Green Bay Packers 2017 Draft: Interview with Kentucky center Jon Toth

Oct 3, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats offensive guard Nick Haynes (68) and center Jon Toth (72) look on during the game against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Eastern Kentucky 34-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats offensive guard Nick Haynes (68) and center Jon Toth (72) look on during the game against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Eastern Kentucky 34-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Q: Jon, before we talk about what you’ve been up to in the offseason, can you touch on your senior year in Lexington with the University of Kentucky. Your team went 7-5. What type of impact did offensive coordinator Eddie Gran have in the team’s improvement in 2016?

A: Yeah, I mean Eddie…coach Gran…came in with a lot of enthusiasm and he brought that to the facility every day and every practice during the season and in fall camp. But [even] before that, he was very enthusiastic. We laid out some team goals and some standards that we had before the season started and he did a good job of holding us to those standards throughout the season.

And just from a coordinator’s standpoint, he’s top-notch and he fine-tuned the plays every week. He kind of goes about his coordinator’s duties every week where you trim down the list of plays that allows you to be effective that week. He’s amazing at doing that and working with the players and the coaching staff.

Q: How has your offseason gone so far in terms of your prep work for the combine and your recent pro day? What was the goal once you played your last game versus Georgia Tech?

A: My goal was just to attend the workouts every day and [practicing] every drill that we were going to do and improve in all of those. To get my technique down and get my numbers up or get good at zones, you could say. Really, just attack the workouts every day, go to the combine and then it was a short turnaround to the pro day. So, there wasn’t a ton of time to work on much, but I still just keep on working hard. That was my goal to work hard every day and improve in all of the drills.

Q: Were there any specific goals or benchmarks as far as gaining more agility, strength or speed?

A: Yeah, all those things. Getting stronger, getting faster and, just from a football standpoint, it was just to develop further as a football player technique-wise and footwork-wise.

Q: It’s been reported that you moved around pretty well during your pro day. What type of feedback did you get from the NFL team representatives in attendance.

A: Really, the only thing I heard was that I did a good job and to keep up the good work and to get in shape for rookie minicamps. That’s what you hear people say after pro days and such…just to keep working and get into good football shape because it’s coming soon.

Q: One of the things that you’re known for in the scouting community is your remarkable strength both in your hands and your lower body. Would you say power is your greatest asset?

A: I would say it’s one of my assets. I wouldn’t say it’s my greatest asset. I would say my greatest asset is relying on my overall technique just in various situations and just being technically sound.

Q: You’re coming into the draft as a four-year starting center, but you’re also being projected as a guard or right tackle at the next level. Have comfortable would you be at lining up at a different position?

A: I would be comfortable wherever. Obviously, not having played guard or tackle in actual game situations, there would be a bit of an adjustment period, but it can be done.

Q: As you know, most fans take the offensive for granted when it’s doing its job. What is the secret to building a successful offensive line from your perspective?

A: I would say there are three key things. Having great chemistry on the field and off the field with the guys that are going to be playing on the line. Then on and off the field, just having great communication, knowing what’s going on especially when you’re on the field and reacting to things you may not have practiced. But just having great communication can help in various situations and then you got to have great technique as well; not just as an individual, but also working together.

Q: What is the part of your game that enough people are talking about?

A: Well, it’s been pretty well covered most stuff. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve started 48 straight games in the SEC and that I have the ability to get the job done and that I work hard.

Q: What makes the center position unique from all the other positions on offense?

A: Obviously, you have to snap the ball and in most systems in the NFL, you’re declaring a MIKE or declaring who everyone is going to base all their calls off of in pass and run situations. So, that kind of lends itself to having a great knowledge of the playbook as well as knowledge of various scenarios that could come up during a game. I would say those two things make the center position unique.

Q: You have a few teammates with legitimate pro aspirations on your Kentucky team. Can you share your thoughts on guys like “Boom” Williams and JoJo Kemp?

A: Yeah, I think they’re both great athletes and great people. They put in the work throughout their college career to put themselves in this position. I know they worked hard training for their pro day and the combine, and I don’t know for sure, but I think they’re training right now just for when they get a call. So, I think they’re putting themselves in a good position.

Q: On that note, have you spoken to any teams about possible workouts?

A: I haven’t gotten any requests yet from any teams, but I think I will be at the Indianapolis Colts pro day for local [players] for sure because I know most teams do that.

Q: Can you talk about some of the toughest defenders you had to face at the Senior Bowl and that overall experience down in Mobile?

A: The combine actually reminded of the Senior Bowl week with not as much contact since you’re not there to play a game. But just the general structure of the day keeps you pretty busy through the day. In the Senior Bowl, you have meetings with coaches and scouts and then you have testing as well. So, in terms of that, they’re pretty similar. The [standout] guys I went against were Dalvin Tomlinson…he was a tough guy to go against…and Larry Ogunjobi, who was also a good guy to go up against. And then, Montravius Adams. Those were the three guys that did well, at least when I was in there.

Q: Do you get much of chance to watch the Packers and have you had a chance to talk to former Wildcat Randall Cobb about what to expect in the pros?

A: I have not watched them on Sundays, but I have watched them on game film [including] Corey Linsley, the center. But in terms of just watching them live, I haven’t watched them a ton. I have watched Corey Linsley, but that’s about the only guy I’ve watched. I have not actually spoken with Randall about this upcoming process, but I have met him a couple of times through a mutual friend.

Q: Who were some of the offensive linemen you find yourself studying in the NFL?

A: I kind of have a short list, but Ryan Kalil, Maurkice Pouncey and Corey Linsley are three guys I like to watch, and then, Matt Paradis as well. I’ve watched him a little bit this past season.

Q: In regard to Linsley, what is it that makes him the type of player one would want to pick up things from?

A: I think he’s strong and I like how he’s active in pass situations. He’s very active and the Packers’ line is a great one. I just think he’s a great player.

Q: Jon, I’m going to hit you with some non-football questions. First off, what is your favorite movie of all time?

A: Happy Gilmore.

Q: What is your go-to pre-game ritual?

A: I think just listening to music before a game. Nothing in particular…just random stuff. I usually listen to a little more laid-back [music] because you get to the stadium about two hours before, so you don’t want to be amped up right as you get inside the stadium. You get to the stadium for your pre-game stuff, so you just want to increase the intensity as the game gets closer.

Q: What is your top travel destination?

A: I would go to Madrid, Paris and London.

Q: What are three words that best describe you as an individual, a player and a teammate?

A: Intelligent, hardworking and tough.

Ralph: Jon, thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time. Best of luck in the draft.

Jon: Thank you very much.

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