Earlier this week, as part of our 'Road to the Draft' here at ESPN 980 and Redskins Radio -- I had a chance to catch up with some of the players that will be having their names called beginning on Thursday April 28th.
The group of players included Virginia Tech Running Back, Ryan Williams, who played his high school ball in nearby Manassas, Virginia. I was also joined by Virginia Tech CB and Clinton, Maryland native -- Rashad 'Roc' Carmichael, and Stanford CB/WR Richard Sherman.
You can hear all of the interviews by clicking here (Miscellaneous Tab on the upper far-right) but here are some of the best quotes from these young men, who find themselves in the cross hairs of 32 teams, draft pundits and a labor dispute.
Ryan Williams - RB - Virginia Tech
On the draft process: "This is like living the dream. Since the Orange Bowl, my main focus is just moving up the draft boards. It's finally here. It's more exciting then anything."
On his Virginia Tech lasting memory: "I say the big run against Miami, because when I came back there were a lot of questions, about my explosiveness, my speed. I think that shut a lot of questions (up). That one specific play, I was able to plant my foot, cut, I broke a tackle, used my vision and I was able to score a 85-yard touchdown and it was against Miami, and everybody knows Miami's not a slow defense. It just showed that I was able to contribute the way I always been, I just needed time to do it.
On his critics & does he use it as motivation: "Man, to be honest -- it doesn't fuel me. It don't anger me. Those guys don't know me. I've played through the broken fingers, the ankle injuries, the tore ligaments in my wrists, the thigh bruises. I played through it all They don't know anything. The only time I ever missed practice or ever missed a game, was because of the hamstring injury. People are going to say what they want to say. I can only control what I can. I don't pay any attention to it. People on the outside looking in, they can say what they want to say.
On what scheme he can fit in: "To be honest, I feel like I can fit in any scheme. A zone scheme would work, at Tech, we run sorta like a zone type of scheme. The Redskins scheme would work, just like anybody else's. If eel like I can do it all on the field.
On being invited and accepting invitation to NFL Draft: "Regardless if I get drafted in the first round or not, only a certain amount of people are able to experience that a year. It's just a blessing. It's been a dream since I was little. If not the first round or second round, 'oh well' but I'm there. It's the highlight of my day, I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop talking about it. There's a slight chance I might get to walk the stage on that first day, who knows. I'm excited, I'm happy. Words can't describe how I feel. It just feels really good. Everything that I have been through this year, I will still able to have an opportunity to experience what's going on. It's a blessing."
Rashad "Roc" Carmichael - CB - Virginia Tech - Maryland Native
What he'll miss about playing for the Hokies: "I would say, like a Thursday night in Lane Stadium. Just an electric atmosphere. I'm definitely going to miss that about being at Tech. As soon as you hear "Enter Sandman" you can actually hear everybody in the stadium jumping, when they start bouncing -- it's time for us to come out the tunnel.
On physical attributes & improving his game: "As a corner, you always want better hips and better footwork, just be a little quicker. The game is changing to a speed game. I think I'm a pretty good size. Teams are throwing more, you got Peyton Manning and other great quarterbacks lining up each and every week. You gotta be able to move, I think I can move pretty well.
On bouncing back as a CB: As far as me, I try to go out there and have fun on each and every play, and just work on the small things. You worry about the smaller things, and everything will work out for you. Just pay attention to details, and hopefully you can make a play.
On what scheme he fits best: "It just depends on the game plan. As long as I have time to study the game plan. At Tech, it depended on what type of offense we're going against. I like to switch it up. Every corner, likes to be able to see the ball. You might get a few knockdowns, but you gotta play your role.
On growing up in Maryland, what was playing at Fed Ex like and what would it mean to be a Redskins player: "It was hard to describe that atmosphere that night at Fed Ex. Growing up, my Aunt lived in the houses right down the street from the stadium. To be in the locker room getting dressed and heading out to play another great team on a Monday night, it was kind of like a dream come true for me. Of course, going to be able to play for the Redskins, one day, that would be fun. I definitely would love that -- DeAngelo Hall, being able to to play with him. That would definitely be fun.
Richard Sherman - CB - Stanford
On Switching from WR to CB: "The transition was a little more difficult because you have to learn coverages and alignments on the defensive side. Obviously, tackling is a big priority. It's just a totally different mindset.
On the versatility created (Sherman asked HC Jim Harbaugh to move because of an injury) by the position switch: "It's part of the game, you have to be unselfish. You have to be willing to sacrifice, whatever you have to do to help the team win. It's really all about winning in the long run and that's what I wanted to do.
On Andrew Luck staying at Stanford : "I wasn't surprised at all. We know the guy. He's a great guy. For all the negativity that he got, from the decision he made, I feel those people should be ridiculed and criticized for them even saying anything about that kid. Because if a kid comes out early, and passes up an education, then he's a bad kid. If a kid says I want to get my degree, and stays in school, then he's an idiot for passing up millions of dollars.
The kid is the best quarterback I've ever seen in my life. He's better then every quarterback in the league right now. He'll be that quarterback. He'll be better then everyone. I've never seen anything like him. In the NFL, you have quarterbacks that are mobile, but are not as accurate or don't have the passing strength. The ability to analyze coverages, as good as pocket passers. Then you have pocket passers, who just aren't as mobile, but they can read coverages. He can do everything. If you watch tape on him,you won't find a flaw in his game. He can do it all. He's 6-4, 250. He'll run you over if he has too.
On Harbaugh's move to the San Francisco 49'ers: "I believe that everyone has dreams. Once you've worked hard enough, once you've put the work in, you've earned the right to move on, pursue the dreams to be an NFL coach, as he always wanted to be. He put in the four years at Stanford, he turned the program around. I don't think people could ask much more of him, at Stanford. The next step for him was to pursue his dream. I was happy for him."