OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome once asked a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for his opinion of what the important trait is for an offensive lineman to have.
The former lineman’s response: Intelligence.
That’s part of the reason Newsome and the Ravens are enthusiastic about fifth-round pick John Urschel, who Newsome has described as being “at the top of the charts” as far as intelligence.
“[He’s] highly intelligent,” Nolan Nawrocki wrote in a scouting report of Urschel on NFL.com. “Will be successful with or without football.”
Urschel was a two-time first-team All-Big 10 selection as a guard at Penn State. He also graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average in mathematics, has a master’s degree in math and even taught some math courses at Penn State.
He has also had multiple papers published and was last year’s winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award given annually to the top college football scholar athlete in the country.
But Urschel’s focus is football, and his intelligence helps on the field as well.
“I really take the mental aspect of the game very seriously,” Urschel said, “especially when it comes to breaking down film, seeing what my opponents do, even just in how I look at the defense on a given play just trying to see what they’re showing me [and] what they’re trying to do.”
Urschel is more than just smart, though.
Nawrocki wrote that Urschel lacks great functional strength. He also wrote that Urschel is just an average athlete. But Urschel has decent size at 6-foot-3, 315 pounds. He was also among the top performers at his position at the NFL Scouting Combine in the bench press, the 20-yard shuttle and the 3-cone drill.
He did 30 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, which was tied for eighth-most among offensive linemen. His shuttle time, meanwhile, was tied for sixth-best among offensive lineman, and his 3-cone drill time was ninth-best.
For more on the math wizard turned O-Lineman click HERE