March 06, 2012

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 as a high first-round pick. He'll be regularly providing with his thoughts in the weeks leading up to the draft.

Last week's combine didn't go quite as I had planned. I originally thought that I'd be participating in all of the events -- the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, the shuttle run, everything -- but I ended up only bench pressing and going through the linebacker drills.

The decision not to participate in the tests was mine. I thought I'd be ready to go, but I realized that I could use a few more weeks of training. Remember, I got a late start on draft prep after playing in the BCS National Championship and in the Senior Bowl. But I plan on showcasing myself for all 32 teams at Alabama's second pro day late this month.

While I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed at my lack of participation in Indianapolis, the combine wasn't a total loss. I did well in the linebacker drills and I got good feedback on my performance from pretty much every team. I also interviewed with nearly 20 teams and I thought those went pretty well, too. Between the combine and the Senior Bowl, I've spoken to pretty much every team in the league, giving them a good sense of my character and football knowledge in the process.

I'm currently in Arizona. I thought I'd be participating in Alabama's first pro day on Wednesday, but I decided to get some more training out west before heading back to Tuscaloosa for the Tide's second pro day. I will be participating in all of the events there and I'm really looking forward to it. Sitting out and watching my peers go through the paces in Indianapolis was really tough -- part of me wanted to just put my gear on and get out there, but I knew I had to stick with my plan, which I truly believe is my best way forward.

As always, I'll be working hard to get ready for all the drills I'll be participating in at my pro day. I'm focusing on more than just running a good 40 and jumping high, though. I believe that the linebacker and defensive line drills I'll be participating in are also important. They're a good opportunity for me to showcase my positional skills and further prove to teams that I have what it takes to excel at the next level.

Until then, I'll be keeping my nose to the grindstone, working away and continuing to try to get better before April's draft.

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