INDIANAPOLIS -- As his former Ohio State teammates, John Simon and Nathan Williams, make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker before pursuing careers in the NFL, offensive lineman Reid Fragel knows what that experience feels like because he went through that process last year.
Between his junior and senior seasons, Fragel made the move to offensive lineman from a tight end known more for his blocking after catching only 14 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown in his first three seasons.
This weekend, Fragel will work to show his skills at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“The pass (protection) footwork coming from tight end is a little different,” Fragel said. “The run game was always natural to me. I was a blocking tight end; I was a lineman at heart, so to speak. That came more naturally to me and the pass pro took a little more time, but I feel more and more comfortable as time goes on. One of my goals every game was to try and get better at pass pro, and I think I did a good job with that.
“It’s something that, at the time, was an added bonus because right away, it’s not something I thought about as, ‘Hey, moving to tackle my senior year would immediately throw me into the NFL.’ That’s pretty hard to do. Through the process, I was able to grow as a lineman pretty quickly, and lucky enough to be here today and prove my skills this weekend.”
Originally, Fragel planned to display his skills as an offensive lineman at the 2013 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month. However, he rolled his ankle while training out in Arizona and elected to forgo the all-star game and get healthy for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Now that he is healthier, Fragel said he plans on showing NFL scouts, “That I’m ready.”
“I think, after this week’s over, they’ll see that I possess a lot of strength and speed and have a lot of tread left on my tires, where some of these linemen might be worn down a little more,” Fragel said. “I think my best football’s ahead of me.”
Fragel said he felt lucky to have the opportunity to work with his coaches during spring ball because it allowed him to learn technique and also add bulk to his frame. He went from a 280-pound tight end to a 299-pound tackle who has studied a lot of film of the Cleveland Browns’ six-time Pro Bowl left tackle
“I’ve watched Joe Thomas play a lot,” Fragel said. “I enjoy watching him. I think he’s phenomenal in pass protection, so that’s something I try to mold my pass protection game off of. I like watching him.”