Interview With Boston College Star BJ Raji, Top Defensive Line Prospect
Josh Sanchez: You are considered the consensus #1 DT in this year’s draft. What do you attribute that to and how does it feel to be so close to your dream?
B.J. Raji: Well I attribute it to hard work and taking care of the little things as far as playing the position is concerned. Staying mentally focused helped me as well because I was able to try and help achieve my personal goals by putting the team before myself.
Sanchez: A big reason for the success of Boston College was the dominance of the defensive line. How did you and Ron Brace play off of each other?
Raji: Well, we told each other that if they were going to double team one of us then the other would have to make them pay. If they would double both of us then it was up to our defensive ends to make them pay.
Sanchez: You could play many positions at the next level. 4-3 NT or 3-4 NT which are you more comfortable with?
Raji: More comfortable is not the right phrase I believe because I have played plenty of each to be familiar with them. Boston College has prepared me for any situation as far as playing on the football field is concerned, so whatever the teams wants me to do I will.
Sanchez: At the Senior Bowl you were virtually unstoppable after Mike Mayock called you out. How much do you listen to what the draft experts say? Have you heard from any NFL teams?
Raji: The Mike Mayock thing was something that I just had fun with. I have confidence in my ability and naturally people who work with me and my loved ones inform me of the media part of it because I have no control over that.
Sanchez: There are rumors that the Lions have contacted you over the past few weeks. Can you tell us how those meetings went? How would it feel to be the #1 pick? If you were in Detroit, how could you help turn the team around?
Raji: Contact? [laughter] If any talk is going on my agency knows the bulk of it. I did meet with them [Detroit] at the combine and I knew the interest was there because if it wasn’t, then they would not have interviewed me, but I just let the chips fall where they may, because anything can happen.
Sanchez: You come off as a level headed guy who just loves the game. Would you say that is accurate?
Raji: Yeah, I’m a level headed guy. I believe the success I’m having on the field has a lot to do with the idea that I act the same on and off the field, so playing ball I have that extra comfort.
Sanchez: What does football mean to you?
Raji: Football means a great deal to me without it I wouldn’t have had as good an education as I have gotten at Boston College.
Sanchez: What player’s current and past do you look up to?
Raji: Past players I would have to say: Warren Sapp and Corey Simon. I loved everything about their games, but current I like Tommie Harris and Albert Haynesworth.
Sanchez: Why should a GM select BJ Raji? What will you be able to contribute from day one?
Raji: The reason a GM should pick me is because I believe that I can have an immediate impact on a defense and along with that I will put the teams before me.
Sanchez: Thanks a lot for your time.