XJ: No, I do not. A couple of packages in our scheme over here at the University of Missouri where in practice, yes, I played defensive tackle. But never in a game.
ET: Why do you think you were able to score four touchdowns? Do you think it was partially luck, or was it your timing?
XJ: I don't know. I mean, being a former offensive player in high school, I always wanted the ball in my hands. I think I am just a magnet to the ball. It's not the point that I'm always in the right spot at the right time. It's just that I do what my coaches tell me to do within the scheme of the defense, and with the great pass rush we have here at Missouri, QBs are just going to throw it to you. My offensive instincts took over. I was running the route for the offensive player.
ET: Talk to me a little bit about your Combine experience. Overall, what was it like for you to go through those days?
XJ: I think it was a great experience to see some of the other guys that you watch on TV from Florida and Tennessee and teams like that - upper echelon programs. Yes, Missouri is in the Big 12, but we aren't going to get the recognition that we are supposed to. We went out there to compete at the highest level, and I think I did a pretty good job. The experience of the Combine is good for players to get to know other players because you might be a teammate of these players. Also, it's a good chance to get to know the coaches before you go into a system. It's like a recruiting process when it comes down to get into college. You know the coaches that you are going to be working with. It's the same in the NFL. The coaches talk to you face-to-face, and they tell you how they are and they want to know how you are - straight up. They don't want to have a problem child on their hands.
ET: In which drills at the Combine did you feel you did a little better than expected? And were there any that you wished you had done better?
|(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)|
ET: Do you have a preference if someone wants you to be a linebacker in a 3-4 instead of a defensive end?
XJ: No, I don't have a preference. If the coach tells me to play offensive tackle, I will try to play offensive tackle because I just like the game so much that I would do anything to get on the field right now.
ET: Have any of the teams that run a 3-4 talked to you about doing that for them?
XJ: When I talked to the Dolphins, they didn't say anything about me playing defensive end. They said I could play the rush end which is stand-up on the line, or they said I could play out of the SAM linebacker spot. At 278 pounds, I am not the fastest guy. But if you look at my tape, I make plays wherever I am at. I played a little linebacker at the University of Missouri, and my coaches have said I can make plays. I can fill the hole, and I like to hit. Linebacker might be a good fit for me, but you never know unless I try.
ET: Who were some of the teams that you felt comfortable with and that were showing good interest in you?
XJ: Tampa Bay Bucs. I met with their position coach. Pretty nice, cool, calm and collected guy. He kept it straight with me and we exchanged numbers, saying he wanted me to get to know him as him and not as a coach. That's how you get to know people. I had a real good connection with the Tennessee Titans' defensive line coach. Real straight-forward guy who said, "This is how it's going to be when you get in there. I am not going to change from right now. You don't like me, let me know now. We will not judge you." I told him I was open for all suggestions because it's a different personality with everyone else you meet. I think those are the two best guys I had a connection with at the Combine.
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.|