Originally published on Silver & Black Report on May 10, 2014
Oakland Raiders fourth-round draft pick Keith McGill spoke with the media on Saturday after being selected in the fourth round (116th overall).
Q: Have the Raiders said if they want to play you at safety or corner or a little of both?
McGill: “When I talked to them, they were talking more about corner. We didn’t talk about that today, we just talked about getting drafted.”
Q: What is the preference you have, if they gave you the option?
McGill: “I would like to play corner, but I’m not going to turn down any opportunity. If they want me to start on the field as a safety, I’m going to play safety. If they want me to start on the field as corner, I’m going to player corner.”
Q: What led you to make the switch in college from safety to corner?
McGill: “It was more of the coaches that made the transition with Sean Smith over at Utah. They said I had a lot of the same characteristics and traits as him, so I just showed up at practice one day and they told me I was going to corner so I went there and a year later I never went back to safety.”
Q: What was the hardest part of that transition for you?
McGill: “Probably just understanding the whole position itself. Different technique, different vision on the field, just a lot different with the receivers pressing in it play-in and play-out. I’d say just the overall transition.”
Q: Did you have any kind of inkling that the Raiders were interested in you?
McGill: “I had a private visit there and they really liked my ability to press off the line and how I was able to move. They said not a lot of other big guys can do what I was doing. I kind of got a good feel.”
Q: There is a lot of history in this organization at cornerback, but especially defensive backs. How much of that are you aware of?
McGill: “I’m aware of a good amount. On my trip, I was able to meet some people. I’m trying to go down in history like a guy I met, Willie Brown. I hope that’s what happens.”
Q: You had a pretty serious shoulder injury that you rehabbed from and there were some off the field issues that were documented and had been talked about on TV. Is all that stuff behind you now?
McGill: “Definitely. That was two years ago. I’ve been trying to stay clean and trying to show everybody that that was the past and that’s exactly what it was. Obviously it’s going to come up because it’s a concern for teams. All the teams that passed on me, they’re going to realize it was a big mistake and the Oakland Raiders are going to realize that it was a really good draft pick.”
Q: Last year the Raiders drafted Stacy McGee who had had a couple issues at Oklahoma. When Reggie was asked about it, he said that he looked in the kid’s eyes and knew in my gut. Did you feel you had that moment with him?
McGill: “Definitely. He told me those exact words. Long story short, they ended up picking me. He understood that everything was behind me. I looked him in the eyes and now I’m an Oakland Raider.”
Q: Where do you think that you grew as a player and also as a person during 2013?
McGill: “It was probably 2012, not on the field, it was just going through all those mistakes and sitting down with coaches and just determining where I wanted my life to go. I didn’t realize that everything could be taken away in a flash and that the window was closing. I think right then and there, there comes a point in time of life where you make a decision to become a man or remain a boy, and that’s what I did before the 2013 season. It got me in the situation I am now.”
Q: Did you tend to play left or right side at Utah, or did they move you around?
McGill: “I played the visitor sideline, so whether that was field, boundary, left or right, I just stayed on the visitor sidelines.”
Q: There are a lot of top receivers in the Pac-12. Do you feel like that has been pretty good preparation for you?
McGill: “Definitely. I pretty much locked down everybody … [inaudible]. I tried to explain that to a lot of people, and I don’t think they understood. It is a process and the Pac-12 [prepared me] for the NFL, and I am pretty excited to see that happen.”
Q: How was your Senior Bowl week and what did you think you got done there?
McGill: “Senior Bowl week was exactly what I wanted. I had a little cramping issues at the beginning, but when I was on the field, I think I did very well. I think I handled myself to a high-production rate [in the] overall game. Some people say the game doesn’t count, but if the game didn’t count, then they wouldn’t have it. So, I went out there and I did really well. I had pass breakup, had an interception, tackle for loss and I think I did pretty well.”
Q: Were you frustrated that you weren’t frustrated earlier and where were you when you heard the news today?
McGill: “I was definitely frustrated I wasn’t getting drafted today. I saw some people go ahead of me, but that’s nothing I can control. All I can control is what I am going to do on the field. There is plenty other corners that have people who are ahead of them and they’ve been successful. When I got the phone call today, I was just happy that I am going to be in a good situation and compete to be a starter.”
Q: Were you at home or with family?
McGill: “I’m at home in Anaheim with my family and everybody was really happy. I was on the phone a little longer and they really didn’t understand what was happening so they were all just watching the TV. When they saw my name across the board, everybody just went crazy.”
Q: How much are you looking forward to working with veterans like Charles Woodson, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown?
McGill: “Really looking forward to it. I don’t know how many people know that there is only one corner in history to win a Heisman Trophy and that’s Charles Woodson. So, that should say enough right there.”
Q: I saw you were at a year and a half with a shoulder injury. Was there a setback? And how frustrating was that for you?
McGill: “It wasn’t a setback. It was more of an issue that I had to address. It was a little frustrating because I couldn’t be on the field, but other than that, I was just in the training room getting ready for the season and getting myself stronger so it didn’t happen again.”
Q: I also read you have a seven-year-old daughter. How has that helped you mature?
McGill: “I have a three-year-old daughter. That helped me a lot. She was right next to me today. Nothing can make me happier than being in the situation I am now.”