Question: What do you think scouts saw this past year in person and on film that's boosted your visibility and could push you up into the later rounds of the draft this April?
Derrick Ming: I think the thing that could get me going is my speed to the ball, my pursuit… I hustle a lot, so I think when they're watching film they'll see a fast guy hustling to the ball, getting to the ball, and making plays. And I think that'll help me to hopefully get drafted.
Q: Even though this was your first year as a starter, you were selected as a team captain by your teammates. Tell us how you earned that level of respect from them.
DM: Well it started off over the summer just taking control of the situations whether it be summer conditioning, whether it be talking to a head coach about some problems the kids are having, whether it be telling my teammates if they have any problems to come to me. I'd go talk to coach for them, and by working hard I think the guys saw that I really wanted it. They knew that I hadn't started in four years and saw the determination. I think I earned their respect during spring ball by just going out everyday practicing hard and getting to the ball.
Q: What do you think it's going to take to get noticed in a training camp that has eighty players competing for a roster spot?
DM: I think in order to get noticed in a camp, you have to have determination, the will to learn fast, not make mistakes and hustle. You have to do things to separate yourself like making plays, hustling to the ball, running even after the whistle is blown. Things like that get you noticed.
Q: I've also seen you described as a player with very good back pedal mechanics for pass coverage, are your pass coverage skills strong enough that you could fit in initially as a nickel linebacker?
DM: I think so. There are some things I'm working on right now as far as quickness on my feet, balance drills, things that will probably help me once I get into camp or once we have our second Pro Day. But I think I cover the pass pretty well as a drop-back linebacker.
Q: You've developed the skill for delivering big hits. Tell us a little bit about that, because I know you were even recognized with a couple of awards for that.
DM: Yeah, I've had a couple of big hits in some games. But I've also learned that it's not always about the big hits. You can miss tackles if you're always trying to make the "kill shot" as they call it. Even though it feels good delivering a big hit, you also have to keep your technique when you're making a tackle -- and actually make the tackle.
Q: What do you think you did to boost your stock during your Pro Day workouts?
DM: I felt like on Pro Day I had a lot of goals in mind. Some of them I met, like my 225 bench press. My forty-time wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, so I'm looking to improve that. But overall I think I had a pretty decent day. I got thrown in at fullback, and I was a little rusty - it's been a while. But now I know that you have to be ready for anything out there. Overall, I would probably give myself a "B", but I've got a lot of things I want to improve and I'm working on that now.
Q: Tell us about how you ended up doing some workouts out of the fullback position.
DM: When I first came in, the Chicago Bears (scout) said to be ready to catch some balls. And once we got done running the forty and things like that, he came to me and told me to go get some work at fullback.
Q: What would be the ideal situation for you at the pro level? What type of team, what type of coaching do you think would really help you excel?
DM: I think the type of coach that has a little patience and that's willing to work with the athlete. I also feel that the players the organization has are very important, because they're the foundation. I think if you have a good coach and the players respect that coach -- and are willing to pretty much do anything to win for that coach – that's the type of organization that I would want to be around.
Ed Thompson is the publisher of ColtPower.com on the Scout.com network