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February 11, 2007

Beekman diary: NFL Combine prep

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Boston College offensive guard Josh Beekman just finished a senior season in which he earned second-team All-America honors from Rivals.com. He has agreed to write a diary for Rivals.com as he gets ready for the draft.

In this entry, Beekman discusses his preparations for the NFL Scouting Combine that will take place Feb. 21-27 at Indianapolis. Beekman said that knowing all the drills involved in the Combine has helped him prepare.

"I'm in Jacksonville now plugging along and getting more Combine preparation. It's like you know what the test is and basically have the ability to get the answers for the test. It's just getting ready for the events and all the other things. You have to get yourself mentally prepared and physically prepared. You're going to have more questions from teams along with the running, lifting and jumping. You just want to get your body prepared."

The drills at the Combine include the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, the bench press, the broad jump, the 20-yard shuttle and a three-cone drill that tests cutting ability. There also are position-specific jumps. As an offensive lineman, Beekman believes teams will pay closest attention to the drill in which he attempts to bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible.

"Obviously the big test is the 225 rep test. All the tests you're going to do in the Combine display your worth for the organization that needs you. You want to have your best showing. It's another job interview, just like the Senior Bowl two weeks ago.

"The 225 rep is the most important test for me. Usually guys think it's the 40-yard dash, but linemen aren't really going to be running 40 yards on a football field unless it's a screen. I want to pride myself on being able to move, but I also want to rep out on the bench. I think the rep test doesn't show overall strength, but it's the measure they use and you have to be ready for it. That's the test you've got to be ready for. It's just like standardized testing. It doesn't necessarily show how smart somebody is - there are different ways to measure intelligence. There also are different ways to measure strength. This is the one they use, and you've got to be ready for it."

NFL teams want to measure a prospect's cognitive ability as well as his physical ability. That's why Beekman also must take the Wonderlic, a 50-question test with a 12-minute time limit.

"I think everything you do is going to work out how it's supposed to. When it comes time for the Wonderlic, I think I'll do well. I think I have a well-rounded education (he owns a bachelor's degree in history and black studies), but anything can happen. I think with God's blessing, I'll do fine. You can study for it, but it's also about what you've done in life and how you've gathered information. Different people learn different things throughout their lives. Me being from New York, I've learned something totally different from a guy in Texas about how life is. It's a test that the NFL issues, and you just have to put your best foot forward."

Now that he's working out in Jacksonville and far from his college campus, Beekman has begun to adjust to a new chapter in his life in which he doesn't have coaches monitoring his progress.

"You have to stick to your core regimen and who you are as a player and what makes you successful. For a lot of college kids, this is new territory. You're not on a strict regimen where you need to be in school at a certain time. You don't have a strength coach watching over you. It's all about your accountability and persistence. If you stay to those core values, I think you'll be fine."

Beekman is working out alongside former Florida defensive linemen Joe Cohen and Marcus Thomas.

"Marcus Thomas, he's a true beast. I'm just working hard, but it seems his natural ability is going to show right off the bat. Cohen's another defensive tackle. He's a kid who's 300 pounds, and they're both running 4.7 40s. That blows my mind, being a 300-pounder myself. These guys are just athletes. I have to plug along and do my thing as a lineman. With these guys, it's amazing how much they can do just off sheer natural God-given ability.

Beekman said he's trying not to pay attention to his position in various mock drafts. He also doesn't necessarily have a preference about which team takes him. Frank Coyle of drafinsiders.com, Rivals.com's NFL Draft partner, has Beekman listed as the No. 95 overall prospect .

"I don't really look at mock drafts. What happens on draft day is going to happen. God willing, I'll be able to go somewhere high and help out an organization to the best of my abilities. If you're (projected to go) low, you can be happy and say you're going to work to get better than that. If you're (projected to go) high, you can get complacent. That's something I never want to do. You don't want to be complacent and rest on your laurels. People mention things here and there (about where he could get drafted), but I just keep plugging along and doing everything that got me to this point.

"Being from New York, I never really had a favorite team. Everybody was for the Jets, the Giants or Buffalo. And there were some people like my best friend, who grew up rooting for the Cowboys. I hear jokes about how this team needs this or how you can help this team.

"Being in this game, I appreciate football and appreciate good football and how teams strive to become better and to work hard as a unit. A team that's willing to push itself to help everybody become better than what they are, that's the team I want to play for. I just want to play on a team that wants to play good football and strives to go to the Super Bowl."

More NFL Draft Diaries: Georgia's Danny Ware | Florida's Marcus Thomas | Wisconsin's Joe Thomas

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