New England Patriots First Round Draft Pick Daniel Graham
Conference Call Saturday, April 20, 2002
Q: Daniel, how are you doing?
DG: I am doing real well.
Q: How do you feel about a team trading up about 11 spots just to get you? Does it kind of say something about your career at Colorado?
DG: I feel real good. It surprised me. I was sitting here with my family and it surprised me when they called to say they were going to get me, but I was real happy. I had a great visit up there last week and I am real happy with the selection.
Q: Could you imagine yourself in a scenario where Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe will be competing to throw passes to you?
DG: Well you know it's going to be real exciting. You know two great quarterbacks, going to a great team, the defending Super Bowl champs, so it's going to a real good situation.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the offense you ran at Colorado and your role in it?
DG: Here at Colorado we ran the West Coast offense, similar to a lot of offenses in the NFL. I had a big role in the offense. I was a go-to guy and you know when I had to I stayed in there to block and did what I can.
Q: Are you familiar with the Patriots offense and what Charlie Weis has tried to do? Have you talked to Charlie?
DG: Yes, I met with him at the combine and when I was at the visit there last week. I'm real familiar with the offense. I know what they are trying to do. I am just happy to be in that situation right there with that offense.
Q: Were you surprised that the Patriots traded up to get you?
DG: I was real surprised. I thought I was going to be gone earlier, but when I got the phone call from New England I was real surprised and real happy. I can go to a great, hard-working team. You know when I was out there last week on the visit I saw a lot of the players up their working hard during the off-season. That just really impressed me when I was up there.
Q: What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
DG: I think my strength is my receiving. You know just creating a lot of mismatches for the defenses. My weaknesses? I am going to have to work on my blocking at the next level. I know that at the next level a lot of guys are bigger, faster and stronger.
Q: Are you familiar with the tight end history of this team and a guy by the name of Ben Coates?
DG: Oh yes, I am real familiar. I know about him a little bit, but I will get to know more about him coming up shortly.
Q: When will you be coming here?
DG: I think I am coming in tonight if I can get on the flight. If not, I think I will be out early in the morning.
Q: A lot of first round picks don't often have to battle for a position, but your selection makes six tight ends on this roster. Do you look forward to competing with some NFL veterans?
DG: Yes, I am going to come in and compete right away. I know there is a lot of depth there at that position and a lot of great players, but I am going to come in and do what I can do best and contribute to the team.
Q: Athletes are a lot of times nervous about going from the collegiate to the professional level anyway, but can you talk about possibly being extra nervous about going to the Super Bowl champions? Does that enter into your mind at all?
DG: It's going to be a little bit nervous, but I know they put that victory behind them and are getting ready for the next season and that's what I am going to do, go in and focus on this next season so you can do it back-to-back.
Q: What are your recollections of your father's playing career?
DG: I really don't have any. I've really never seen him play. You know he retired when I was born.
Q: Has he given you any advice along the way? Have you kept in touch throughout your college career?
DG: He has given me a lot of advice with this. He's told me that there are going to be a lot of ups and downs. You know coming in as a rookie you know it is going to be tough, but you know just stay focused and work hard.
Q: How confident are you in your ability to play at this level?
DG: I am real confident. I think I can really come in and help contribute to the New England Patriots.
Q: Where have you been today? Are you at home in your living room, on campus at Colorado? Where are you?
DG: I am at home right now with my family. I had a couple of brothers and sisters fly in and I'm just sitting here with my family just enjoying this moment.
Q: Did the phone ring often today? Whether it was teams or friends or people like that?
DG: When the New England Patriots called me that was my first call and I was real happy to get that phone call and hear them say my name at the draft as the selection.
Q: Aside from your visit here recently, have you been in New England many times? What, if anything, do you know about it?
DG: I don't know too much about it. When I was out there last week that was my first time being out there. So I don't know anything about the area.
Q: What did you think watching this team during the playoff run last year?
DG: You know it reminded me a little bit of our team, just underdogs. Many people weren't expecting them to win anything and they just stood together as a team and just worked hard and they came away with what everybody was going after.
Q: Why were you surprised the Patriots picked you? Was it because they have so many tight ends on the roster?
DG: I was surprised just because of the depth they have at the position. I was really just surprised at it.