5 questions with Kwame Harris

"Playing in the NFL, you have a microscope on you at all times, but that's not hard to adjust to when you're shining that microscope on yourself. Of course, there will be critics out there and people who question the pick. I expect nothing but the best from myself, so I don't need a coach or GM to ask me for that. I'm levying the most criticism on myself."

Q: What was your reaction at still be available when the 49ers selected at No. 26 in the first round?

Harris: I was really surprised. I had expectations of going a little higher. I'm not going to lie about that. But we all know that the draft is crazy. When it started getting pretty late, I stopped focusing on [what place] I went and rather what team I was going to. It's great to go back where I went to school, to be with (49ers guard) Eric Heitmann again. I was ecstatic when it came around.

Q: What's your feelings about the team that selected you?

Harris: It's been a focus of mine - and a desire of mine - since this has all started to go to a team that's committed to winning. A team that the bottom line for them is to get to the Super Bowl; the bottom line is to have their players do the best that they can. The San Francisco 49ers, they're a manifestation of that. They're without question one of the best organizations in football today. They're an organization that is top-notch, which spares no expense across the board regardless of position. Their offensive line falls right into that category.

Q: Now that you're at this level, how will you handle the high expectations that have followed you ever since you were in high school?

Harris: Playing in the NFL, you have a microscope on you at all times, but that's not hard to adjust to when you're shining that microscope on yourself. Of course, there will be critics out there and people who question the pick. I expect nothing but the best from myself, so I don't need a coach or GM to ask me for that. I'm levying the most criticism on myself.

Q: How are you handling criticism from observers who question that you should be a first-round choice at this point in your career?

Harris: Criticism is going to come from everywhere. If you let that stuff really get to you, then you have even bigger problems than that. But if you're your biggest critic, than nothing really matters. First of all, you don't give credence to those people because they're not in the draft room. If you don't hold yourself to the standard that you expect from other people, then you'll never reach your potential.

Q: What is it that youre most looking forward to about being in the NFL?

Harris: Sharpening metal to metal. Really getting to go out there and play against those guys who you watch on TV and are like, 'Wow!' I'm excited to get closer to my contemporaries and the people you pretend you are when you play backyard football. Being a lineman, I always focus on (Orlando) Pace, Willie Roaf, Jonathan Ogden. I mean, these are the people you sort of idolize. It's nice to be in the same arena as they are.


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