New Orleans Saints Cornerback Damian Swann
Conference Call with Local Media
Saturday, May 2, 2015
What kind of expectations did you have going into draft weekend? And what was it like getting the phone call that you'd been picked?
"I was just waiting. I've been to a lot of different places and I met with a lot of different people. I didn't know where I was going to end up. I'm just happy to be here, and I'm excited about the moment. I'm ready to get to work."
Did you visit the Saints in New Orleans?
"I did. It was about two to three weeks ago."
What did you talk about and what did they say? How did they envision using you?
"They pretty much liked my versatility. I can play a lot of different spots and am able to pick up on the system. I think I'm a pretty good fit for what they like to do. I've been around the system for a while. The visit went well. I got to meet everybody, I got to talk ball, I got to show them a lot of things I already knew, and we just went from there."
You had a 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Georgia Tech last year. What was that like?
"That was a great feeling, playing my last game in-between the hedges and being able to put my name on that fumble return. That was a blessing. I was very blessed to be able to put myself in that position."
The NFC South teams all have some huge receivers and tight ends. How do you feel like you match up against some of those bigger guys on the outside?
"I've played in the best conference in football for the last four years. I'm pretty sure a lot of those guys that I played against, they prepared me for that. I just have to take care of my part, being that guy that will be able to go out and compete. Just put myself in that position and be able to play, that's going to help."
The Saints traded up to get you. How does that feel knowing they wanted you?
"It feels great. It makes me feel great. I think they thought really highly of me. I think they feel as though I can come in and produce in their system, that's all I want to do. I want to come in and work hard, and I'm going to put myself in the best position to help the New Orleans Saints win."
Is it a boost for you now that you've been sitting most of the day watching knowing that somebody does want you?
"Absolutely. The draft process is a slow process. When you're not one of those top guys, and you know you're not going to be one of those top guys, it's kind of nerve wracking because you're just sitting there waiting and waiting, just hoping one day you'll get an opportunity. I definitely put myself in a good position for those guys to trade up and come get me."
You're an Atlanta guy. You know you can't cheer for them now right?
"Absolutely. I grew up in Atlanta and I was a Falcons fan. They're not my employer and I'm a New Orleans Saint now."
You know the Saints made a big investment to bring Brandon Browner to New Orleans. What do you know about him, and what are your thoughts on learning under him as well as Keenan Lewis?
"It's going to be great for me. Throughout this entire process, I always thought to myself that I was wishing to get on a team with some players I can really learn from. I'm in a great position. I'm going in eyes wide open, ears open, ready to work. Those guys have been on that level before. They've been on that level for a while. They are very successful. That's what I want to be. If I can get a chance to learn from those guys and try to learn all those tools and put them into my game, that's going to make me better. I'm excited to play in that secondary. I'm excited to play for Coach Payton, and I'm ready to get to work."
Did you talk to Rob Ryan or Dennis Allen? What was that like?"
It was great. Coach Ryan is one of the best coaches to coach on that level, especially defensively. Being able to come in and play for the Saints is what I want to do; to be able to be with those guys and learn from them, and get ready to go compete for the Super Bowl because that's what it's all about."
Were you in high school when the Saints won the Super Bowl?
Did that annoy you at the time?
"It probably did at the time, but I'm past that. I hope we can go on to win all of the Super Bowls."
And now you get to join your old teammate John Jenkins?
"Yes. John Jenkins was one the guys that I played with when I was young. He carried me, and I'm excited to just be there and be part of that organization, and I'm glad to be the fifth Georgia Bulldog to be down there."
You said the Saints liked your versatility. Your bio at Georgia says you returned punts. Do you think you can do that in the NFL?
"Absolutely. I think I will be able to maintain it and do a lot of things throughout my career. I think all of those things that I have done have put me in a position to go out and be able do those things, whether it's punt return, play the special teams, play the nickel, play the quarter, or play the safety. I have the experience of playing all of those spots. I think all of the things I have done in college have prepared me for whatever the Saints want me to do once I get there."
Last year the Saints gave up the second-most yards on defense, and this year they have drafted six defensive players in their top eight picks. What does that mean to you?
"It means a lot. It means that they are trying to beef up their defense. Defense wins championships. One of my coaches always told us that if the other team doesn't score, they can't win. When you can put a dominant defense out there, you don't have to worry about giving up points and you're in good shape."
What does that mean for your opportunity then?
"I'm just blessed. My opportunity is going to be my opportunity. I'm coming in and working hard, regardless of whether I'm with the threes or the practice squad. I'm there to get better, to produce, and to help the Saints win."
You hear a lot of guys that go the route that you did who kind of have a chip on their shoulder, or that are mad that 166 picks go by and that they haven't been picked yet. Do you feel that way? Do you have a chip on your shoulder?
"Absolutely. I'm a competitor. I want to be the best. I want to be up there with the best. I want to be ranked among the best. When something like that happens you have to play with a chip on your shoulder because that's how you keep it going, that's how you keep pushing yourself to get better."