After an impressive Senior Bowl MVP performance, Mardy Gilyard seems to be running away from his competition in the NFL Draft at the wide receiver position. (Editors note: this was easily the most fun we’ve ever had interviewing an NFL Draft prospect.)
When asked to describe the best attributes of his game, Gilyard stated, “I would say the best aspect of my game is the combination of my speed and catching the ball in game situations. I try my hardest to pluck the ball out of the air, and worry about defenders afterward.”
According to Mardy, he owes a lot of his skill to the mentoring of a certain Bengals wide receiver, especially his ability to eat up the cushion of an opposing cornerback. “Ochocinco man, I’ve only played wide receiver since 2007. Ocho said to really give it to them that first 10 yards… I focus myself, stay low, try to disguise the routes, keep the routes looking the same. I typically catch the db’s wondering.”
Gilyard feels like his interview with the Patriots at the Senior Bowl went very well. “Everyone asked the character questions… The Patriots wanted to know how I’d feel in between 2 big cities-how I would fare in a small city. It’s no problem. I’m from a small city, we’ve got like two streetlights. If they’re going to spend money, they want a nice guy, not some knucklehead.”
Coach Belichick has a saying that, “Some players practice well and play poorly, while others practice poorly and play well.” Gilyard puts himself in the 2nd category and says his coaches would too. “They say, we might not like you on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday Mardy, but Saturday. Ooooooh-woo. They say I’m a gamer.”
Part of the reason that interview went so well was Gilyard’s acumen in the film room. He broke down some of he pre-snap reads that he went through at Cincinnati.
“We ran lots of conversion routes, had some pre-snap reads. Ochocino would ask me ‘What did you see out there?’, looking for little tendencies. I’d see if the safety is on or off the hash… look at foot placement to see if their tipping Cover 2. Pre-snap, I’m looking at my triangle, running film through my head.” Gilyard is a true film rat, and unless you are prepared, he will talk film until he runs out of breath.
Gilyard’s description of running a kick back literally had us alternating between being enthralled and rolling in laughter. “I’ve got to shoot my gun, stick my foot and get vertical, before the defenders shoot their gun. I scan the field, left to right real quick, maybe 1 second. Then I’ve got to get vertical. I lean, put that foot in the ground, and make that cut. Pretty soon I’m up on that kicker. They can’t tackle, you can’t even tell some of them are wearing pads. I’m the youngest of 10 kids, 8 brothers and a sister who is tough as a bulldog. I’ve been running from people my whole life. I’m just off to the races.” Gilyard has taken back four kicks in his college career.
When asked if there was a cornerback in the draft this year that he didn’t want to play against, Gilyard passed, stating, “I’m confident in my skills, I’m not a fearful person.”
There is one person that Gilyard is gunning for: Todd McShay. The ESPN NFL Draft “expert” has consistently been hard on Gilyard, saying he is a 4.55 guy. “Todd McShay is my motivation every day… I will run in the low to mid 4.4′s.”
He is going to need that speed, with nine brothers and sisters, plus 300+ combine attendees running after him. That’s okay though, Mardy’s used to it, that is home.
Want to hear more from Mardy Gilyard about the 2010 NFL Draft? Check out his Twitter feed here – @mardygilyard
Tags: Prospect Interview