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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Expect Raiders to eye this workout star

By Bill Williamson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Keep this name handy in the next couple of months, Oakland Raiders fans: Ryan Bartholomew.

The Syracuse center is the early workout star at the NFL combine.

That is significant to Oakland. The Raiders love combine workout warriors, and they have a need at center. You have to consider Oakland an early favorite to pursue Bartholomew.

He led all players in the bench press competition Friday. Bartholomew did 34 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press. The average over the past three years for interior offensive linemen is 26.6 reps.

Saturday, Bartholomew clocked an unofficial 40-yard dash time under 4.9 seconds. These are tremendous numbers for a 6-foot-1, 305-pound offensive lineman. Bartholomew entered the combine considered a third- or fourth-round prospect. Now, he could shoot himself into the second round.

Oakland will likely consider centers with its first pick, No. 48.

Oakland pays attention to combine numbers as much as any team. Last year, Oakland drafted workout stars Jacoby Ford and Bruce Campbell.