Written by: Eric Pinkins
Honestly, I have to say it's been a blessing to be here. There are 256 players who get drafted each year and there are over 7,000 athletes with NFL aspirations. To be a part of that small group is really a miraculous blessing. I'm just taking it all in. I love it.
I'm learning a lot, especially from the former players who have gone through things that the rookies might go through one day. By hearing this, we can prevent ourselves from making some of the same mistakes they've made so we don't have to learn the hard way.
Brian Banks' story really hit home. He went to jail as a kid (for being wrongfully accused of rape), and the fact that he was able to share his whole story with us was very courageous. I have a lot of respect for the man for that.
Transitioning into the NFL has been very different from college...the speed of the game, learning all of the new terminology and three different positions. We've been hearing from the former players that the first year is a big transition for most of the rookies. It's very rare that a rookie comes in and makes an immediate impact. Usually they are thrown on special teams and eventually learn the offense or defense. Some of the veterans also said they hit their rookie wall as early as OTAs, which is just the beginning. That actually made me feel better about myself because there are so many things running through your ahead. The players say, and my Mom keeps saying, the game is 90 percent mental because everybody is physical and fast at this level. It's about who has the mental capacity to retain what the coaches are saying because you have to be very meticulous. If you can't line up in the right position, you're not going to earn the coach's trust and be out on the field.
That's primarily what I'm trying to get down, and it's starting to get better. Toward the end of OTAs, I was starting to get help by the best secondary in the country (Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor). They are the Super Bowl Champs, and I'm playing behind them. Eventually, when their time is up, it's up to me. I'm the only DB the Seahawks drafted this year; they saw my talent. They have a history of drafting late-round players who go on to become huge successes in the NFL. I'm planning to do that.
I'm leaving this Symposium feeling confident...and I have the heart of a champion.