Here are a few of my favorite quotes and stories from NFL Draft prospects during Wednesday’s media availability for quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers.
Matt Corral has the Manning seal of approval
“My relationship with Eli, I actually hang out with his family quite a bit. Toward the beginning of my career at Ole Miss and toward the end when Arch was visiting. I was around the family, I was around Cooper a lot,” Corral said. “The time I had that the school recorded us, that was a surprise. I had no idea Eli was going to be there. That took me by surprise. It was cool to be around a legend like that.”
Matt Corral and I getting ready to coach them up at the MPA today. How about this kid in the background with no shirt photobombing my picture. pic.twitter.com/1lFPWqDgo9— Eli Manning (@EliManning) July 16, 2021
Corral, incidentally, met informally with the Giants this week. He said that “went really well.”
The first QB drafted will be ...
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett says it should be him:
“I do (think I should be first). And I think knowing how to win is key. That’s the number one thing at this position. And all my hard work over the years culminated in that last season. It wasn’t an overnight thing. I didn’t wake up and all that fell into my lap. It was years and years of hard work with my teammates and coaches. We went out there and had the season we all expected to have.”
Malik Willis of Liberty believes he should be QB1:
“I think so, but I don’t make those decisions. I hate that for me,” Willis said. “In my opinion, I just think it’s my willingness to learn. My willingness to try to be great and the physical tools I’ve been blessed with. And my work ethic.”
Jahan Dotson’s football therapy
Most people like to find something relaxing to take their mind off their job. For Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson, catching the football is his therapy.
“I feel like as a wide receiver, your No. 1 one job is to catch the ball, so you should always do that. But yeah, like I said, catching the football is pretty much therapeutic to me. I’m doing it any any possible chance I can get, whether it’s laying in my bed at night or catching the JUGS Machine. So catching the football has never been a difficult challenge to me,” Dotson said Wednesday at the Combine.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I was going to the park with my cousin playing playing catch at about 4 years old. If I didn’t catch the ball, I was doing push-ups. So pretty much I’ve been catching football all my life and it’s kind of like a stress reliever. It’s something I’m always doing.”
Drake London’s basketball skills
Drake London averaged 29.2 points per game as a high school senior, and was good enough that he played basketball for USC during his freshman season. He has chosen football, but his NBA dream isn’t completely extinguished.
“It’s still out there,” he said laughing. “It’s still out there, so who knows? Definitely focused on this (football) right now.”
Asked for his best move on the basketball court, London said “my bag’s pretty deep.”
That background helps the 6-foot-5, 210-pound USC wide receiver, who is occasionally mocked to the Giants in the top 10, on contested catches.
“Basketball has helped me in every way possible and I was blessed that I was able to play both sports as long as I possibly can. And it’s definitely helped me transition into football,” London said. “It’s (catching the ball) just like getting a rebound to me. When the ball is in the air, I’m gonna go get it.”
George Pickens thinking like a first-rounder
If not for a torn ACL that caused him to miss most of the 2021 season, Georgia wide receiver George Pickens might have been a first-round draft pick.
“I feel like it (the injury) set me back in other teams’ minds, because everybody knows how serious the ACL is. Odell (Beckham) had it. It’s a really critical part of the body. But in terms of me personally, it didn’t set me back at all. I still have a first-round mentality,” Pickens said.
“I really want teams to just see the person who I am because the type of play style I am and how I am on the field is two different people than the type of person I am right now. I play with a chip on my shoulder and that’s how I’ve always been, that’s how I’m always gonna be.”
“I’m Skylar Thompson”
You might not know who Skylar Thompson. He played quarterback for Kansas State and was one of the players invited to the Combine. He is likely a Day 3 pick, which tells us he is probably destined for a career as a second- or third-stringer. If he makes the NFL at all.
Thompson, though, doesn’t lack for belief in himself.
“Quite honestly there’s not one single quarterback that I can point out that I modeled my game after. I really, first and foremost, I’m Skylar Thompson, you know? I understand I got to be myself and play to my strengths and what I’m good at and all that kind of stuff,” Thompson said. “But also there’s so much good quarterback play in the league right now. I love watching good quarterback play. Just taking bits and pieces of things that I like or character-trait-wise that fits my mold. Just being able to apply that to my game. My leadership style, whatever the case may be. But yeah, like I said, most importantly is just understanding that I’m Skylar. Not trying to be something I’m not. Being true to myself and what my strengths are and allowing that to carry over in the game and whatnot.”