How have the first few practices been for you?
“It’s just been wonderful. Learning the playbook, out there having fun, and doing what I love to do. It’s been good.”
How has the adjustment been?
“It has not been bad at all, actually. It’s similar to my offense back in school, so learning the plays is coming quickly.”
How excited are you to be playing in this style of offense?
“I’m beyond excited. Like I said, it’s the same as my offense back in college. I’m excited to be able to blow the top off and all those kinds of things.”
Did you run the ball much at Oregon State?
“Yes sir I did. We had a lot of fly sweeps and a lot of end-arounds, so I have familiarity in that background.”
You know the weather is not like this all the time, right?
“No it’s not. I heard it’s a little hotter than this (laughter).”
How much have you talked to Mike Riley since being drafted? He’s got a connection to New Orleans.
“He gave me a call right after the draft. We talked then, but after that we haven’t talked since. I go back to Corvallis on Sunday, and I’m pretty sure we will meet and kick back and talk about some things.”
Have you talked to Drew Brees at all since being drafted?
“Actually he texted me the night of the draft, so that was the only time I was able to talk to him. I haven’t met him yet in person.”
What did he say?
“Just (that he was) excited to have me on here and welcome me aboard, just like the other guys did. I’m excited to be able to play with a potential Hall of Fame quarterback like that, smart and obviously real good. I’m excited to play with him.”
How much does your versatility help you out on the field?
“I think it’s a lot. Obviously I’m not the biggest receiver out there, but being versatile and what I bring to the game, I’m pretty sure is one of the main reasons they drafted me.”
How important are these five practices, considering that you won’t be back until the last week of OTAs?
“Very important, to show that I can get comfortable with the playbook, I can pick up on things easily, and I can study. These five practices are extremely important to me.”
You said on draft night that you had a hunch the Saints would take you. That seemed very telling about this being a good fit for you and the team thinking you would be a good fit.
“Yeah, no doubt. When Coach Payton called that night and talked about some of the things we talked about, and how excited he was to use me in this offense. When I went back and studied this offense, it’s very similar to my offense back at school. I’m just excited to be in a fit like this and I’m just learning as I go.”
In what ways is this offense similar to the one you ran in college?
“Our formations. Some of our play-calling, the terms are exactly the same. Some of it is a little different, but as far as where to line up at, it’s pretty much the same.”
Did they express a need for you to be involved in the return game on special teams?
“Of course. You’ve got to come in here as a rookie and expect that you’re going to play in the special teams game. I want to. They’re pushing for that, and I’m also pushing for that for myself.”
Do you expect to carry a couple of helmets?
“Yeah you know how it is. You’re a rookie and you have to do some of those things, pay for some of the tabs. I’m excited. I’m just blessed to be here, and it’s a good problem to have, I guess you could say.”
Was there a team in college that presented a problem to you with press coverage? Do you see that being a problem at this next level, where everybody is bigger, faster and stronger?
“No and no. I feel like, for me being not the biggest, my quickness is most corners’ nemesis. When they’re trying to press me, I’ve got to use my special abilities, and that’s being quick coming off the line and going fast.”
What is it about Sean Payton that really excites you?
“The mind that he has for this game and this offense, his coaching ability, how creative he is in putting guys in a position to succeed in this offense is just very exciting as a receiver.”
Coach Payton likes to cluster guys, and you could be clustered in the slot with Jimmy Graham…
“That’d be fun.”
You could have Kenny Stills out wide on one side, Marques Colston on the other. Have you had a chance to think about that?
“I’ve thought about it. But, once again, I come in here and do as I’m told right now. For those things, they’ll come later. If not, then that’s alright. We’re in the beginning stages right now with basics and the playbook, so I’m just learning those things.”
Do you see yourself signing a contract soon?
“Yes. There shouldn’t be that many problems going on right now, so I anticipate that. We’ll see.”
What have these first few days been like for you?
“I mean, (it’s) fun obviously to be back playing. At the same time, it’s a learning stage right now. But you know, out there making plays with the offense and having fun meeting new teammates. It’s a new starting journey to my life.”
How are you approaching this transition?
“I’m just approaching it how everyone else would. I’m coming in here full-go. I’m coming here to compete for a starting spot, coming here to make plays, but at the same time, be a great teammate.”
Is it going to be interesting going back to class as a first round NFL draft pick?
“Yeah, well that’s why I keep it online…so I can stay away from those problems, I guess you could say (laughter).”
How much interaction have you had with the fans, either in person or social media?
“Twitter and social media, a lot of interaction going on. A lot of people are just welcoming me to the Who Dat Nation. I’m very proud to be able to say that I’m a Saint. That’s most of the interaction. I haven’t seen anyone around town. A couple in the airport, but that’s about it.”
On draft night you said you have kept up with the Saints offense, just being a football fan. Obviously you’re going to say that this is the team you wanted to come to. But, for a guy with your skill set, does this rank among top offenses, especially as far as creativity goes?
“Honestly, easy. Easily one of the top offenses. Like you said, creativity. You look at Drew Brees’s stats, he’s getting the ball to all of his receivers – the backfield, Kenny (Stills), Jimmy (Graham), (Marques) Colston…he’s getting the ball to everyone. As a receiver when you see that (and) you get excited.”
You feel that if you’re open, you’ll get the ball because of how Drew distributes?
And you expect to get open?
“Yeah, no doubt about it. They drafted me for a reason, so I’ve got to prove them right now.”
Were you surprised that you went as far down in the first round as you did?
“To be honest, I knew I was going to be in the first round somewhere. There was talk of (pick) 18, and a little earlier than that, but honestly I feel like out of all the receivers I got the best fit. They traded down from 27th to 20th, a playoff contending team. A Super Bowl, that’s what we’re chasing, so I’m actually real excited to be here.”
It seems like you have a pretty good understanding of what’s expected of a first round pick, especially for this team.
“No doubt. They wouldn’t have drafted me if they didn’t feel like I could come in and make an immediate impact. I know that, and that’s what I’m putting on my shoulders and I’m going to continue to work for that.”
Do you enjoy special teams?
“Yeah. I enjoy it, and I’m getting better at it. It’s something I want to do. Coach (Payton) talked about it, that rookies come in here and are expected to play special teams, and that’s what I’m expecting to do.”
When you say that, you mean?
“Kick off, punt, punt return, you name it. Rookies come in here, you’ve got to be ready to go tackle somebody or catch a punt or catch a return.”