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Early in the day on Saturday -- the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft, ESPN analyst Todd McShay said that former California center Brian Schwenke was the “nastiest, toughest,” offensive linemen he’d seen this season.
“I think he’s absolutely correct,” Schwenke said with a laugh, after being the second former Bear taken in the Draft, going with the10th pick of the fourth round (107th overall) to the Tennessee Titans. “That’s something that I take pride in, in the way I play. I enjoy playing nasty, and I think it makes the game of football fun, and that’s how it’s supposed to be played.”
Schwenke played in 48 of a possible 50 games over the course of his four-year career in Berkeley, starting 36 of 37 games in his final three seasons. His 36 starts came at three different positions, with 16 at left guard, 12 at center and eight at right guard. Schwenke’s versatility helped him, he said, when the Titans were making their pick.
“I knew I was going to be the second center, but they also had me graded at guard in the NFL, and Chance Wormack was the best guard, so probably more for center, but the ability to play the guards probably helped me a lot,” Schwenke said.
The Titans told Schwenke that he will have a good shot at the starting center job when he hits camp, competing with Georgia product Fernando Velasco, 10-year veteran Eugene Amano out of Southeast Missouri State and nine-year veteran Chris Spencer out of Ole Miss.
“I was talking with them out there, and they definitely need a center next year, and they said that when they hand the playbook to me, there’s a lot of offense to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Schwenke said. “They compete at center, and they told me that I have a chance to compete and win that starting job ... I’ll be surrounded by two of the best guards in the nation in Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack ... I could possibly be the starting center. It’s there for me to earn.”
Schwenke played as a true freshman for the Bears in 2009, and completed his degree in three and a half years
“My time at Cal, I’ve grown up a lot since I started going to Cal. I feel like I’ve changed, completely, as a person,” Schwenke said. “I was pretty young, and I wasn’t always the most organized when I got there, being an athlete, having to do schoolwork and football at the same time. But now, I’m never late to anything. Cal taught me everything I know, and made me who I am today, and I couldn’t be more blessed to have gone there and gotten my degree there in three and a half years ... It could have gone better at the end, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I wouldn’t change it.”
Before the draft, Schwenke took a trip to visit the Titans, but did not know they were going to take him until he got the call on Saturday morning.
“They called me and said they were going to take me, and that’s when I knew,” Schwenke said. “I didn’t really know, exactly, when I was going to get picked. There were so many different thoughts, but I had to wait until the fifth round after the first center was taken in the first round. You never know when it comes to draft day. It’s been kind of crazy, but I’m happy.”