As a high school player wishing to model himself on one of the best to play his position, Justin Madubuike has watched old images of former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle John Randle.
When Madubuike arrived at college, his coach – probably thinking of a great NFL player whose technique could help – asked the defensive lineman to research the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
At the recent NFL combination in Indianapolis, after all these years of studying his idol’s quick and relentless approach, Madubuike could see all of this greatness come to life.
No presentation was necessary when Randle materialized in front of his wide-eyed disciple as one of the best defensive line prospect mentors for the next NFL draft.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said Madubuike of the unexpected treatment. “To actually see John Randle in person, I was pretty happy.”
While Randle was there to help Madubuike, the protégé could have given an impromptu talk about what made his mentor great.
“Being John Randle,” said Madubuike, “opposing teams always had to know where he was at all times.”
The same could be said for the 6 foot 3 inch 293 pound Madubuike, dubbed by Texas A&M football Twitter account as “Our Monster in the Middle” after recording 11 sacks in its last two college seasons. Some have labeled him a possible surprise choice in the first round, and it is universally expected that he will not fall lower than the second round after giving up his senior season to become pro.
Madubuike looked like a budding Randle with the Aggies, his nastiness making him the bane of talented players and equipment managers after he hijacked two quarterback helmets and removed a ball carrier.
“I’m fast, I’m powerful, I’m strong,” said Madubuike when asked what separated him from his counterparts. “I put pressure on the quarterback by the way I play.”
Joe Burrow of Louisiana State, winner of the Heisman Trophy, could give a testimony on the ways of Hectoring of Madubuike after being chased and pulverized by the defender of Aggie.
“I swallowed it,” said Madubuike.
Randle isn’t the only big NFL grandmother Madubuike is trying to emulate. He said he had contractions and speed like Aaron Donald of the Rams, strength and power to push the pocket like Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs and aggressive instincts like Ndamukong Suh of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Madubuike boasts of his versatility as someone who could occupy any position on the defensive line, although the Dallas native prefers to meet his hometown Cowboys’ need for an indoor defensive lineman .
“I heard,” said Madubuike when he learned of the Cowboys’ hole at this position. “I hope I’m lucky to get there.”