Widely regarded as one of the most dominant offensive lineman in college football during the 2012 season, Chance Warmack will likely hear his name on the first night of Thursday’s NFL Draft.
At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Warmack’s combination of size, toughness and athleticism led NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock to call him the best player he’d seen on tape this year.
As he prepares for the biggest week of his life, Warmack took some time with our Chris Boyle to talk about his college success, the weeks leading up to the draft and his appetite for football, life and Taco Bell.
Chris Boyle: What’s the build-up going into draft week been like for you?
Chance Warmack: It’s just taking one step at a time and going through the process. I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of different people, different coache, GMs and a few players. I’ve just been asking questions and getting a feel for the NFL.
They’ve all made their own impression in their own way. Each team I’ve had an opportunity to meet with has shown me something a little bit different – like how the operate their organization. I like everything that I’ve seen so far.
Boyle: You’re going to be attending the NFL Draft live in New York City. Have you ever been to New York before?
Warmack: Only on a visit to see the Jets and the Giants.
Boyle: Have you ever gone into the city?
Warmack: I was only in Manhattan for a few hours when we went to Delfrisco’s to eat with the Giants. That was a good experience to have. That was my first time in New York.
Boyle: You had a great college career at Alabama – winning three championships, being named a consensus All-American – was that how you expected your time in Tuscaloosa to be?
Warmack: I committed to Alabama because they offered me [a scholarship] first. They took a chance on me. I didn’t really know going in how much success we were going to have. My main focus was to just get better, one step at a time, and eventually starting.
I never thought I’d go out and win a national championship, let alone three. You never know what can happen – you just work hard and hope for the best. That’s what happened.
Boyle: For a moment this season, it looked like you may not have the chance to defend your title when Texas A&M came into Tuscaloosa and earned the upset. What was the mood in the locker room after that game, and how were you able to rally after it?
Warmack: Nobody expected us to lose. I don’t think any of us expected to lose that game, especially after the win against LSU. But, in the game of football, everybody loses and everybody wins sometimes. It was the same feeling I had last year when we lost to LSU; you just have to rebound very quickly, look at your mistakes on film and make the changes the following weekend – correct them and move on. There’s nothing you could do about that loss but try to correct your mistakes.
Boyle: When Oregon and Kansas State both lost on the same night and put your team back in the top two, did you know from that point on that it was your title to take?
Warmack: Our coach always tells us that if we stay focused and stay straight and take care of the things we need to do, that everything will work out. The year before, when we lost to LSU, we believed in what he said but, at the same time, there was doubt. The following year, we already knew what our mindset was regardless of what the wins and losses were. Regardless of who’s in front of us, we knew it would all work out for us.
Boyle: In addition to meeting with the Jets and Giants, you also met with the Tennessee Titans. Are there any other teams you met with, and which teams left you feeling best about your chances to be drafted?
Warmack: I didn’t with any other teams, besides the Titans. I wanted to start my visits at an appropriate time because my pro day wasn’t late but it could have been a lot earlier than that. I had time to speak with teams. Every team pretty much showed the same level of interest. Nobody’s stood out more than the other.
Boyle: I read that you said playing under Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews would ‘be like a dream come true’ for you. What have you talked to them about in meeting with them?
Warmack: Just the feeling of speaking with a staff who played my position, I think anybody would love to have that opportunity. With me, they represented the whole organization and the benefits they could give me as a player on the rise. I’m a young player and I feel like in order to be the best, you’ve got to learn from the best. They both played my position for a long time in the NFL.
Boyle: Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said that you were the best player he’d seen on tape this season. That said, what do those words mean to you? And what kinds of questions or criticisms do scouts have for you?
Warmack: That’s a great honor, man. I wasn’t really thinking in my head, ‘I’ve got to do this to become the best player on film,’ but I just did my job day in and day out, week in and week out. I did what my coaches asked me to do, and I did it to the best of my abilities.
Nothing too much has really come up with the scouts. I’ve been in a pretty good situation. I’m really blessed to be in the situation I’m in because the offense that Alabama ran was a pro-style offense. Most of the time, coaches want to know how much you already know and what they’ll have to consider teaching you in their offense. The pro-style offense is similar to most teams in the NFL. It probably won’t be too hard to understand. The concepts are pretty much the same for guards. It’s just a little different.
Boyle: How do you respond to the general opinion that guards should not be top picks in the first round of the NFL Draft?
Warmack: Personally, I love having a chip on my shoulder. The game is constantly changing. Everybody says the NFL is a passing league, but in order to get that passing game going, you can’t be a one-trick pony. You better run the ball some time. I feel like if you have great guards at your disposal you can establish the line of scrimmage and get the running game going.
I feel like guard is a really important position where you can establish the line of scrimmage and give your quarterback time to pass the ball as well.
Boyle: You started a trend in Tuscaloosa, Warmackin, which caught on in Tuscaloosa. How did this start and were you surprised at how it became so popular?
Warmack: It started my junior year. We were playing Florida in Gainesville, and it was really hot. I needed to get a breeze, so I just lifted my jersey up a little bit. I just kept it like that for the rest of the season, and it kind of caught on. It took off from there.
I have an Instragram called @Warmackin, and people take pictures and post them on there. I post pictures all the time and talk a little bit. I know you can’t do it in the NFL but hopefully I can get some endorsements and work on that.
Boyle: As an offensive lineman, how gratifying is it to see people follow your example?
Warmack: It’s a wonderful feeling, man, to get that support. It’s symbolizing being comfortable in your own skin. Young guys come up to me saying that they’re going to do it next year.
Boyle: Are you going to continue to keep comfortable in the NFL and bring the Warmackin trend with you?
Warmack: Yeah, if they don’t fine me too much. You’ll definitely see me at some red carpet events with my shirt rolled up.
Boyle: In winning the National Championship, you got a chance to meet President Barack Obama. What was that experience like for you?
Warmack: Obama’s an inspirational person to everybody. This was my third time meeting him and shaking hands with him. It was an incredible opportunity to even shake hands with the man. Not a lot of people get that opportunity. To be a part of a team that’s had so much success and to be around great people, that’s a wonderful feeling.
Boyle: I hear you have a love for music as well and that you’ve tried your hand at producing?
Warmack: I’ve been making music since I was like 13 years old. That’s kind of what I do when I’m at home alone. I can’t play an instrument or anything like that, but I have a good sound for music. My grandma has been playing the piano since she could walk. I listened to her play music ever since I was little. I like making music with my program. It’s not easy to do – you have to read, there’s a lot of instructions involved in learning how to do that. I always love being around music, and hopefully, I can take it a step further after football.
Boyle: Who are your personal favorites as far as music is concerned?
Warmack: I like all types of music, but my favorite artist would be Kanye West. He just has a wide variety of different sounds. I’m always trying to find something different. I don’t like listening to the same thing over and over and over. If anything sounds different, I’m with it.
Boyle: I’m also told you’re a big eater. Where do you like to eat most?
Warmack: I like Taco Bell. Taco Bell’s my favorite place to go, man.
Boyle: Oh, that’s trouble right there.
Warmack: Oh yeah, that’s my favorite spot.
Boyle: So when you roll through the drive-thru at Taco Bell, what’s an average order for Chance Warmack?
Warmack: I might get that 12-box. You ever heard of that?
Boyle: Yes, I have.
Warmack: I eat that all by myself. I can clean that out pretty quick.
Fans of Warmack’s new team will want to see him clean out defensive linemen pretty quickly, too.