MIKE O'HARA

Jeremiah Washburn values Travis Swanson's SEC experience

Posted May 9, 2014

Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn’s playing experience makes him partial to offensive linemen from Arkansas and the competition they face in the SEC.

Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn’s playing experience makes him partial to offensive linemen from Arkansas and the competition they face in the SEC.

It prepares them to make the jump to the NFL, and he expected it to hold true for the Lions’ newest offensive lineman – third-round draft pick Travis Swanson, who started all 50 games his last four years at center as a two-time captain of the Razorbacks.

Competing in the toughest football conference in the country groomed Swanson for the pros, just as it did guard Larry Warford, also a third-round pick by the Lions last year.

There is value to playing in the SEC. It is the proving ground for playing at the next level.

Washburn was certain when he ended his career as a center and guard at Arkansas in 2000 that he was NOT ready for the pros.

“Yes there is (value),” Washburn told reporters Friday night. “My last game in college, I played against Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton.”

Hampton and Rogers played defensive tackle for Texas, and Washburn faced them in Arkansas’ last game of the 2000 season. Hampton and Rogers went on to become Pro Bowl players. Rogers as a second-round pick by the Lions in 2001. Hampton was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick.

Washburn recalled his feelings after his last college game.

 “As I walked off the field, I told my wife that I’m not good enough to play in the NFL,” he said. “I am an SEC guy, and I make no apologies about it. It is a litmus test for offensive linemen. Yes, Larry played against the best, and Travis played against the best.

“I would expect them to be a little more ready.”

Washburn shared one more detail with reporters about his final game.

He announced the score -- Arkansas 27, Texas 6 – raised his fist and left the podium.