2 BC defensive tackles work out for NFL teams Print
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Thursday, 12 March 2009 14:27
NCAAF Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -B.J. Raji and Ron Brace gave three NFL talent evaluators a close look at what Boston College opponents had to handle: two of the best defensive tackles in college football.
In the bubble that covers the school's football field during the winter, they were the top players among about 40 from New England schools working out for scouts and assistant coaches for pro teams on Thursday.
``It's going to be great on April 25 to see both of us go'' early in the draft, Raji said.
He is considered the top defensive tackle in the draft and could go as high as No. 4 to Seattle, which had the third-worst defense in the NFL last season. He almost certainly will be taken in the top half of the first round.
Brace figures to be chosen in the second round, giving a school known for turning out offensive linemen another strong position in the draft.
``That shows the prestige of our school, our linemen,'' Brace said.
unning, displaying their footwork and rushing at a tackling pad held by Cleveland Browns defensive line coach Bryan Cox, a former NFL linebacker.
The others who watched the linemen work out were New York Jets defensive line coach Kerry Locklin and Detroit Lions assistant defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.
The Lions have the first pick in the draft and aren't expected to take Raji. Cleveland, which drafts fifth, is a more likely landing spot. New York has the 17th pick in the first round and Detroit also has the 20th.
``I was a Giants fan growing up,'' said Raji, who grew up in New Jersey, ``but if the Jets draft me, I'm a Jets fan.''
He figures at least 85 percent of the evaluation was done before Thursday's session.
``The (game) film speaks for itself,'' he said, ``so today is not going to change (the evaluation) drastically. But it's just another form of competition that I wanted to do my best at.''
Raji missed the 2007 season for academic reasons, but returned to make eight sacks and 42 tackles last season, when the Eagles went 9-5 and lost the Atlantic Coast Conference title game to Virginia Tech.
Now he's headed for the pros.
``This is something you dream of,'' he said. ``You hope you get a shot to play in the NFL when you've been playing football for so long. And when you hear the first round, you're ecstatic. To hear the top 10, that's remarkable.''
ut 2007, Raji played on BC's scout team. Sometimes he went up against offensive tackle Gosder Cherulis, who was drafted last April by Detroit with the 17th overall pick.
``B.J. might be the best overall pick right now in this draft,'' said Cherulis, who watched the workouts. ``You can draft him right now and he'll be ready for you because he's quick and smart. Ron, we didn't know what to think of him when he first got here, but he really put himself in this position.''
Raji has a workout scheduled with Denver on March 20. Brace is scheduled to work out for Tampa Bay on April 2 and New Orleans on April 6. But he doesn't know which teams have the greatest interest in him.
``You never can really tell. People can send a scout who won't talk to you or could just talk to you at the Senior Bowl and got all the information there or (at) the combine,'' Brace said. ``They could be interested in 30, 60 other players.''
Still, Thursday's workout gave Raji and Brace a chance to increase the interest of three teams.
``I try not to think about it as an audition,'' Brace said. ``I try to be more relaxed when it comes to it. I just realize it's just a game, and if you overthink it, you're going to do your worst.''
 

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