Kentucky's Warford nervous, excited as NFL Draft approaches

jsmith3@herald-leader.comApril 23, 2013 

  • NFL Draft

    Thursday: First round (8 p.m.)

    Friday: Second and third rounds (6:30 p.m.)

    Saturday: Fourth through seventh rounds (Noon)

    TV: ESPN and NFL Network

Larry Warford will do anything these days to clear his head.

Less than a handful of days until the Kentucky offensive lineman probably is taken in the NFL Draft, he tries to think about anything but that.

"I play bass guitar, fish, play video games, work out, just anything to get my mind off of it," Warford said on Tuesday, two days before the first round of the draft. "I go driving for no reason. That's really it, just lay around and try to relax."

But the former Madison Central star admits that it's futile.

Even though he knows he can't do anything to control where he is picked in the draft — he's hearing most mock NFL Drafts are projecting him to go somewhere between the second and fourth rounds — he still thinks about it constantly.

"I just get too nervous," Warford continued. "I just want to find out. I don't know. I could be on the other side of the coast. So just trying to figure out who really wants me. I'm nervous."

So nervous in fact that he might just play video games through the first few rounds to avoid watching them. The first round is Thursday night with rounds two and three on Friday night.

"My dad wants me to come down and have a party with the family and all that," Warford said. "I kind of don't want to do anything for it. ... I'm just going to be nervous the whole time."

Warford, who has lost weight and changed his "body composition" since last season, probably will be the first Kentucky offensive lineman drafted since 1993.

"I just want to represent my university," he said when asked about that prospect. "It's a great place. I've had so much fun and I've gotten a lot out of it. Just to represent UK in the draft means everything to me."

Without discussing specific teams, Warford said he has talked to just about all of them, done private workouts for four of them and visited a few as well.

"I just have to make one of them like me," he said smiling. "I'm excited that a few are liking me."

The three-time All-American, who started 37 straight games for UK, credited former UK offensive line coach Mike Summers with helping him get noticed by these NFL teams in the first place.

It was Summers who pulled Warford aside before his senior season and encouraged the right guard to diversify and start taking snaps at center, which he did when starter Matt Smith missed spring practices doing his student teaching.

With just a handful of offensive linemen on an NFL roster, Summers knew that NFL teams would want a player with some versatility. He was right.

"It really helped me out a bunch," said Warford, who was seen taking snaps on Kentucky's Pro Day for the New York Giants.

Going through the process of interviewing and working out for NFL teams has been busier than Warford initially expected, he said.

"I thought it would be a lot more free than being at UK because I've got class, then practice," he said. "It's actually been pretty time-consuming, but it's been a lot of fun. I've been running around the States, working out for teams."

But now that the hours are winding down and he's about to start his professional career, Warford wants to think about anything but that.


NFL Draft

Thursday: First round (8 p.m.)

Friday: Second and third rounds (6:30 p.m.)

Saturday: Fourth through seventh rounds (Noon)

TV: ESPN and NFL Network

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241 Twitter: @jenheraldleader Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com

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