Football

Toledo center Greg Mancz’s versatility may help him connect with NFL teams

It’s safe to say there probably weren’t many participants in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine who have a LinkedIn page; Toledo center Greg Mancz, however, is the rare exception.

Not that it was his idea.

“Originally, at my internship my redshirt freshman year, they told me, ‘You’re a business student. Why wouldn’t you have one?’” said Mancz, a finance major who interned at Dave White Chevrolet in Toledo. “And that next fall I had Business Development 2000, and it was a requirement for extra credit.

“You’re a student athlete, you’re smart enough to take extra credit you can get because you never know when you’re going to miss class because of football. I made one and I’ve tried to sprout my network.”

You’d have to forgive Mancz, however, if his primary focus for the last several months has been football.

The 6-foot-4, 301-pounder was a four-year starter and team captain for the Rockets, a rock on the offensive line who played in 50 career games and is widely projected by many to be a late-round pick.

A shoulder injury he suffered during the second day of practices for the East-West Shrine Game in January, however, complicates matters.

“I was obviously upset,” Mancz said. “I tried to keep going because you’re at the Shrine game, you have to look good. But it got to the pointer where I could damage my future.”

Because of the injury — a labrum tear — Mancz did not work out at the combine or his pro day, which was obviously disappointing for a player whose athleticism for the position was obvious on film, in addition to his need to gain strength.

“It’s unfortunate, but in the long run, I’d rather be able to play football than run and jump,” Mancz said. “Obviously, it’s unfortunate that I can’t help myself in that regard, but in the long run, as long as I can play football, that’s all that really matters.”

Mancz, however, said he expects to be full go by training camp and hopes teams don’t hold it against him.

“That’s nothing I can really control,” Mancz said. “I just can be the best person I can and hopefully my film will speak for itself.”

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks it does; he likes Mancz — who also played tackle and guard in his career — as a mid-to-late round pick due to his versatility.

“I don’t know if he can start in the NFL,” Kiper said, “but I think he can be a heck of swingman that you can utilize in various roles. He can be your sixth guy because he can wear a lot of hats. You develop him, maybe he is a guy who can be a hole filler (down the road).”

Kiper did not seem to be concerned by Mancz’s injury concerns.

“He’s going to be a late-round pick, so when you’re talking fifth, sixth, seventh round, you work through all that and there are reasons why players drop,” Mancz said. “He’s a backup type, but the ability he’s shown to play multiple positions, I think, adds to his value.”

Mancz sure hopes so, because he’d like to put off utilizing his finance degree — and his LinkedIn page — as long as possible.

“I don’t use it as well as some people,” Mancz said of his LinkedIn profile. “But I hope (I don’t) have to use it for a while.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TerezPaylor.

Inside the 2015 NFL Draft: centers

From now until the draft begins on April 30, The Star will take a look at each position.

▪ What the Chiefs look for: A lot of centers have remained in the league by being smart and tough; those two characteristics can get you through. Ideally, however, your center is going to have the anchor strength to handle big nose tackles and the athleticism to get to the second level and be a factor in the screen game. Centers make the line calls, so they obvious have to have football intelligence.

▪ Chiefs’ needs: With Rodney Hudson’s decision to leave for the Raiders in free agency, third-year center Eric Kush is the only center on the roster. One way or another, that won’t be the case for long. Kush has good athleticism but needs to improve his play strength, so if the Chiefs don’t draft a center, there’s a chance he’ll pan out. But it wouldn’t hurt to get him some young competition with one of their ten draft picks.

▪ Sleeper: Andy Gallik of Boston College is smart, tough and strong. And while his combine numbers indicate a limited athlete, he’s got decent movement skills on tape and flashes nastiness. He’s worth a mid-round pick as a plug-and-play type who should be able to challenge for playing time right away.

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