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[size=24px][/size]Quarterback Draft Prospect Q&A
Date: Apr 25, 2006
The Vikings talked with a projected second-day draft prospect at quarterback during the NFL Combine. In this exclusive interview, find out more about this athlete with an interesting hobby and whose best sport wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always football but whose college team ran a scheme similar to the West Coast offense.
There are quarterbacks available in this year's draft beyond the big three. And one of the most interesting is Eastern Washington's Erik Meyer, who could make someone a very good pick on the second day of the draft. The winner of the 2005 Walter Payton Award as the top player in Division I-AA, Meyer was a high school phenom as a baseball pitcher thanks to a 95 mph fastball. He talks about his decision to go with football instead, as well as his unique hobby, in this exclusive interview.
Meyer said he had an interview with the Vikings at the NFL Combine in late February but hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had contact with them since.
Q: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not long until the draft. Is this a nerve-racking time for you?
A: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really nerve-racking, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely an exciting time right now and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just really anxious to get this process on the way.
Q: Does the fact that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not expected be drafted early make it easier or tougher for you?
A: Coming from Division I-AA, you basically work that much harder. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been the underdog. Going to the combine, I was the underdog. The past three or four months, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just been working out every day and really working hard for this opportunity, and then when it comes up to make sure IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m ready for it.
Q: One NFL quarterback you have been compared to is the RamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Marc Bulger. Do you see any similarities between the two of you?
A: Yeah, a little bit. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good quarterback and he makes good reads, makes good decisions and he can move a little bit, too. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my style of play, too, is that a play with me is never over. If the pocket or something breaks down, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m always looking to make a play and to get positive yards out of anything.
Q: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been suggested your style makes you a better fit for the West Coast offense. True?
A: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. Just coming from Eastern Washington, we kind of played in the West Coast. We threw the ball a lot. We controlled the ball, controlled the clock. We definitely took our shots, though, when they came up. But, yeah, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the kind of style we played at Eastern.
Q: Are you one of those guys who will use being drafted late as motivation to prove everybody wrong?
A: Kind of, I guess you could say that. Like I said, coming from a I-AA school, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got more to prove. People say the talent level is not as good as Division I, but we played against Division I schools and at this level there is a lot of talent and coming from a D I-AA I wanted to showcase my talent and let people out there know that there is a lot of talent at this level.
Q: The one knock on you has been your lack of size (about 6-1, 210). Fair or unfair?
A: ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely something IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been working on. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been working on getting bigger and stronger, putting some weight on. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see that as a negative. All thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s done for me is make me work that much harder.
Q: Given the fact you were so much more highly touted and recruited as a baseball pitcher than a high school quarterback, why did you decide to go the football route?
A: That was definitely a tough decision in my life coming out of high school. I had money in front of me, or take a scholarship. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a football guy. I love baseball, but, I mean, football is just my love. I have so much passion for it. I could do without playing baseball, but I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do without playing football.
Q: Where did that passion for football come from?
A: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty much always been the case. I started baseball when I was around 5, I started football around when I was 7, and it was just something about football that I just loved that much more. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the competitiveness, the team sport, just the adrenaline. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just a lot of things that combined makes me love football.
Q: Would you agree with the assessment you were a better high school pitcher than quarterback?
A: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if I could say that. The only thing about that was I only played my senior year of football. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start my junior year, but my senior year I had a great year, had really good stats and everything. In baseball, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get recruited that much after my junior year; I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw that hard. Then coming into my senior year, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know, I got a little bit bigger and stronger and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when I started really throwing the ball hard. I felt my senior year in football was just as good as my senior year in baseball.
Q: You have a rather unique hobby, that of Polynesian dancing. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still doing it?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. When I go back for the draft in a couple of weekends, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the LaMirada (Calif.) carnival and my momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s group always dances there, and me and couple of my buddies down there will be dancing and drumming. Looking forward to it.
Q: How good a Polynesian dancer are you?
A: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been doing it since I was 3 years old, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been doing it for 20 years now, so I figure IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty good at it.
Q: Do you do the type of dancing where you twirl the flaming baton?
A: Nah, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that. I always wanted to, but my dad would never let me because he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want me to get hurt, to get burned or anything. I just stuck to the Tahitian dancing, the dances from like Samoa, New Zealand, all those types of dances.
Q: Did you ever catch some flak from your teammates about your dancing?
A: Yeah, actually, my first year I started, my sophomore year, I guess the newspaper writer called my mom, was trying to guess to bunch of inside things about me and she kind of said I was a Polynesian dancer. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even know if she said it, and then everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reading the newspaper on the team and everyone just starts laughing at me and talking, talking crap about it, making fun of me and stuff. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really care because I love doing it, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun.
Q: You do know your new NFL teammates most likely will make you do that dance in training camp, right?
A: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care what they make me do. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be doing it all.
Q: Is baseball still an option for you should things not work out in football, or are you pretty much done with baseball?
A: I pretty much might be done. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going football all the way and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m looking for the NFL, and if for some reason that wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m still looking to play football, if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Canadian league, whatever. But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m definitely going football all the way.
Q: What teams have you visited or have come to Washington to visit you?
A: Between the combine and the Pro Day, I probably talked to about over 20 teams. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about 10 teams on Pro Day watching, and a couple of other teams showed up a week, two weeks after to watch us work out. I talked to about 20 teams.
Q: Any team in particular show more interest?
A: I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. I did a Pittsburgh radio interview just last week, just from talking to the team, I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know.
Q: What are you draft-day plans?
A: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be back down in California for the weekend, spending it with my family.
Q: Do you plan on watching the draft from the start?
A: Yep, I will. This year means a little more and I know a lot of guys in the draft this year, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just kind of anxious to see where those guys end up, too. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be watching it from the first pick to the last pick.
Q: Any ballpark idea where youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll go?
A: I have no idea. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see, though. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just excited to see where it happens and where I end up.
Q: You favorite target in college, Erick Kimble, also will be in the draft. Any thoughts on where he might be drafted?
A: From what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard late round. But I know with the type of player he is, all he needs to do is to get in a minicamp and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to make a team. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the most spectacular athletes IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever been around. To be playing with him on Saturdays and the things he did every Saturday was absolutely amazing.