Johnnie Troutman’s Twitter bio says it best: “Former Penn State player chasing his dream in the NFL.“ Troutman, who stands at a punishing 6’4 325, is one of those NFL hopefuls we don’t know very well but may in upcoming years. By all accounts he had a successful Combine and Pro Day and he happens to play a position where teams often need some help. I got to chance to chat with Johnnie as he anxiously waits his phone to ring in a couple of weeks.
Troutman is projected to go anywhere from the 5th round – undrafted.
ROOKIE ROUNDUP INTERVIEW
Melissa Jacobs: How old were you when you started playing football, and what was your first position?
Johnnie Troutman: 8th grade. I was a defensive tackle.
MJ: At what point did you realize you might be good enough to play football for a living?
JT: I always wanted to play in the NFL since I was growing up. The first avenue I saw was in high school when my coach told me that I was good enough to play Division I ball. But I didn’t think too much of it because I love football and wanted to just focus on the playing part right then and there. But then when I got my first offer [for college]I started to think about the statistics of which kids actually make it into the NFL. I knew it was a long-shot but it was still in the back of my mind., I kept playing and getting better and god willing, have a chance to make it now.
MJ: How did you decide on Penn State?
JT: My top two schools were Penn State and Ohio State. I chose Penn State because of the coaches and my family and friends. It is a great school.
MJ: Last year you were as senior eyeing the NFL, but your team went through a lot off-the-field, to put it mildly. How distracting was the Sandusky scandal?
JT: It was stressful. You want to go out there and just focus on performing but you could see the stress of the coaches’ faces, so it was often hard to go and do your job. But you had to focus and I think we did well as team considering all that was going on.
MJ: Let’s get back to you specifically. Pretend like I am an NFL scout and tell me in thirty seconds or less why I should draft you. What exactly will you bring to my hypothetical NFL team?
JT: Basically I provide an extra physical presence at the line of scrimmage. I am always ready at the point of attack. And I am also ready to generally eady to help a team get better.
MJ: You have now gone through both the Combine and your Pro Day? What are the biggest differences between the two other than the makeup of the rookies?
JT: They differ a little bit. Head personnel are the focus of the Combine, whereas head coaches and position coaches come to your Pro Day. But basically you just want to perform well in both so the staff goes back to G.M. and reports that you are talented and a good kid.
MJ: Who is the most interesting person you have met throughout the draft process, whether it be a fellow draftee, NFL guy or otherwise?
JT: I would have to say the running back from Baylor, Terrance Ganaway. I have spent time with him at the facility and he is a really funny character.
MJ: Is there anything you can do between the end of your Pro Day and draft night to improve your position?
JT: There really isn’t. I am staying in shape and continuing to train. But a team would have to bring me in to tour a facility for them to get to know me any better.
MJ: Assuming all goes well and you wind up signing an NFL contract, what is the first thing you will but?
JT: A car
MJ: Any particular make and model?
JT: Depends on were I go (laughs).
Rookie Roundup is a series of interviews with select NFL prospects. Look for new rookies every week leading up the draft.