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McKinnie: Scouting the competition

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Editor's note: Being an offensive lineman may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but to an NFL team, it's vital. This April, University of Miami left tackle Bryant McKinnie is expected to be a top selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. Each week, McKinnie will stop by and offer his thoughts on what the life is like for this future NFL giant.

I'm less than three weeks away from being drafted, but I'm still focused on what I'll do when the 2002 season begins: blocking and protecting my quarterback.

For a change of pace, I'm going to scout some of my competition -- defensive linemen in the NFL. Just for fun, I'll touch on some of the guys who are in the NFL Draft with me, along with a "mean" Hall of Famer.

JULIUS PEPPERS

He's a good athlete. Off the ball, he has a good second move in case the first one doesn't work. I'd have to change up the snap count on him and make sure my team doesn't keep the same count because he'll catch on to it. I'd also be quick off the ball and have good hand and feet placement. A very decent player -- I've met him a couple of times, he's real cool.

ALBERT HAYNESWORTH & JOHN HENDERSON

You have to play both with low-pad level because they're strong, tall defensive tackles. Just stay low with those two and get under them. I'd have to use my leverage on them. They have good leverage too -- and Henderson's 6-7. As long as he stays healthy, Henderson will be the better of the two. He could definitely dominate on this level.

DWIGHT FREENEY

(Editor's note: McKinnie faced Freeney last season when Miami hosted Syracuse. Freeney was held without a single tackle against UM.)

He would probably look at some of the film of us going against each other before and look at something he could do to improve himself. I would work on speed rushes because he's not strong enough to do a bull rush. I would also check on what his second moves would be. I would study his moves, including the inside move he loves to do all the time.

Freeney would probably be more hungry going against me again, but I'd be ready for that challenge. I know he would come with everything he's got next time, although he did that last time too. He would want to do more because I held him without a tackle.

WARREN SAPP

He lost weight, so he would be quicker. I would have to use my long arms to keep jabbing him back because he's kind of short. I know he likes to talk, but I'd block that out and stay focused. You can't listen to trash talk. Then again, if you do good, you can trash talk after the game.

JEVON KEARSE

Kearse is kind of like Freeney: quick off the ball, a speed rusher with long, slim arms. With Jevon, I'd have to keep my balance, have good footwork, use my hands against his long arms and keep him away so he can't grab too much cloth. Always stay in front of him, never let him think he has the corner on me, and be able to regroup in case he tries the inside move later.

MICHAEL STRAHAN

Strahan is somebody, as far as pass rushing, you have to stay low for. He's a big strong beast. On pass-blocking, I'd have to keep a wide base and stay low because he will try to bull rush. He's fast but not as fast as Kearse. With Strahan, you also have to be focused and concentrate.

"MEAN" JOE GREENE

Back in the day, they had different techniques. I think I would have to use my size against Greene, because back then, there weren't too many people playing who were my size. I might have been stronger than them, so I would have tried to overpower him and stay faster than him.

McKinnie reacts to Texans' announcement

As you know, Houston announced they were going to take David Carr first overall. I can't believe they announced it so early! I guess they don't need me because they drafted Tony Boselli in the expansion draft. He's been in the league for seven seasons. I guess they're not thinking for the future, they're playing it for now. We'll see how it turns out in the long run.

I guess they're looking at him like he's going to be a Peyton Manning-type of player. He better be, because I'll tell [them] this: you missed a good one.

TEAMWATCH

Each week, McKinnie will share which teams contact him prior to the NFL draft.

I'm on my way to Buffalo for a visit, and I'll have met with Carolina by this time next week. I'm confident that I'll be a top-five pick come April 20. I know this: every team that passes me by will go on my 'list.' When I play them, I will make sure that I play extra hard.

-- As told to Dave Richard nfl.com

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