NFL Draft Q&A: DE Darrell Robertson

Georgia Tech's DE Darrell Robertson knows how to get after the quarterback and deliver some punishing blows. And teams like the Chargers, Giants and Dolphins are among the many clubs who have noticed. Learn more about him in this exclusive interview with's Ed Thompson.

Ed Thompson:  What were some of the toughest moments you had to work through to get to this day?

Darrell Robertson:  The toughest moment I had to work through was making the initial transition from high school to college.  That was tough because the game got faster, so I had to learn that.  Then just overcoming the obstacles that came my way and learning my technique and getting in the weight room.

Thompson:  You're going to have to go through that learning curve at the NFL level...

Robertson:  Yes sir, it starts all over again.

Thompson:  Is this something you've dreamed of your whole life?

Robertson:  Oh, it definitely is.  Many kids will say one day I want to play in the NFL, but very few get the opportunity or chance to even come close to that.  I find myself blessed to be in this position.

Thompson:  As you went through all the workouts during this pre-draft period, what do you think you were able to show scouts and coaches that was really important for them to see?

Robertson:  I was able to show them that I'm able to go out and compete.  I can go against the top talent and prove that I deserve to be ranked at the top along with everybody else.  At the Senior Bowl, the best of the best of college football are there and you can either go there and stand out or go and fail.  I felt I did a good job there.  I also showed them what type of football guy I am from my technique to using my hands to my burst off the line.

Thompson:  Do you remember the first team you talked to at the Combine and what that experience was like?

Robertson:  The first team I talked to was the San Diego Chargers.  That was really a great experience because they had the GM there, the head coach, and five or six people sitting in there and they just fired questions at me.  It was an experience.

Thompson:  One of your great assets is your speed and one guy who possesses that kind of speed at the pro level is Dwight Freeney. Have you watched film on him or are there other pro players you've watched to try to improve your approach to the position?

Robertson:  Dwight Freeney is the master of the spin move, so I've watched some film on him to try and make that better.  I've also watched film of Jason Taylor and how he uses his quickness to get around players.

Thompson:  Has it even sunk in that you could be suiting up and talking with those guys in the locker room in a few weeks?

Robertson:  Nah, it hasn't hit me yet, but I know once it does I'm going to be excited about it.  Growing up, those were the guys I watched, so to be in the same locker room as them is going to be amazing.

Thompson:  Do you think your skills and the way you approach the position would be a good match for a team like Indianapolis?

Robertson:  It definitely would.  I'm very versatile where I can play outside linebacker or end.  It's all a matter of what they think is best for me.  In their scheme, the end is a penetrating end that tries to get up the field fast and that's what I'm about.

AP Photo/Sara D. Davis

Thompson:  What did you accomplish at your Pro Day and who were some of the teams asking you questions?

Robertson:  Quite a few teams showed up at our Pro Day.  I talked with the Giants, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and they all just seemed to talk highly of me. But they all say we like you and we'll get back to see you at a later time.  So it's hard to get a read on who really likes you.

Thompson:  Did you have anyone come in for a personal workout or did you get to go on any visits recently?

Robertson:  I visited the Patriots and got to meet Coach Belichick. That was really a good trip.

Thompson:  What was going through your mind as you walked around the headquarters, and what questions did you have for them?

Robertson:  It was a mind-blowing experience because that's one of the best teams in the NFL in the last five or six years.  Just to be able to go into a place like that and be in the same room as a great coach like Bill Belichick was wonderful for me.  I asked him questions like how can I make myself better, and how to be a pro player.

Thompson:  Have you thought about how frustrating it might be to work against Tom Brady and those receivers in practice every day? They usually don't give defensive linemen much time before the ball is in the air.

Robertson:  Oh yeah, it'd be frustrating, but at the same time it'd be good because going against the best is only going to make me better.

Thompson:  Why do you think your teammate, linebacker Philip Wheeler, is going to be successful at the next level?

Robertson:  He's going to be successful because he's everything they say he is and more.  He's a tenacious pass rusher, he can drop back in coverage, he can run sideline to sideline, and he has the ability to be the type of player the NFL is looking for.

Thompson:  What are you going to be doing this weekend as you wait to hear your name called?

Robertson:  I'm going to be at home with my family and just doing the best I can at relaxing and not getting too over-anxious about the whole process.

Thompson:  Is there anything anything else you'd like to tell the fans?

Robertson:  Just tell them to keep an eye out for me within a year and everyone will see who I am.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at You can contact him by email through this link.

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