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Media Roundup: Highlights from LB Interviews

Social media was abuzz Saturday, chirping about a pair of linebackers and the numbers 19 and 20.

Tremaine Edmunds from Virginia Tech is only 19 years old, and analysts were impressed with his physical measurements.

Edmunds said he believes he will be able to play "wherever" a team wants to place him.

Tremaine Edmunds, just 19 years old, can play inside or outside at linebacker. "Wherever they want to put me, I feel like I can make plays." pic.twitter.com/Xpv4Tk6ovW — Chris Emma (@CEmma670) March 3, 2018

Edmunds, who was listed before the combine as the top linebacker (inside or outside) by NFL Media's Mike Mayock, and as the top outside linebacker by Bucky Brooks, will join other linebackers on the field on Sunday to participate in timing, testing and positional drills.

In addition to making the media rounds, they hit the weight room on Saturday, where Shaquem Griffin impressed with 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Griffin, who had his left hand amputated as a child, used a prosthetic.

Blessed #AgainstAllOdds pic.twitter.com/vRypVjyX5e — shaquemgriffin (@Shaquemgriffin) March 3, 2018

Here are highlights from media interviews with a few other top linebacker prospects:

Roquan Smith, Georgia

Pre-combine position rankings: Mayock 2, Brooks 1

Smith was asked about his ability to blitz and credited a few things, including accurately guessing on snap counts.

"When you are preparing for teams you know they have tendencies on what type of snap count they like. In different situations, whether it's home or away, a rowdy environment," Smith said. "So you look at that. So going into the game you can anticipate that a little bit. But sometimes teams change it up so you have to be ready for that as well. It's just all about in-game situations and changing as well."

He also was asked about hustling to chase opponents when the play is away from him.

"My relentless pursuit. I believe in that. I was always taught, if you start something, finish," Smith said. "And take advantage of every opportunity. And tomorrow is not promised. If it's my last play that I ever play, how do I want to go out? So I feel like every play, I treat like it's my last play. And I bust my tail like I don't have a next play."

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Pre-combine position rankings: Mayock 3, Brooks 4 (among inside linebackers)

On playing 8-man football throughout high school in Idaho: "You've gotta have a special talent to play eight-man football. You've gotta be a well-rounded player. I mean, you're playing both sides of the ball. Not that 11-man players don't play both sides of the ball, but I think it definitely helps with the speed of the game and being able to open-field tackle. Those are important aspects of the game, and you've gotta be able to do everything. You gotta have dynamic players that can play everywhere."

On walking-on at Boise State: "I was in class one day, and it was my junior year, spring, and I got a call to the office one day and I went down the hall and my defensive coordinator this year, Andy Avalos, was standing out in the hall by the office with all of his Boise stuff on. I always wanted to play there, so I was like, 'What's this guy doing here?'

"I didn't think there was any way possible. But I walked down the hall, talked with him and he invited me to the summer camp. So I went to the summer camp going into my senior year of high school, got on film, did some drills for him, ran through linebackers, tight ends and quarterbacks at the camp, played my senior year of high school football, played in the state championship on Boise State's field, so that was pretty neat getting to play there for the first time, then I got offered a preferred walk-on position at linebacker, so there was no way I was turning that down."

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Pre-combine position rankings: Mayock 4, Brooks 2 (among inside linebackers)

On moving from outside linebacker to inside linebacker as a junior: "Coach [Nick] Saban, he really wanted to add more depth to the inside linebacker position. Originally I was an outside linebacker, so I made the move my junior year in the spring, and ever since then, I've been playing inside linebacker. Coach Saban put a lot of time in me, getting some extra film work in. As a matter of fact, I was getting in film after each practice to kind of speed up the learning curve so I could play in the fall. Once I started doing that, I just kept doing the same thing heading into my senior year."

Uchenna Nwosu, Southern Cal

Pre-combine position rankings: Mayock 5, Brooks 3 (among outside linebackers)

On how he might surprise NFL staffs: "I know a big question was, 'Can [you] cover?' So, when I show how much I can move and how much I can change direction, they're going to be surprised with that and how good I am in space."

Malik Jefferson, Texas

Pre-combine position rankings: not ranked by Mayock, Brooks 4 (among outside linebackers)

Jefferson was asked very directly, "Is this Combine overwhelming and a bit like a meat market?"

"I think this is pretty cool, honestly," Jefferson said. "The meat market quote is kind of realistic, but at the same time, you got to appreciate where you're at. Not a lot of guys get to do this – be in front of a crowd, be on national TV and watch people work out. My thing is just soaking the moment, realize the blessings I've received because I could have [not] been here, I could have been doing something else, a [different] style of life."

Jefferson tied for second in the bench press with Indiana's Tegray Scales (27 reps). They were one behind Arizona State's Christian Sam.

"I got mad because I'm not used to the crowd. We workout in quiet areas," Jefferson said. "Nobody told me it was going to be a crowd. When they started cheering for me, I was still in my rhythm, and it threw me off, I took a breath and I didn't need to take a breath at that moment. I lost a lot of momentum there."

Could he have gotten 30?

"Oh, I could have got 30, easily," Jefferson said. "I messed that up."

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