By John Boyle
Here the transcript from a conference call with receiver Kevin Norwood, who the Seahawks took with the 123rd pick of the draft:
(On what he was doing when the Seahawks called….) I was down in the living room with my family. My girlfriend walked up to me and showed me. I thought, it’s finally here. My heart just dropped, and when Coach Carroll came on the phone, I was ecstatic. Words can’t describe the feeling that I have right now.
(On whether he had much contact with the Seahawks prior to the draft…) No, sir. I think I talked to them one time, and that was for them to get my information.
(On whether he is surprised to be drafted by Seattle and the defending Super Bowl champs…) The defending Super Bowl champs…wow. It’s amazing. I’m very excited to get the opportunity to play with them, and also help them win another one.
(On what it means to get drafted in the NFL…) I remember when I was little, I wanted to be in the NFL. I grew up watching the Cowboys, watching Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice and all those guys. Just being able to watch them and telling me mom that one day I would end up on TV and that I would end up playing in the NFL. I finally started playing football. Pee wee. I played middle school and high school. When I got that first scholarship, I was like, wow, I can really do something with this. Hurricane Katrina came through. April 27 tornado in Tuscaloosa came through, and then, another tornado came through about a month or so ago. It was like, all the things coming at me in different angles and different ways, and trying to figure out what I should do next – should I keep going, or is God telling me something. In the end, I persevered through it all. I came through, and now look at me; it’s a dream come true.
(On whether we should fear bad weather when he gets to Seattle…) (laughs) I hope not, I hope it doesn’t follow me.
(On how his intelligence helps him on the field…) It’s all about preparation with me. I feel like if I prepare my best, then I should go out and play fast with no worries, and play my best. Coach Saban always says to practice how you want to play. That’s one thing I did. I prepared well. Game film, practice. I practiced how I wanted to play. It just came natural during game time, because I had prepared for everything.
(On his strengths and weaknesses…) My strengths is in my hands. I take pride in it. My route running ability is great. I think I have a lot of strengths. I think my one weakness would probably be, maybe, and it’s not really a weakness for me, is something I need to work with over time, is getting off the press, and stuff like that.
(On getting his masters degree…) My masters is in Sports Management.
(On what it meant to get that masters degree at Alabama…) I thought why not? I had one more year to go, and they were telling me that I should get my masters, and just do nothing, and I thought it would be pointless to do nothing. I wanted to take it up a notch, and take it to another level. So, I went and got my masters. I completed it, I graduated this past December with a 3.5. I was like, wow, it’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. I put my mind to it and I came out on top, in my opinion.
(On his thoughts on dealing with the Seattle secondary during practice…) Being a receiver, the only thing is Richard Sherman when you’re watching them. It’s going to be very exciting to go against them and practice with them. The next question is what I can do. It’s just a real dream come true, it really is. That’s a real great organization, and I can’t wait to get there and be part of it.
And here’s what area scout Jim Nagy said about Norwood:
(On what he liked about Norwood….) I like a lot about Kevin. For our team, the thing that stood out the most is that he is very clutch. It’s hard to find a college receiver that has played in as many big games as Kevin has. On the big stage this kid always shows up. That was really unique about him. He’s really dependable. Even when he was a sophomore, and not a starter, whenever he got on the field he was A.J.’s go-to guy. You noticed in third-down situations, A.J. was always looking for him. I think for what Russell’s skill set is, breaking contain and making plays off script, he’s really good at that, too. Those are the things that really stood out.
(On how a guy gets good at helping when the quarterback breaks contain…) It’s a knack. He really has a lot of savvy.
(On having been through a lot in his life…) I’ve had some experience scouting players that have been through Katrina, and they really have a lot of substance. It shows they are really mentally tough, they have overcome a lot. He has two degrees. He’s one of the best kids in the program. He was voted year-end captain by his teammates, with McCarron and C.J. Mosely. There is a lot of those intangible things that he brings to the table.
(On being tougher to evaluate a receiver due to the nature of the offense…) That’s why I think he was a little undervalued, because of the production. He’s a guy, when I was watching him, thinking he was going to be a more productive pro than he was a college player, just because of a function of what they do. More of a controlled passing game. They have a lot of weapons at Alabama, they don’t just concentrate on one guy. They spread the ball around. You have to watch more and more tape; go back to previous years, things like that.
(On whether the Alabama offense makes him a more natural fit in Seattle…) In some ways, it made a tougher evaluation, because there is not as many targets. In some ways, it’s easier, because it’s a pro style offense. You see him run the whole route tree. He plays inside, he plays outside. In that sense there is a lot of carry over. It’s more apples to apples, then in a lot of these spread offenses, it’s more apples to oranges.
(On his blocking…) He’s a really tough kid. He’s not afraid to do dirty work, and that carries over. He hasn’t played a lot of special teams there, but you watch him block, and you watch him make some of these contested plays in traffic, and you know he’ll play special teams, he’s a tough kid.
(On his size making him better to start outside…) He played mostly inside at Alabama. That’s the thing that stood out about him. He really drops his weight well, and gets in and out of breaks, for a 6’2” guy, which is really rare; it’s hard to find. He’s played a ton in there. He’s got the savvy to play in there. At 6’2”, running 4.41, you can also play him outside, so he has some versatility that way.
(On how well he catches contested throws…) His contested catch stuff is unbelievable. If you put together a reel of all the contested catches, it’s pretty remarkable. He’s got a knack for high-pointing the ball; I’m sure you’ve seen the clip. He’s really good. You go back to his sophomore year when they played in the national championship game against LSU, he was going up over the Honey Badger, and making plays. That’s another thing, that’s hard to coach. He just has a knack for timing. It’s like a rebounder in basketball, he does a great job with that.
(On whether that skill makes him play like a taller receiver…) Yes, absolutely. He does a really good job playing above people. He’s a big target. He’s a big strike zone, even bigger than the 6’2”.