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NFL Signees Talk About Future in the Pros




May 4, 2010

Justin Jefferies, offensive lineman

On how everything came together with San Diego ...

"I didn't really hear anything during the draft but I think it was 30 minutes after the draft, my agent contacted me.  I told him to handle it and get me into the best fit. He did a great job. They didn't draft any offensive linemen but they brought in four free agents that were offensive linem3n. It was good, 30 minutes after the draft I had a contract."

On if that is what you look for: a team that didn't draft any players at your position ...

"Yeah, I feel like you should go where you have the best fit and the best place for you to make it. My agent had a conversation about it and we decided that we did not want to go anywhere that had drafted an offensive lineman. Then they are going to want to keep them. San Diego didn't draft any so it was cool."

On the offensive line being a concern for them last year ...

"Yeah, they had some injuries so they were kind of thin at the offensive line position. My agent did a great job of getting me into the right spot."

On what his goals are going into minicamp this weekend ...

"The playbook is my goal. I am trying to get the playbook down and learn the terminology.  I want to try to size myself up physically and see what everyone is looking like and get acclimated to the speed of the game."

On not getting drafted and if now being able to sign somewhere lessens the sting of not being drafted ...

"Yeah, they were telling me that it is sometimes better to not get drafted in the last rounds because you can pick and choose where you want to go and what would be the best options for you. If a team was to draft you and then they drafted three other offensive linemen, then you might be sitting on the back burner a little bit. I think that it was the best thing for me and it worked out well. Now I have to show them what I have."


 

 

On what makes Joker Phillips a good head coach ...

"He is a great recruiter and the reason that I came here. He was my recruiter and one of the main reasons that I came here. He has a great football mind and he really knows what he is doing and that will only translate as he moves higher up."

Zipp Duncan, offensive lineman

On not being drafted but getting to pick where you go as a free agent ...

"Obviously it is disappointing because you work up to that point and hope to hear your name called but if you are a free agent then you get to pick your team. That means that the team is interested in you and feels that you are someone they want to work with. I was fortunate to catch on with the Eagles and their offensive line coach called me and said that he was excited about (how I moved) my feet. They didn't draft any offensive linemen. I think that it is an excellent opportunity and I am excited to be with the Eagles."

On if Philadelphia not drafting in offensive lineman made them attractive to him ...

"Definitely, any time you are a free agent you know that it is going to be a difficult road to try to make that roster.  Going into a situation that you know you are going to have the opportunity to go in there and fight for a position is the most attractive part about it."

On going to a winning franchise ...

"I think that any time you can join an organization that knows how to win and has been successful that is good for a young player. You are going to be surrounded by guys who know how to win and know how to work and they will try to make you as good as possible. That was also an attractive point as well. Going up there this weekend and meeting the guys, they know how to work hard and smart and they were there to help us if we had questions about the play book or technique."

On Trevard Lindley being with the Eagles as well ...

"It was good to have somebody there that you had played with for the last four years that you could talk to. We ended up eating a lot of meals together and talked about how our practices went. It helped to have someone there that you can lean on and talk to."

Alfonso Smith, running back

On the draft process ...

"It was a long, stressful weekend and there is a lot of stuff that goes through your head and you really don't know how it is all going to play out. You are just kind of hoping and praying that a team is going to take a chance on you. There is that chance that you might not get drafted and you just have to keep that in your head. That is what happened to me and a lot of other guys that had (good) draft grades. The good thing is that I did get a call during the seventh round from a couple of teams that were showing interest in me but they didn't have enough draft picks to do whatever they had wanted to do. A lot of teams wanted to bring me in as a free agent and that it what happened.

"With me choosing Arizona, and I had a few other options, was that I looked at the depth chart and the organizations and checking out how they bring guys in and how they cut them. I was looking at the best opportunity."

On finding the right fit ...

"Yeah, you are looking at everything from the bonus to how many guys they put on the practice squad to how many guys actually get a chance to make the 53 or if you are just there to be a camp body. You want to research those types of things so you can have the best opportunity. I think that I put myself in a good organization that is going to give me a good opportunity. At the same time, I feel that when I am on the field they are going to use me right."

On going to a winning franchise ...

"I think that plays into it and at the same time, those good franchises that are winning are doing something right. It is kind of folds out like that. If you are picking that right situation then usually it is going to be a good team because they are doing something right. As for Corey (Peters), he got drafted and that was a good thing but for me, Zipp (Duncan) and Justin (Jefferies) that was a big thing that you are looking at programs that are doing something right. You want a program that is going to take a guy that has some talent and make him better."

On playing special teams ...

"Yes, I definitely looked at that angle.  I know that I could play special teams with any team in the NFL but at the same time I do want to get on the field as a running back. I wanted the best situation for me to play running back, too. You cannot just be on the team to play special teams. You need to be on the depth chart at another position. I wanted my opportunity for special teams and also for tailback. I know that when I am on the field I am going to give it my all and right now I have to learn the playbook. That is the tough part right now for all the rookies."

Corey Peters, defensive tackle

On if he expected to go in the third round ...

"Actually, yeah I did. If it was not to Atlanta there were other teams that actually called but I was already on the phone with Atlanta."

On Atlanta being a team on the upswing ...

"Most definitely, having an opportunity to visit there as well as a few other places it was one of my favorite places. I think that it is a good opportunity and I like the coaching staff there. They seem really down to earth and good teachers. The players had nothing but good things to say so I am excited about the opportunity."

On the scheme that they run and what he likes about it ...

"They run a 4-3 and that is what we have been running here at Kentucky. I am pretty familiar with the scheme itself and I am excited to get down there and get started. I do feel that there is a good opportunity for me to go down there and compete and I know that the best player will play."

On getting a good feel when he visited teams...

"I think that everything went really well.  It is kind of hard to go through that process because teams don't want to show their hand or tell you really what they are thinking. You never really know who they like more or if they ever really like you. I got a good vibe (from Atlanta) and I am really excited to be a Falcon."

On his biggest challenge ...

"I don't know. That is going to come with time so I can't really answer that question. I think that the SEC has really prepared me as well as a college player can be prepared. I am not really worried about the speed of the game because I know that every rookie has to go through that same thing and I know that I have the ability to adjust to anything."

2014 National Signing Day Commonwealth Stadium