INDIANAPOLIS — Most college students show up to job interviews in a suit.
Jack Mewhort came to his wearing only compression shorts.
The meat market was officially open, and for the next four sapping but exhilarating days of the NFL scouting combine, the former Ohio State left tackle and St. John’s Jesuit grad sought to prove he was among the most pro-ready cuts.
Like the rest of the 335 top prospects at Lucas Oil Stadium, Mewhort was an investment to be commodified. He was graded on the speed of his feet and how he can think on them — players have 12 minutes to complete the 50-question math, logic, and English test known as the Wonderlic. He was ogled shirtless by note-taking scouts, prodded by doctors, and grilled by coaches and executives.
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In a blitz of 15-minute interviews with about 30 teams, he was asked everything from how he would feel about moving to guard to how many uses there are for a brick.
Among his answers: modern art, masonry, and ... skull smashing.
Hey, he’s an offensive lineman, not a banker.
"I think the team was pretty surprised," he said, smiling.
"I think a lot of guys give the same answers."
Betraying his dry sense of humor, Mewhort hoped the answer made him stand out, the same way he tried to sell himself all week.
By the end, after three days of 4 a.m.-11 p.m. activity and a final session of workouts Saturday, he hoped he had left an impression on the nearly 2,000 NFL personnel — about 60 from each team — in town.
"I think it went really well," Mewhort said outside the downtown Crowne Plaza hotel, where he signed autographs for fans. "I got to meet with a lot of different organizations and show them who I am as a person, who I am off the field. and today I got out there and worked out with a lot of different O-line coaches, and I think that went really well. Obviously, I don't think I blew anyone away, but I came here and did what I needed to do and competed hard."
Though Mewhort would have preferred a faster time in the 40-yard dash — he was officially timed at 5.37 seconds — his performances on the bench press (28 repetitions of 225 pounds) and in the agility drills surpassed the 10-year combine average by offensive tackles. He also believes many of his biggest strengths can’t fully be gauged in an event he affectionately labeled a "cattle call" and his agent, Mike McCartney of Priority Sports, calls the "Underwear Olympics."
"I'm not a real flashy player," said the 6-foot-6, 309-pound Mewhort, a three-year starter at OSU. "I'm not extra fast, I'm not one of those guys that's going to throw up 40 reps on the bench. I think I'm just consistent all the way around."
Mewhort is projected as a second- or third-round draft selection in May.