April 28, 2012
NEW YORK CITY - Six former Cal players were chosen in the 2012 NFL Draft that concluded Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The six draft selections tied for the second-most ever by Cal, who also had six players picked in both the 1977 and 2008 drafts. A school-record 10 Cal players were chosen in 1952.
Offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland Browns - No. 37 overall) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (Philadelphia Eagles - No. 46 overall) were selected in the second round on Friday, followed by punter Bryan Anger (Jacksonville Jaguars - No. 70 overall) in the third round.
Marvin Jones (Cincinnati Bengals - No. 166 overall) was Cal's first player selected Saturday when he was taken in the fifth round. D.J. Campbell (Carolina Panthers - No. 216 overall) and Trevor Guyton (Minnesota Vikings - No. 219 overall) were picked in Saturday's seventh round.
No Cal players were taken in the first round Thursday on the draft's opening day. All six addressed the media via teleconference calls to talk about their draft selections and following are selected comments of what they had to say.
On if he thought he'd be a Jacksonville Jaguar
"I honestly had no clue what was going to happen. There were a handful of teams that were possible for me. I hit it off well with the Jacksonville coach when he came out for a workout. I really had no clue what was going to happen. Punters and kickers can get taken at any time. I really had no idea."
On his thoughts about playing in Jacksonville
"I'm excited to be a Jaguar. I look forward to going in and working for the spot. I have [former Cal teammate] Tyson Alualu out there. I've heard nothing but good things about the organization. So I definitely am proud to be part of it now."
On if he knew current Jaguars' punter and former Cal punter Nick Harris
"Yeah, I used to punt with Nick during my freshman and sophomore years. When he was playing with Detroit, he would come back during the offseason and work with me. So, I'm close with Nick."
On his reaction when he got the call
"I went kind of numb for a second. I got a call a couple picks before it and they asked me a couple questions and then said `congrats, we're going to take you with the next pick.' So my heart started racing a little bit. It finally came true. It's been a long process, and the process has been fun, but I was definitely ready to figure out where I was going. So it was nice."
On his draft party
"There was no draft party. It got blown up, took my words and manipulated them to something I didn't say. It's just a get together with close friends and family, nothing different than anybody else would do. We're still having people over to celebrate graduation, getting picked up here and everything I've gone through. Unfortunately, that story got tweaked into something I didn't say."
On his role with the team
"They haven't said anything yet; I've just briefly spoken with the coaches. I think in any situation I'll have to compete. I'm working out hard now and looking forward to going in and taking over the spot."
On being selected by Carolina
"I'm honored to be picked by the Panthers. They're a fairly young franchise, but they're up-and-coming and on the rise. They've had success in the past going to the Super Bowl, and they have plenty of good players on their team. I'm just really excited about getting a chance to go and play there."
On not being invited to the 2012 NFL Combine
"Initially, it was kind of a big deal. I kind of took it to heart that I didn't get invited to the combine, because I felt like I did the things necessary to get invited. But after a while I kind of sat back and noticed that a lot of other guys didn't get invited to the combine, either. But, I did use it as fuel to perform even better. I just saw it as an opportunity that I got that time to really prepare and to show out. Not going to combine had a little bit to do with it, but I look at it as having more time to prepare."
On the transition of going from starting only during his senior season at Cal to being an NFL draftee
"It wasn't really that big of a transition for me, even though I was placed with a lot more responsibility with being one of the leaders on the defense and being a focal point on the defense [as a senior]. But it just wasn't that different. I still had my same leadership role even though I wasn't the starter my first three years. I was still very vocal with all the players no matter whether I was a freshman, junior or senior. The leadership aspect of it wasn't really a big transition, it was more just having to study the plays more and really honing in on what responsibilities I had because I had a few more ... It wasn't that much of a big deal for me."
On Cal defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose
"Coach Ambrose really brought a players' mentality to our defensive backs group. With him being a former NFL player and fairly young just retiring less than 10 years ago, he knows the game. He knows how to act in certain conditions. He knows how we should carry ourselves. He really helped me off the field, not just talking about football but about being a man just talking about life in general. We really built a connection and from that, when he would coach us on the field we had nothing but respect for him. That's when guys start to really play for him. I had a great relationship with him and not to knock anybody else, but I wish I had more time with coach Ambrose."
On his experience the day he was drafted
"I'm actually out here in Vegas now at home with all my family, pretty much it's everyone who's supported me from day one - all my Pop Warner games, high school and college are here. I have some family from out of town that are here and visiting, and it just so happened that the draft was the same weekend. The whole process is really for them. I'm not much of a big partier, not one for much of a celebration or anything like that. It's for them and supporting me over the years, not so much for my success but the support of my family over the years."
On how the Panthers informed him of their selection
"I talked to one of the coaches probably late sixth round. I got a call and he was saying that they had two picks left in the draft and they were really trying to see what they needed and who they could get, and that they were really interested in me, but that if it didn't work out that they wanted me to come in as a free agent. They took a punter because they had no punters on the roster. I told them that I'm not a free agency guy, I'm a draftable person. Come the seventh round I get the phone call and they say `We're going to take you.' I said are you sure? You're serious? You're not playing? They said they were going to take me right now. When it came across the screen then it was official."
On preferring to drafted rather than being an undrafted free agent
"It just comes down to me being really confident in my abilities as a football player. I honestly and wholeheartedly believe that I'm a draftable player. I think I'm above free agency. That's no disrespect to anyone at all that may be a free agent or may not have gotten drafted, but I just feel that I'm that caliber of a player."
On being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings
"It's a dream come true. I've spoken with the Vikings a lot and they run a 3-4 defense, so it's a place that I can go, be pretty comfortable in and learn from some great veterans like Jared Allen. I'm just so excited to have the opportunity to go out there and play football."
On being the third Cal defensive lineman drafted in the last three years
"It shows that we work hard, we're dedicated, we make plays and we produce. I'm happy to be in the same group as Tyson [Alualu], Cam [Jordan] and [Ernest] Owusu too, and everybody else who's been before me. It's a legacy that we're building here."
On when he heard he might be drafted
"I was planning on going a little bit higher, but I didn't know a certain spot by any means. I was told that I could go anywhere all over the draft pretty much. I knew from the start that wherever it was, I was going to have to go and prove myself and make sure I made the team anyway."
On how much communication he had with the Vikings previously
"I didn't really have a great feeling until they drafted me. I did know that they had been looking at me and they liked the way I played. It just depended on when they were going to take me, and luckily they did. I'm happy for that."
On his performance at the NFL Combine and thereafter
"I don't really know if it hurt me or didn't hurt me. I did my best. I didn't have any wowing numbers or anything like that, but I didn't disappoint myself either. The deciding factor when getting drafted is the game tape, and I'm definitely not disappointed with that. I was going into the combine thinking, `I'll do my best and whatever happens, happens. I'll get picked by a team that likes the way I play.'"
On if he visited Minnesota prior to the draft
"No, this will be the first time I actually meet with them in Minnesota, so I'm pretty excited."
On what happens next
"I'll be doing minicamps. I'll come back to Berkeley for graduation, and then after that, I'll be over there permanently."
On what being in the NFL means to him personally
"My dreams are on their way to becoming true. I've thought about this my whole life. It's finally fulfilled itself today. I'm so glad I had a chance to be with most of my family, come back home to where it all began here. I'm just relishing in the moment right now. I've done a lot of work to get to this point and I'm going to have to do a whole lot more work after this point. I want to do a lot more than just seeing what it looks like. I want to do this thing big. I'll be out there going back to work tomorrow."
On if he's spoken with any other defensive line draft picks about the process
"I've spoken with Tyson and Cam about it. It's hard. Everything you do at this level is hard. It's all about hard work and dedication. I'm going to be out there giving it my best, letting whatever happens, happens."
On playing with [Vikings' free agent] Ernest Owusu again
"I'm so excited. Owusu, from the start, has been one of my best friends. I'm so glad that we get to live this experience with each other. We're going to be able to help each other out when we need it, and look out for one another again. I'm really excited to work with him again."
On being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round
"The Bengals are obviously a great team and a team on the rise with all the great guys they have - the young talent like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, and their coaching staff with Marvin Lewis. It is also a similar system to what I come from at Cal. They run a West Coast offense, they go deep a lot. It's just a great situation that I'm going into. As far as where I was going to get drafted, I definitely thought I was going to go higher up in the second round where I was slated. But, it happened. It was a rollercoaster. It went up and down, my emotions and stuff like that. But ultimately I'm just happy I'm with the Bengals, and I'm ready to start this journey."
On the draft process
"The overall process has been great. It's been a long process. I had a chance to up my draft status a significant amount and I think I did that. At the end of the day I did slip three rounds past what I thought I was going to be picked, but there's a lot of variables. With the draft, you have got to come with a level head. There's a lot of times when people expect they're going to go high and something happens to where you get picked lower. But I don't want to relish on that. I just want to relish on the fact that I am in the league, and I am going to a team that I can come in and compete early. I have a great quarterback, great teammates and great coaches. The process has been great and this is a good way to end it."
On whether being drafted lower than he expected is incentive to prove himself
"That's all I do to try to be consistent, whether I'm on top or not I would want to prove myself just like I was undrafted. I'm highly self-motivated and I was going to do it anyway, but that does give me extra incentive to the people who passed up on me to basically tell them that they missed out on an opportunity. But, like I said, I'm not worried about any teams other than the team I'm on now, and I'm happy to be here."
On how much he talked to the Bengals during the draft process
"I rarely had any contact with the Bengals, but at the same time I knew that they were one of the teams that I wanted to play for. And I knew there was a good possibility that I would end up there ... I'm not going to say I knew, but I knew that they were one of the teams I could end up with and one of the teams I wanted to play for."
On knowing how to be both the top receiver and the second receiver on a team
"You have a Pro Bowler in A.J. Green - he's their number one receiver. I'm experienced both sides. I've experienced being No. 1 for a while, and then I've experienced being No. 2. So regardless of where I'm at, I just know I'm going to be a contributor. Whatever they want me to do, that's what I'm going to do, and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability to help the football team."
On who he talked to when he received the call from the Bengals
"Coach Lewis, he called me and he said `This is Marvin Lewis, we're going to take you with this pick,' and that he was excited. He put me on the phone with the rest of the coaching staff and they were pumped up. They're ready for me to come in and compete. The one thing I said is that it was kind of destined because his name is Marvin Lewis, and my name is Marvin Lewis Jones, so maybe it was destined."
MYCHAL KENDRICKS (courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)
On whether he had any sense that the Eagles were interested in him
"No, I knew they were interested a little bit, but I didn't know they were going to pick me up."
On how he knew they were interested in him a little bit
"I just know that they were talking about it and they brought me in for a formal meeting and that was it pretty much. That's it, I knew that they wanted to have a meeting with me at the [NFL] combine and from there, that was pretty much it."
On whether the team explained to him on where he might project at the linebacker position
"No, not at all."
On whether he feels like he has the tools to play either weakside or strongside
"Yeah, I can play anywhere I need to play. I feel like I'm versatile and I'm going to do what I need to do. It doesn't matter where I play, I'm up for the job."
On what position he played as a senior at California
"I played inside linebacker. In my last year I played inside linebacker."
On what his game is like and what he brings to the Eagles
"I have a lot of energy and I don't take plays off. I'm strong on the attack and I'm a great tackler, too."
On whether he has followed the Eagles
"I know that your cheesesteaks are pretty good."
On whether he is familiar with the team's defensive schemes
On how he knows that the cheesesteaks are good
"I have a friend from Philly."
On how his shoulder is and whether he had surgery on it
"Yeah, I had labrum surgery."
On whether he would be able to attend offseason camps
"Yeah, for sure, I'm fine. Everything's fine. I'm one hundred percent and ready to go."
On dealing with the criticism of him not being tall enough
"I just play big, that's all I do. I just play big and shut them up that way. It's never been an issue for me, so I don't know why it would be an issue for anyone else."
On whether he patterns his game after anyone in the NFL
"I did before, but now I'm an Eagle. I'm ready to play."
On whether he knows anyone on the team
"I know [linebacker Casey] Matthews."
On whether he knows fellow Cal alums CB Nnamdi Asomugha or WR DeSean Jackson
"I know Nnamdi and I know DeSean, but I don't know them [personally]. It's going to be good playing next to them. I'm so juiced. I'm juiced, man, I'm excited. It's going to be fun, oh my gosh."
On his thoughts when he first found out he was a Cleveland Brown
"It was really exciting. I've had a pretty good feeling about Cleveland throughout the process. I met with them, they came out to work me out, I went to their facility and all that stuff. It was definitely a cool thing. I was watching on ESPN and at the bottom, it said their pick was in and then I got the call. I had a hopeful feeling when I picked up the call and it came into fruition. I'm just excited for it."
On moving over to the right side
"I've played about 15 or so games at right tackle at Cal, and I actually played pretty much all of the Senior Bowl at right tackle, as well. It's something I've been preparing for, working on both sides, since the season has been over. When you have one of the best tackles in the NFL playing on the left side, they're obviously going to be looking more for the right. I think I'm ready for it. I feel pretty comfortable with it. It's something I've done before and done recently. It's something I've been working at."
On what comes next
"Either rookie camp or OTAs, but I'm not sure exactly what. I know I'll be getting a schedule and an itinerary soon, but I can't really comment exactly on that because I'm not completely sure yet."
On if he's spoken with Alex Mack yet
"Yeah. He sent me a text saying congrats and that he'll show me the best places to eat in Cleveland. We've kind of been in contact through the whole deal. I was able to see him recently, he was up at Cal and I was too for the spring game. I was able to talk to him directly. It's going to be very cool to be able to play with him again. I've spoken with him on and off throughout his pro career, so it will be a lot of fun."
On if he's spoken with his brother, Minnesota Viking Geoff Schwartz
"Yeah, he's actually in town. He came in town yesterday for the weekend. He's really excited, as well. It's kind of a whole family atmosphere down here in L.A., so that was really nice to see. Everyone's excited, not just me."
On the Cleveland offense, and his role
"At Cal, we run a little bit of everything. There are bits and pieces of our offense that will fit in their offense. They do a lot of the same basic structure, the run game and passing it, as well. Obviously, there's only so many ways to block a guy. There's going to be different terminology in terms of the play calling, but it will be the same old football at the end of the day. I'm not too worried about fitting in or style changes or anything like that."
On playing with Trent Richardson
"It's gonna be great. He was an animal at Alabama. We normally don't have too many backs like that at Cal, that big and that thick. It will be pretty awesome. I'm sure he'll make me look pretty good and I'll make him look pretty good, and we'll just go around helping the whole team."