Illinois' Thornton embraces his wrestling background
Offensive linemen are expected to take on and fend off 300-pound rushers on every snap. And for Illinois' Hugh Thornton, his wrestling background has helped develop his physical ability on the football field.
"I think wrestling definitely has an influence on how I play," Thornton said. "It's physical, it's one-on-one, it's domination, and it's why I play the offensive line."
Thornton was a two-time Idaho state heavyweight wrestling champion as a sophomore and junior in high school. He moved to Oberlin, Ohio for his senior season of football and also finished third in the state of Ohio in wrestling at heavyweight.
"I could have played defensive line in college, but at offensive line there is nothing like locking someone out and as hard as they want to get past you, they can't because you have good hips, good stability, good base. And all that stuff I learned in wrestling."
Thornton, who is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8-ranked guard and is projected to be a fifth round pick, also is receiving advice from former teammate guard Jeff Allen, who was a second-round pick last year.
He texted me this morning and told me to enjoy the process and if I have any questions just ask him," Thornton said. "He's one of my best friends. And if I can get drafted in the second round I'd be happy as well."
Measurements to note
For several of the underclassmen and prospects who didn't participate in the all-star circuit, scouts are anxious to discover their exact height, weight and other measurement numbers. While there weren't any substantial surprises from day one, there were several notable prospects who tipped the scale:
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (Height, weight, arm length)
Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6021, 311, 33")
Chance Warmack, Alabama (6020, 317, 34 3/4")
Barrett Jones, Alabama (6044, 306, 34 1/8")
Chris Faulk, LSU (6054, 331, 34 1/4")
Brennan Williams, North Carolina (6055, 318, 34")
Menelik Watson, Florida State (6051, 310, 34")
TIGHT END (Height, weight, arm length)
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6054, 250, 33 1/8")
Zach Ertz, Stanford (6050, 249, 31 3/4")
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (6057, 254, 33 5/8")
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6047, 255, 33 3/4")
Dion Sims, Michigan State (6047, 262, 33 1/8")
Jordan Reed, Florida (6024, 236, 33")
NFLDraftScout.com is published by The Sports Xchange. Analyst Dane Brugler contributed to this report.