NFL advice helping 2011 draft talent

The pre-draft process can be the most stressful three months in the entire career of an NFL prospect. Being closely examined, and in some cases scrutinized, by 32 NFL teams through postseason all-star games, impromptu interviews, the NFL combine and pro days, a good number of players can find the whole exercise a bit nerve racking. That's why many lean on those that went before them for guidance and advice.

For those players at bigger college programs the avenue for seeking counsel is wide and far reaching. Perhaps no one else in this year's draft class has better resources to turn to than Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray.

Forecast by most draft analysts as a second or  third-round pick, Murray knows he has to impress at the NFL combine while also allaying league talent evaluators of concerns about his durability. Fortunately he has three of the top five draft choices from the 2010 class to lean on.

"I've talked to Sam (Bradford), Trent (Williams) and Gerald (McCoy). They all told me the same thing, go to Indy and be yourself and have fun, but the number one goal is to compete and this is the biggest job interview that I'll ever have in my life. It all comes down to performing well and going hard. That's what it comes down to."

Bradford, McCoy and Williams were all teammates of Murray's. Murray has spoken with Bradford for advice on how to handle the questions about durability knowing the questions never stopped for the former Sooners quarterback about his injured throwing shoulder. McCoy and Williams offered their experiences for guidance as well.

And when Murray needs some advice regarding the running back position specifically he'll turn to the player he helped to replace at Oklahoma, Adrian Peterson.

"He's busy so we don't talk too much," said Murray. "We text every now and then, but I know if I need an answer he'll have one for me."

The situation is much the same for Pitt offensive tackle Jason Pinkston. Forecast as a right tackle at the next level, Pinkston seeks out advice from a former college teammate that's been through everything he will soon experience.

"I always talk to my best friend Jeff Otah who plays for the Carolina Panthers," Pinkston said. "He played at Pitt with me and he gives me a heads up and what to do and what I need to work on. Things like that."

Pinkston feels he can also solicit advice and help from his offensive line coach at Pitt, who spent 18 years coaching the offensive line in the NFL.

"I was with Tony Wise at Pittsburgh he was an offensive line coach that came from the NFL," said Pinkston. "I think it does help. He taught me a lot of things to pick up on when they're trying to run a blitz or they're giving away a stunt or something. I give him and coach (Dave) Wannstedt a lot of credit for that."

For Cal's Cameron Jordan the influence is also two-fold. He has a former teammate that can tell him what being projected as a first-round pick entails, and he has a father that can protect him from some of the potential pitfalls NFL prospects can encounter.

Jordan's teammate at Cal in 2009, Tyson Alualu was a top 10 pick in the 2010 draft taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"That was my leader," said Jordan. "Tyson texts me and I texted him pretty much throughout the season just telling me to keep my head up and different ways of leading the team."

Jordan, who had a stellar week at the Senior Bowl in late January credited Alualu with some quality advice.

"He said a couple of words to me and that's just to go as hard as I can and chase after the ball," said Jordan. "Pretty much what our defensive line coach have instilled in us at Cal."

The talented defensive lineman also has his father as an NFL influence. Former NFL tight end Steve Jordan has provided a guiding hand through the pre-draft process.

"My dad loves this process," Jordan said. "Right now we've done a great job. He gave me a lot of input on how to deal with a whole bunch of situations already. My dad has pretty much been the best mentor I've had from the offseason to now."

Even this year's possible number one pick has a former top 10 selection to contact should he need a suggestion or a positive word.

Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers could be the first player off the board come April 28th, but he's got a former teammate in the league he can tweet and get an answer back in a matter of minutes in C.J. Spiller.

"He's being considered as possibly the number one overall pick so he's going to be busy. I try to give him his space," Spiller said. "But at the same time if he ever needs anything he knows how he can reach me."

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