NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.
Defensive end, Michigan
Born: Dec. 3, 1997
Experience: NFL draft prospect
If you know me, been around me, been around the scheme [at Michigan], you understand my value and what I did for the defense. At the end of the day, I know me and what I'm capable of and all of my abilities. If people want to talk about my production, we can sit down one-on-one and talk about it face-to-face. We can bring in my D-coordinators if it gets to that.
My production was during my three years at Michigan we were the No. 1 defense two years in a row. You don't have that kind of production if people aren't doing their assignments.
Causing havoc [isn't on the stat sheet]. In college, teams were scared to run my way, so if I eliminated a team from running to the right side, you know it's coming to the left. So it's just my presence and the tenacity I bring every play.
To be honest, I think it's a blessing more than anything. I've had a dream since I was 10 years old. Just showing a lot of my work that I've already put in has paid off, but there's still work to do.
There's no pressure. I love the game of football and it's something I've always enjoyed. I'm always striving to be the best in it, second to none, so there's nothing hard about it. It's all fun.
My versatility sets me apart from other top edge rushers, [Nick Bosa and Josh Allen]. I'm a defensive end first but you can throw me in and I can play 3-technique, stand up and rush off the edge, drop into the flat, curl, hook and things like that. I feel like that's what separates me.
Of course, [I'll play across the defensive line]. I feel like that is a defensive lineman's dream.
To a point, [I learned] how mentally tough I am because this [draft] process can weigh down a lot of people. But I feel like the group around me prepared me well.
The No. 1 [thing to meeting expectations in the NFL] is coming in and learning to be a pro's pro. After that, I feel like football will take care of itself and I'm about to lay down the cement and stack the bricks up. A lot of work that still needs to be done to the way I play the run and pass because I feel like you still have to improve your game when you step into the NFL. Now we're going against grown men that have to provide for their families, so you always have to take every part of your game to the next level. I'm ready to do that.
They had chicken on the pre-game meal, and Coach [Jim Harbaugh] was like, "No one eat the chicken," because it's like a scared chicken. Because it's scared, you don't need to eat that. It was weird but they ended up taking that off the menu for the rest of the season.
You hear about the long nights at the combine. I'm hearing that I'll go to sleep about 1 or 2 a.m., but for me, I had to push it back and went to bed at 4 a.m. and got up at 5. Things like that. That [surprised me] and you have to make sure you get the right rest and the right nutrition.
Two big guys I've talked to are Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton. I came in my freshman year and those were the guys in front me. Those are the guys who passed me the torch when I ended up starting. But talking to them and going through the [draft] process about the long nights and making sure I'm eating right, keeping my head down to earth, just focusing and staying in the moment. I got that [advice] from those guys.
A lot of people wish they could be in my shoes, so it's a blessing to go to different organizations and talk to GMs, head coach and different coaches. You never know what relationships you build now could help you further down the line. That's one thing to take away.