INDIANAPOLIS- The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine kicked off yesterday with the offensive lineman, specialists and tight ends doing media interviews at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. One of the more lively interviews was Miami tight end Clive Walford. There has been a lot of talk about who the top tight end in this draft class is. Walford had no doubt that he is the top guy here.
Walford played at the University of Miami, also known as “The U.” He said that it was hard work and dedication that he put in at the U which brought him more into the mode of a top level in line or flex tight end. Walford credits his time at Miami for preparing him for the NFL. “The same thing that I did at the U I am going to do in the league. I will have an open mind. I’m willing to learn.”
There are numerous areas where Walford would help a team. One of them is in the red zone. Walford said that he could help the red zone problems because of his ability to jump. “In the red zone, I use my body and jumping ability to go over defenders and get the ball. I am the best tight end in this draft because I can run, catch, do everything that a tight end is asked to do.”
Getting to the NFL requires a lot of hard work. Walford had no problem putting in extra work after practice. He mentioned that he had to do that because he had a young quarterback that was only 18 years old. He stayed after practice a lot to work with him. That’s a sign of leadership. Walford had the desire to make his young quarterback a better player.
There is always room for improvement. Walford had no problem identifying what he needs to improve upon but he was confident about his ability. “I need to be more consistent. I have already proven myself; I just have to be more consistent. The knee feels great, 100%. I wanted to show the teams how tough I am, how mentally tough I am by going to the Senior Bowl and practicing injured.”
Adversity has its way of rearing its ugly head for most guys that end up in the NFL. Walford identified the death of his late cousin, Alonzo Jones Jr as an adverse situation that he had to overcome. “I lost him in 2010. I have been doing this for him. He passed and it changed my life. My whole perspective changed. It makes me want to work harder, twice as hard as I work now.”
Walford got off to a late start in football, not playing until his senior year of high school. He had to develop a better understanding of the game and discover his love for the game. “I wasn’t a fan at first. I learned to love the game of football as I continued to play it. I realized in my sophomore year that I could really play this game.”
Clive Walford believes that he is the best tight end in the draft right now. He is not far off when he says that. The main difference between him and the other tight ends is his versatility. He is a top tier player in all areas. Walford can blow defenders off of the line in run blocking. He can use his big body to get positioning in the red zone. He can get yards after the catch and can play in line or flexed. In his own words, he is a “dominant player, a dual threat tight end. I am a competitor with a will to win. I play with my heart. They will get someone who will lay it on the line every down.”
The sky is the limit for Walford. He is the top tight end in this class. Whether or not he is selected in the first round remains to be seen but rest assured that whatever team that drafts him will get a player that will leave his all on the field.
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Photo credit: Miguel Johnson @Visionsmaj
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