KEVIN COYLE - Secondary coach
ROBERT LIVINGSTON - Secondary coach
You traded up to make a move. What did you guys see in making this move and making sure you grab him now?
Livingston: "He was a non-combine guy that we had here. Kevin (secondary coach Kevin Coyle) went down and worked him out. Obviously, the relationship with Will Jackson and Houston, you have a little bit of an upper hand, and Kevin came back raving about him. We got to have him in the building, got to talk to him and look him in the eye. He's a real energetic, upbeat kid. He's played corner, he's played nickel, he's played safety. He played some running back at Houston, which obviously had a great year. So you think about a guy with that skill set, who's played both ways at a high level in a Division I program, and when it's late in the draft, to get somebody like that on your team, I think you have to jump at it. And (Bengals president) Mike Brown's and (Bengals director of player personnel) Duke's (Tobin) credit, they saw the value and went up and got it. Hopefully he'll be good."
Coyle: "Duke mentioned to us at Combine time that there were multiple players down at Houston, and that one hadn't been invited to the Combine — he couldn't figure out why — but that we had to keep a close eye on him. So we scheduled it for me to go down to that workout, and when I was there they had a couple of defensive backs that we were working out. He tested off the charts. It was clear right away that Duke was right on in saying that this guy should've been at the combine. His numbers probably would've compared to the very best guys at the combine. He ran 4.35 at his workout. He jumped a 41" vertical and he had an 11'1" broad jump. Those are incredible numbers. And like Rob (Livingston) said, his versatility and the type of kid he is — high character — made us interested. So we wanted to bring him here. We made sure we got a good physical on him and all those things, and after being around him, we felt he had value on defense and special teams, and that hopefully we could get him. And it worked out our way."
Versatility is good, but since he's played running back before, does that make him raw at defensive back? How do you view him in your rooms, or what spot do you see him in?
Coyle: "He's played all three spots, but I think he's most comfortable playing in a nickel-type position. He's a great blitzer. He's very fast, very physical on the edge. He's that type of guy. That's why we envision that he'll be able to compete with our guys, in terms of covering kicks and doing all those kind of things. He weighs about 200 pounds, and he's a very fast, explosive athlete."
Livingston: "If you look at the way college football has kind of morphed, with the hashes being so wide and the bubble screens and that stuff, this kid has always been in a supportive role. So look at him as a nickel or as a safety. Don't know if he'll get out wide, but the toughness, physicality, his feet, which Kevin already alluded to — those are all pluses. So he'll be in our room somewhere, and be one of us. The rest will fall where it falls."
With those measurable, how does a guy like that slip through the cracks?
Coyle: "It's hard to say, but it happens every year. There are guys that go undrafted, because there are so many guys. This day is dragging on, and there's another round to finish. But there will be guys that won't be drafted that will get their opportunity and will pan out better than a lot of others. So it's hard to say sometimes. We were happy to have the opportunity to bring him here, and we will see what he can do from there."
They came to work you out, and you also visited here before the draft. What were your impressions of the Bengals? Were you surprised they traded up to get you?
"When I came down there, I really liked it. It felt like home, because William Jackson made it feel like home. I kind of look up to that guy. Just having him there and knowing he's on the team too, made it feel like home because I played with him (in college). It was just a great feeling."
How did your position change, from running back to defensive back, come about in college? Did you embrace it right away?
"It was kind of hard, but I learned the stuff (I needed to). I didn't really see it as a bad thing when they switched me over, I felt it was an opportunity to help the team out and do what I had to do. I ended up being really good, so it was a good thing."
Did you feel comfortable right away ,or was it a work in progress?
"It was a work in progress."
Did you play cornerback at all in high school?
"No, sir. No corner in high school. I played running back my whole high school career."
Your college bio says you scored eight touchdowns in six different ways. Can you recall all those different ways?
"Yeah, I can name all of them. My first one was a (missed) field goal return my redshirt freshman year. Then I had two touchdowns — one on a strip/fumble recovery for a touchdown, and then I had an interception for a touchdown. And then I had two returns for a touchdown, one against Louisville and one against the University of Connecticut.
"Then I had two rushing touchdowns ... Two against Navy — how many is that? ... I also had kick returns."
Did you throw one?
"No ... I had my (missed field goal) return against the University of Oklahoma."
The returns were on kickoffs and not punts, right?
"No, no punts — kickoff returns."
Does it mean more to you that they traded up to get you?
"Yeah, it means a lot. It means they wanted me to come in. I felt good about that. It was great."