Last week we dropped a delightful Friday podcast that featured an interview with Willie McGinest as well as guys who handle the shoes and uniforms for Nike -- we spoke to all of them at The Opening in Dallas last weekend. I hinted there was more to come and I was not joking!
In today's show, we kick off the last week before training camp (!) by chatting with some notable athletes who were in Dallas for The Opening, including my favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.
We chat with Roquan about whether his game fits the modern NFL and how he thinks the transition will go.
"Absolutely and where the game is transitioning to, it's a speed game," Smith said. "Who can get here the quickest? And it's all about matchups, so if I can get a mismatch with this running back or this tight end with this linebacker who may not be as fast, then I'm going to try to do it. I think that's huge, so it's just about finding the best athletes that can matchup and that are fast."
He also indicated it might be easier to be a linebacker, from a formation identification perspective, on the NFL level.
"On the college level as well, you see a lot more formations on the college level so there's a lot more checks and different things like that on the college level, whereas in the league you have your traditional formations and there's only so formations," he said. "There aren't many FIB formations in the boundary."
Malik Jefferson had an interesting quote/discussion on the combine, referring to it as "hell" and saying it might not be a fair process to prepare for the draft.
"I learned a lot about this process," Jefferson said. "I don't agree with how they do it. Because you go through these extreme months of training and you go to the combine, the combine is absolute hell, nobody wants to be there after Day 2 because you get no sleep. You don't get to exercise, they expect you to be able to workout like a superhuman on the last day. And they ask you awful questions.
"I didn't get a weird question. I heard some people got some really weird questions. There were some coaches coming at me for my ego, and I was like 'I don't know you sir, I'm trying to be respectful, we're trying to have a nice conversation.' I don't think it's right for them to pull us in the rooms -- I feel like critiquing the film is fine, but trying to make you feel under pressure is not something kids should be able to do."