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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Defensive end Ricky Elmore’s road to the NFL


During his time at Arizona, defensive end Ricky Elmore displayed a never-ending motor and tireless work ethic that resulted in back-to-back Pac-10 sack titles.  

It was only fitting that the first thing the 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end said to the Arizona Daily Wildcat on Monday night was, “”I was going to take today off but decided not to.””

Although his Wildcat career is over, Elmore’s ramped up the pace even more as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft.

He’s currently training six to seven days a week in Westlake, Calif., at Proactive Sports and is inching up draft boards.  

An ESPN analyst dubbed Elmore the “”West Performer of the Day”” at the East-West Shrine practices last week. The Simi Valley, Calif., native said his play in Orlando gave his draft stock a huge boost.

“”That really helped me out because these are really some of the best guys from around the country,”” Elmore said. “”Of the 100 guys there, I bet you 70 of them will be drafted. It’s crazy, the talent that’s there. To go there and still stand out against talent like that, it’s very exciting.””

Elmore said he’s projected to be selected anywhere from the third to fifth round and has talked to “”15 to 20″” teams. He said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem most interested in him and are one of only three or four teams he talked to that want him to play defensive end.

Elmore spoke to the Wildcat at length about his experience in Orlando, his possible switch to outside linebacker and his friendly rivalry with Brooks Reed.

Daily Wildcat: How was Orlando (where Elmore played in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday)?

Ricky Elmore: Oh, it was crazy, man. You’re going from Shrine events, to meetings, to practice, to interviews, to dinner, back to interviews. It was something you need to experience to truly understand. It was just insane. That was such a crazy eight days down in Orlando. It was one of the best times of my life.

DW: What was the best part of it?

The reason why we were down there was pretty cool. The Shriners Hospital, they were pretty much the reason why we were down there, besides for the NFL and stuff. Shriners Hospital is a hospital for kids under 18 for families that can’t afford medical attention. It’s almost like, they deserve it, so they’ll give them free medical care. It’s all for a good cause.

DW: Did you get to meet any of the kids?

Yeah, we went to the hospital, went to dinners, went to barbeques with them, just spent time with them. It was pretty cool. They don’t understand, they’re 5 years old, 4 years old, 8 years old, they don’t understand that they have a disability. It kind of opens your eyes. It was just a really good experience for that aspect.

DW: How was the actual game?

RE: The game was good, but the game doesn’t really even matter just for the fact that the scouts aren’t even there anymore. The scouts are there from Sunday until Wednesday so that’s the time when you really need to perform, do well in practice, interview and pretty much put your best foot forward. The weeks of practice were intense. It was full pads every day. We pretty much beat up on each other for four days straight. It was crazy, dude. The whole entire football field was completely wrapped around. Every sideline, every time you stepped out of bounds you’re running into scouts. The whole entire field was wrapped around with scouts, GMs, coaches, it was intense, dude. It was really cool to be in that atmosphere just knowing this isn’t college football anymore, this is going to be your job someday. It was one of the most important interviews you’re going to have in your life. It was really cool to go there and do well and come out feeling confident and knowing that I really helped myself there.

DW: What were the scouts like?

RE: As soon as we get off the field, I’m not kidding you, I’m not lying, we’d get back to the hotel at 6 and we wouldn’t be done with interviews until like 10:30. You’re walking down hallways and they’re grabbing you whenever they can. I’d be going down to talk to my agent or my mom and I wouldn’t even get off the elevator because someone would want to be like “”Hey, come talk to me.””

DW: What kind of stuff did they ask?

RE: They want to know why you are the way you are. Whether it’s family history, or school history, everything about you that makes you who you are today. And then the last 10 to 15 minutes they start talking football. They know everything about you. They just want to see if you’re telling the truth and what type of person you are. They pretty much tear you apart, like, is he sitting up straight, is he sweating, is he twitching?

DW: Where are you projected to go?

RE: I’ve been told anywhere from third to fifth, but I don’t know. I just feel like if I get drafted, it’s just a huge accomplishment just to be drafted. I’m not one of those guys that sits there and says, “”Well, I deserve to go here and if I don’t I’ll be super pissed.”” That’s just the wrong attitude. I’ve been from third to fifth but after this last week I think I’ve really helped myself out. The combine’s really going to help me out too. You really have no idea though. If a team needs you, they’re going to draft you, if a team comes up and they want you, they’ll draft you in the first round. Predictions really don’t matter. It’s what teams need and when they want to get you.

DW: Is there anywhere you’d prefer to play?

RE: Not really. I’ve talked to between 15 and 20 teams and probably only three or four teams talked to me about playing defensive end.

DW: What teams have talked to you?

RE: The Cardinals, the Chargers, the Saints, Dallas, the Patriots, Miami, Tampa Bay, there’s a lot of teams.

DW: Do you think you’ll be a defensive end?

RE: I sat down with the head coach and the general manager of the Buccaneers and they said that they are really, really interested and they’re excited about me, but you don’t know. Three or four teams talked to me for defensive end and the other 15, 16 teams want me for outside linebacker.

DW: Could you play outside linebacker?

RE: I’m just a football player, I’m an athlete. I’m going to have to adjust. I wasn’t a true defensive in high school and when I came to college I had to adjust. If you put the time in, you’re going to be successful. It doesn’t really matter what position I play.

DW: I saw the website. What was the thought behind that?

RE: My agent put that together for me. After the combine, I think he’s going to start using that to start publicizing my name. When he throws my highlight DVDs out and he’s going to throw this huge package together and send it to all the teams. It’s just another way for teams to check me out and look into me. It’s nothing huge or major.

DW: You’ve always been known as underrated and people talk about Brooks Reed more. Why do you think it is that you put up better numbers but he gets the nod to the Under Armour Senior Bowl and a lot of the recognition?

RE: It could be a lot of things. I think Brooks is a good player and he deserves everything he gets. Things happen and a lot of politics play into things. I’m happy with the way things happened because after my junior year, leading the Pac-10 in sacks kind of fueled my fire and then this year the same thing happened, and it fuels the fire and you keep working hard. I’d rather it be this way because it keeps me working hard.

DW: Do you guys talk on a regular basis?

RE: Yeah. I think half the reason we were so successful at Arizona is just that we had a friendly rivalry. We were roommates on the road; we worked out together, practiced together; we were always training together. I think the constant competition between us helped us push ourselves over the top.

DW: So what’s the schedule like leading up to the combine and the draft?

RE: I’m lifting and running six days a week and seven days a week I’m doing lifting and rehab, like yoga, stuff to just loosen up. I leave at 7 or 7:30 and we aren’t done until 7 at night. They’re long days but I only have four weeks to get ready for Indy, and I have like 12 days to get ready for pro day at Arizona. And after that you’re just waiting to see where you go.

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