Wrotto has big potential

In terms of transitions, it isn't quite as tough as what Wesley Duke did back in 2005.

Duke, a Meadowcreek grad, made the jump from college basketball straight to the NFL, where he made the Denver Broncos' roster as a tight end. At that point, he hadn't played football since high school - a span of nearly six years because medical redshirts extended his college hoops career.

In comparison to Duke's journey, what Brookwood grad Mansfield Wrotto faces doesn't seem so bad. Still the former Georgia Tech lineman knows he has plenty of work left before he's a finished product in the eyes of NFL coaches.

But those same coaches and scouts love Wrotto's potential, mainly his 6-foot-3, 310-pound frame and his athleticism. That's why they consider him a prospect in April's NFL Draft, even though he played just one college season at offensive line, his projected position in the NFL.

He's still not a first-rounder, but certainly someone who has a real good chance of being taken in the middle rounds. At last month's Senior Bowl, Wrotto had a good week and he's hoping to build on it at the upcoming NFL Combine.

"I felt like I did well (at the Senior Bowl)," said Wrotto, who is training for the NFL Draft at Competitive Edge Sports in Duluth. "Obviously I didn't go down. My stock went up. In interviews, a lot of coaches praised me that I was one of the best interviews they had done. On the field I impressed even though I was at tackle and that's not the position I'll play in the NFL. I'll probably be a guard."

Wrotto also was an offensive tackle at Tech, but only for his senior season. All of his game action for his first three seasons as a Yellow Jacket came at defensive line.

The knock on Wrotto is clear, that he needs work on his fundamentals as an offensive lineman. But physically he matches up well with pro linemen, which in the NFL is a major part of the battle.

A likable guy, Wrotto just needs a chance. The NFL team that drafts him may not get a rookie starter, but it will get a lineman with a tremendous upside.

"I'm very excited to have a chance (at the NFL), especially with my situation moving from three years of defensive line to offensive line for one year," Wrotto said. "I'm just trying to stay humble. I had some scouts at the Senior Bowl and some coaches saying good things about me, but I'm just trying to stay humble."

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.