was Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett (6-5, 260), but he is not attending. He’s petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after an ACL injury limited him to three games last season.

Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571
or brad.locke@journalinc.com.

NFL Combine schedule
– Here’s what the daily schedule looks like for each player at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis
(Feb. 23-March 1), according to
• Day 1: Pre-exam, X-ray, orientation,
• Day 2: Measurements, exams,
media, psych tests, interviews
• Day 3: NFLPA meeting, psych
tests, interviews
• Day 4: Workout (timing, stations,
skill drills)