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February 28, 2013

Hawkinson talks about the NFL Combine

Former Kansas offensive tackle Tanner Hawkinson went through the NFL Combine last weekend in Indianapolis. Hawkinson turned in the following numbers at the combine: 5.07 (40-yard dash), 28.5 (vertical leap), 9 feet 4 inches (broad jump), 7.52 (three-cone drill) and 4.51 20-yard shuttle). Here's what he had to say about the event.

Take us through the first day of the NFL Combine?

I flew in on Tuesday. They had most of the guys who were out there on the west coast because the time difference is quite a bit. That day we just checked into the hotel and just kind of relaxed. We got spoiled at the beginning and later on it got kind of hectic.

On that first day on Wednesday when we were required to do stuff I was down in the lobby at 7:45. I was part of the first group they bussed to the hospital and it was a long day at the hospital just going over medical records. They did x-rays and got blood samples. That took about four to five hours.

We had the afternoon off and had an orientation type dinner. We had some people talk like Ted Thompson with the Green Bay Packers just outlining the whole experience that we would be going through.

Later that night after the dinner we had informal interviews and that lasted from 7 to 11. They just kind of pull you aside to their table and introduce themselves and their team. A lot of times they would have the offensive line coach at the table and do a 15-20 minute interview. They just asked the basic questions about your childhood and how you were brought up. A lot of questions about your family. They asked about your college experience and what kind of player you are. That was a long night.

They got you up bright and early the next morning. They gave us a drug test so we didn't have that much time off. We had to get up for that about 4:00 or 4:15. We got right back at it the rest of the day with the medical stuff. We went through a bunch of orthopedic rooms with doctors checking on you. They went through your medical history and records from the day before. It was another long day.

I was up from about 4 in the morning until dinner when I got a break. Then it was more informal interviews again on that Thursday night.

How many teams did you talk to on during the informal interviews?

I talked to about 20-25 teams. They had formal interviews which are a lot longer. I didn't do any of those. Those are more for the top prospect type guys and juniors who were coming out that didn't go to the all star games and didn't have any interaction with the teams.

How did working with some of the coaches in California help you with the interview process?

It did help being out in California because I got a lot of insight from my agent. Also one of the biggest resources was the offensive line coach that we were able to work with a couple of times a week was Hudson Houck and he was in the NFL for 25 years. He had been through the whole process at the combine and put guys through the interviews so he would tell us what questions he asked and the type of responses he would like to hear. He didn't tell us what to say but he told us how he reacted to different answers.

How did the rest of the combine go?

Friday was a little more lax. Thursday you had that really long day. We just woke up in the morning and we did the bench on Friday and the afternoon off. There were a couple of psychological exams. We took the Wonderlic on Friday in the morning. I think I did pretty well. I didn't answer all the questions but I got pretty far into it and don't think I missed too many up to that point. We didn't have any more informal interviews on Friday so I got to rest and get ready for Saturday which is our workout day.

I was really happy with my performance on Saturday in both the testing and the positional drills. I did pretty good in the broad jump and the shuttle. My vertical wasn't as good as I anticipated. When I was testing I got a better number than what I did at the combine. They are pretty big sticklers on making sure that arm is fully extended when they measure your reach. I think they stretched my body out a few extra inches.

It was a pretty tiring and hectic day because they get you up pretty early and you don't necessarily get started right away and you are waiting around. For me I was in the second group of offensive linemen. They woke us up at 6 and I don't think we started running until 10 30. You get that done and it is a pretty quick turnaround because I had to catch a flight at 5. I finished up at 2:30 and was able to meet with my agent and talk about my day. I got all my stuff and got right on the shuttle to the airport and flew back to Wichita on Saturday night.

Did you feel like you improved your draft stock at the combine?

I think I showed teams what they were expecting from what they had seen on tape. I showed my athletic ability to move around pretty well. I think I reassured teams that I am going to be one of those guys to use my athleticism to my advantage. I like to think I improved my draft stock as well.

What are your plans now that the combine is over?

I am heading back up to Lawrence to get back into the swing of things with guys who are up there. I have been talking with Trevor, Duane, Kale and all those guys and just keep preparing for the KU Pro Day on March 15th.

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