Skins Quotes 4/25/20: Rivera, Smith, Day 3 Skins Draft Picks

Skins Quotes: Skins Quotes 4/25/20: Rivera, Smith, Day 3 Skins Draft Picks

April 25, 2020

Head Coach Ron Rivera and Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith

On trading T Trent Williams:

KS: “Obviously, with the [T] Trent [Williams] stuff, it’s been a long process. You know, I think everybody is a little bit, you guys as well, think we’re all relieved that it’s over, that it’s done. From day one that we got into this, it’s a unique situation, where, a lot of different layers to it, and we did the best that we could. We opened it up to the agent to find a partner and all that stuff and finally, we’re to the point where it’s over, and we’re all moving in our own direction. We wish him the best, and I think [Head] Coach [Ron Rivera] does as well, and we’re moving forward.”

On the feelings behind moving on from OT Trent Williams:

RR: “You know one of the things that we talked about when I first got here was talk about a sustainable winning culture. You know, again, one of the things that we wanted was just to have guys that were going to be part of it from the beginning. And again, just, this was an opportunity for us to part ways with a guy that wanted to move forward which is great. I get that, I understand that, but again, we’re going to do things a specific way. That’s the whole idea about what we’re doing is we’re going to build this culture with the guys that want to be here, the guys that want to be a part of what we’re doing, so we can go forward, and just feel good about where we are. And this was something that you know, it gives everybody an opportunity to start clean, start fresh. You guys know what I said in the first meeting, and we’re going forward from here.”

On the choice to select T Saahdiq Charles:
KS: “Yeah no we’re very excited about Saahdiq [Charles]. We’ve done a lot of work on him. Obviously as you guys know, I mean you can look it up and stuff, there was the suspension there and he made a mistake, and he’s made mistakes in his past there at LSU, so once we come through with guys like this throughout the Fall and you gather all the character in the background, then you start to dive in. Right? You watch the tape, and you find out what is he as a player, what’s the talent level, and that’s what we always go off of when we put them on the board. He’s a high talent player. Tremendous talent, tremendous upside. Obviously, he was there in the fourth round for a reason, we dove into this kids character in a big way. With our area scout, with our cross checker, Coach Rivera, myself, [Senior Director of Player Development] Malcom Blacken our player development. I had a long meeting the other day with him on Zoom. We feel very confident in the kid, we’re comfortable with everything, the research that we’ve done. And we’re really excited for the kid, I know he is too. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, he understands why he was taken where he was. We’re excited about the structure that we’re going to give this kid, the culture that Coach was talking about that we’re going to provide this kid. And we’re excited to give him an opportunity with the Redskins.”

On the importance of this draft weekend:
RR: “Well I think the biggest thing more so than anything else was going out and drafting the young men that we believe can be a part of what we want to do. Grow with this as we go forward. I mean, these young guys we took with our first few picks, the guys we expect to be here, the guys we expect to be a part of what we’re building. The next group of guys we expect to grow and develop and have them become a part of what we’re doing. So, we feel real confident, real strong about it and it’s important. It’s important to put your own stamp on it so that guys understand we have a certain way we want to do it, we’re going to ask you to do it the way that you’re coached. We’re going to ask you to play the way that we have mapped things out, you know, to do it our way. And if you do that, believe me, I believe we can have a lot of success. And if you do it our way or you don’t, I’ll take the brunt of it, I’ll take the blame. Because again, I’m asking them to do it a specific way. And that’s the most important thing, and I hope everybody understands that.”

On how RB Antonio Gandy-Gates will contribute to the team:

RR: “Well he’s a big, physical receiver. I mean, he’s got good size, good speed, good play speed, he’s a physical player. He’s a guy that can make his presence felt. We believe in the red zone, certain short yardage. Third and intermediate, third and three, third and seven, something like that a guy that can work the middle for you. He can block, he’s a guy that we feel can be a very physical blocker. He’s got special teams value as well. So that's how we think a guy like that’s going to develop and grow and be a guy that can help impact and participate in what we’re trying to do.”

On not drafting a tight end:
KS: “Yeah no, I think it goes back to what we talked about before, Coach and I about the board. You follow a board, and you kind of go and let the board speak to you. The tight end position, we did address. We added in free agency with [TE] Logan [Thomas]. So, we’re excited about him and his upsides. Obviously, [TE] Thaddeus Moss we are bringing in as well as an undrafted free agent so he’ll be added to that mix. But it’s not something that, the way we want to move forward when, letting the board speak to you, is you don’t want to force things. We’re always going to have needs and positions of focus, but you don’t want to force it. That’s when you start riding guys up the board and in my opinion, and in Coach’s opinion, you start making mistakes. When we add a tight end or any position, it’s based off of that board.”

On the possible injury of TE Thaddeus Moss:
KS: “Yeah well the injury stuff, we’ll let [Head Athletic Trainer Ryan Vermillion] handle that stuff, but he was injured yes. That’s why he didn’t perform at the Combine, but everything that we’ve gotten from our medical staff we feel comfortable with and we’ll monitor that whenever the time comes that he’s able to come with us.”

On how this draft class will improve the team’s versatility:
RR: “Well again, you know, when you start talking about [RB] Antonio Gibson, [T] Saahdiq Charles, guys that can play multiple positions. Saahdiq [Charles] has played left and right tackle and has played some guard. Again, this is a guy that’s going to compete, he’s going to compete on the left side, left tackle and left guard for us. He’s a guy that has a chance to contribute early on, and quite frankly, because we’re starting over, we’re starting from the beginning, everything is on the table. Every opportunity for anybody to come in and play is here. We are going to play the guys that we believe give us the best opportunity to win football games. That’s what you want. You want guys that can come in and contribute that way. [C Keith] Ismael is a guy that can play center guard for us. You know, [LB Khaleke Hudson is a linebacker that has some opportunity to go out and play in space. Kamren [Curl] is a safety that started at corner so he’s got cover skills, so he may be able to come down into the slot and cover receivers. That’s something that we have to find out. And [DE] James Smith Williams has got enough stout in us that not only could he be an outside edge guy, but he can come down every now and then and probably play as a three technique for you. You feel good about those kind of guys, because again, they’re not pigeon-holed into one position and one position only. There’s an opportunity for us to find ways to use them, to get them on the field. And that’s a way for the player to also try and use his talents to get on the field as much, as quickly as possible.”

On how much he expects to overhaul the roster in his first season as head coach:

RR: “Well we’re about to find out. This roster, as I said when I first got her, I really like what I had seen. You look at the guys who have contributed on this team from the last three drafts, you feel pretty confident and comfortable and you can add some key veteran guys and young guys that continue to develop, I think the turnaround can be a little bit quicker than expected, at least I expected. What I’m hoping is these guys can contribute and grow with the guys that are already here who have been contributing. Again, going through this process and having to look at the last three drafts and going through this process with [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] and his guys there were a lot of positive things that I really took from this and I’m really excited about. Hopefully we’ll get our opportunity to work with these guys.”

On what T Saahdiq Charles showed him to be able to draft him:
RR: “For him to have to come back [to LSU], he was going to have to stay clean and finish the season. Talking with [LSU Head] Coach [Ed] Orgeron, he was very positive about how the young man came in and the way contrite about the mistake he had made, about doing things the right way and trying to learn. One thing that really caught my attention was he had made the statement that when you have something taken away from you, you want it back, you want to do it the right way. That really swayed me. I’m one of those that do believe you do give guys opportunities, especially if they show that they want it and this is a young man that wants it. He’s going to be watched, he’s going to be on a short leach. At the same time, we have [Senior Director of Player Development] Malcom Blacken, who has done a great job from what I’ve seen, and then watching him communicating, while we had the opportunity, but also knowing the fact that he had the chance to talk to this young man, even though it was only on Zoom, he spent a good 45 minutes with him, I felt pretty comfortable in listening what Malcom had to say. This is a young man that, obviously, we feel has a tremendous skill set, but he’s a young man who has a bit of an issue that we’re trying to control and help him out with. Again, hopefully we keep him going where he needs to be and that’s straight ahead.”

On balancing versatile players versus ones who have specific talents:

RR: “The biggest thing is you want to make sure the guy has a primary function. What does he do best? Again, a great example right now is [Tackle] Saahqid Charles did best in college is play left tackle, so that’s where he’ll start out, at left tackle. Because he’s over there, we’re always cross training our backups, so he’ll ewok at left guard as well. So it’ll be an opportunity to see what his skill set is and see how versatile he truly is and it’ll also help him learn. One thing I always believed in is if you know what the guy next to you is supposed to do, it’s going to help you do your job and that’s how we try to help grow our young [players].”

On signing Tight End Thaddeus Moss and what they saw in him:
KS: “[Tight End] Thaddeus [Moss] was a productive guy this year. He had a nice season, he has really nice hands and ball skills, he’s a tough kid that competes in the run game so those qualities when you’re signing priority free agents, you need to have two qualities that really stand out and those are it and that's what we base stuff off of and we’re excited. Playing at LSU, big time football, big time season. It was really no brainer to sign him as a PFA.”

On Kyle’s elevated role and how they did with all the challenges of a virtual draft:

KS: “That’s a great question. The other day I was saying that I feel like my role hasn’t changed drastically over the last three years from this process. When [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera came in, he said ‘ I want you to kind of do everything that you’ve been doing the last few years and run it how you feel comfortable, and then we’ll adjust from there.’ So really, that process when it comes to the college stuff has been the same. Now, when you add – obviously what you guys are dealing with and we’re dealing with it – the virtual stuff, that was really the biggest challenge. How can we all be on the same page and communicate and get the board set under these circumstances? And that’s something that honestly Asheesh Kinra and Christian Smith, our IT guys, they made this stuff really easy and smooth for us because they set all these gadgets and gizmos up in our places that we had no idea how to use and Coach and I had conversations like this everyday and it was like sitting in the same room. So at the end of the day, after a few days of going through this stuff, it was like being back in the office. I think the process was great. Process is always about the people and Coach and I have a great relationship, and it’s easy, it’s smooth. We’re on the same page – [Defensive Coordinator Jack] Del Rio and [Offensive Coordinator Norv] Turner – I’ve been very happy with how easily we’ve meshed after not knowing each other for a long time and that’s what made our process very smooth. It’s about the people and communicating, and you can’t go wrong when you do it that way.”

On how this process has been unique:

RR: “I thought it was a real cool experience, I really did. I mean, there were moments – the frustration of not being able to be in our own facility and work it, but again just knowing that the support people that we had were terrific. Everything starting with the IT stuff to our Director of Football Operations, these guys went above and beyond in terms of trying to help us prepare ourselves. But the experience itself has been unique. Obviously, I’d been through something completely different my first time as a head coach with the work stoppage, but at least we got to during the draft process go out and watch players, work players out, bring players to our facility. This time we didn’t, we had to rely on technology and use technology to the best of our abilities, which was at some times very frustrating. But again, as [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] said, our IT guys were terrific. The unique thing about this too was getting to know people from the standpoint that you didn’t really have the up close interaction. That was interesting because, again, part of this process too is trying to interview these guys, trying to get them off their comfort zone and trying to get them to react and act differently. That was a little bit of a trial and error as well, but overall it worked very well. It was kind of neat having the family around, having my wife involved, our two dogs and then our daughter Courtney, who’s actually doing our social media stuff for the team, so we were able to give a little behind the scenes stuff to our fans, which I thought was kind of a unique thing as well.”

On DE Chase Young’s participation in a Wale song and whether he’d ever consider being a part of a Wale song:

RR: “You know, the thing about that whole thing is that if guys can keep their personality and be who they are, and do it within the right framework of being the right kind of young man, then do it. Do those things and do them the right way. That to me I things is cool because again a guy that can do all these things and stay focused when he has to be focused, that’s important and I think [Defensive End] Chase [Young] is one of those guys. As far as being in one of his tracks, I really don’t have any musical talent, to be honest. The only thing I really, truly like to do is focus on football.”

On whether he feels like they addressed depth on the offensive line with C Keith Ismael:
RR: “Yes, we do. He’s a center/guard combination, a young man that can help with one or two positions for us. We always feel good about that. He’s a young football player –
Keith Ismael out of San Diego State – just a stout, physical football player, a smart football player that had a really good test score as well. We just feel confident when you add those kinds of young men that have that kind of ability. Again, it really is about trying to fill those needs, but again letting the board speak to you. And I’ll say this too, I really thought Kyle did a great job, just watching him handle it. The input that I gave really was about when it came time for selection, but he was monitoring things, constantly throwing things out, ideas, thoughts, communicating, which I thought was really important. When the decisions were made, he was on board or he was pushing for this and that’s exactly what you need is a guy who’s going to tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want.”

On the compensation they received for T Trent Williams:

KS: “With the trade compensation, at the end of the day – we’ve said this for a long time – you determine compensation by your eyes as a scout or a coach, and that’s what you watch on tape. [Tackle] Trent Williams is a first-round value, that’s what he is, that’s what the tape tells you, that’s what everybody knows. This circumstance and everything that has gone into this for two years or whatever it’s been, that’s what’s devalued him. At the end of the day for the Washington Redskins, what we got with a fifth and third, we’re happy with what we got and it’s time to move on and we’re ready to move forward. I can’t wait, personally, to stop talking about it. I can’t wait to stop hearing about it and I’ve been here for a while. Since [Head] Coach [Ron Rivera] showed up here, we made it very clear that, as an organization, anybody that has a year left on their contract we’re going to wait and see how you mesh with the coaching staff. And I think that’s pretty fair, personally, that, out of respect for the player, let’s see how we jive, let’s see how we mesh before we extend somebody for four years or three years or whatever the case may be. I think that’s pretty fair. But at the end of the day, we got what the Washington Redskins wanted and that’s what’s fair compensation to us. This is resolved, it’s over, we’re moving forward, we’re excited about the draft, we’re excited about our picks and we’re ready to roll.”

On whether there was a time where they had to resolve differing opinions on picks:
RR: “I don’t think there really was just because of the way the board was set. As things started to fall, the board was very, very accurate, very close to being very, very accurate. So really, as we got to our picks there was that clump of guys, the three or four guys that we would talk about and one guy would be above the three of four of them and that was the guy we went with. Again, as I said, I really thought that the things that [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] and his guys did in terms of preparation, I thought the readings that we did over Zoom, were very good. I thought that the communication between Kyle and I as he was setting the final board was exactly what you look for because then as you go through the process you should see things quite close to one another. And again, it’s because we worked through the process. We didn’t go through this and not be prepared for that conversation. I thought we talked ourselves through a lot of things.”

KS: “Just to piggyback off that, sometimes people think that we come into the war room in the NFL and the board’s up there, the clock starts and you’re like ‘Who are we taking?’ We have a thorough process of two weeks in advance to where you have readings and you have all that stuff, and then once you talk to coaches and scouts you have a pretty good idea of everybody’s final opinion. You set the board across and then as decision makers, [Head] Coach [Ron Rivera] and I get together and it’s like ‘We know this cluster of players is going to be there. Which way are we going?’ and obviously we know what positions we want and what are the focus positions – boom, boom, boom, you go through all those scenarios so that when we come to here, when you get your five, six names you already kind of have a feeling of what you want to do. Same thing with medical meetings, you meet with medical people, they explain what the grades are so you know when you go into the draft these guys are off the board, these guys are on the board, these guys are safe. You’re recapping and you’re moving forward, so it makes stuff very quick and efficient.”

RR: “Also to follow up, one of the things that we did do was we had a couple of mocks that we mocked through with our entire group and with our IT guys, and we tried to do it over the system just to see how it would work. We had no issues. We had one with the league and we had two of our own. The last one we did took us through the fourth round, so we worked on a mock of trades, we worked on a mock of trading out of position and I thought the guys handled that very well. It gave us a little taste as to what to expect and it went very, very well, it really did. It went about as smooth as we could’ve expected and hoped for, and again kudos to our IT guys.”

T Saahdiq Charles

On the pre-draft process:

“Just taking it one step at a time and one day at a time and constantly working. You move forward from there. As far as going where I thought I would go, I wasn’t exactly sure where I would go. That’s the only thing. They believe in me; they’ve given me a chance. And for that, I feel like I’m going to give the Redskins organization everything I’ve got.”

On what he communicated to the Redskins during his pre-draft process:
"I mean, I just know that, of course, I made mistakes at school. They were dumb, ball-headed selfish mistakes, but I know that moving forward I learned from my mistakes and I improved when I was at LSU. I was just truthful with the organization and they ended up trusting me and picking me.”

On the emotions he’s felt during draft night:
“I mean, last night was just a little long. Anxious, just waiting on the call. But at least it wasn’t long this morning.”

On being a potential replacement for T Trent Williams:

"Growing up an offensive lineman, I watched Trent plenty of times. I have a lot of respect for his game. Just to see that they traded him and they picked me, just shows what they might have in mind for me. I’m going to come in there and work hard and just do my thing, man.”

On what the moment meant to him and what the team told him to expect coming in:
“The moment was amazing, a dream come true, a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid. [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera called me and told me I’m going to be a Redskin, I was just thanking him.”

On whether he has spoken to RB Derrius Guice:
“No. We’ll talk very soon, I’m sure. But I haven't talked to him about Washington, or the Redskins, or how the organization is, but I’ll find out soon and give him a call.”

On protecting QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.:
"The same thing I did in college – find where his launch point is in the pocket and communicate with him. Of course, I take a lot of pride in that and it’s one thing we took a lot of pride at as an offensive line at LSU is keeping your quarterback clean. Two seconds of strain and an extra two seconds of pain and finish and the quarterback clean.”

On whether there’s anything he can take from his work with Bengals QB Joe Burrow to the NFL:
“Honestly, it wasn’t just me working with Joe Burrow. I’d say it was all of the guys on the field working as a team. I feel like that’s how it was.”

On his decision to forego his senior season:
“Coming into the year, I never really thought much about coming out or doing anything of that, going into the draft. I kind of just let the season play out and I just knew that we had goals, which was to win a national championship, SEC championship and for our position to win the Joe Moore award, which we did. In college, it’s all about goals and routines and I just felt comfortable coming out. I feel like that was the best decision for me.”

On who was with him to celebrate with him when he got drafted:
“I’ve got my cousin, my mom, friends. I’ve got my family out here.”

On where he is:
“I’m from Jackson, Mississippi. I’m in Jackson at the moment.”

On what it’s like to celebrate during the pandemic:
“I mean, honestly, I’ve never been to a draft party besides the watch party that I had. I didn’t know whether to expect, if it was supposed to be big or small. I just knew when my phone got called, that was the most important moment of the day.”

WR Antonio Gandy-Golden

On waiting for a call during the draft:

“The process was pretty easy, just chilling with some family and friends and things like that. But you know, it’s a long, long process. It’s kind of hard waiting so long, but I’m super excited the Redskins got me and I’m ready to go.”

On his senior season:
“I think it just opened me up to a lot more teams, allowed a lot more teams to see that I was capable of doing more than the previous years. I overall just improved my stock.”

On the difference in his game from 2018 to 2019:
“Of course, I got more yards this year and I really attribute that to my coaches. Just the different techniques they taught me and just allowed me to open up more in the past year.”

On having fewer drops in 2019:
“Honestly, we got a new receiver coach. He came in and really emphasized the jugs machine with us every day. We had a lot of great catching drills we would do. Honestly, just paying attention to the small things [and] being on the jugs machine helped a lot.”

On what he’ll add to the current wide receiver group on the roster:
"For sure. I think I can take the roof off, but also just being able to be physical in the run game and also in the pass game with my blocking, being able to high-point the ball and bringing my secure hands with me.”

On when he knew the Redskins were interested in him:
“I honestly had not talked to them too much. I think it was more my agent, but they had showed interest early. I’m a local guy, technically, so I feel like I was always kind of on their radar. They reached out to me early and there was kind of a pause from there, and today they picked me up.”

On whether the team had given him any indication on how he’d be used:
"Nope, not really. Not really.”

C Keith Ismael

On coming from a football family:

“It’s influenced me hugely. My dad played football. He played football at Florida A&M in college. My uncle, he played defensive end at Oregon. Another one of my uncles, he played quarterback at Stanford, now he’s offensive coordinator. And another one of my uncles, he was drafted in the first round by the [Atlanta] Falcons back in the 70s. So, football is in my blood. It definitely drove my passion. It wasn’t the determining factor in me playing the sport when I was young, but it definitely helps to come from a football family. It’s just given me a lot of insight, you know. I have a lot of resources, a lot of family that have played that have given me knowledge over the years, just how to play the game and the right way to approach it.”

On going to football games as a kid:
“No, I mean we went to games every year with my uncle, Tavita Pritchard. He used to play quarterback at Stanford. We used to go to his games every year, but, I mean, that’s just football. I’ve watched it since I was young with my dad – NFL, college. We used to watch tape, watch his old games. So, football is in me.”

On when he thought he had a shot of getting drafted:
“It wasn’t really until towards the middle of my college career. I went into college just trying to be the best collegiate player, best teammate that I could be for the San Diego State Aztecs and also get my degree. But it was after my Sophomore season – my redshirt Sophomore season, I got my accolades, first-team all non-West. I think it was really at that point, my dreams kind of started to look more like a reality with more reach. It was always a dream of mine since I was a kid. Obviously, all kids playing football growing up want to go play in the National Football League, but I think it was probably towards the middle of my college career that I really saw that it was in arms reach and I could really go out and get it.”

On if there was a particular game that showed him that:
“I think it was just my consistent play. I was going out there and I was beating the competition week-in and week-out. I was showing signs of professional level play and ability that could put me in a position to compete for a starting job and starting at the next level. I was just doing things ‒ my body was developing, my mental approach to the game was developing. Then, I saw that I could really turn this into something special and into a career and be professional.”

On if he sees himself as a center or guard:
“I think I have the ability to play both. I played all three interiors [positions] at San Diego State. My offensive line coach, [San Diego State Offensive Line] Coach [Mike] Schmidt, he put a lot of responsibility on me to lead the line. Wherever he needed me week-in and week-out, I was ready to play. He rotated me in over my years at right guard and at center, so I feel comfortable playing all positions. Wherever they need me, I’m willing to put the work in to contribute.”

On what his draft party was like:
“It was a small gathering. We tried to adhere to the rules with the pandemic going on today. We want to keep people safe. I come from a really big family on my dad’s side and on my mom’s side, and I have a lot of close friends. A lot of people wanted to be here, but we tried to keep it safe and play our part in fighting this pandemic, so I kept it really close. My agents are here, my mom, my dad, my close and immediate family and best friends came down from the Bay area. They’re down here. Beautiful day out, beautiful weather. God came through and blessed me with this opportunity, so I’m just really happy right now.”

On whether it was tough to turn people away from his draft party:
“It was. It was definitely tough because I’m really close with a lot of people. I have a lot of good people in my life that have supported me and loved me through this entire process, starting in high school all the way through college and even before that. There are a lot of people that wanted to be a part of this day. Obviously, a lot of people couldn’t make it like I said because of the virus. But those that felt comfortable that we extended the invite, came and showed their love and support.”

On how big his dad’s family is:
“My dad’s family? I couldn’t even put a number on it. We span across multiple states. Like I said, in L.A. I’m from the Bay Area – there are hundreds of us up there – Seattle-area, Portland-area, Las Vegas, American Samoa – so they go back all the way to the islands. I have a huge family and I’ll probably be hearing from a large majority that are going to come in the next day or so.”

On what it was like to finally hear his name called:
“I’m at a loss for words. It’s a dream come true. Heart dropped a little bit, some tears were shed, but out of happiness, pure joy. This has been a goal of mine since I was a kid. So for it to finally come into fruition, I couldn’t be happier. Another person I want to thank besides my parents is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He guided me and he brought me along this path, stood by my side when I felt down and lifted me up. I just want to thank him and give him all the glory and praise.”

LB Khaleke Hudson

On how he views himself as a player:

“I see myself doing the same thing in college in the NFL, being lined up in the linebacker area at times and also being lined up at defensive safety. They just told me that I’m a real versatile player. They’re going to use me in many ways. That’s like music to my ears, and I can’t wait to get there and show them what I can do.”

On his ability to block punts:
“Yes sir. I just give a lot of props to my special teams coaches. They put me in a great position to be able to utilize my strengths to be able to block punts, even just disrupt the punter and have me shake the punts. I just give a lot of credit to my coaches and my teammates. They helped me get there, helped me get as best as I can on special teams, utilize my skills.”

On playing with DE Chase Young:
“I feel like young guys, big guys on the front, just make it easier for me. My job is to make it easier for them and for the secondary guys. I just can’t wait to get there and play with those guys, man. It’s just a dream come true for me. I just can’t wait to get there.”

On what his draft party was like:
“I just had some of my family members, some of my friends with me. I rented out a little house and stuff so we’re just here, just celebrating and stuff. It’s only a couple of us. But the way they scream, it sounds like there’s like a hundred people. So, I’m just happy now I was able to celebrate with my family and friends and they were able to take in the moment with me because that’s what matters the most.”

On whether it was a long wait for him:
"No, I just went about it as I would go to the right place, the right team is going to get me. I feel like that happened because I know [Running Back Derrius] Guice. Like I said, I really just can’t wait to get there.”

On how many people he had at his draft party:
“I don’t know, I’d say roughly 10-15 people. I don’t know.”

On how comfortable he is in coverage:
“I’m really comfortable in coverage. I did it a lot at Michigan. I’m comfortable playing deep safety. I’m comfortable just being on the field and being a difference-maker. I’m comfortable making plays, I feel like that’s what I do. I feel like sometimes you get caught up in what a guy who doesn’t have a true position. Sometimes that really doesn’t matter because once he’s on the field he’s a playmaker and that’s how I see myself. I’m just a playmaker every time I’m out there, and I’m going to do whatever I can, put the team on my back if I’ve got to if it’s going to help my team come out with the win.”

S Kamren Curl

On what he believes he will bring to the team:

“I would say I don’t know who exactly I model after. I just like to play fast around the ball. I’ve got a good football IQ. I learn defenses really fast. I like taking the ball away, being the fastest guy on the defense and going for the ball.”

On how he views his position:
“Yeah, I feel like I’m one of the versatile safeties that can play corner, so I came here and started as a freshman in the SEC at corner. I feel like I am versatile, I can play both.”

On how playing cornerback has helped him at safety:
“I feel like it helped my coverage skills a lot, being on the island one-on-one. It helped me to be able to sell myself because I’m one of the more versatile DBs [defensive backs] in the draft.”

On communicating with the Redskins:
“[Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera called me. He was just telling me he was happy to have me. I was telling him I was excited to come put the work in. He didn’t really tell me what to expect, really. I’m just ready to get the work in and help the team as much as I can.”

On what he did to celebrate the draft:
“It was just my family. We just chilled, watching the draft. I tweeted because I had players I wanted to see drafted. So, we were just chilling hoping to see my name called and we did.”

On if he would have wanted a bigger party:
“No, it didn’t matter what was going on, really. I didn’t want anything big, I just wanted it to be my family.”

On if had talked to the Redskins leading up to the draft:
“I talked to the special teams coordinator [Nate Kaczor] at the Combine and the DBs coach a little bit at the Combine. It wasn’t that much, but we had some conversations, so I knew they had interest in me.”

On working alongside S Landon Collins:
“It’s going to be crazy; it’s going to be surreal. I was watching highlights since he was at Alabama and when he was with the [New York] Giants. I’ve been watching highlights really my whole life, so it’s going to be pretty surreal.”

On his interaction with Mississippi State cheerleaders:
“That was just a little misunderstanding. They asked for a picture. I just wanted to take a picture with them, but it doesn’t have nothing to do with the on the field stuff.”

On whether he’s proud of any game in particular from his 2019 seasons:
“I want to say the LSU game. I had a pretty good pass breakup. I had a forced fumble in that game and a fumble recovery. I feel like I held my own against the number one team, the national champions, so I feel like I’m very proud of that game.”

DE James Smith-Williams

On how he views himself as a player:

“So, definitely a traditional 4-3 defensive end. I was a little out of position last year in college with the head-up technique. But now I’ll be back to the edges, so I’m excited for that.”

On how his positions in college fit him:
“For me, it gives me a chance to attack. I’m a guy used to getting up the field, using my speed on tackles, speed-to-power hand usage, stuff like that. Just giving me a chance to attack the edge, be head-up, taking on a lot more double teams to kind of beat you up a little bit more.”

On what led him to stick with football after completing a prestigious internship with IBM:
“Yeah, I mean I just love it. I think that’s the easiest explanation I can give you. I just really love playing football. I love the competitiveness of it. Obviously, I’m thankful for IBM and what they offered me off the field, in that regard. My true love is football, so it’s a blessing to be able to keep playing.”

On what his focus is for training camp:
“So, I’d say the biggest thing is just being in shape with everything going on right now, the craziness. So without a doubt, I just look forward to competing. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I know there are a lot of talented guys, a lot of great athletes, so it’s exciting to throw my name in that mix. We’ll hopefully win some games, a lot of games.”

On what stands out about his game:
"In terms of on the field? Pass rushing and definitely setting edges is something I do well at.”

On whether his college injury changed him in any way:
“You know, I had the one major ankle surgery in 2016. For me, it just allowed me to get the appreciation for the game. You kind of understand taking care of your body and what that entails.”

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