Good interview with Mark Herzlich from NFL Draftcountdown's Scott Wright. What are your opinions of Herzlich as an NFL player. A few years ago before he had cancer I thought he was one of the best linebackers in the country. I haven't seen him play this year but if he does well in the off season combines/tests I think he could go late first or early 2nd round. Just alot of questions if he can get back to his playing level of a few years ago. Then ago offenses may have figured out how to contain him more. He seems to have alot of upside and unheralded by the draft experts. Teddy Bruschi was unheralded coming out of Arizona and I wonder if Herlich could be a gem in the right system? Hmm, former team mate of Ryan who turned out well.
Mark Herzlich Interview
December 13, 2010
If things had gone a little differently Boston College LB Mark Herzlich would already be playing in the NFL and might have been a Top 10 overall pick. Unfortunately a health issue postponed Herzlich's ascension to the next level but he is now back on track and primed to become an early round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. If Herzlich can regain the form he showed as a junior in 2008 he has both the physical tools and intangibles to develop into an impact linebacker in the pros. With his college career coming to a close, Herzlich was kind enough to take a bit of time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions posed by Draft Countdown's Scott Wright.
Scott Wright: What is your accurate height, weight and forty time?
Mark Herzlich: 6'4" 240 tested freshman year at 4.62
Scott Wright: In 2008 you were named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Did you consider entering the 2009 NFL Draft and if so what kind of feedback did you receive from the NFL’s Underclassmen Advisory Panel?
Mark Herzlich: I received a second round grade. I did consider the option but wanted to finish my schooling and didn't feel that I was ready mentally to leave yet.
Scott Wright: You missed the 2009 season while battling Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Where are you health-wise right now and what is the long-term prognosis, specifically in terms of how it could affect your NFL career?
Mark Herzlich: The cancer is completely gone from my body, after just completing my year and a half check-up the doctors once again confirmed this fact. In my opinion and that of my doctors the cancer will not affect my NFL-Career. There is a 3% recurrence rate, which becomes less and less as time passes from diagnosis.
Scott Wright: After such a serious illness and a year away from the game there has obviously been some rust to shake off. How close are you to rounding back into form, in comparison to where you were at the end of the 2008 season?
Mark Herzlich: I feel that I am close. I felt like my old self again in the last few games of the season and had the burst back as well as my instincts. I will have to work very hard during the time between now and the Senior Bowl and the Combine to make sure my strength is up to par and my football mentality stays in place.
Scott Wright: How has your battle with cancer made you a better football player?
Mark Herzlich: It has made me more determined. Things naturally came easy to me before as a player. Now I have to work harder. I have more doubters now, which builds up my drive even more.
Scott Wright: How would you describe your personality? Is it different on the field?
Mark Herzlich: I am very personable off of the field, I am a team type guy and like to be around the guys. I would rather watch a movie at home than go to a party and am focused on my goals. On the field I am demanding of myself and those playing with me. I am the first to compliment someone for doing well, but will also give tips if I feel I can add to what the coaches are trying to get across to the player.
Scott Wright: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of playing football?
Mark Herzlich: My favorite part of playing football is the excitement and power you feel when you are able to take over a game. There have been many cases in which I feel as though I have been a force on the field physically and psychology. The harder you hit and the faster you make plays, the more the offense has to be aware of you and then you have them where you want them.
Scott Wright: What would you say is your greatest strength as a football player? What area do you need to work on?
Mark Herzlich: My greatest strength is not only my toughness but my skill set. I have natural speed, agility, smarts and great hands. I need to get my full strength back in order to become dominant once again. I also pride myself in my preparation, whether it be film study, nutrition or training. I still think I can improve on all of these areas though. As with anything in life, the things you think you are good at, someone is always better. I hope to find the people that are better than me over the next few months and learn from them how to improve myself as a player and increase my stock.
Scott Wright: What current NFL linebacker do you most admire and who do you think you compare favorably to?
Mark Herzlich: I admire Ray Lewis and London Fletcher the most right now. These two guys are true testaments to what taking care of your body can do to help you in the league. They also have had doubters of their own say, you’re too small, or you can't overcome the adversity, but these guys have both done so and will forever leave their mark on the game. They play with ferocity and determination and have been doing so for 10+ years. I think I play a lot like Brian Urlacher. He is a big bodied guy who plays well against the run and can beat up receivers and tight ends in the pass game.
Scott Wright: What is your greatest football moment to date?
Mark Herzlich: Senior Day at Boston College. It was the first time I really felt that I was back to my old self playing. It was also a very emotional time when the band and students all stayed 2 hrs after the game to cheer on the seniors.
Scott Wright: Who is the best opposing player you have faced during your career?
Mark Herzlich: I think C.J. Spiller had unbelievable skills and was very tough to tackle.
Scott Wright: Is there one younger player at Boston College that you see developing into a star, either at the college or pro level?
Mark Herzlich: Luke Kuechly (Soph LB) is going to be a great player at both levels.
Scott Wright: Who was your favorite team growing up? Did you have a favorite player?
Mark Herzlich: I always liked the Eagles growing up because I grew up in Philly. I loved watching McNabb play there for so many years.
Scott Wright: When did you realize that you had a future in football beyond college?
Mark Herzlich: Not until the end of my junior season when All-American teams came out and draft boards.
Scott Wright: What current pro are you looking forward to going up against in the NFL?
Mark Herzlich: I think it will be fun to play against all the guys that I played in college.
Scott Wright: When you get your first NFL paycheck what is the first thing you will buy?
Mark Herzlich: Medical Insurance.
Scott Wright: What do you plan to do once your playing career is over?
Mark Herzlich: I would like to get into sports broadcasting.
Scott Wright: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Mark Herzlich: I think I probably still have some Spice Girls on there from growing up.
Scott Wright: Do you intend to play in any all-star games after the season?
Mark Herzlich: I will play in the Senior Bowl.
Scott Wright: It’s obviously still early but do you have any goals in mind when it comes to the NFL Draft (i.e. Round 1, Top 3 Rounds, etc.)?
Mark Herzlich: I want to go as high as I possibly can, but most importantly I want a shot to prove myself at the next level.
Scott Wright: I really appreciate the time. Take care and best of luck.
Scott Wright is the founder and President of Draft Countdown.com. An authority in the field, he has been scouting players and evaluating the NFL Draft since 1993 and has been featured as a football expert by media outlets all across the country.
Sometimes running the Mularkey offense makes me feel like I'm in a prison.