Brian O'Neill Says It Means Nothing to Be Mocked to Ravens by Mel Kiper


If you're a potential first-round NFL draft pick and you don't pay attention to Mel Kiper's mock drafts, you might be living under a rock.

Thus, Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O'Neill saw that he was pegged to the Ravens at No. 16 in Kiper’s first edition, released two weeks ago.

O'Neill's reaction?

"It didn't really mean anything," O'Neill said. "I know Mel and Todd McShay and the other guys do a really good job, so I appreciate the love, but it doesn't mean anything. What means something is playing well [at the Senior Bowl]."

Kiper projected O'Neill to be the second offensive tackle taken in this year's draft, which has a lot of strength at the top.

Kiper has only Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey (No. 11 to Miami Dolphins) ahead of O'Neill. There are other  draftniks who have Texas left tackle Connor Williams, Oklahoma's Orlando Brown or UCLA's Kolton Miller getting selected earlier.

The Ravens have veteran Austin Howard under contract for next year, but there's media speculation that Baltimore could look to infuse youth into the position.

Being from Wilmington, DE., O'Neill grew up in Eagles territory and went to college in Steelers country, but being just a couple hours away from Baltimore, he's quite familiar with the Ravens.

"I have a lot of respect for the organization," O'Neill said. "Close to home. But it's so far off at this point to even think about those details. I've got to think about watching film and getting better."

That's the kind of attitude the Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh like to hear.

O'Neill has had to work his way into being among the top tackle prospects in this year's class. He has great physical tools, standing in at over 6-foot-6, 298 pounds with 34 1/8-inch arms. But he converted from tight end to tackle after a redshirt freshman year.

He switched to give the Panthers more depth, but ended up starting the final 12 games of his first season on the field. He started all 13 games at right tackle as a redshirt sophomore, then all 12 games at left tackle as a redshirt junior.

His tight end background gives him better feet and more nimble movement than the average offensive tackle. Pittsburgh liked his athleticism so much that they handed the ball off to him three times on trick plays. He ran for two touchdowns and 39 yards.

"It wasn't too bad," O'Neill said of the transition. "I had a really good team in place that told me what to do and all I had to do was do it. I had to work through it and follow the plan."

O'Neill was one of the standouts on the offensive line during Senior Bowl practices. He had to take on another first-round prospect in Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport often in one-on-one drills, and mostly came out the victor (though Davenport did get a sack in Saturday's game).

When the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs asked a national scout for the best player in Senior Bowl practices, the scout named Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup and O'Neill.

But even his strong practices weren't good enough for O'Neill.

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