NFL training camps are opening up around the country this week. Lewis Cass product Kitt O’Brien hopes to land in one soon.
O’Brien is currently finishing up a season playing for the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League. He thinks that experience is helping him improve his chances for a shot on an NFL team as an interior offensive lineman.
“When I first got here, I didn’t know what to expect having always played outdoors football. I had never really seen a game,” he said of the AFL. “There’s only three down linemen. It’s all one-on-one blocking, so that’ll help me a lot going forward pass blocking one-on-one.”
O’Brien, who went undrafted out of Ball State, participated in the New York Giants’ rookie minicamp in May. So if he does end up landing on an NFL squad this year, the Giants could be the team.
“That’s the goal right now,” O’Brien said of landing on an NFL roster. “I’m pretty high the Giants’ call list. I’m their 1 or 2 guy. The problem was at the minicamp they just didn’t take any offensive linemen.
“The Giants’ offensive line coach, Pat Flaherty, told me if a guy goes down on the interior line, I’ll be one of the first calls they make. That was encouraging to hear. I’m in their system; they know who I am.”
O’Brien, who’s listed at 6-foot-5, 325 pounds for the Gladiators, thought he matched up well at the Giants’ rookie minicamp.
“When I got out there I thought it was going to be a giant step up. I didn’t go against the first-team guys, they weren’t there at the mini-camp, but there wasn’t much difference between me and their No. 1 draft pick [offensive lineman Justin Pugh of Syracuse],” O’Brien said. “We’re the same weight. I just have to play as fast as I can. Ten minutes after learning plays in the film room we went out and ran them. I’m physically capable strength-wise. There’s just a lot of information to download and regurgitate on the field like that, knowing all the calls and protections and getting all of the terminology down.