Before They Were Pros: Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson seems to be an even-keel guy at quarterback and off the field. His message before the draft at the NFL Combine was the same as it has been after the draft Minnesota: Just give me a shot to prove myself at this level. See what Jackson had to say the Combine.

On his performance at the East-West Shrine Game: "It was fine. I got a chance to meet a lot of guys, trying to show some scouts that I can play football. They wanted to see me going against the top D-I guys. I played D-I AA football. It was pretty fun. I think I did OK, they say I kind of helped myself.

On Warren Moon: "I thought he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, one of the best that ever played. He was the first (Hall of Famer) to play quarterback, African-American, You just feel a little pride."

On Doug Williams: "He coached against me when he was at Grambling. To see him play in the NFL and win Super Bowls is great pride.''

On the doors being open for African Americans: "I guess. Hopefully it's just as much as even as anybody else. You have certain things people say about African-American quarterbacks. Hopefully, it's an equal opportunity for everybody."

On what quarterbacks he watches: "I watched all the good ones - Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning. I try to learn stuff from all of them, but I'm Tarvaris, so I just try to be me."

On his style: "I think I play QB with a little more like a defensive attitude and mentality. I can run the football, I have a strong arm, all those things."

On if he belongs with Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler in the draft: "I know I belong. Those guys are good. I actually worked out with Jay Cutler in Orlando and I felt like I belong right here with him. They got a little more exposure. They're great guys and great FB players, but basically I feel like I belong here."

On his recruitment to college: "I actually signed with the University of Arkansas in high school. LSU recruited me, a lot of good schools recruited me, mostly in the South. I signed with Arkansas first and transferred to Alabama State, coming back home to play football."

On adjustments at NFL level: "Study a lot more film. Speed of the game, I think I'll get used to it."

On why he transferred from Arkansas: "I wasn't playing as much as I thought. They were saying one thing and doing another. They had a great QB in Matt   Jones who's in the NFL now and I felt they were going that way with him so I decided to move."

On his college competition: "I played against some good guys. It's not D-I football, but there's some good players in D-I AA."

On his hopes for the draft: "I'm just here to do my best and show the guys I belong. Whereever they take me, I'll be happy.''


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