Speedy times in FloridaThe news at the receiver position the past few weeks has centered around prospects falling down draft boards.  But what about those on the rise?  Taylor Price has justifiably moved up draft boards faster than any player at the position.  He talked with Chris Tripodi of TFY Draft Insider about his college career, his experience at the Senior Bowl and combine as well as his recent meeting with Jerry Jones.

TFY: Most NFL scouting services gave you a late-round grade coming into the season, were you aware of this and if so how did you feel about it?

Taylor Price: I was aware of it, but I didn’t really worry about it too much. I had a lot of time and a lot of games to prove that I was better than a late-round grade. Then I had the Senior Bowl and the combine and at each one I tried to maximize what I can do. At the combine, I feel like I did a pretty good job of maximizing my stock as much as I could right now.

TFY: Did you use it as motivation during the season?

Price: That’s the only thing I could do. If I wouldn’t have done that I don’t think I’d be in the position I am now. I know I wanted to play football so I had to go out each and every game and try to make plays and show people what kind of player I was.

TFY: Teams are now talking about you as this a potential top sixty choice; do you feel you should be taken even higher than that?

Price: I do. Coming from a small school is a knock against me as well as coming from a system where we didn’t pass too much. If I’d have gone to Ohio State or a Big East school I don’t think there’s any question I could probably be a first-round pick. After the Senior Bowl and the combine I think my stock is the highest it’s gone right now. I’m fortunate and just waiting it out now.

TFY: Do you think if you were in a more pass-happy system with better numbers, you would’ve drawn more attention?

Price: Yea, we’ve been working a little with the spread in my four years at Ohio under Frank Solich but it never really got to the point where we were that diverse.

TFY: Many teams like your upside but feel you need more polish to your game, do you agree or do you feel ready to make an instant impact in the NFL?

Price: I’m ready to make an impact. I’ve been working on my footwork, working on my cuts, keeping my playing weight down and at the combine a lot of people really noticed it and could tell I was working.

TFY: Coming into the season you were a verified 4.33-second forty receiver – where were you timed at 4.33 and what were the circumstances?

Price: It was a hand timer at my Pro Day last spring. It was on turf and a little chilly, about 45-50 degrees. At the combine they had me in the mid-4.3s with the hand timer and my electronic was 4.4 flat.

TFY: Teams are saying you’re the fastest receiver in this year’s draft but besides your speed, what is your best asset as a receiver?

Price: My versatility and my size. I have pretty good size at 6-0, 205 pounds. I can play inside because I can block and I can play outside because I have the speed and know all the routes since I’ve played outside my whole career in college. Teams will have a lot to work with as far as where they want to play me and at this point it’s about trying to get on a team and make an impact as soon as possible.

TFY: Do you feel like you have the growth potential to bulk up and make your size an even bigger advantage?

Price: Without a doubt, it’s easy for me to put on and lose weight so I have to make sure I put on the right weight and keep working out. I feel like I can put on a little weight and still be as fast as I am and improve my versatility.

TFY: What aspect of your game have you concentrated the most on improving since the season ended?

Price: Polishing my footwork, my route-running, shaking my hips and all the little things about being a receiver. It’s not just catching the ball and scoring touchdowns but everything else that comes along with the position, and that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on.

TFY: What do you feel like you will need to work at the most to succeed at the next level?

Price: The mental aspect; learning all the defensive coverages and learning a new playbook along with my footwork and body weight.

TFY: How did Coach Solich help prepare you for that mental aspect of the game?

Price: He knows what it takes. He’s been there, he’s done that, but I learned a lot from my receivers coach, Dwayne Dixon. He’s one of the best in the country and every team I talk to knows Coach Dixon from Florida and NC State. He taught me so much about really studying the game, knowing your opponents and really pointing out minor details when you’re watching film.

TFY: What will you take most from your career at Ohio?

Price: I knew going to a smaller school would be harder but it was all about doing what I’ve wanted to do, which is play football. There’s not a lot of media in Athens and not a lot of people know about Ohio football, but I performed on the field when I needed to.

TFY: Who was the toughest cornerback you faced the past three years?

Price: Malcolm Jenkins from Ohio State. He wasn’t the quickest but he definitely had the skills, the body and the physicality to play defense so it was a good matchup.

TFY: You had a good senior season then did really well at the Senior Bowl – what was that experience like?

Price: It was what I needed. Coming from the MAC you don’t really get a lot of respect. It was good to show people that I can play at this level, I can play against the best players and I need to be here and deserve to be here. I went out there every single day with a chip on my shoulder to show I could be a dominant player against everybody else.

TFY: A lot of prospects complain about how grueling the combine can be with the medical testing, interviews and everything else which goes on – how was the combine for you?

Price: It was grueling but it wasn’t as hard as the Senior Bowl; I thought the Senior Bowl was one of the longest weeks of my life. You can prepare for the combine and you know what to expect, so you just have to take it day by day and enjoy it.

TFY: What made Senior Bowl week so long for you?

Price: There were long practices, then you have meetings and people trying to meet with you and interview you, then you have to find time to eat and do other activities. You have somewhere to be at all times every day and it’s much longer than the combine. I’m glad it’s all over now.

TFY: Do you feel like that week helped prepare you for what you’re going to experience at the NFL level?

Price: Definitely, you have to know where you need to be and be there on time, you have to really be on top of your schedule.

TFY: We heard you recently met with Jerry Jones of the Cowboys – what was that like?

Price: It was good; I flew into Dallas and had dinner with all the different coaches. I met with Jerry Jones for a 10-minute interview that went well.

TFY: Which teams have you flown to visit recently?  Which teams have come to Ohio to work you out?

Price: That’s the only visit I had, but I had a workout with the Patriots on March 16. It was a 30-45 minute workout and I felt I helped myself as much as I could.

TFY: What kind of situation would you like to find yourself in with the team that drafts you?

Price: I think a veteran receiver could take me along the way, as well as teaching coaches who are knowledgeable and have patience and understanding. I just want to make an impact and find my niche and my role wherever I go.

TFY: Which current or past NFL receiver would you compare yourself to and what would do you have to do to match their career as a pro?

Price: I’d say Greg Jennings since he came out of a MAC school and was a second-round pick. I think I’m a little faster than he is, but I’m going to have to work hard. He knew he had to come out and work hard at certain things and that’s the same way I have to come out.

TFY: Do you see yourself following a similar path to Jennings, using your first year to learn the ropes and exploding onto the NFL scene in year two?

Price: I think I’ll have to use that first year to gain experience, take everything in and learn everything I can so when I get an opportunity I can make a major impact for my team.