Courtney Upshaw, a linebacker/defensive end from Alabama, is one of the best pass rushers in this year's NFL draft and is being projected by some as a top-10 pick. He'll be regularly providing SI.com with his thoughts in the weeks leading up to the draft.
After weeks of prep work, the Combine is finally here. All of the training, physical therapy and mock interviews I've done will be put to the test starting on Friday, when my fellow linebackers and I arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
I'm more than ready to go. I'll be participating in all of the tests, performing all of the linebacker drills and sitting down to talk with several teams.
I'm looking forward to many of the events, but I'm most focused on the 40-yard dash. I know how important 40 times are to a player's draft stock, and I'm determined to impress scouts and GMs with my performance. My goal is to run a 4.6-second 40. I've been practicing the 40 while training in Arizona and -- though the trainers won't tell me my time -- I know I'm in the 4.6 range.
Running the 40 at the Combine will be an entirely different animal than running it in Arizona, though. I've never been one to let pressure get to me, but I know that I'll have a few butterflies when I line up on Monday.
While I might get a bit edgy right before my 40, I know I won't get nervous for my interviews with individual teams. I did a few interviews with NFL teams when I was in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl and I continued to work on them while I was out in Arizona. That practice put me at ease with the interview process and I'm confident that I'll be able to show teams the real me while I'm in Indy.
After the Combine wraps up -- I'll be done on Monday -- I'm headed back down to Tuscaloosa. I'll keep on training while I'm there, continuing to work hard in advance of Alabama's March 7 Pro Day.
I'm really excited to get back down to campus. As I've mentioned, I've been training out in Arizona since the BCS Championship Game in January. I like it out here, but nothing beats going back to my home state. It'll be great to see my old teammates and coaches and I'm looking forward to working with them again -- even if it won't be for all that long.
So far, all of this has been a fun ride. I really enjoy the people I've been around these past few weeks and I'm sure that my training will pay off with a good showing at the Combine. As always, I'm going to keep working hard and keep trying to achieve my dream of being a first-round pick.