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Potential LT targets Ronnie Stanley, Laremy Tunsil both say they're best

Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS — About 15 minutes apart, Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley and Mississippi's Laremy Tunsil stepped in front of a group of reporters at Lucas Oil Stadium and each claimed to be the best left tackle in the NFL draft.

"I always feel like I'm going to be the best," Stanley said Wednesday on the first full day of the NFL's scouting combine. "That's the mindset that I always have."

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Stanley, a three-year starter for the Fighting Irish, then spent the majority of his news conference trying to combat some people's perception that he's not passionate enough about the game.

"I think there's a big aura [that] people think that I'm kind of lackadaisical, I guess," Stanley said. "I don't know, but I'm just really trying to show people how much football means to me and how much I really do care about it."

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With the draft nine weeks away, Tunsil has emerged as the favorite to be drafted first overall by the Tennessee Titans, who are looking to better protect last year's first-round pick, quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Ravens are doing their homework on Tunsil and Stanley, knowing that Stanley will likely be more attainable with the sixth overall pick.

"Everybody wants to be the No. 1 pick. Being the No. 1 pick would be great," Tunsil said. "I'd love to play for any team. That's been my goal since was a little kid."

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Tunsil said he had yet to meet with any teams. Meanwhile, Stanley said he had interviews with 20 teams Tuesday night but was coy about whether the Ravens were on that list. He did express some excitement about the potential to protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side.

"It's always nice protecting quarterbacks, especially good ones," Stanley said. "Joe Flacco falls into that category."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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