Patriots DB – Ameer Speed – 2023 Draft, Pick 214
April 29, 2023
Q: Ameer, how are you today?
AS: I'm blessed man. Happy as ever.
Q: That's great to hear. Congratulations. I'm curious what that moment was like for you when you got the call. What was that like?
AS: Yes, sir appreciate you. It was special. Just sitting here enjoying with the fam, sitting here watching the draft, seeing a lot of my friends go, it's just a blessing to have your name called. Every guy dreams for it when they start playing football. So to experience that moment is amazing. So I'm very blessed and happy, really just happy for it all.
Q: How would you describe what type of player you are?
AS: I'm ready to come into work. I feel like I'm a versatile player and whether it's special teams, defense, whatever, I'm ready to come in and help the team any way necessary.
Q: They were talking on the TV after the Patriots picked you and I believe if I heard it right, they said you were like Georgia's top special teams player, like getting an award one year? Does that sound right to you? Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
AS: Yes, sir that's true. I believe that was the year 2021. The year we won our first Natty [National Championship].
Q: What is the award? What do you remember getting it for like in terms of is it like tackles, just all-around performance, how do they do that?
AS: It was just most outstanding special teams player award basically just the person's that's most locked in and when their name was called, whether it was first quarter, second quarter, blowout, down, tied game, being there, being able to help the team any means necessary. Special teams is a one play series, and a part of the game and being able to take that series and try to be your best on that play. I believe I executed. I did well that year, that's why I got the award.
Q: What type of roles do you play? I would imagine like a gunner. Is that something that you did a lot of? What were some of the different roles on special teams?
AS: Yes, sir. Receivers and DBs play a lot of gunner and jammers, especially on punt return. But I've been a lot of positions on KOR and kickoff coverage. Anything that's needed, I'm willing to learn and step in and be able to help.
Q: What type of contact did you have with the Patriots leading into the draft? Did you come up here for a visit? Did they come meet you? Anything stand out to you?
AS: This whole process is actually crazy. You never know what's going to happen and when it can happen. So I talked to a lot of coaches, I talked to the Patriots throughout the process. But I just didn't know who exactly and what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. So when it happened, I was blessed and honored.
Q: Hey, Ameer. You transferred to Michigan State for your final season. I'm just wondering what went into the decision to pick Michigan State. What was it like to play a lot more defense for them than you had previously with Georgia?
AS: My decision to transfer to Michigan State had a lot to deal with Coach [Mel] Tucker. Coach Tucker and Coach [Harlon] Barnett, those were the two coaches I was deciding between coming out of high school. So the fact that those two guys were together, it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to come in, be able to help them on special teams and defense, just have a chance to play DB. They gave me an opportunity to do that and be a player. I'm thankful for that and I'm very blessed to be where I am today.
Q: Do you think that season, playing 12 games for them and playing a lot more defense helped expose you more to pro teams looking at you?
AS: Yes, sir I agree. I've always felt like I was NFL talent player. I knew I could get to the NFL. So to finally have a chance to just go out there and be a player, it was a blessing. Like I said, I'm very thankful for it because it gave me a chance and opportunity.
Q: You've kind of touched on this but I just kind of wanted to follow up on having the opportunity to go to Michigan State play for Coach Tucker and Coach Barnett, who of course played for the Patriots. But how does that help you in terms of being more than a special team's player, getting an opportunity to play more every down, and getting an opportunity to play corner but also play some safety as well?
AS: Oh, yes, sir. Transferring over gave me the opportunity just to get comfortable. Practicing all the time, it's not always going to make you a better player. Of course, you get better during practice but being able to have real game experience I think is helpful. I believe it helped me. So just having that chance to actually go out there and just play and be a leader and just help my team out, I had fun. It was awesome.
Q: I was thinking I should probably ask you about Bryce [Balinger], your teammate oming in here. What type of punter are the Patriots getting and how cool is that to share that?
AS: Bryce is my guy. He was one of the people when I first came in that took me in and was just being a kind and true friend. When I was at Georgia my last year, we had another great kicker and punter Jake Camarda. So he was always asking questions just on the type of person he was and how he practiced so he could pick up any habits. He wanted to be the best person he could be, and it showed throughout the season. What you saw in games, he was probably even crazier ones in practice. He's a true team player. He's going to be ready to work and kick some great balls. He's a great guy though, definitely a great guy.