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FWST: CHAREAN WILLIAMS: Blake set on beating troubles on way to

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Cbz40, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    Blake set on beating troubles on way to

    By CHAREAN WILLIAMS
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer


    INDIANAPOLIS -- TCU defensive end Tommy Blake has lost a few pounds since the East-West Shrine Game, but his weightier challenge is proving to [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]NFL [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]teams[/FONT][/FONT] that he now has his depression under control.

    Blake received two medical leaves of absence last season, missing five games of his senior season. Reggie Rouzan, Blake's agent, confirmed Sunday that Blake is being treated for depression and social anxiety disorder, as reported in Sporting News last week.

    "I'm happier now," Blake said Sunday in the restaurant of the players' hotel in Indianapolis. "I'm a much happier person. I'm just ready to get this pro day behind me and become a professional player in the NFL."

    NFL teams have questions for him and about him. Blake said he has been open about his medical condition during interviews at the [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]NFL[/FONT][/FONT] Scouting Combine, but he admits having grown weary of the same questions "over and over."

    St. Louis defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Blake "was good" in his interview with the Rams, but wouldn't elaborate.

    In addition to interviews, Blake has taken the Wonderlic, an intelligence test, as well as a battery of psychological tests administered by teams.

    "Tommy is at peace with himself," Rouzan said. "... He understands that it's an uphill battle. We're just working hard for him, and he's working hard for himself."

    Blake said he will run today when defensive linemen work out for scouts, but he will not lift until TCU's Pro Day on March 6.

    Blake measured 6-foot-2 7/8 and weighed 281 pounds, which is 26 pounds heavier than he did in his standout junior season. But it is less than the 287 he weighed at the Shrine Game in Houston last month.

    Blake said his medication led to the weight gain, but he is working with former NFL defensive back Rod Jones in DeSoto to get back to his playing weight.

    "He should be at 260, and he'll be a hell of an outside pass rusher because he has the speed and the quickness you need," said C.O. Brocato, the [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Tennessee [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Titans[/FONT][/FONT]' national director of college scouting.

    As a junior, when Blake was at 255 pounds, he made 54 tackles, 16 1/2 for loss, and had seven sacks. He was a preseason All-American in 2007 and projected as a first-round pick in 2008.
    But his stock began dropping when he walked off the TCU practice field in August and returned home to Aransas Pass. He played in only eight games last season, making 21 tackles, eight for loss, and had four sacks.

    He now is rated as the 17th-best defensive end by NFLDraftScout.com.

    "When he looks and sees these defensive ends rated ahead of him, it just makes him cringe, because he knows he's better than them," said Rouzan, who is based in Houston. "Every team out there knows they're going to be getting a steal if they get a Tommy Blake in tip-top shape, which we're going to have him in come draft time. They're getting a guy who last year, if he would have come out, would have had a first-round, top-20 grade."

    Blake, 23, promises to become the player he once was. He said he has never quit believing in his NFL dream.

    "My senior year could have been better," Blake said. "But you can see how I played my junior year. Everybody knows how I played my junior year. With hard work and dedication, I can get back to being that player, because... God has blessed me with ability."

    Blake's former TCU teammates, Chase Ortiz and David Roach, are rooting for Blake to make it all the way back. They have seen up close just how good Blake can be when he is in shape and happy.

    "All you have to do is go and turn on Tommy's film for the first three years of his career," Roach said Sunday. "He was great. That talent doesn't just disappear. It's still in him.... I won't be surprised if he has a great career in the NFL."

    Roach said Blake, at his best, is as good as [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Indianapolis [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Colts[/FONT][/FONT] defensive end Dwight Freeney. He isn't the first one to make the comparison.

    But first Blake has to prove to scouts that he is himself.

    "As a junior, he was a great player, a difference-maker," [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Green [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bay [/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Packers[/FONT][/FONT] scout Alonzo Highsmith said. "As a senior, he wasn't the same player for whatever reason. He was an enigma. We're eager to find out what the difference was. If a team gets the Tommy Blake of his junior year, they're going to get a special pass rusher who's physical and can play the run with a great motor. As a junior, he was a difference-maker off the edge."

    cjwilliams@star-telegram.com
    Charean Williams, 817-390-7760
  2. SDogo

    SDogo Not as good as I once was but as good once as I ev

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    Well hopefully he does not decide to turn to the Ricky Williams philosophy of treating his problems.
  3. justbob

    justbob The Peacemaker Staff Member

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    But Ricky was happy --until he ran out of money;)

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