Prior to this year’s NFL Draft, we were fortunate enough to catch up with former University of Connecticut linebacker and NFL Draft prospect Yawin Smallwood regarding his UConn career and his expectations heading into draft weekend.
Despite falling down to the 7th round (253rd overall pick), Smallwood plans to continue to do what he’s been doing and to make an impact as a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons. Once again, we were able to catch up with the 22-year old linebacker regarding his expectations heading into training camp and the 2014 season.
All-Out Blitz: What was the feeling of being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in round 7 like?
Yawin Smallwood: I’ve waited for that feeling since the age of seven. I’m blessed that I had the opportunity to and thank god, I know there’s many that wish they had this opportunity .
AOB: Was it difficult to slide in the draft when many had you as a top-5 ILB prospect?
Smallwood: Very difficult, especially having friends and family asking you why and you don’t know for yourself, but things don’t always go your way. I’m blessed that I’m a Falcon and will continue doing the things that got me to this point.
AOB: How do you feel you can make an impact with the Falcons?
Smallwood: I just want to bring another special guy to the roster and that starts with special teams. Hopefully I can make an impact in that phase of the game and it will carry over on defense.
AOB: Will you go out and try to prove to the teams who passed on you that they made a mistake?
Smallwood: The draft is over. I’m not really concerned about any other teams, just going to do what I’ve always done: work hard, be accountable on and off the field and produce when I’m in the game and give it everything I’ve got.
AOB: What are you looking forward to the most come training camp and preseason?
Smallwood: Just coming out here and competing, getting better each day, learning new techniques and working on my craft so that I’m ready when my opportunity comes.
AOB: What can we expect from Yawin Smallwood in his rookie season?
Smallwood: To go out and compete and play at a high level at whatever phase of the game I’m in, whether that’s defense or special teams.
Though it’s like that Smallwood will have to make the team through great special teams play––just like most other sixth and seventh rounders––Smallwood still has a great shot at making an impact on defense for a team that is thin at the linebacker position. Though he was a very late seventh round pick last weekend, you can expect to see Yawin Smallwood’s name in the Falcons’ lineup for years to come.
« Top 10 Undrafted Free Agents & Who Signed Them Cleveland Improves Passing Game: Signs WRs Austin & Bennett »