Here is the transcript from Nick DeLuca’s session with the media attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Thanks to former Forum scribe and Florida Times-Union NFL beat writer Ryan O’Halloran for the text.
Q: Has this been more fun that listening to a bunch of spoiled writers complain about the lunch sandwiches?
A: “It’s been great. I think it’s a really good experience, good exposure. Being a small-school guy, definitely getting out here and being able to compete at the highest level is a good thing.”
Q: When did you think it was realistic that they’d let you into this place without buying a ticket?
A: “I’d say a couple years into my college career.”
Q: Was your 2016 season as bad as the roads here are in Indy?
A: “It was definitely frustrating going into what I thought was going to be my senior year and, the opening game, hurting my shoulder and having to get a redshirt. It was a lot of adversity. Having to take a step back and see things from a different perspective really helped me mature as a player and a teammate.”
Q: You were awesome in playoff games against the FCS teams. Why?
A: “Just preparation. It’s something we pride ourselves on at NDSU. I’ve really always focused on my preparation. Being confident with my prep going into a week makes me feel a lot better, more confident, can play faster. That’s something that’s been instilled in me.”
Q: What was your experience at the Senior Bowl?
A: “It was a great experience, just like it is here. Being a small-school guy, being able to compete and have the platform to compete at the highest level, that was a great week for me. I thought it really helped me. I felt more comfortable going into the Combine.”
Q Was the speed of the game must have been as much of a shock as the weather?
A: “I felt good from the get go. It was a great experience to compete at that level. Not consistently seeing that type of talent on the field at the FCS level. We play in a great conference in the Missouri Valley and we get everybody’s best game, but it’s definitely a step up playing at the Senior Bowl.”
Q: How did you end up at NDSU?
A: “Being an in-state guy, I grew up always wanting to play for Nebraska. That’s all we have there. There are no pro teams. It didn’t work out but my path took me a different way, and I couldn’t have been happier with where I ended up. Here I am now. It all worked out.”
Q: What’s the oddest question, or is this the oddest question?
A: “Just defining what your biggest weakness is. That’s something no one wants to admit and come to terms with, but you have to find a way to articulate that and explain it as best you can.”
Q: For fans who haven’t watched you play, which is a handy way of saying, “I’ve never seen you play and probably never will see you play, but please tell me your style?
A: “Physical, instinctual player. That’s something I pride myself on is being able to read plays and attack them and diagnose them and make the tackle.”
Q: Who do you like to watch?
A: “Luke Kuechly is a guy I love watching – and I’m sure a lot of linebackers here. He’s the best of the best. I take little things from his game and mold them into my own.”