New Orleans, La. - The New Orleans Saints traded running back Chris Ivory away to get back into the third round, where they eventually drafted Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins.
After being selected, Jenkins held a teleconference with the New Orleans media, the following is that conversation, as transcribed by the team:
What is it like to be a part of the NFL now?
"It feels good, it's a dream come true, there's not higher level than this."
Do you understand the trade at all or know that you are just a Saint?
"Yes I understand. My agent and my dad are right next to me and they told me what was going on."
What do you think about being a Saint?
"I don't mind being a Saint, I'm kind of happy though to be honest with you. I was down there when I went to junior college and I got accustomed to that area. I was down in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area, so I know a lot of people and supporters out there that I get to see again."
What's the journey been like to go from the gulf coast to now playing for the New Orleans Saints?
"It was a journey, but at the end of the day it was a blessing, a true blessing, a road of…I can't even describe right now I'm so breath taken right now, let me just gather my thoughts really quick. It's crazy. As a child when you start playing this sport, you think that you want to be a professional athlete and then it's just a dream but when it comes true, it's like wow, I can't believe this is happening right now. I'm just caught up in the moment. To answer your question, to be honest with you, I never thought the dream of being in the NFL would actually happen, I just tried to seize every moment I had, every step I took. Going to Gulf Coast, I never thought I would be playing for a big time school, going to Georgia I never thought I would be going to the NFL. I just seized the moment every chance I was able to playing big games and being around my teammates, that's all I thought, that was my mentality."
Did you know how much the Saints were interested in you?
"To be honest with you, I knew Coach (Bill) Johnson was really interested in me. I talked a lot to him at the Senior Bowl and I talked to him quite a bit at the combine. To be honest with you, after that, we really didn't talk, but I knew that he was interested in me. After I got an understanding about how the process works, how people didn't want to deal cards like a chess match or a poker game so to speak, I knew that some teams, like Coach Johnson, I could sense that he was really interested in me and he told me he wanted to come get me. It was a blessing and I'm glad he came and got me to be honest."
The Saints struggled on defense last year; do you feel like you are needed and you having a chance to play a lot?
"I'm just going to come in there and work, I'm not going to sit there and say anything beyond that. I'm just going to come in there and work, I've been doing that for some odd years now. Every place I've gone to I just went there and worked and try to learn from the best. I'm going to try and learn from the veteran guys, learn from Coach Johnson, just try and be on the right path and just work."
What made this year a good final season for you in college?
"It made it a good season when I did back to back things, sometimes we were hurt as far as backs and defensive linemen, so I was able to evolve as a player, I was able to play a position I have never played before and actually excel at that position. I think, in my opinion, to be able to go back to the SEC Championship game two years in a row and almost have a chance to play in the National Championship game, I also thought that made it a good year for me, but like I said that is just my opinion."
You mentioned the Senior Bowl, that's really when you started to turn a lot of heads, but you can play both tackle and end right?
"Yes sir. Playing in a 3-4, I was recruited for both schools for, so I'm really comfortable playing in a 3-4. Playing on a defense in that spot, I can do it, I have film showing that I can do it, but I honestly prefer to be more interior, be more of an interior lineman, but at the end of the day, if Coach Johnson wants me to play outside lineman, he doesn't have to say any more, I'll play outside."
What moments of you playing on the gulf coast helped get you here?
"It was a struggle. I watched a lot of guys come through that school when I was there. I've seen a lot of pictures on that wall of great guys, Terrance Cody being one of them, Demond Washington being another one. I was taking under the wing of Wayne Dorsey who went to Ole Miss and had a good shot, and James Carmon. I had a great coaching staff in Steve Campbell, Dorsett Davis was my position coach, Stevon Moore, all those guys have excelled at one point in life in football so being at that school and being on the gulf coast taught me a lot of things and humbled me a lot as well."
You knew that you could make it from humble beginnings watching guys like Terrance Cody make it, right?
What was it like watching guys like Tramaine Brock and Terrance Cody make it to the Super Bowl this year?