Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp doesn't lack for confidence.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I believe that I'm the most versatile linebacker in this draft," Tripp told FoxSports.com. "I believe I can run and cover better than any linebacker in this draft."
Tripp also told FoxSports.com that his FCS background has come into play with some analysts: The reason he isn't considered a first-round pick, he said, "is because I didn't play at Alabama or Texas."
Tripp measured 6-foot-2¾ and 234 pounds at last month's NFL Scouting Combine, and impressed scouts with his work at the combine. He had the fastest 20-yard shuttle run (3.96) for a linebacker since A.J. Hawk in 2006. He also was in the top 10 among linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.67 seconds, ninth-best), three-cone drill (6.89 seconds, fourth-best), vertical jump (37.5 inches, tied for sixth-best) and broad jump (10 feet, ninth-best). Tripp will get another chance to impress the scouts when he does linebacker drills at his March 18 pro day at a California facility.
"Every time he's done something since that last ball game we had (Dec. 7), I think his draft stock just continues to get better and better," Montana defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak told The Missoulian newspaper in February.
Tripp had 100 tackles for Montana in 2013 to go along with three interceptions, two sacks and three fumble recoveries. Tripp missed most of the 2011 season after suffering a shoulder injury, but he showed no ill-effects from the injury in his final two seasons with the Grizzlies.
Tripp, who turns 23 on April 3, has a chance to be a second-day draft pick; only two players in school history have been chosen as early as the third round. An added selling point is that he was Montana's long snapper. Gregorak called that "an invaluable tool that's going to for sure help him get on an NFL team and then, with health, keep him in the NFL for a long time."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.