The following is my interview with Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Brian Rolle, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft out of Ohio State.
1. Back in April, you were drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Did you have any idea that the Eagles were planning on drafting you or was it a surprise?
I wouldn’t say it was a surprise. I talked to them a lot and they showed a lot of interest so when they called, I wasn’t surprised. I was just surprised where I was drafted.
2. Were you expecting to go in the sixth round, or did you think you would be drafted earlier or later?
Definitely earlier. I was hoping to go earlier but I went when I went and I’m happy with it.
3. Because of the NFL lockout, players haven’t been able to meet with coaches. Have you been able to talk with Andy Reid or any of the coaches at all, and do you have any knowledge of the defensive schemes?
I talked to a couple of coaches. They called me when they were drafting me and we spoke briefly. We could only talk for so long because of the lockout.
4. The Eagles have a bunch of young linebackers like you, Casey Matthews, Greg Lloyd, Jamar Chaney, and Keenan Clayton. Have you talked with any of the other guys and what do you hope to learn from them?
Jamar Chaney is actually one of my cousins on a different side of the family so I talked with him a lot. He showed me his playbook and I’m trying to familiarize myself with it.
From the other guys, I’m trying to learn what it’s like to play at the next level. I’m trying to figure out what to expect. I’m also learning from guys like Ernie Sims. We’ve got a lot of great players for me to learn from and hopefully I get to learn from them at training camp soon.
5. How does the NFL lockout affect you, especially as a rookie?
Well actually if your class hasn’t graduated by the time camp starts, you’re unable to attend camp so I wouldn’t be at camp even if there wasn’t a lockout so it hasn’t hurt me at all.
6. How have you been keeping yourself in shape during the lockout?
I work out every day. I run during the day and I run at night. I’m just trying to keep myself in shape for when camp starts.
7. What’s your favorite part of being a linebacker on defense?
I would say stopping the run. Getting an interception and stopping the pass is a bonus but going in there stopping the run is definitely something fun, something I love to do. Teams run the ball and you play the game to stop them.
8. What strengths do you have to bring to the team for next season and what do you hope to improve on?
Definitely my speed and agility. Something I need to improve on as a player is discipline, just like every other player. Everybody wants to be perfect and that’s something I want to be.
9. Philadelphia fans have a reputation for being pretty passionate but also wild and intense. Does that intimidate you? How do you expect the fans to feel about you?
Not at all. If you know anything about Ohio State, our fans are the same way. They’re passionate about our guys and I’m sure in Philly it’s the same thing. It’s not something that intimidates me. It’s something I look forward to. I look forward to giving them a show. It doesn’t matter that I was drafted in the sixth round. I want to show them that I have first round talent and go all out for them.
10. Your family has had some pretty incredible athletes over the years. Does that put extra pressure on you to succeed or does it help you out? (Rolle is cousins with Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney, New York Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle, Tennessee Titans defensive back Myron Rolle, and former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Samari Rolle. He is also second cousins with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson.)
I don’t think it puts any extra pressure on me at all. I think it just lets me know what I have to do and that’s to try to continue their legacy.
11. What are your expectations for the team heading into the 2011 season? And what do you think your role will be?
For the team, we have a great offense with Michael Vick and guys like that. On defense, we’ve got a bunch of great guys. Asante Samuel, Quintin Mikell, and guys like that. So as a team, I look forward to playing for a championship. Hopefully we get to camp earlier so we can familiarize ourselves with the new playbook and have a great preseason. Hopefully there’s still 16 games this season without a problem and we can make it to the Super Bowl. As far as myself, I’ve got to work myself up as a linebacker. I look forward to going in there and having fun and working my way into the starting role and having the best season possible.