NFL Draft Q&A With DL David Patterson

With extensive experience at both defensive tackle and defensive end, Ohio State's David Patterson will be an asset to whichever NFL team selects him at the end of this month. Learn why he won a very special award, a bit about his technique, and who's been talking to him in this exclusive interview.

Ed Thompson: At defensive tackle are you a guy that likes to mix it up a lot or are you the guy looking to shoot the gap and use that quick burst of yours to be disruptive in the backfield?

David Patterson: I like to get off the ball and cause havoc, but I'm a guy who can play within a concept of a defense. Our coach was really big on controlling your man through your gap. But at the Senior Bowl, what the Tampa Bay coaches were big on was just getting off the ball and penetrating--pass rushing and getting back to the quarterback even on run downs. I think my playing defensive end and tackle will help me fit into different types of schemes. I think I did good at the Senior Bowl and it was a whole different scheme than I was used to.

ET: I noted was that you won your team's Jim Marshall Warrior Award. Tell us about that...

DP: I guess they give it out every year to one of the "toughest guys on the team."  I'm the type of guy who doesn't mind playing when I'm injured. Anything short of a broken arm or where I can't put my hands in a three-point stance, I'm going to try to be out there. I guess my teammates look to me to be really tough or to lead us when guys are tired. But there were a lot of other guys on our team that were just as deserving to win that award.

ET: You didn't miss much time during your college career did you?

DP: I missed two games this year when I had to get an MRI on my right knee. It turned out good for me, but I missed the Michigan State and Indiana game. I felt pretty good and thought I could come back for the Indiana game but my coaches weren't taking chances. I came back for the Minnesota game and I think I played really well. I had to play two games with a brace on my knee. But after that I finished out the rest of the season and it hasn't bothered me.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ET: Tell me about your special teams background and what you like about special teams.

DP: I really like special teams because Coach Tressel always says; 'punt is the most important play in football and it's a one-play series.'  I played on the punt-block team. If our coaches think they've got some small guys there on their punt team, they might put some bigger guys in there. But the older I got, the more they kind of worked me out of that and put the younger guys in.  But I was known for blocking a few punts or field goals in our special teams scrimmages and I did pretty well at that. I blocked I think two field goals since I've been here and stuffed a couple of fakes, so it's a really enjoyable thing I like to do.

ET: Talk about your Combine experience because I know at your Pro Day you didn't do any of the same drills again.

DP: I was very pleased with my Combine results. My numbers were good, there were some phenomenal athletes out there. It was just a lot of fun. The biggest thing is just hanging out with those guys and getting to meet those guys you'll be seeing for a long time down the road and to get a little taste of what it will be like to be in the NFL.

ET: Did you get to do any formal interviews at the Combine?

DP: I had an interview with pretty much all the coaches with Seattle. Coach Holmgren wasn't in there, but every other coach was and I think that went pretty good for me. I really liked talking to those guys. They knew things about me already and had watched me on film and they told me some things I could improve on.

ET: Any team pre-draft visits yet?

DP:  I went up to do a visit with the Browns not too long ago and got to sit down with Coach Crennel who's a great guy. He didn't talk to me as much about football, just more about life and being a good person.

ET: How about any personal workouts?

DP: I'm going back up to Cleveland to do a personal workout. The last time was kind of like an official visit, kind of like you have in college. I'm going back up there, I think on the 14th, to do a workout for them.

ET: That's kind of a dream come true, you're a big Cleveland sports fan in general right?

DP: Definitely, I was a season ticket holder with the Browns all through high school. My uncles have season tickets there now. I sat in the Dawg Pound so many times and watched those games and wished I could be down on the field.  So it would be a dream come true for me to play in Cleveland.  But really, it would just be a dream come true for me to get a shot at the NFL whether that means getting drafted or as a free agent. However it works out for me, I would just be happy to get a shot.

ET: Is there anything else you would like the fans to know about you as a player or a person?

DP: I do some public speaking on my faith - I'm a Christian. That's really important to me. I've got some great teammates here at Ohio State that joined me in that. We actually spoke at the National Championship game for basketball, it was pretty cool. We've got some great guys on this team and just watch out for some of these guys.  A guy coming up on the radar is (WR) Roy Hall.  He was speaking with me the other day and I was thinking that not too many people know about Roy, but I'm sure if he gets a shot he'll get on a squad.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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