Ohio State's Pat Elflein wants NFL teams to know, 'whatever the need is, I can do it'


INDIANAPOLIS —**Pat Elflein's senior season at Ohio State began with playing a new position. It ended with him being named this year's Rimington Trophy winner, given annually to the nation's best center.

Now, Elflein is out to show teams here at the NFL's annual scouting combine that he can play anywhere on the interior offensive line, whether it's center, left or right guard.

"I feel like that's a good marketing tool for me," he said Thursday, "and so I just tell them whatever the need is, I can do it and do it at a high level."

Elflein, a three-year starter at Ohio State, is considered one of the best offensive linemen in this year's class and a second- to third-round draft pick.

Before that, though, he had to master the finer points of playing center after two seasons as a starter at guard.

"The most challenging would definitely be the mental aspect. You have to be the confident leader on that line when you're at center," he said. "Not just knowing the offense yourself or knowing the defense you're going against, you have to portray your confidence throughout the line to make everyone else feel confident."

It came naturally as Elflein left his mark in Columbus as a member of the 2015 national championship team and one of the winningest classes in program history.

In that span, he opened holes for now Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott and sparred with Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, who were first-round picks last April.

"That's what you get when you go to Ohio State," Elflein said, "and I feel like that's why we were able to get pretty good at times because of the talent you go against in practice … Everyone is an NFL-caliber player so you go against that talent every day and I think that's why we have a good track record of guys transitioning well to the NFL playing at a high level."

Elflein, once a lightly-regarded three-star recruit from Pickerington, Ohio, hopes he'll be the next Buckeye to make an impact on Sundays.

"I never thought that barely making it to Ohio State that I would be on this podium at the combine and I still reflect on it every chance I can," he said, chuckling.

"Thanks for bringing it up again 'cause it's put a big smile on my face. It's a dream come true. I'm living my dream every day. And to have the career that I had at Ohio State really not knowing what I was going into, just knowing that I wanted to be a Buckeye, I don't think you could write a better story."

And the combine is begins a new chapter.

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