Before They Were Pros: Minnesota Vikings DE Stephen Weatherly

Before Stephen Weatherly was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, he was trying to impress scouts and coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine with his defensive versatility and burst.

STEPHEN WEATHERLY AT THE COMBINE

On going pro early …

“At the end of the season I talked to my family, and after that I went and talked to Coach (Derek) Mason and my position coach. After talking with them, they believed I’d be able to make it if I left. So I made that decision and came out.”

More on coming out early  …

“I really don’t know what it takes to make it. I can only ask people who’ve put people there in the past. That’s why I went and talked to my head coach and position coach. They both put numerous people in the league at my position, and they believe I can make it.”

On what he brings to the NFL …

“A combination of size, speed and intelligence. I came in at 6-4 and 7/8 and I was 257 pounds, and I believe I can run a 4.5 on Sunday when I go out and run. So all that together makes the fact I played a bunch of positions this past year – Mike, Sam, Will, rush, Joker, all those different types of position (make me) a really dynamic player, too.”

On Coach Mason preparing him for the NFL …

“I thought he really opened me up … playing outside linebacker requires more thinking. I was also more in a play-calling role. … It really brought my football IQ to a new level.”

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1670747-depth-has-been-zimmer-s-f...

On what he aims to prove to NFL scouts …

“I just want to come out and run all the numbers I’ve been practicing this whole time and meet with them so they understand who I am. They know the football player. They watched the film. They’re just really trying to get to know who is Stephen Weatherly the person. So I’m putting my best foot forward in the interviews.” 

On what he’s picked up from talking with NFL teams …

“What I picked up from most teams is that setting the edge is one of the most important things from an outside linebacker/defensive end. When it comes to my speed, long-distance speed isn’t really a big factor for them. What they really want to see is (getting off quickly). I’m anxious to prove that in the 10-yard splits.”

On talking to NFL teams …

“Yeah, I’ve tried to meet as many teams as possible. Talk to them, talk to the position coaches, the defensive coordinators and show them my football IQ. Probably 10-15 at this point.”

On Vanderbilt’s defensive progress the last couple years …

“Most definitely. After year one, it improved drastically to year two. It’s only going to go up from there. We have a lot of great young talent still there at Vanderbilt. It’s just going to build on itself. We played a lot of freshmen the first year. They just got smarter and more mature, and as football players they understand what they’re going to see. What we really worked on this past season was building camaraderie amongst the team, so if that carries over into this next season I feel like we’re going to be another top-five defense at Vanderbilt.”

On what Vandy’s defense needs to build further …

“Execution to a higher level. Year one was learning it and year two was repetition. This year it’s all about execution. No more blown plays. No more miscommunication, which was a big deal first two years.”

On which position he would like to settle in at …

“I would definitely say defensive end. I feel like it’s a lot simpler than playing linebacker. I just like being able to get off, and if it’s run, being able to strike someone and get my hands on them. And if it’s pass, being able to show that I can get past them and get to the quarterback and either cause a hurry or get a sack or force an errant throw and (lead to) an interception.”

 


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