Brian Rolle led Ohio State with 76 tackles, was named first-team All-Big Ten and earned the Randy Gradishar award as the team’s best linebacker last season, but he did defensive back drills on top of his expected linebacker work for NFL scouts in Columbus last week.
“That shows that I’m willing to compete, not just do linebacker drills,” he said. “I did DB drills just to show that if they want me to play outside linebacker for two downs and then come in as a nickel back or a strong safety or whatever it may be, then I’m up for it.”
Jermale Hines showed his stuff in linebacker drills despite having been given the Arnie Chonko as the team’s best defensive back last season. He notched 66 tackles, broke up four passes and intercepted another on the way to his own inclusion on the All-Big Ten first team.
“It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day,” the 6-1, 219-pound Hines said of his potential NFL position. “I just want to play football. I came in here as a linebacker and got moved and just embraced it. If I have to go back, it really wouldn’t matter to me.
“Different people want to see different things. There’s no telling where you’ll end up, but I know the guys I played with just want to play football somewhere. Nothing else matters. It was pretty much the same as being a nickel back, just getting to the top of your drop and exploding. Things I’ve done before.”
He came to Ohio State from Cleveland Glenville as a linebacker but moved to safety. He saw his first significant playing time in 2008 as the star, a hybrid linebacker/defensive back used most against spread offenses and on passing downs, and eventually became a starter at safety as well.
After three years as a significant contributor, Hines is happy with what teams will see when they break down his film, whether they are looking to see what he did against the run or the pass.
“A lot of people have me as an in-the-box safety, which if you turn on the film there is no doubt I do a great job of that,” he said. “Some people wanted to see me at the free safety, and I did a pretty good job of that with no major balls caught on him. I was always in the right spot, where I needed to be. Very little missed assignments.”
Hines came away satisfied with his work at both the NFL Scouting Combine in February and last week’s OSU Pro Day.
“I definitely feel like (questions about me) all should be answered,” he said. “People had me projected at probably 4.8 (in the 40-yard dash), but I ran a 4.5 and I had good hips opening up so I just helped myself through the whole process.”
The 5-10, 229-pound Rolle hoped his willingness to do any type of workout the scouts requested tells them how serious he is about making football his profession in the near future.
He intercepted two passes and knocked down four others last season.
“I feel like practicing here at Ohio State, the way our drops are and things like that, it builds into (defensive back drills) a little bit,” he said. “It may be a little different doing it full speed as I just did, but it was easy for me. As an athlete, I pick up on things pretty easily.”