KFFL's Michael Egnak recently conducted an interview with North Carolina State linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
Michael Egnak: Where do you expect to go in the NFL Draft? Have any teams showed more interest in you than others?
Stephen Tulloch: As far as the draft's concerned, I feel there's no question why I shouldn't be drafted first day.
ME: Have any teams showed more interest in you than others?
ST: I met with some teams at the NFL Combine. The Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and the list goes on. Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs... I met with a good amount of teams.
ME: Are you scheduled to visit with any teams between now and the draft?
ST: No, not right now.
ME: Have you visited with any teams yet?
ST: Only people I've visited with are at the NFL Combine and the Pro Days.
ME: Do you think you improved your draft stock with your performance at the NFL Combine and at your Pro Day?
ST: I'm a football player. You can look at the Combine and all this other stuff. Where I want to be projected as a player is on film. I feel like I'm not getting the publicity I should get due to the fact I had Mario Williams and Manny Lawson on my team. At the same time, I know I'm one of the better linebackers in this draft. There's no linebacker in this draft that had the numbers I had. I was top 10 in the country in tackles and top 10 in country in tackles for loss. As far as the Combine's concerned, I feel I did a good job. The only thing I think I could improve on is my 40 time. I'm not a track runner or anything. It's hard for me to get down in stance and take off. If you watch me on film, my 40 time is typically what you see on film. As far as overall performance, I feel I did good.
ME: For fans who aren't familiar with you, what characteristics do you bring on and off the field that you want them to know about you?
ST: My biggest thing is my instincts. That's why I was one of the top in tackles for loss last year. I read plays fast and get downhill fast and tackle a lot at the line of scrimmage. If you look at my film, I have the speed to run with many running backs and the speed to read plays fast. And I'm a student of the game. I love football, I'm always watching film to better myself and know what's coming up. I feel that's a real aspect of my game is my instinct and my love of the game really makes me the player I am.
ME: Is there a specific team you would like to play or a certain area of the country you prefer to live in?
ST: I just want to play football, I'd play football anywhere. I love the game. I've been playing in this league a long time. I'm going to shock a lot of people in the NFL this coming year and I can't wait to have an opportunity to do that.
ME: What do you feel are your strengths that help set you apart from the competition?
ST: Like I said, my instincts. I'm sideline to sideline and I'm all over the field. I finished the season with 150 tackles. I was all over the field. I feel my instincts and my passion for the game. Talking to a guy like Zach Thomas, the way he plays the game reminds my of myself and the way I play the game. He's not the fastest player, but he has a love for the game and always worked so hard, that's the way I am.
ME: What areas do you feel you still need to improve at?
ST: I just feel there were no real areas that I need to improve, that's why I left early. If I felt I needed to improve, I would have returned for another year. The only negative I've been told is my height, and I can't change that. I am what I am. Zach Thomas and other veterans who are Pro Bowlers, a lot of teams passed on what they had. I hope teams see that and don't pass on me because 'he's not the prototypical linebacker.' I'm a humble person and love the game and respect the decisions teams make. Whoever does draft me will get a steal with me and I'll go out there and give it my all for them.
ME: Were there any other reasons that influenced your decision to leave early?
ST: No, I sat down with my family, Andre Wadsworth, Jim Mandich of the 1972 Dolphins, we all sat down and came to that conclusion that with what I've done this past year the numbers I had this year, and the linebackers in this draft. I proved myself every game of the season and the Bowl game really set it off with me. That bowl game down in Charlotte, I had 15 tackles, five tackles for loss, and three sacks. After that one game, I felt my game was complete, to walk off that field knowing I was the MVP of the game and I gave it my all. I'm just waiting to show what I can do in the NFL, to be a player in the NFL for years with Pro Bowls and all that. I have a chip on my shoulder and I love proving people wrong, that gets me so excited. The people that doubt me, I'm always going to prove them wrong. I've been doing this my whole life. The top prospect coming out of high school, a great player in college and I feel that I
will continue on to do it because of that chip.