Texas Tech's Manuel Ramirez is one of the physically strongest linemen in this draft and is expected to be a first- or second-round pick. He updated Scout.com's Ed Thompson on his knee rehab, some of his key skills and attributes that will help him succeed at the next level, and more in this exclusive interview.
Ed Thompson: What is it about your technique that you think makes you so effective as a pass protector?
Manuel Ramirez: Just coming off the ball real quick, being able to get my hands on people. Usually once I get my hands on people, it’s a done deal.
ET: You’ve also got a good reputation out there for your field intelligence. Tell us what you do out there that has helped create that impression.
MR: Just the simple fact that the type of offense that I come from is an offense that you rarely see. Since we have the wide splits, we see different defenses that teams try to throw at us. So it’s very important for offensive lines to recognize different types of formations; overloads to the left, to the right, to the boundaries, to the open field -- just trying to put ourselves in the best blocking scheme for every play, especially since we audible so much. It’s very important for us to know the defense.
ET: Talk a little bit about your knee injury, because I’m sure some fans reading this article won’t be familiar with what happened. And update us on your progress…
MR: I’ve played with it for two years. My senior year, the misdiagnosis of my knee kind of got to me and didn’t allow me to play the way I’m supposed to play. After the season I talked to Dr. Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys and we agreed on getting it cleaned up. I had two bone spurs that were fractured in my patella, so we agreed to go in there get it taken out and cleaned up before it got any worst, especially playing at the next level. The pro game is more demanding on your body than it is at the college level. I know it might have hurt me a little bit but I’m not worried about that; I still know what I can do. As for the recovery time, I wasn’t even supposed to do any kind of drills until training camp but I got cleared by the doctor already. Hopefully, if everything goes right, I’ll be able to start doing individual drills in the middle of April. It’s been a blessing, the type of recovery that I’ve gotten.
|(AP Photo/Rob Carr)|
ET: Are you shooting for a personal Pro Day before the draft?
MR: Now that the doctors have released me, I’d like to get in there by mid-April. I’d like to get the teams to come to me and show them that my knee is not going to be a problem because of how fast I recovered from the surgery. The surgery wasn’t anything major; they didn’t have to reconstruct anything. They just went in and took out two bone spurs and closed it back up.
ET: You set a school record of a bench press of 550 pounds. How much have pro teams taken note of your strength and talked to you about that?
MR: A lot of teams tell me they love it. The type of player I am, I’m very aggressive and don’t hold back. I think they’re very impressed with the type of style I play.
ET: When you aren’t playing football what do you like to do for fun?
MR: Now that I’m married, being at home with my wife and being with her through her pregnancy is my main focus. And I go back to the Bible study that me and one of my roommates put together with the team, and just relax.
ET: Is there anything else I can share with the fans for you?
MR: I know one thing a lot of people see in me is that everyone thinks that I’m just a mean guy because of the way I look, but once they get to know me, I’m a great person. I’m probably the worst person you’ll meet on the football field, but the greatest person you want to be around off the field. One of our defensive backs coaches, coach Brown, told us before he passed away that the way he’d love to be remembered is a Christian who happened to be an athlete. That’s how I hope others see me.
Check back on Tuesday for more with Manuel Ramirez in an NFL Draft Q&A feature for Scout.com subscribers! He'll talk about one of the really unique things he did at the guard position for Texas Tech, his Combine experience, his blocking skills, personality on the field and more!
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.