NFL Draft Q&A: DE Jason Worilds

After logging 12.5 sacks over the past two yaers and a team-leading 32 QB hurries in 2009, Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds could be playing defensive end or linebacker in the NFL this season. Learn more about him and how he's preparing for the NFL Combine in this exclusive interview with Ed Thompson.

Jason Worilds answers additional questions and shares a special message for Virginia Tech fans in this six-minute audio clip exclusively for subscribers. The talented defensive end talks about his typical training day as he prepares for the NFL Combine, his favorite NFL speed rushers, why he loves being from New Jersey, and what he likes to do when he's not playing football:

Ed Thompson: As you look back at your career at Virginia Tech, what are some of the things you're most proud of?

Jason Worilds: First and foremost I'm most proud of my class--the class that came in back in 2006. We had a huge class, and for different reasons a lot of guys left. They transferred or quit the team, but the guys that hung in there, we were a cornerstone in the program.  Us staying together, fighting through adversity, being ACC champions and going on to win the Orange Bowl, that was a great experience for us and for me personally.

Thompson: How about the fact that you were a two-time All-ACC player?

Worilds: Yeah, that was cool also. To be mentioned in that category with the players that we have in the ACC, it was a great honor.

Thompson: The way you battled through two shoulder surgeries while playing for the Hokies was pretty remarkable.

Worilds: It was tough. Coming in you're excited to get your college career started, and that summer I dislocated my shoulder.  I played through it, but eventually it got the best of me and I took a medical redshirt.  I rehabbed, got excited again and finished my redshirt freshman season. I'm doing fine, then I come into my redshirt sophomore year as a starter for the first time and three games into the season I dislocated my other shoulder.  It was tough those two nights. It was tough for me mentally to regain myself and prepare myself for the long journey I had to go through with rehab and everything.  Fortunately, I played through it, had a good year and we went on to win the ACC and the Orange Bowl, so that was pretty cool. 

Worilds strips the ball as he goes in for a tackle. He logged 49 tackles, including 11 for a loss in 2009.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Thompson: I have to think that when you suffered the second shoulder injury that in some ways it was easier because you knew that you could bounce back since you did it before. But another part of you had to be saying, "how am I going to go down this road again?"

Worilds: Definitely, it takes a toll on you mentally.  Football is such a warrior sport, you don't want to go out on the field at any time and have doubts. Any time you have doubts, your opponent has an edge on you.  I was going out there every week knowing that my shoulder could come out at any moment, so it told me a lot about myself--how far I was willing to go, how much I loved this game, and what I was willing to do for this game and my teammates.

Thompson: As a result of hanging tough and not allowing that situation to hold you back, you had a terrific 2008 season that included 18.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. Pretty impressive.

Worilds: It was tough, but I had a lot of great players around me. I think that made it a lot easier. I was fortunate to be part of a great team.

Thompson: In 2009 you had a team-leading 32 hurries.

Worilds: Yeah, I did.  Of course you always wish you could turn more of those hurries into sacks, but that number showed me that even though I didn't get as many sacks as I wanted, I still had an impact on the game.

Thompson: Talk about your skills as a pass rusher that allows you to create that kind of consistent pressure. 

Worilds: According to a lot of people, when you watch me play, the first thing that jumps out at you is my initial burst up the field.  I think that is definitely one of my strong points, and it helps me demand respect from the offensive tackles from a speed perspective.  Once they start respecting my speed, I can open up my repertoire of moves.

Thompson: What are some of the moves you think you've had the most success with over the years?

Worilds: Bull rush, dip, rip dip, spin--there are a lot of different things I can do.  Unfortunately, this year I faced a lot more double-teams, so it was a different approach and a learning experience compared to last year where I was seeing more one-on-one blocks. So I had to learn how to play off of two players while going through the whistle at all times. 

Thompson: At the next level you're being looked at as both a defensive end and as an outside linebacker. What's your anticipation of what's going to happen?

Worilds: I think it really depends on the team.  The 4-3 teams have me at defensive end and the 3-4 teams have me at outside linebacker. Personally, I'm just excited for the opportunity.  I've always wanted to drop back into coverage--we dropped a little in college--and I really enjoyed playing man against the tight ends and the running backs. So I foresee exciting times ahead. I really can't wait.

Worilds uses his speed to get upfield.
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Thompson: What are some things you've been working on while training for the NFL Combine?

Worilds: Just kind of refining myself, trying to get everything down to the little nuances with my position drills and my footwork. And, of course, everyone wants to see the 40 and the shuttle,. I'm just trying to become more explosive overall and be in the best shape possible when the Combine comes around.

Thompson: You're 6-foot-2. Do you have a target weight you're shooting for as you head to Indianapolis?

Worilds: Around 250 or 255. Coming into the season last year I was 260 to 263, but for the Combine I'll come in around 250-255.

Thompson: What's been the most challenging part about training down in Florida?

Worilds: I don't know, I really enjoy training, I'm kind of a gym-rat.  It's 7:50 (p.m) down here and I'm just leaving the facility now--and I've been there since 9:00 this morning.  I enjoy everything, football is what I love to do. It's my craft, so I try to take as much time as I can and put it towards that.

Thompson: Is the waiting difficult for you?

Worilds: Yeah, but my mom always told me to never wish away time. Lots of people would give a lot to be in the situation I'm in. I wake up every morning and I get the opportunity to work hard towards my dream and that's exciting. So I'm just thankful.

Thompson: What is it you'll want the NFL teams that interview you at the Combine to know about you as a person before you leave any interview?

Worilds: First and foremost, I'm going to do my best. Whatever I put my mind to, I don't stop until I achieve it.  I'm upright, a man of my word, I'm honorable, and I'm trustworthy--things my mother would be proud of.

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You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at

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