With so many teams in the NFL switching to a 3-4 defense, the pass-rushing outside linebackers have become very valuable.
One of those prospects this year, is Clemson’s Ricky Sapp. He has made a name for himself, finishing his career with 16 sacks and 54 quarterback pressures.
Now he is using the evaluation process to make a case for why he’s a first-round pick. With the defensive end, rush-linebacker hybrids in such high demand, Sapp may very well find himself in the first-round.
With his athletic ability and pass rushing talent, there’s no stopping his potential.
He’s battled back from a knee injury, and is ready to show all scouts and the rest of the NFL that it is a non-issue.
Sapp took some time out to answer a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
BW: The draft is right around the corner. What’s going on in your head? What emotions?
RS: I'm just excited and thankful that God has brought me so far. I’m just enjoying the process right now.
BW: How are you preparing for the NFL?
RS: Well, I’m just learning as much as I can from players that are already in the NFL, and I’m working out everyday to get stronger.
BW: How do you feel you’ve done in the evaluation process of the NFL scouts?
RS: I think I did great. Early before the combine, a lot of people didn’t know me and didn’t know how my knee was doing. I think I answered all those questions about me and my knee.
BW: I’ve seen mock drafts that have you anywhere from the first to the third rounds. Where do you think you’ll end up?
RS: Well, I really don’t know. I just want to get drafted.
BW: What aspect of the game are you working on most in order to make the transition from college to the pros?
RS: I really have been just working on things like getting stronger and working on different drills.
BW: Do you feel you’re a better fit as a 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker?
RS: Well, that question has been asked so many times. I think at the end of the day, I just want to play ball. I played defensive end all my life, but I also like playing linebacker. So, I think I would be good in both.
BW: Which teams have shown a peaked interest in you?
RS: Well, I think the Eagles have shown the most interest at this point.
BW: What goes through your mind when you get by the lineman, and you have a clear path to the quarterback?
RS: Kill that quarterback…
BW: What positions have you played throughout your football career? Which was your favorite?
RS: Well, in high school, I played tight end, and I returned kickoffs. I played defensive end all my life. I loved returning kickoffs.
BW: What position would you like to play, offense or defense?
RS: Defensive end or linebacker.
BW: If you had the choice to play for any team, which would it be?
RS: Dallas Cowboys.
BW: What about coach, past or present?
RS: The Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick.
BW: You got to play in one of the best college football atmospheres throughout college. How do you think that will help as you move to the pros and that atmosphere?
RS: I know in the NFL you play in front of big crowds and with a lot of noise. Clemson fans have really prepared me for that.
BW: What is your most memorable football moment at any level of the game?
RS: Game against Virginia when we won the conference.
BW: What is Ricky Sapp like off the field?
RS: Laid back. I like watching TV and just enjoying life.
BW: What words of advice would you give to people trying to follow their dreams the same way you are?
RS: Always believe in yourself and never, ever, ever stop working hard to get to your dreams. Never get tired of doing the right thing. Always show respect, because it will take you a long way.
I really want to thank Sapp for giving me the opportunity to interview him. I wish him nothing but the best for his career.