Second-year safety out of Rutgers Saquan Hampton was kind enough to join Canal St. Chronicles in an interview to talk the Saints secondary, his donation of 30 pizzas to two different medical centers in his hometown of Hampton Township, New Jersey, and more.
We also touched on the addition of Malcom Jenkins, and how that will bolster the secondary, as well as some gaming.
You could especially hear the excitement in Hampton’s voice when asked about learning from Jenkins.
Andrew Bell: First off, how’s everything going with you during these crazy times? You and your family, friends been staying safe?
Saquan Hampton: Family and friends are doing well. My mom’s in health care, she works as an administrator at a nursing home. So she’s obviously making sure that everybody’s staying safe. She’s given me all the tips I need to make sure I’m okay.
AB: So You recently donated 30 pizzas from Corleone’s in Hamilton to a couple of medical centers. How important was doing that to you and just how important is staying involved in the community and supporting local businesses/health care workers to you?
SH: I think it’s very important. I think everybody should always donate and look to help out those that are in need, especially where you grow up. I think for me, I emphasize that a lot. I want to just be a person who people look at as a role model. That’s just the ultimate goal. I wanted to support a local business that I go to a lot when I’m (in Hamilton) and show support to the healthcare workers at the two hospitals I donated to.
AB: How have the effects of this pandemic changed your daily routine, when it comes to training?
SH: It hasn’t really changed my routine, I would say. The only thing I’ve paid more attention to is just wiping down weights and stuff. As far as training and everything, I’m still training where I was training at, and everything’s going good so far.
AB: You been playing a lot more video games, watching more Netflix, that type of deal?
SH: Oh, yeah. A lot of Madden. I’ll hop on after working out.
AB: You play any shooting games?
SH: Yeah, I play Warzone, Call of Duty. It’s just a better version of fortnite if you ask me. Because you’re not building walls and you’ve got to actually show your skills.
AB: Man, anything is a better version than Fortnite.
AB: The pre-draft process was vital for you getting drafted last year. How difficult would it have been to build your stock without some of those interviews and workouts, like a lot of these players are now?
SH: I think that’s huge, having pro days cancelled and stuff like that and guys not being able to showcase their abilities or athleticism. A lot of scouts and GMs find hidden gems in those types of workouts, and I think that definitely could hold some people back, not being able to showcase that.
AB: You also shined at the East-West Shrine game. It seems that and the Senior Bowl are gonna be more important than ever for prospects with the lack of workouts and meetings we’re seeing. How important was that game to your pre-draft process?
SH: It was definitely important, especially those interviews throughout the course of the day and the emphasis on practice was so huge as well. Coaches seeing your practice habits and how you want to get better, stuff like that. I think all of that is important, especially when you have every team there with their notepad out, looking at you.
AB: So the New Orleans mayor, Mayor Cantrell, said she doesn’t expect any large events to take place in the city until 2021. I don’t know if she’s spoken to the NFL yet on how it will affect the season but hypothetically, how would you feel about playing games with no fans in 2020?
SH: It would definitely be different. You’ve been playing with fans in games throughout the course of your whole life. I think the fans, especially the fan base here, the electricity they bring to the stadium is definitely important for players coming out to the field. So I think it’d definitely have an impact, having no fans out there.
AB: Has there been any word from coaches or the league about any possible target date for practices, anything like that?
SH: I haven’t heard anything. I wish I did know anything more, but everyone just has to stay active and be ready, because you never know when it can come back.
AB: So once the season does get underway, how much are you looking forward to being able to play with an experienced, Super Bowl winning safety like Malcolm Jenkins? What can you learn from him?
SH: Oh, I can learn everything. I’m actually really excited to pick his brain, watch how he goes about his everyday business, and just continue to learn and grow, and better my game as well. So I think it’s huge having a leader, a person that has Super Bowl rings and somebody who knows how to win.
AB: With the addition of Jenkins and loss of guys like Vonn Bell, Eli Apple, how do you think that will change the defense schematically, if at all?
SH: I think the coaches, they know the player more than anything. And I think there won’t be any drop-off as far as players playing in any positions like that. Because the coaches are going to put players in the position that fits the scheme.
AB: I know Vonn Bell was kind of a leader in that locker room, and Malcolm seems to be fit for that role as well, so it seems like a fair trade there as far as leadership. But how much will Vonn Bell be missed?
SH: I think he’ll be missed tremendously. Vonn was a guy who when I first got here he showed me the ropes. I picked him brain throughout the course of the year, just learning different things that he did. So yeah, I think his leadership will definitely be missed, but we’ve also got another great leader coming in.
AB: So what are some of the personality types back in the secondary room? It seems like Marcus Williams is maybe a bit quieter compared to some guys, while a guy like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson might be a bit more outspoken. Am I right on either of those?
SH: Yeah, see Marcus is a very energetic guy that probably many people don’t know. He’s a dancer. He’s a guy that’s always dancing, Chris Brown listening guy. He’s always got his tunes on, dancing. And Chauncey, everybody knows how energetic he is. He’s like it 24/7, there’s not a second of the day where he’s not laughing or being energetic.
AB: That’s honestly surprising about Marcus. Obviously what you say about CJ makes sense, but Marcus seems like such a soft-spoken guy, at least with the media.
SH: Yeah, he does come off like that. But as far as like what I see, he’s the he dancer. You know, he’s the goofy guy.
AB: Which teammate would you pick if you had to be quarantined with one?
SH: I would have to say my guy CJ. We came in the league together, and that’s my right-hand man, so I would probably say him.
AB: You saw your first bit of NFL regular season game action last year against the bears and the colts. What was that like and how’d you think you played?
SH: It was definitely a learning experience every game, just continuing to improve was my ultimate goal, and just maintaining health. I think that’s important. It was an overall good experience. But somebody like me, I always feel like I can do better, and I will.
AB: What are some of your personal goals in the league?
SH: I’m not really a guy that like tries to make all these personal goals. I attack it one week at a time. So whatever God has for me planned and whatever happens, happens. I think if I just trust the process and stick to what I do, and that’s just work hard and continue to want to improve each and every day, I think everything will come to fruition.
AB: What’ll be the first thing you to do when the quarantine’s over?
SH: First thing I’ll do when the quarantine is over, man, there’s so many thing we’re missing out on. I’m just gonna go outside, like somewhere. I’m gonna go out and bowl or something like that, you know. Just go out and have a good time, enjoy myself.
AB: You can only pick one of these scenarios to happen in 2020, which would it be: Sack-fumble-score off Brady, pick off Teddy for a TD, or beat the Falcons 28-3 in Atlanta?
SH: All three would be nice, but I’ll take a pick-six on Teddy, my guy Teddy.
AB: I think that’s the first one we got on that one. So we asked Alex Anzalone this and he said “Sack-fumble-score off Brady would be the pick here. Beating Atlanta 28-3 would be funny, but I just want to win - I’m not that petty.”
SH: Yeah I ain’t that petty either. But catching something off my dog Teddy Bridge, that would be cool.