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Interview with Erasmus James (1 Viewer)


Mod in training
DraftBoardInsider.com: Last year at this time you were playing football for the Badgers and as a senior had your best season as a member of that team. You earned All–America honors from Associated Press, Walter Camp, and American Football Coaches Association and Football Writers Association of America. You also were named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. What did having a season like that mean to you?

Erasmus James: Well obviously it felt really good. I’ve always said that hard work pays off. Of course after the injury everyone told me I was not going to be able to play. I just wanted to prove them wrong. So I did everything I could … I worked as hard as I could in order to be where I was.

DBI: Once the college season was over most people don’t realize that’s when the work just begins for players like you gearing up for the combine. Who did you work out with and who helped you get ready for the combine and your NFL Pro Day?

EJ: I worked out at Athletes Performance out of Tempe, Arizona. There were actually a lot of guys – a lot of first round guys out there preparing for the draft.

DBI: Talk to us about what it was like in the off-season leading into your rookie year, and what was it like to go through the contract negotiations?

EJ: It was somewhat stressful because you know you want to get in camp, but at the same time you just want to get fair market for what you’re worth, once that position has been paid. You don’t want to be under that, you know? You want to be that or a little bit higher.

DBI: The Minnesota Vikings went through a lot of adversity this season with the loss of Daunte Culpepper and the boating incident. What was it like going through that as a player and did these incidents help bring this team closer together?

EJ: It definitely helped bring us closer together and as a rookie I think I’d rather that happen now then later on in my career. You’ve got to stay on your feet on and off the field. So I think it was better for me to go through that now then later on in my career and I think it definitely brought everyone together. I think we’re all communicating now. We all know that we have each others’ back, so that really helped us.

DBI: You happened to be the third defensive linemen in a row that the Vikings have drafted in the first round. What has it been like playing with players like Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, and Kenechi Udeze and how has it helped in your development as a player?

EJ: It’s been great because you know all of those guys have the talent and all of those guys are going to be out there working just as hard as you. You got to work harder to let those guys know you want to be there with them. You want to play with them. If you’re going to be on this d-line you got to step your game up. So, I’m really excited.

DBI: Talk to us if you will about the tendencies of NFL offensive linemen. What have you learned from day one to now about their tendencies and is it getting any easier?

EJ: Oh yea … it’s definitely easier. When you’re getting out of your stance and you see that back foot up on the offensive lineman you know it’s pass right away. Then you get on your “get off” and get on your horse and try to get them up field and get around that corner. Then on run you have to brace yourself …like if you know it’s a draw. There are just a lot of tendencies there.

DBI: Describe to us if you will what is it you find to be the hardest part in playing against tackles in the National Football League?

EJ: Well first off … it’s that everyone is good and they’re going to make you work because they’re getting paid just like you are. I think that’s the hardest thing … they’re going to come out there and they’re not going to give up. They’re going to keep playing till the last snap of the ball.

DBI: Has it sunk in yet for you Erasmus that you’re a starting defensive end in the National Football League?

EJ: Not really because I feel like I’ve been working really hard in practices to get that first start and I finally got it. I’m just really happy that I’m here. I haven’t really taken a step back but I just know that if I keep working hard that good things happen and it’s always happened when I’ve worked hard.

DBI: Finally Erasmus …coming into the National Football League … what goals did you set for yourself?

EJ: To be an NFL starter for one. I wanted to get myself prepared and set for the following year because I knew the first year was going to be a lot of learning. So there wasn’t a lot of goals this year but next year … I have a lot of lofty goals I’m definitely going to meet.
I'm getting the feeling that he is beating out Udeze for the top DE spot. Any opinions Reg?
He won't be beating out Udeze, he will be lining up opposite of him. James will be the RDE (lining up opposite the LT), while Udeze plays LDE until he gets hurt again. I am looking forward to Training Camp and hear some of the reports about James. Udeze said last year (mid 2005) that his rookie season was very frustrating, and that the game was starting to slow down for him. I am hoping the same thing holds true for James.

I'll keep the IDP board posted with various reports I hear. ;)

Thanks man. Grabbed Udeze way too early in Zealots last year and I've been regretting it ever since. Maybe he'll turn it around, but the more work Scott gets, the less likely that seems to be.


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