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Transcript: Dustin Woodard Conference Call 4/25

Q: What kind of contact did you have with the Patriots? Did you have a sense they were interested in you?

DW: Yeah, I had a sense that they were interested in me. I had a few FaceTime interviews with them going over a bunch of different stuff and always excited to hear from them. I was looking forward to today and it worked out for the best.

Q: Patriots love versatile offensive linemen. How versatile were you at Memphis playing in the American Athletic Conference?

DW: At first, I started two years at left guard. Then my junior year, I started at right guard for a year. Then senior year, they needed me to move over at center and I was more than happy and started a full season at center this past year. So, I was pretty versatile. I played every interior position on the offensive line and I was pretty excited about it.

Q: How big of a deal do you think your championship caliber experience from playing in the AAC Championship on a national stage is? You're always going to be playing under a spotlight with the Patriots. Do you think that experience helps?

DW: I mean, I was really excited. We had been very close to a championship my first three years at Memphis. We went to the championship three times in my four years out there. Two of the times, we just couldn't finish, and I think this past year, everything changed. We grew as a team and we grew individually, as well. I thought it just worked out for the best. Overall, I do think it will help. It's always great to win a championship, but when a team has great bonding and relationships, that really helps and that's what helped us win a championship. So, I definitely think it would help.

Q: What was your pre-draft contact with the Patriots and were you surprised at all when you got the call?

DW: Kind of like what I said, I had a few FaceTime interviews, we went over plays, just to talk, different things. I had a good sense that the Patriots were pretty interested, but I didn't know what to expect. I was just pretty optimistic and I kept my faith. I think overall, it worked out for the best. I was extremely happy. I saw my name coming up on the screen and saw the phone call. I was just super pumped.

Q: It seems like from reading your bio, you're very smart and care about your academic work. Is that something that's true and something that you pitched yourself on to teams you spoke to?

DW: Oh yeah, that was something I held very close to me was my academics. I have a very strong and close family relationship and they always put academics, academics, academics. I tried my best to excel at academics, as well as do my best on the football field, and just with those core values, I think they really just pushed me to be a better person. I think it did.

Q: Do offensive linemen have other linemen they emulate or players you actually watch? I know quarterbacks watch other quarterbacks and so forth, but I was wondering if the same thing applied to offensive linemen?

DW: I don't have like a specific person, but as I watch professional athletes, I like to pick here and there. I'll be like, 'Oh, he does this very well. And this other guy does this very well.' And I try to emulate that in my game. I think just looking at them, learning from professional athletes that are in the league right now, I think it did make me a better collegiate player. Just little things like that, the little details and the footwork and how I work.

Q: Do you watch the technique?

DW: Yes, the technique definitely, yes ma'am. I think just watching that, it definitely helps me and helps my game overall.

Q: As a seventh-round draft pick, you know the odds might be stacked against you. How does being a seventh-round pick motivate you to try to work harder and make an impression to make the team?

DW: I'm just ready to get to work and do what's best for the team. I've always been a team player and wherever they need me, whatever I need to do, what kind of work I have to put in, I'm ready for it. I'm ready to step up at bat and do what I can to the best of my ability to help the team and help everybody, you know?

Q: Patriots center David Andrews went undrafted but is now a starter and a team captain. Does seeing that and knowing that, for the Patriots, it doesn't matter where you come from or where you're picked help in that thought process?

DW: Oh yeah, It definitely helps. Seeing that it's possible, just looking at players like that, it's pretty amazing. It doesn't matter where you come from. I believe that once you're in the door, like I said, it doesn't matter where you come from. As long as you put in the work, put in the effort, that's all you can control. If you can control that and do that to the best of your ability, usually good outcomes will prevail.

Q: New England has built up a championship tradition with Tom Brady and six Super Bowl titles. From your perspective now of being drafted by the Patriots in the first year after Brady, how excited are you to join an organization beginning a new era?

DW: I mean, I'm super excited. I'm looking forward to getting to work and starting and meeting everybody and meeting the new teammates and everybody. I'm looking forward to starting the new era and getting ready to work. Nothing really specific, I'm just ready.

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