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Entering last April's NFL Draft, former Georgia standout quarterback D.J. Shockley was expecting to be selected somewhere in the middle rounds. However, surprisingly, Shockley fell all the way to pick No. 223, which was in the seventh and final round.
The Atlanta Falcons selected the 23-year-old, who was stellar in his senior season with the Georgia Bulldogs. He threw 24 touchdowns en route to third place in the Associated Press's Player of the Year voting. Being picked so late may have been a blessing in disguise for Shockley, as he now receives the opportunity to stay home in his native Georgia.
Just days prior to the draft, Shockley was kind enough to share his thoughts with me on entering the NFL. Once again, D.J. was nice enough to give me his thoughts, but this time, they come post-draft.
Byrne: What was your reaction on April 30 when your hometown Falcons drafted you in the seventh round?
Shockley: My initial reaction when I got drafted by the Falcons was one of relief, because I had been sitting and waiting for my name to be called all day, and it finally happened.
Byrne: Other than the Falcons, did any teams express interest on the Sunday of the draft, when you were sort of sitting in limbo waiting to be selected?
Shockley: There were a lot of teams calling that day, but I guess it was to see if any other teams were looking at me hard because during that time, it's kind of a cat and mouse game with each other.
Byrne: Do you feel a sense of anger toward the other 31 teams for passing on you? Frankly, I was taken aback that you fell so far, since you clearly demonstrated great talent in college.
Shockley: No. There is no anger towards any of the other 31 teams. Obviously, I wasn't what they wanted, so I can't be mad. I have to just take the opportunity I have and go with it.
Byrne: What are your first impressions of Michael Vick and his abilities?
Shockley: Mike is a great quarterback and player for this team; his abilities are next to none. I am excited to be on this team simply to learn from him.
Byrne: How impressed are you with the Falcons' offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp, as well as your QB coach, Bill Musgrave?
Shockley: Coach Knapp is a great coach as is Coach Musgrave. They both are very intelligent and know the game of football. I am delighted to have them teaching me because they have a lot of experience between the two of them.
Byrne: Have you enjoyed the minicamps and other team activities the Falcons have had thus far?
Shockley: I have truly enjoyed everything I have done so far. It's a dream come true to be involved with the NFL and with the Atlanta Falcons .
Byrne: Do you see any similarities between the offense you ran at Georgia and the one the Falcons utilize?
Shockley: The offense we ran at Georgia is similar to that of the Falcons. It's just the terminology is completely different, but the offense is similar as far as concepts and routes. They just call it differently.
Byrne: Where do you think you'll end up on the Falcons' QB depth chart for next season? Obviously, Vick and Matt Schaub seem to have the first two spots on lockdown, but how about the third-string job?
Shockley: I don't know where I will end up on the depth chart, but I'm just working hard to make the team and hopefully become that third QB for them. You always want to be the guy in the No. 1 position, but until then, I have to continue to work hard everyday.
Byrne: Thanks again, D.J. Good luck this season.
Shockley: It was my pleasure and thank you for having an interest in me. God bless.
--Connor J. Byrne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on D.J. Shockley and the Atlanta Falcons please visit http://djshockley.com/