Good offensive tackles are the gold at the end of the rainbow, and in the case of football there is gold at each end. And your team better have good players, wait - make that great players - at the tackle spots. If not, your passing game is down, you can’t run the ball to the outside, interceptions are up, sacks are frequent, and your quarterback is giving cheap gifts to his linemen at Christmas time.
And these players don’t have to be early-round selections. One of the Giants’ greatest offensive line groups was anchored by sixth-rounder Doug Riesenberg. Kareem McKenzie was a third-round pick. Hall of Famer Roosevelt Brown was taken as selection number 321 in the 27th round. Brad Benson and Charlie Harper were both eighth-rounders. Karl Nelson a third-round pick. Could there be a great offensive tackle in the middle rounds this year?
(6-foot-6, 305), LT, Pittsburgh, Projected round: 3-4
Q: You are a pretty lean guy for an offensive tackle. How do you stay that way with your height?
Bisnowaty: I eat right, you have to with my size or else I could be almost 400 pounds real quick. I love to eat, which is good and also bad. So, you have to watch what goes in and at what time of the day.
Q: What are your strengths as an offensive tackle?
Bisnowaty: So, the biggest thing for me is how physical a player I am. Nasty, do whatever I have to do to win. I want to be the best player possible and be the best player at that position is my goal.
Q: Name some of your goals for next season.
Bisnowaty: So going towards that goal of being the best player, I want to contribute as much as I can towards the benefit of the team and win as many games as possible.
Q: Being invited to the Senior Bowl must be important to your career.
Bisnowaty: It’s just another way I can come out here and prove that I am the best at my position. Just to show everybody I am a great run blocker and pass blocker. The whole deal. And the versatility I have for playing more than one position.
Q: Reading up on your skills, they say you have issues with getting out of your stance for the run game. What are your thoughts?
Bisnowaty: My strength is run blocking straight ahead and have no issues in the passing game. But I am athletic enough to find my way out front of any play and be effective. I am a student of the game and will work with whatever weakness I have. All players have weaknesses, which sometimes comes from the program you played in. I learn quickly and want to absorb.
Q: There are a ton of scouts and coaches here this week. Are you able to tune that out and focus on your play?
Bisnowaty: On the first day of practice I didn’t realize that the people were so deep on the other end of the field. But I am here to do a job interview and don’t have focusing issues. I haven’t had pads on for a month so it was time to do something physical and enjoy being out there. Tomorrow the pace will pick up. These coaches from the Bears don’t give you any other choice.
Q: How would you describe your performance to someone who had never seen you play?
Bisnowaty: I get after people. To do whatever I can during a game to make the guy in front of me feel it.
Q: You were a three-year starter at left tackle for Pitt. Is that the position you prefer at the next level?
Bisnowaty: Since high school I have played every position on the line, I just ended up on the left side in college and stayed there. Am I comfortable on the left? Certainly. But the right side is not some foreign land with obstacles I can’t overcome. Just plug me in and watch me develop. Smashing a guy in the mouth and making him want to avoid you all game long is either handed.
Q: Which is superior – your run blocking or your pass blocking?
Bisnowaty: We ran the ball a lot at Pitt, so that is probably where I excel. But I am a great pass protector as well. We just ran quite a bit with that program. I feel really good about my blocking but there is always something that someone can show you to help you improve.
Q: You are a Pittsburgh native. Were the Steelers your favorite team?
Bisnowaty: I like Alan Faneca and Jerome Bettis. And a Pouncey fan. Always been a Steelers fan, though. You have to be.
Q: What is your best scenario for next year?
Bisnowaty: To contribute to a team either on the field or wait my turn. Obviously I will work for a starting position, but realize that if the team already has some great players that I may need to learn from them and wait.
Q: What are you doing to get ready in the meantime?
Bisnowaty: I am working on my masters when I am not working out. Once football is over I would like to get my teacher’s certificate and take a position at a high school and help out some kids. Be a coach, too.
(6-5, 330), RT, Western Michigan, Projected round: 3
Q: What has been the most beneficial this week?
Moton: To be coached by NFL coaches. They run things differently but are always in the teaching mode.
Q: You were raised in Michigan and played college there as well. Would being chosen by the Lions become a dream come true?
Moton: I would be honored, but not a dream come true. Playing in the NFL is that dream and I will go and help whoever takes me. Maybe get after Detroit a little more just to show them what a Michigan boy can do when he comes home.
Q: So you’re a Lions fan?
Moton: I was a Calvin Johnson fan. I will stay a Lions fan if they take me. But if they don’t, whatever team I get put on will be my favorite team. I mean right now my coaches are from the Bears. How wrong would a die-hard Lions fan think about that?
Q: What do you offer an NFL team?
Moton: I think being versatile and playing any position is what should set me apart. Guys get hurt all the time and you have to know how to slide down and take his place whether you played it in college or not. I am also a very hard working guy.
Q: Western Michigan had a lot of success this past season. How much was head coach Tim Lester a mentor to you?
Moton: He influenced me a lot and made me think of life differently and focus on the process of football. There is the day-in and day-out of the football life and being serious and focused on what it takes to succeed. I would say a very positive influence.
Q: Western Michigan threw quite a bit. Is pass blocking your strength?
Moton: Probably only because that was our offense. I am real good at run blocking, but we passed most of the time so that is where I excel. I like both.
Q: You played right tackle your sophomore year before moving to guard for one season before being switched back to tackle. What was the greatest difference in the two positions?
Moton: The defensive ends on the outside are a lot quicker than the tackles that swell up the middle. And with guard you deal with both defensive tackles, the middle linebacker, and blitzing safeties all the time. But with tackle there is a lot more responsibility. If you don’t get your man at guard chances are someone else will pick him up, but with the outside you either get him or he gets your quarterback. The worse thing in the game is seeing your man celebrating because you blew your assignment.
Q: Being at the Senior Bowl must be a plus in your draft evaluation.
Moton: It has. Just being able to compete in front of so many NFL scouts so that they can see first-hand what I can do.
Q: Is it important for you to start next season?
Moton: I want to be on the field when the whistle blows in whatever place they put me. The more time the better. However I can contribute is my goal.
Q: What are some of favorite foods?
Moton: Definitely orange chicken. But don’t let me pass a good cheeseburger. Or steaks. I’m a growing boy.
Barry Shuck is at the Senior Bowl this week gathering interviews and providing live coverage for Giants fans.