New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, took time on Saturday for a Q&A with NewOrleansSaints.com. He talked to the team website about the his anticipation for draft day, his day in New York, his playing style and attitude as well as who his father, former Vikings tight end Steve Jordan will be pulling for when the Saints visit Minnesota in December.
What have the last few months been like for you?
"The draft process, it's been pretty hectic. In all honesty, I definitely thought I was going to go a little earlier. I thought I was going to be 16 to 21. I went 24, and it was definitely a huge relief. It was a huge surprise for me with the Saints organization being so phenomenal. For me to be a part of that is an amazing feat. I'm happy I was drafted where I was. This is a great thing for me."
Your father, Steve, was a decorated tight end for 13 seasons in the NFL. He played for the Vikings, which I am sure you know have played two big games against the Saints, first in the NFC Championship Game in 2009 and then the NFL Kickoff game in 2010. What were your emotions when you were watching those games?
"At the time, I was definitely rooting for the Vikes. The Saints are definitely the place to be because they won both of those game."
Does that mean that you might have less of an edge against the Vikings?
"Not at all. That's my dad's team. My dad might be a little conflicted. As far as being for a team, I'm with the Saints now."
Cal has produced some pretty highly productive defensive ends like Andre Carter, Chidi Ahanotu, and Duane Clemons through the last decade or so. What are your feelings about the legacy of following in their footsteps and have you spoken to any of them about making the transition from the Pac-10 to playing in the NFL?
"The guys that I have spoken to have had a great transition. If I play fast and play hard like I have been doing for the past couple years and I will be okay."
Back to your parents for a second, you have talked about the positive influence your parents have had on you and their involvement in your school-work and your athletics. What are some valuable lessons you've learned from them and carry with you to this day?
"My dad is always trying to teach me. My mother definitely teaches mediscipline, for sure. With that, they have been able to help me out
and put me in a better situation in life just because I always bring a
high energy. That's never a problem, it's more about focusing that
energy and they have done a great job in doing that with me."
You've stated that you enjoy playing the game with a smile on your face and you really enjoy playing. Life for rookies in the NFL isn't exactly known as a bed-of-roses at times and you are coming into a place where your defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, has been known to ratchet up the volume level. Do you see that changing your approach to the smile-thing?
"No. It's still football. It's still something that I love. The smile gets you through the grinder days. When you are struggling out there, you have to realize that this is the game you love and this is why you are doing it."
Your size and speed are two things that jump out immediately about you. Did you ever have any ambitions of trying to follow in your father's footsteps as a tight end?
"No, I never tried."
*There are always a lot of mock drafts that fly around before the draft. How much attention did you pay to them and did you have a gut feeling before the draft where you might end up? *
"I thought I would end up around 17 and 18. That was just from what my
agent told me. When that fell through, I looked at him and said we
will be alright. I came out with the Saints."
What was it like sitting in the back of Radio City Music Hall? There were 25 players and their families there. It had to be a little surreal sitting amongst guys that were anxiously waiting and getting the calls, right?
"Definitely. Like you said, there were 25 guys. I was just sitting there with a smile on my face, happy to be there. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am happy and excited that I was a part of it."
You had a lot of media obligations following your selection last night. What time did you get to finally get to bed last night?
"I don't know what time I got out of there, but I was probably on the phone until it died around 1:30. Then, I was out with the family for another hour or two hours."
Did you have much of an opportunity to get to know Mark Ingram leading up to the draft?
"No, not before. Just a quick hi, that kind of thing."
Did you two get to spend any time together last night when the smoke settled?
"No, I didn't get a chance to because I was with the media and then transitioned to being with my family. I didn't get a chance to."
He has spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans preparing for the draft. Any insights he gave you on New Orleans? Have you spent any time in New Orleans?
"I have only visited one time. That was the only time I was able to visit."
At 6-4, close to 290 pounds and with an impressive ability to get up the field and rush the passer, yet a lot of people also believe you are equally as strong as holding the point of attack and making plays in the running game. That's an important part of the equation to get on the field for the Saints' defense, what are your thoughts on how you stack up against the run?
"I think I stack up pretty well against the run. I think that's one of
my specialties. That's what I have been doing. As far as the pass,
that's what I love to do. "