Here's what has changed, and what has been learned.Read article
In the lead up to the 2016 NFL draft, M&F had the chance to sit down with two very talented, exciting draft prospects who are expected to be selected in higher picks of the first round. Jalen Ramsey, coming from Florida State University, is regarded as one of the most athletically gifted players in the draft, and boasts a 41.5″ vertical jump. Myles Jack, a linebacker from UCLA, has battled through knee issues and rehabilitation but is nonetheless regarded as the cream of the crop of college football talent and will be coveted by a number of teams. Despite their talent, accolades, and prestige, we’d be hard pressed to meet two humbler players poised to enter the pro level of football.
What is training like during this transitional period from school to the pros? What are you doing leading up to the draft and the upcoming season?
Jalen: I’m sure it’s essentially the same for both myself and Myles, once you declare you have to focus on specifics. So for me, it was combine training. 40, bench press, 3 cone drill, agility drill, and just certain stuff I had to do in preparation for the combine. For him it was probably different, he probably had to do his rehab. So you do specific training, but after combine you can transition into doing position specific stuff, and really then your mindset changes. You have to be ready to get back into football shape. You have to be ready to go out there and play a full game; be ready to have a new play every 8 seconds at the line, be able to run around and do everything you have to do. It goes from kind of specific, to in general doing what you have to do for football, and being in good shape and a good athlete. That’s the transition.
— NFL (@NFL) February 29, 2016
Myles: I couldn’t of said it any better. From my point of view, my rehab kind of stretched into the combine, so I got cleared right before my Pro day so I’m transitioning now right into just the football type of stuff like he said, just getting ready and getting in shape. Really on my end, I’m not worried about my knee at all. I’m focusing on getting in shape, trying to catch back up with everything, and just get ready for the NFL.
Jalen, you mentioned some of those position specific drills, what are some of those in particular that you use to get better at your position?
Jalen: I do all corner drills, usually. If I have footwork like a corner, then when I make that transition to safety or nickel, I’ll still have good footwork. Because that’s a harder transition to make—well, easier transition to make from corner to safety. So I do all corner drills and at certain times I’ll go and do safety drills just to make sure that my skills are solid in those positions. For example, when I’m doing my corner drills I want to make sure I’m doing my cutting drills, and breaking drills, and opening my hips up.
Myles, for linebacker?
Myles: Yeah, similar to what he’s doing. Probably footwork more than anything, but just linebacker drills, shuffling, being able to change direction, just kind of getting that conditioning; just not being exhausted. That’s really the main thing, getting to the point where you can fight through fatigue. Just really trying to get the footwork and get into football shape.
What are some of your favorite lifts to do in the gym?
Jalen: I love doing explosive moves, so power cleans, clean pulls, and snatches, something like that.
Myles: Me, I like squats; a lot of people don’t like squats but I like squatting. I feel it’s good for a linebacker because you have to hit lineman that are bigger than you. I’ve learned to fall in love with the bench press just getting ready for the combine. Attacking the weight room is essential in football, you have to be strong. Especially moving to this next level when you’re going up against grown men so you better learn to use the weight room at some point.
Both of you are so well known for your versatility and you could play other positions if you wanted to, what was it that made you settle into your positions?
Jalen: To be honest, for me, I haven’t settled yet; each year I was in college I played a different position. And sometimes each week during the season I played a different position. I haven’t really settled at all. And I embrace that. I feel that I can go into an NFL organization and do the same thing. It’s hard for other teams to game plan on you if they don’t know what position you’ll be playing this week. This week you might play corner, you might play safety, you might play nickel—I embrace that. So I haven’t really settled into one position. If you ask me what position I am, I’ll tell you that I’m a defensive back. If you ask me to be specific, then I’ll tell you I’m a corner who can play safety, and who can play nickel. It just depends, but I definitely embrace it.
Myles: Yeah, I say similar to that, I mean, we both have that limitless mindset. You don’t want to put yourself in a box. You want to look at it as a challenge; no challenge is too great for me. You worked hard and put yourself in the right position to do this kind of stuff. Like he said, if I had to categorize myself, I’d say linebacker. But some teams will look at me as safety; some teams will look at me as other positions. You just gotta have that limitless mindset. You keep the spirit; keep working hard and anything is possible.
What were some of your most memorable experiences from college and what are you going to miss the most about that?
Jalen: For me, 100% winning the National Championship. That’s about the biggest college memory and something I’ll never forget of course. I’ll miss a lot of things but mostly the people I’ve been surrounded with, the support and all the fans, and what it prepared me for, but when I move to the next step in my life I’ll embrace it and not look back. I’ve kind of moved on in my life now and I’m ready to embrace it.
Myles: I’d say beating USC—playing for UCLA, it’s like the main objective to beat USC. It’s been a fun experience playing ball games, being with your team, being with your brothers and just kind of developing that bond with guys that you know all across the country that you would never meet if you weren’t playing college football. Playing in the Rose Bowl—it’s a great venue; it’s a great place to play. Like he said, you always have your time but it’s time to go. We’re very appreciative of the support we received, but at the same time, we have to take our talents to the next level.