Yesterday I had a chance to have a conversation with former Miami Hurricane and Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL Draft third-round selection, DeMarcus Van Dyke. Van Dyke, who will be referred to as the super convenient and catchy DVD from here, was kind enough to persevere through my amateur interview skills long enough to deliver some thoughts straight to us at Silver and Black Pride. Of course, he has a tough act to follow. Yesterday, I posted an interview with his fellow Raider rookie, Chimdi Chekwa, and he left myself and others impressed with his maturity and focus. If you missed that check it out here.
DVD talks about what the draft process was like, improving his draft stock at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, signing his first contract, life as a rookie during the lockout and more. Check it out for yourself after the jump....
Were you watching the draft when you were selected?
DVD: Actually I was with my family members watching the draft at my house. I was on edge for the first few hours until I got that phone. Then it was like that monkey was off my back and I was relieved.
After you felt that relief and it sunk in that you were going to be a Raider what was your initial thought about being a Raider?
DVD: It's blessing to get the opportunity to play in the NFL. That's the first thing that crossed my mind. And to play in a great organization like the Raiders where they've had great corners back in the day and now with big corners like Nnamdi Asomugha, Stanford Routt and safeties like Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff. I am really excited to play in the secondary with those guys.
I saw in another interview that prior to the draft you had actually worked out with Tyvon Branch. Is that true?
DVD: Tyvon had trained out here at Miami Performance. He's a great guy. He works hard all the time. So I just try to mimic everything he do so when I get to the NFL I'll be okay.
Have you been in contact with any of your other new teammates?
DVD: I talked to the fullback, Marcel Reece. He welcomed me to the nation, and I've talked to Michael Huff on Twitter, but that's about it.
Have you talked with Marcell or Tyvon about joining in any of the player workouts?
DVD: Yeah, I talked to Marcel about it yesterday, and they are going to get up to Atlanta and workout. So I gotta sit down with my agent to see if we have enough money to go up there.
Right. It's kind of a strange time to be a rookie. Not only the money, but in the back of your mind you have to also be worried about a possible injury before you have a chance to sign your new contract.
DVD: Exactly. That's one of the reason we have to sit down and think about it.
Speaking of the lockout, have you been following it closely or do you try to stay away from it and let things happen as they will.
DVD: The lockout is something I can't control. So, I just keep working hard and do my thing and get my work.
Well, not only the work, as I am sure you are anxious to get your career started, but you have to also be a little excited about signing that contract.
DVD: Yeah, that is a dream come true. To sign a contract—a NFL contract—that's probably one of the things I've been dreaming about my whole life, and now I am going to get a chance to actually do it this year with the Oakland Raiders.
I actually looked this up. You were selected 81st overall. Did you know, or have you heard, who went 81st last year?
DVD: Uh, not at all [laughing]
Well, it was Earl Mitchell of the Texans. Have you seen what kind of contract he was able to sign?
DVD: Not really. All I know about Earl Mitchell was came out to the combine, and that's about all I know about him.
Not to get you too excited for something you don't have yet, but he signed a contract worth $1.6 million in guaranteed money. Have you given any thought about what the first thing you are going to buy might be?
DVD: I thought about buying house, and getting a house for my mom and that's about it.
Now, in another interview I saw you mentioned that you had a son.
DVD: Yeah, I have a son, DeMarcus Jr.
How old is he?
DVD: He's six months.
Oh okay; he's just a little guy. Have you bought any Raiders gear yet?
DVD: I was just looking online yesterday at some Raiders onesies. So, we are getting him some.
I actuallly have a year and a half old son, and that was the first thing I got him was a Raider onesies.
DVD: Oh man, we definitely need something like that.
You gotta get 'em going for the right team while they're young.
DVD: Exactly [chuckling].
You ran the fastest 40 at the combine in a blazing time, and us as Raider fans thought there was a good possibly you'd become a Raider as it is almost a tradition. Did that thought ever cross your mind or did any of your family or friends joke with you that you just ran your way onto the Raiders?
DVD: Yeah, I did get a lot of jokes about that, but I knew after I ran that 40 that I was going to open up a bunch of eyes. I wasn't thinking that me running the fastest was going to give me a shot with the Raiders. You know if your the fastest guy and 6'1" I figured that would give me a shot to get on a NFL roster.
It was not only the Combine, but you also had a very impressive Senior Bowl and Shrine Game, and earned strong reviews from there. As I was looking back one of the only knocks I saw on you from there was your ball skills as people were saying that you were in position, but weren't able to get your hand on the ball. Do you think that was a fair criticism?
DVD: I can't complain that that was the only thing, but I am going to say that it wasn't really fair, because I had a couple of interceptions at the practices for the Senior Bowl and one in the Shrine Game. So, I'm not sure what exactly I had to do.
Well, an interception is a pretty decent sign of ball skills.
So, Rod Woodson had a private workout with you in Miami, right?
DVD: Yes, sir.
What was that workout like? What kind of stuff did he seem to focus on with you?
DVD: He wanted to see how I was coming out of my breaks. He wanted me to open up my hips and turn to see how fluid my hips were. He wanted to see how I was in my back pedal; see if I was low or high and stuff like that. Just all of the skills it takes to be a cornerback.
More to come on DVD....