Patriots Draft: Q&A With LB Justin Huggard

Justin Huggard talks about his workout in front of Colts and Patriots scouts, why he enjoys playing middle linebacker, and much more in this exclusive interview for our Patriots Insiders!

Question: You were primarily an outside linebacker, is that correct?

Justin Huggard: I was primarily an outside linebacker my freshman, sophomore, and junior years. One game all of our linebackers got hurt, so I went to middle linebacker in my junior year. And then in my senior year they put me at middle linebacker the whole year. 

Q: When you were an outside linebacker were you weakside, strongside, or did they shift you around?

JH: I was a weakside linebacker.

Q: What did you enjoy the most? If you finished up your career at middle did you enjoy that more than outside?

JH: Yeah, I think I enjoyed it a lot. I think I liked it a lot better because you get a chance to make a lot of tackles and you see the whole field. I didn't mind playing weakside, I liked to cover wide receivers and getting the opportunity to play outside. I like the linebacker position period, so any opportunity I get to play linebacker I enjoy.

Q: Did you have any serious injuries during your collegiate career?

JH: Other than the hamstring I pulled, that is about it. Nothing serious.

Q: You didn't miss any action then?

JH: No, I came back in the game and finished it up strong. 

Q: I also noticed that you had a very good record at snaring interceptions. One stat I saw said you had gotten at least two interceptions in 3 of your seasons. So how did you develop those pass defense skills? Is that just a discipline they teach you at VMI or do you just have a nose for the ball?

JH: They taught me a lot here at VMI. I played some tight end in high school so I have pretty good hands. You know I can see the field and I understand the routes the receivers take. I watch a lot of film and the coaches taught me and put me in positions to make the plays, and I make the plays. Coach always told us that you are either making the play or you are not. So I had to make a play. I feel like I am pretty good in pass defense and I like pass defense.

Q: Were you surprised -- with the fact that your team only won three games over the past two years -- that you were able to still draw the attention of some pro scouts?

JH: Yeah, I was. Looking at the team aspect first, I felt we had a great team. I swore we had the best team in our conference and I feel that in my heart more than ever, but we just couldn't produce the wins. You know sometimes I feel we get looked over the top of because we go to VMI and because we don't have that great record. But we are blessed and we are thankful that we get that opportunity, so we are happy. 

Q: So are both the Colts and the Patriots are expressing interest in you?

JH: Yes

Q: Tell me a little bit about that, how did you become aware that both of those teams were interested in you?

JH: They came to our school and worked us out. I don't know how interested they were after seeing the results, I just know that they wanted to see us work out and what not. That's pretty much it, they came and worked us out and gave us our chance to do a Pro Day and get our numbers.

Q: I know that the NFL looks to their rookies to step up on special teams. Can you talk a little bit about the experience you have on the special teams units?

JH: I am great on kickoff teams, I go down there all out. On punt teams, I blocked a couple of punts my freshman year and I blocked a couple of field goals, too. I go hard every time defense or special teams, regardless. It doesn't matter how bad we are losing, I don't think about that.

Ed Thompson is the publisher for Colt Power, the Indianapolis Colts affiliate on the network.


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