Chicago Bears NFL Draft: Jordan Wyatt reminiscent of Eddie Jackson

Chicago Bears (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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Q&A with Jordan Wyatt

DaWindyCity (DWC): Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us — we really appreciate it.

Jordan Wyatt (JW): Yeah man absolutely.

DWC: Can you talk a little bit about your preparations for the NFL Draft?  What has the process been like?

JW: I’ve been training at EXOS down here in Frisco, Texas for the past three months prior to Pro Day. Now I’m working out with my old high school coach, who was a former NFL DB for the Ravens and Jacksonville.  Just working on football stuff now. I’m not working on the 40, or shuttle or anything like that like I did before Pro Day. Now I can focus on conditioning and working on my football stuff.

DWC: You performed really well at the East-West Shrine Game. Tell me about that experience and what you think you showed scouts during that week.

JW: It was a really good experience because I didn’t have the senior year I wanted to have, coming off of two surgeries, so the Shrine Game was an opportunity for me to show the scouts that I’m past the injury and back to form and my playmaking ability. So I took it as an opportunity to go out there and show out for the scouts.

DWC: So do you feel like you’re back to 100 percent now?

JW: Oh definitely. I’m good now. You can tell the difference from my agility drills that I’ve gotten a lot quicker and am trusting my knee now. I also got my bench back up to full strength, so I definitely feel good now.

DWC: On March 28th, you had your Pro Day at SMU. How did that go?

JW: I feel like I did good.  I strained my hamstring the last 15 yards of the 40-yard dash.  I already made up in my mind that I had to find a way to fight through it. So I got a hamstring sleeve and another pair of tights to tighten up my hamstring and push through the 20-yard shuttle, the L-Drill and position work. I’m content with my numbers, but I know if I did not strain my hamstring, they would have been a lot better. But I think it was good to show scouts that even though I had a little adversity during my Pro Day, that I was able to overcome it.

DWC: Speaking of playing through injury, you played through a torn labrum for a large portion of the 2017 season. How were you able to play through that injury and still be so productive?

JW: It was the Arkansas State game, which was the fourth game of the season. I made a play on the ball, landed on my shoulder and felt my shoulder collapse. I knew it was dislocated so I popped it back in and I told the training staff I wanted to finish the game. I got an MRI later and found out it was torn. I was told I could still play through it but it would have to be nice and secure so I wore a sleeve and shoulder protector to be able to keep playing. You know I just wanted to be out there for my teammates and make plays and I was able to do that.

DWC: At SMU you stood out as a playmaker (10 interceptions, 5 returned for touchdowns). What would you say contributed to your ability to make so many plays the most — instincts or film study?

JW: It was definitely 50/50. I call myself a film junky. I go in on Monday and watch a lot of film. I usually watch the last four games to get an idea of what the offense is bringing. Then I have breakdowns Tuesday through Friday, then on Saturday is kind of like my recap — maybe a quick 15-30 minutes. That preparation leads to my instincts so you know if I see a formation I feel like a certain play is coming and trust my instincts to make a play. In certain situations and formations, I know they can only run a certain amount of routes, so I trust what I feel and make the play.

DWC: You also forced eight fumbles in your career. Chicago also had a cornerback who was great at forcing fumbles in Peanut Tillman. How were you able to be so effective at knocking the ball loose?

JW: Oh definitely. I grew up watching Tyran Mathieu and saw how he was constantly trying to rip at the ball. I watched Charles Woodson and Peanut Tillman, who was the guru at forcing fumbles, so I tried to incorporate what he did so well into my game to get more turnovers and give our offense more possessions.

DWC: Speaking of Mathieu, you both are extremely versatile in terms of where you line up. Talk to me a little about your ability to play all over the defensive backfield.

JW: I just feel like it’s huge for NFL teams to be able to move certain guys and allow them to make plays. Not just being on the corner on an island but finding ways to put them in a position to make plays. So I just want to show scouts that I can play nickel, corner, safety, wherever they need me to make an impact on the game.

DWC: While at SMU you went up against current Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton in practice. How did that experience help you?

JW: It was good because he was one of the top receivers in the NFL Draft last year. Being roommates with him we set goals for each other, you know, we wanted to be in the NFL and be top picks. So we just pushed each other every day. ‘Iron sharpens iron’ was our motto. We knew we were going to give our all every day and compete to try to be the best.

DWC: I know it was in practice, but was he the toughest wide receiver you faced in college?

JW: Yeah him and TQ (Trey Quinn) who played for the Redskins. Going against them in practice every day was a great experience.

DWC: What are some of your strengths?

JW: I’d say I’m a smart football player who always knows the situation. I’m a good tackler. I’m not afraid to come up and hit. Sometimes corners get a bad rap that they don’t like to hit, so I didn’t want to have that reputation. I feel like I’m a very good zone corner, off-man player. Also leadership. I was a captain at SMU for two years and in high school. I take pride in leading by example both on and off the field.

DWC: What aspect of your game might be underrated?

JW: I’d say my press. A lot of people haven’t seen me play a lot of press but I played a lot of it my sophomore year. I played press the whole Shrine week too. I wanted to show them that I’m not afraid of press.

DWC: What do you think separates you from other defensive backs in this draft?

JW: I definitely feel like my playmaking ability is one of the best in the Draft and I don’t give up touchdowns. I’ve matched up with plenty of NFL receivers like Anthony Miller and Zay Jones and was able to perform well against them. I know I’m kind of underrated because of the school I went to and some of the injuries, but I’m not going to worry about the things I can’t control. I’m just focused on what I can control and looking for an opportunity at the next level to show what I can do. That’s all I need.

DWC: Talk to me a little about your blitzing abilities — how would you evaluate your ability to blitz?

JW: I love blitzing. My old coaching staff knew I could blitz off the edge a little bit. We didn’t get to do that a whole lot with the new coaching staff and the new defensive scheme. But I think I can do a great job blitzing and making plays — force some fumbles in the backfield like I’ve done in some games before.

DWC: Have you had an opportunity to meet with anyone from the Chicago Bears?  If so, how did that go?

JW: Actually at my Pro Day the Bears worked me out for the position work. They said they’re planning on keeping in touch with me and potentially having a visit up there.

DWC: If you could talk to all 32 NFL general managers, what would you want them to know about you?

JW: I just want them to know that the moment I step foot in that facility, I’m all about business. I’m going to put my head down and work because I’m all about max effort, and they’re not going to regret picking me in the Draft because I’m going to make plays for a long time for whatever franchise picks me up.

DWC: Last season you wore No. 23 for a very special reason. Tell me about that and what did it mean to you to receive that honor?

JW: Oh man it was huge. The tradition of wearing 23 meant a lot to me because of what Jerry LeVias went through at his time at SMU. At the time he was the only African-American student-athlete at SMU so he took a lot of heat. He had to grind through a lot of stuff. He got some hate even from his own teammates. So for him to continue to fight through that adversity and still have a successful career was very inspiring. He was just recently inducted into the SMU Hall of Fame so it was a great honor for me to be able to represent him by wearing that number.

Next. Realistic edge options for the Bears in the Draft. dark

DWC: Hey Jordan, thanks again for taking the time out to speak with us tonight. We wish you the best in the upcoming Draft and hope to see you suiting up in blue and orange someday.

JW: Oh man that would be great.  I appreciate the time as well.