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Warren McClendon NFL Draft
NFL Draft

Warren McClendon Jr. NFL Draft 2023 Prospect Interview

  • Justin Melo
  • April 21, 2023
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Georgia offensive tackle Warren McClendon Jr. enters the 2023 NFL Draft as a back-to-back National Champion with the Bulldogs. A consensus four-star recruit, McClendon Jr. plays with the urgency and physical temperament of a preferred walk-on. McClendon Jr. is an underrated candidate to quickly claim a starting job on a pro offensive line.

McClendon Jr. recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about playing left and right tackle, winning back-to-back titles, universal scheme fits, and more.

JM: You won back-to-back National Championships as Georgia’s starting right tackle. What will forever be your biggest takeaways from those teams?

Warren McClendon Jr: I’ll always remember the brotherhood. We had an amazing connection. That’s what made the difference between winning championships and the teams I was a part of that didn’t win a championship.

JM: I’m going to ask you to be as honest as possible. Did one championship feel better than the other?

Warren McClendon Jr: They both felt really good (laughs). That first one felt good because we lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. We recovered from that to win a National Championship. Fighting through that adversity made that one feel good.

That second championship, we had lost so many key players from the first championship. We lost 15 players to the NFL draft that year. A lot of people were doubting us by saying we weren’t going to be as good as we were the year before. Proving the doubters wrong felt good.

They both felt really good.

JM: Those are good points. When I turn the tape on, I see a blocker that plays with a red-hot motor in the run game. I love that you play that way as a four-star recruit that attended Georgia. You play like a hungry walk-on. How did you develop that sense of urgency?

Warren McClendon Jr: That’s just the standard that’s expected of you at Georgia. When I first arrived, I had to learn how to practice and how to play. I had to become a better student of the game. I was getting acclimated to the life of a college football player. I was learning how to balance academics with athletics.

It helped having older guys like Andrew Thomas, Cade Mays, Jamaree Sayler, Justin Shaffer, and so on. I came into a great room. I learned a ton from those guys. They helped show me the ropes.

JM: You’ve had so many amazing teammates at Georgia. You’ve mostly played right tackle, but you’ve also played a little left tackle. What’s the biggest difference between the two?

Warren McClendon Jr: The biggest difference is the stance. That’s the biggest thing. Switching up your feet and managing to be comfortable with both stances is the biggest challenge. You have to maintain that same level of production despite switching positions.

JM: It can be a challenge. You have terrific arm length at 34.5 inches. How do you use length to your advantage?

Warren McClendon Jr: I use my arms in pass protection to create space and separation between myself and the defender. My length allows me to prevent defenders from getting into my chest in pass protection. I always use length to my advantage.

JM: It pops on tape. Have you completed any Top 30 visits, private workouts, or Zoom meetings?

Warren McClendon Jr: I’ve had Zoom meetings with the Patriots, Dolphins, Jaguars, Bills, Jets, Broncos, Bengals, Seahawks, Raiders, Saints, and others. I also attended the Falcons’ local day last Friday.

JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. We’ve appreciated your time today. What kind of impact is Warren McClendon Jr. going to make at the next level?

Warren McClendon Jr: I’m somebody that’s going to show up and work hard. I’m always going to give 110%. I’m going to play to the standard of whatever organization drafts me. I’m going to be reliable, just like I was at Georgia. I started in 38 consecutive games at Georgia and played more than 2,000 snaps. I’m reliable. You can always count on me.

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Justin Melo