After the Oakland Raiders selected Darrius Heyward-Bey (DHB) with the seventh pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, he spoke with reporters via conference call.
Although DHB grew up rooting for the local Ravens, he was more than happy to be drafted by the Raiders.
He’s not worried about the criticism that has been rained on the Raiders for taking him ahead of the consensus best receiver in the draft, Michael Crabtree.
Below is the transcript of the call.
Q: When did you know that the Raiders were going to get you at number seven?
I knew a little bit before. Right before the commissioner announced me, they called me to talk to Coach Cable, but I had an idea. I felt like I was one of the top guys and that I had a chance to become a Raider.
Q: Are you surprised for you going ahead of Crabtree, Maclin and maybe guys who had a little more press coming into this?
Going ahead of those guys, it means that I’m going to be the first guy to take care of it. I mean being able to play in a pro-style offense at Maryland and take that into the NFL. I’m prepared and I don’t know why I moved ahead of those guys, but definitely the Raiders saw something in me.
Q: Not to knock anyone else but do you feel you are the best receiver in this class in your opinion?
I felt like I had the qualities to be the best receiver in the class. I mean I know people look at the stats and everything. But just playing in a pro-style offense and having the skills and being able to work hard, I felt I was definitely at the top.
Q: And Darrius about those stats and pro-style offense. I mean people are going to look at them and say why weren’t there more? Why wasn’t there a 1,000-yard season and 10 touchdowns and that sort of thing.
Right. The people that look at that and look back at the games we had at Maryland and when you look back at the Cal game, I had a chance to show what I can do. At Maryland we used the run to set up the pass and I’m the type of receiver to do it all. Catch, run, block, hustle and just work hard. In college, you don’t see those numbers, but at the next level you sure will.
Q: Were you frustrated seeing all of these other receivers in spread offenses putting up these huge numbers and here you are at Maryland not getting that kind of chance?
No. I only get frustrated when your team loses and you feel like you didn’t get a chance to help the team win. That’s the only time that it’s frustrating. I understand my role on the team and the number one thing wasn’t about what I wanted.
Q: What are the kinds of things you think you need to work on before you get to the NFL or before you become the kind of player that you want out here?
Just the overall knowledge of the game. Route running, coming to work every day to get better, just coming in there ready to go.
Q: At any point in this process have you gotten the chance to talk to Al Davis?
No, I haven’t talked to Al Davis. I haven’t gotten the chance to talk to him, but I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Talk about getting the chance to play with Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russell.
The chance to play with those guys will be great. I’m just an addition to that puzzle that we are trying to make here at Oakland. Those guys are really talented and I’m looking forward to playing with them and also going up against a guy like Nnamdi [Asomugha], who is probably the best corner in the game so I can improve myself. I mean going against him will only make me get better going against him every day at practice.
Q: You know there were a couple people and at least one from the NFL Network that were saying that you would go number seven to the Raiders and people doubted it. Did you have that feeling a couple of days before that the Raiders were going to pick you?
Yes. I mean, I heard that but I’m not the type of guy who looks or watches TV a lot and listens to the mock drafts and everything. But, I knew it was a possibility and I’m the type of guy who would never shy down to anything.
Q: Is there anyone that you tried to emulate?
Yes, my favorite player is Jerry Rice and he played for the Oakland Raiders later in his career. That’s my favorite player. His work ethic was beyond anybody else and that’s who I model myself after when it comes to work ethic. Past that, I think I have my own unique type of game.
Q: Coach Cable has mentioned your comparisons to Randy Moss, another former Raider. How do you feel about that comparison?
Randy Moss is the most talented wide receiver to ever play the game, and to be compared to him is great, but I have to go in there and I have to prove myself and make a name for myself.
Q: Darrius do you feel like you can come in right away and make an impact and maybe even start as a rookie?
Right now all I can control as a rookie coming in is working hard. I know that I will be able to do that and whereever that takes me, I’m willing to take it. If that’s starting, if that’s getting a lot of playing time, if that’s special teams running the kickoffs, I’m that type of guy. I’m a hard worker. I go and I just try to get the job done. One thing that I can tell you is the work ethic is there.
Q: Who was your favorite NFL team?
My favorite team growing up, being in the D.C./Baltimore area, I always looked at the Ravens when they got here the past decade. But always in the back of my mind the Oakland Raiders were always a team, that being stuck in this area you kept to yourself, but that was the team you loved. You loved that Silver and Black. You loved to get that jersey. I mean everybody has an Oakland Raiders jersey. So definitely being in the D.C. area you loved the local teams but the Raiders are beyond anyone when it came to everything else.