See photos of the New Orleans Saints No. 91 draft pick, Tre'Quan Smith of UCF. Draft coverage is presented by Dixie Light.
New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Tre'Quan Smith
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Friday, April 27, 2018
We know you talked to Ronald Curry a few minutes ago. What did Coach Curry have to say?
"He was very excited. He just told me congratulations, enjoy the moment and come ready to work in two weeks."
One thing we're always curious about is how much time the Saints spent on the guys they picked. Had you gotten to know Coach Curry as well as Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and other members of the coaching staff well during the pre-draft process?
"Yes, when he came by, we went to go eat, him and two other coaches, the GM (Loomis) at UCF. We had good conversation. Talked a lot of football and also at the Senior Bowl-Combine, we had a meeting that went very well I thought, (from) my perspective."
Can you describe your game for us a little bit?
"I'm a team player first of all. I do what's best for the team. I am a hard worker, whatever the team needs me to do, I'm willing to do it. I make sacrifices. And also when you get a player like me, you get a person who is a good ball hog, who goes after the ball when it's in the air, 50/50 ball they are mine, and a hustler. I love to make plays for my other teammates. The game is just bigger than me. If you want to win, it's a team sport, you (have) to be selfless."
Do you see yourself as being someone that can get deep or are you more of like an intermediate guy? Or how do you see that?
"I'm a deep threat. I can see myself (as) a deep threat. I can go down the field and also I consider myself a possession receiver as well."
What do you think you learned about the Saints offense, the couple of times you met with them?
"They want to throw the ball. I know Drew Brees is a great quarterback, terrific quarterback. They want to get the ball downfield and score touchdowns. They want to get the ball in play-makers hands. And my job is to come in there and do what is best for the team. I want to come there and build a great relationship with Drew Brees, build a connection, that receiver-quarterback connection."
You say you're a ball hog, do you kind of feel like you can't be covered? You can outjump people?
"Yes, that's how I feel. But at the next level I have a lot to work on if I want to consider myself an elite receiver."
Is this where you expected to go?
"Honestly, I had no clue where I was going to land. I am glad the Saints called me, giving me the opportunity to come and play for them. I am just blessed and happy to be a Saint."
When you met with the Saints, what did they say they liked about your game?
"They told me they liked my physicality. They put up a lot of blocking plays where my running back was running the ball and I made pretty key blocks to get him extra yardage for him to score touchdowns. And then they liked my ability to go get the ball when it's in the air. The deep ball and the 50/50 ball."
So are you excited that you might have a chance to block downfield for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram?
"Yes, I'm very excited. I love watching my teammates make plays when something I did personally (played a role). It makes me happy inside. It builds trust when they're running the ball and they see me and say, 'oh that's Tre'Quan', 'I know he's going to block for me, I know he has this block."
When you said you have things that you have to work on as a player, what are some of those things?
"First of all, I think it's my route running, that's my main thing really. But I have a great coach, Coach CJ (Curtis Johnson), he already talked to me about it. When I come in on the first day, we're going to work on that and get things going. Just other things, teaching by the veteran Mike Thomas, he can teach me some things I may not know (that) I need help with. I'm just all ears when I get there. Whatever someone is willing to teach me, I'm willing to learn."
How do you think playing in Central Florida's offense helped prepared you for the National Football League?
"It prepared me a lot. I had a great coaching staff, you know guys whose been in the (National Football) league a while, great coaching experience. So also it taught me how to, first of all, playing for UCF taught me it was a no-huddle offense. So it helped my conditioning out. Also in my offense, I played more than one position so it built my memorization up. So going into the NFL I know it's going to be a huddle and you have audibles, Drew Brees can probably audible to one, he'll probably call one play then audible to another one. So playing for UCF, the playbook, I had to memorize the whole playbook, not one position. So that's going to help me tremendously."
You did not play in high school until your junior year, is that correct? And why was that the case?
"Yes, that's partially correct. I played a little bit my ninth grade year and then I missed my 10th grade year. And then my first full season was my junior year. Really at the time I wanted to play Pop Warner but my dad never signed me up. And then when I got to middle school I was really playing basketball since the eighth grade. Then in high school, my high school coaches got me into it and then once I played my full season I knew it was a sport I loved to play and I just continued from there on out."
It was pretty much wide receiver from then on out?
Your statistics got better every year. Why do you think you were able to continue and develop?
"Because I feel like my potential isn't reached yet. Like I said I haven't played (as much) football yet, I'm a late bloomer. Later than most guys that have been playing since they were probably seven or younger. I just feel like each opportunity I get to touch the field, to learn something, I'm going to soak it in. And that's why I feel like I exceeded every year than my previous season because I'm willing to get better and I know I haven't reached my potential yet."
You have any ties to the New Orleans area? Or have you been down here much?
"No sir, not at all."
You're going to have some Alabama teammates, what do you think that back and forth is going to be like about who was the true national champion?
"That's going to be interesting because at my heart I love UCF and I feel like we're national champs and I know they are national champs, so we're going to argue about it. But at the same time, that's kind of in the past now. Now that we're teammates, it's all about Saints football."
Just to go back to that dinner you were talking about, was that in Orlando with the Saints coaches?
"Yes sir, that was in Orlando."
And did you meet with them at the combine too?
"Yes. I met with coach Curry at the combine too."
Did you have any indication about how much they wanted you?
"No, not really. I just know during the interview process they gave me a couple of things they were going over, formations and stuff. And I just did so well with everything they told me to remember, I just feel like that really impressed them outside of my tape and also them just meeting me and getting to know me."
How much are you looking forward to playing with Drew Brees?
"If I could, I'd be out there tomorrow. I'm willing to soak in the knowledge from a veteran, a great guy, a hall of fame quarterback. The experience will be unbelievable and I'm just going to be right there next to him, just learning everything he's willing to teach me because he's a great guy and a great quarterback. I am glad I will be able to call myself a Saint."