Today I present to you an interview with another one of the Saints 2011 NFL draft picks: third round selection cornerback Johnny Patrick. In Part One of our conversation below, Johnny and I discuss his college career and his draft day experience. Be sure to join us for Part Two of our interview featured later this afternoon.
A sincere thanks to Johnny for taking time out of his assuredly busy schedule to talk with all of us, the fans. I wish him the best of luck and health as soon as the season actually starts.
Dave Cariello: You grew up in Florida right in between Miami and Jacksonville. Which team were you a fan of growing up?
Johnny Patrick: I'm not really a big team fan, more of a player fan. Michael Vick and Devin Hester.
Dave: You transfered high schools was that move football related?
Johnny: Yes, definitely football related. At Deltona High School I wasn't getting as much attention as I thought I should be. When I transfered to Deland High School I got over 25 scholarship offers to Division I programs.
Dave: Yeah, I read that you received tons of offers from other schools so why Louisville over all those other schools.
Johnny: Well, Florida and Louisvile were my top two schools. It came down to those two. It came down to a decision I had to make, whether I was going to play cornerback or receiver. In high school I was a receiver. Florida offered me to play corner and Louisville offered me to play receiver. So I took that route being that I was offensive guy. Given coach Petrino's style and the way he recruited me I thought it was the best decision for me to go to the University of Louisville.
Dave: But ironically you wound up switching to cornerback...
Johnny: Yeah, even after that I moved to corner. Everything happens for a reason and I'm here now. Everything worked out the way it did, it's in God's hands. I feel like I still made the right decision in the end.
Dave: Whose idea was it to make the switch to cornerback? What was the reasoning behind it?
Johnny: It was my idea. I went to the head coach and said, "Coach, things are working out as a receiver. I'm not getting as much playing time as I feel like I should be. Is there anything I can do?" The only other position I could think of was corner. So I took a shot at it. The first few games I still wasn't playing much my Freshman year and getting frustrated. The coach came to me one day after practice and said, "I'm giving you the opportunity to start." I got that first start, got my first interception and I've been starting ever since.
Dave: Your first coach at Louisville was Steve Kragthorpe, who eventually moved on to become offensive coordinator for LSU. What's the difference between him and Charlie Strong?
Johnny: It's attitude. Coach Strong was really aggressive. He demanded a lot of us and he worked us. He showed us how to overcome adversity. I can't compare the two coaches because I thought both of them were great coaches. But it just felt like coach Strong fit this team better than coach Kragthorpe did. It's just like any other team. You might have a coach that doesn't do well with one team but does well with another team. Coach Kragthorpe was a great coach. I feel like he was great offensive coordinator and we scored plenty of points. But as a team, things didn't click the way we wanted them to. We had special seasons while he was the head coach but I'm sure things will work out for him at LSU.
Dave: Where were you when you got the call that you were drafted?
Johnny: I was in Florida in Daytona Beach. I was at a restaurant with my family. We had the restaurant reserved just for us.
Dave: And who was on the other end of the line?
Johnny: I honestly don't remember. I think it was Sean Payton and the general manger, Mickey. I was just so excited when they called me, I couldn't even tell you the conversation we had when they talked. They asked me if I was ready to be a Saint and it's always been my dream so after that I was just out.
Dave: Before the Draft did you come to New Orleans for a private workout or interview?
Johnny: No. The only time I met with New Orleans was at the Combine.
Dave: Was that just scouts?
Johnny: No, I met with the whole staff. It was a formal interview.
Dave: So you've met Gregg Williams and Sean Payton?
Dave: What was the weirdest question they asked you at the Combine?
Johnny: I never got asked the weird questions. I hear all the questions people get asked but I never got asked a weird question. I was prepared for weird questions but I didn't get asked any of them.
Dave: Do you know what it is about your game that attracted the Saints to you?
Johnny: I have no idea. I'm sure they saw something. I'm gonna work hard and I'm gonna compete. That's one thing about me and what coach Strong taught us, just compete. I'm gonna try to win every battle I have.
Don't forget to check back later this afternoon for Part Two. Thanks, once again, to Johnny Patrick.