Thanks to Rich Sports Management, the representatives of the newest member of the Jaguars Rod Issac, I was able to conduct a short interview with the 5th round cornerback out of Middle Tennessee State:
What was your draft experience like?
Well on draft day, I don’t know if you know or not, but I was by myself, none of my family was with me. My grandma had passed the week before so my whole family was on the road trying to get back into Miami.
I was watching by myself and on day three of the draft during rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7, I was kind of excited, kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard a couple teams saying that 4th round they were going to try to come draft me, so I was excited and eager for that.
When the 4th round went around, all the teams that said they were going to draft me didn’t draft me. So then when the 5th round came and the Kansas City Chiefs were on the clock, I just knew they were going to pick me with that selection, but they didn’t. They selected another cornerback.
Then I saw the Atlanta Falcons traded up into the 5th round, so I thought maybe they were going to select me with that selection, but they didn’t. Then when the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the clock I got a phone call and they selected me.
It was kind of feeling like this is for real. I was just so excited to finally come off the board, finally the wait was over. I knew where I was going to be going. To get my shot in mini camp, to go in and compete for a job. It was something that was so exciting to me. I was so nervous, but then I was so excited when they drafted me.
Looking at the media, they really whiffed on you. Nobody really had any kind of projections of you being drafted. The only website that had any listing of you had you ranked #382. Did you expect to be drafted?
Yes I did. Talking with all the teams, I did expect to be drafted. I knew it would be later rounds, somewhere around late 4th, early 5th round or maybe even the 6th round. Because the teams that I talked to, I spoke with Atlanta and Kansas City, my agent talked with Tennessee, I spoke with Baltimore and Miami.
And I spoke with Jacksonville as well and a few other teams. They all expressed to me that I was a player that was on their draft boards that they were going attempt to get me in some shape, form or fashion. So I did expect to be drafted.
Usually this time of the year, you’d probably be in mini-camp right now, so it’s a bit of a different situation for you. How are you doing your training right now?
Right now I’m working out with Anthony Gaitor, he got drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 7th round. We’re working out with a guy named Bush. We do the same kind of workouts as we’ve been doing as far as lifting, but we took running and position drills to another level. We want to have our bodies in shape when we get into camp and be able to run.
That’s all we’re going to be doing as DBs is constantly running. Running when you’re covering routes, running when you’re on special teams. So we want to make sure that the hamstrings are strong enough to do all that constant running.
How much contact have you had with the Jaguars since the original phone call telling you they were going to draft you?
After the draft I haven’t had any contact with them because with the labor issues and lockout we’re not supposed to. On draft day I spoke with all the coaches and they told me that we don’t know what’s going to go on with this situation with the lockout, but we will have a solution reached eventually. So I’m ready to come in as soon as everything starts rolling.
Speaking of the lockout, do you pay much attention to that? Do you have any thoughts about that?
No I really haven’t paid too much attention to it. Before when I was a prospect it really wasn’t that serious to me. But now as a player that’s having to deal with that, I’m missing out on getting the playbook, missing out on time working with teammates.
To get that time and get that work one-on-one with coaches, it’s something that I’ve been looking at now. From what I understand that they wont go back to court until June 3rd which is kind of a long ways away. I was hoping that they’d be to get this started up, maybe even by the middle of this month.
The Jaguars defense the last few years really just hasn’t been very good. What kind of an impact do you think can have right away? Do you think maybe a starting spot or at least significant playing time?
Right now I think it would be a lot of playing time. I have respect for Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox, two guys that have done a tremendous job with the Jaguars organization. So for right now it all depends on how much I’m able to learn and how fast I’m able to pick up on the defense.
Are there any quarterbacks or wide receivers you’re excited to face in the NFL?
Of course. Peyton Manning, of course, a hall of famer. Going to college, you don’t get to face many hall of fame caliber quarterbacks. I was looking at the schedule and we have the Jets, so I’m excited about going against Mark Sanchez. Excited about facing Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan.
Also I’m very excited about going against receivers like Reggie Wayne, guys that I grew watching as a kid, Andre Johnson, guys like that. It’s going to be a tough challenge.
Middle Tennessee State is a Division I, FBS school, but that’s still a pretty big jump to the NFL. Do you think that could be a struggle for you?
No, football is football. Doesn’t matter if it’s Division I, II or III it’s football. Only difference is that there are people that are faster somewhere, guys that jump higher than other players, but I believe if you look at the combine, there are guys from Division III that are running a lot faster time than guys that were in Division I. So it doesn’t really matter, football is football. It doesn’t matter as long as you learn and have your work ethic going about your business.
What are your goals as a member of the Jaguars. During your rookie season and your entire career?
During my rookie year I want to have an immediate impact. I want to be a guy that they let come in and be that nickel guy, safety, corner, whatever they need me to do so I can get a lot of playing time.
Also I want to contribute a lot on special teams, that’s an area where the Jaguars have been pretty good. They were one of the top teams in the league and I want to keep that going. As far as my career goes, I hope I have a long Jaguars career. I just want to be known as one of the best. One of the best that played for the Jaguars.
What were your thoughts on the rest of the draft class? They started off with a quarterback and they also drafted another DB, Chris Prosinski. Have you looked at all at that?
I haven’t got a chance to talk to those guys yet, but as I sit back and look at that draft I think about people saying, ‘Why would you go and get a quarterback’ and things like that I kind of think of the whole Aaron Rodgers situation when Green Bay drafted him when they had Brett Favre. So Blaine will be able to learn from Garrard and be able to develop his game without having to jump in and start so soon. So in the years to come, I just can’t wait to see what Blaine will be able to do.
The other guys, Cecil Shorts, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do. Prosinski’s another guy I’m excited to work with. When we all get to camp, I hope we can get in and push those guys to compete at a level they’ve never competed at.
Physicality. When you listen to the Jaguars scouts talk about you, that’s the thing they always kept coming back to you. They said you were one of the most physical cornerbacks in the entire draft. Is that something you’ve defined yourself as? How do you feel about that evaluation?
That’s a pretty accurate evaluation. I pride myself on being physical, but I’m also a pretty good cover corner. If you watch film you’ll understand why I say I’m a decent cover guy because I really wasn’t challenged too many times. Sometimes we think that guy would’ve caught the ball, or maybe not.
But I just pride myself on being physical because when you get in the game of football a lot of people say that corners aren’t as physical or don’t like tackling. All they want to do is cut low. I like to pride myself on being physical because the game of football is a physical game.
Having watched a few of Rod's games now, I can say he's right about one thing. He's RARELY challenged. I couldn't even watch his film anymore, and that's saying something, when I get bored of watching someones film. And that was only exacerbated by the fact that I am not privy to the coaches film. I wonder what his junior tape was like, to scare off QB's the way he did his senior year.