TE Dedrick Epps (Steve Helber/AP)
Dedrick Epps will have to bide his time in San Diego. The rookie from Miami may be destined for a year on the practice squad but he's confident in his abilities and eager to prove himself. We check in with Epps to talk about his offseason and his progress to date.
The Chargers plucked TE Dedrick Epps from Miami in the seventh round of this year's NFL Draft. At first, Epps (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) appeared to be a shoe-in to make the active roster, taking the roster spot vacated by Brandon Manumaleuna. However, San Diego has since signed veteran Randy McMichael, meaning Epps will likely have to compete for a place on the practice squad.
Epps finished his three-year career at Miami with 49 catches for 634 yards and six scores. And while those numbers are hardly eye-popping, he stood out in his game film, as he showed himself to be a strong two-way tight end.
For more, check out this Insider Scouting Report by the publisher of Canes Time.
LaShana Marshburn: What were you doing during the NFL Draft?
Dedrick Epps: I was still in school, so I was in Miami. My mother came down and we watched the draft together.
LM: Did any other teams contact you before the Chargers pulled the trigger in the seventh round (No. 235 overall)?
DE: Yeah, a couple of teams had interest towards the seventh round. San Diego was one of them. The Chargers used their last pick on me and I'm just happy to be here.
LM: Who were the other teams showing the most interest in you?
DE: Kansas City, Miami and Arizona.
LM: You missed the Emerald Bowl after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL. How big of a role did that play in your pre-draft process?
DE: With an injury that serious you have to stick with the rehab. It all comes into play.
LM: What's been the biggest difference you've noticed so far between college and the NFL?
DE: It's just very technical at this level. I mean, people not only know the play that's called, you have to execute by using a certain technique or it'll be a bad thing on you -- it'll be something gone bad. It's very technical at this level.
LM: How did your time at Miami prepare you for this transition?
DE: Well, Coach [Randy] Shannon has his ties with the NFL, so he knows how things are run and he knows how to run a team in a professional manner. It's simple things like being on time, having your notebook so you can write things down as you need it, just little things. When I got to this level, I expected that as the norm, so he molded us very well.
LM: What adjustments will you need to make to thrive in the NFL?
DE: In the NFL, everyone is faster and stronger. To make the transition, I just need to put in the extra work every day on things I want to get better at and try to focus.
LM: How have San Diego's veterans helped with your adjustments?
DE: The team is like a family, so everyone looks out for one another. It may not be a veteran; it may be another rookie. You know, we have to look out for each other, so everybody just looks out for everybody else. If you need something, just ask anybody and they'll help you with it.
LM: So far, has being a part of the NFL been everything you expected?
DE: Yes, it's everything I thought it would be. Everybody has come out here and proven themselves to be able to play at this level. Everyone is going to put their best foot forward and go out there and prove themselves and run the plays. It's nothing new; you just have to make the transition, that's all.