Every year, the NFL holds the scouting combine in Indianapolis. During it, NFL prospects go through a series of on-field tests hoping to improve their draft stock as NFL teams watch intently. But there are also interviews with the teams interested in players.
WR Jerricho Cotchery impressed in his interview with the Jets who selected him in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. One of the reasons Cotchery stood out from other players was the way he dressed. While most of the other prospects wore sweaters to their interviews with the teams, Cotchery dressed like he was going to a real business interview and wore a shirt and tie which impressed the Jets coaching staff. Cotcheryís college stats also played a big role in why the Jets drafted him. Playing with San Diego Chargers QB Phillip Rivers at North Carolina State, Cotchery broke Wolfpack records with 200 receptions and 15 100-yard receiving games. Cotchery also had 3,119 yards and 21 touchdown catches during his college careers. Cotchery was big on special teams as well returning punts his first three years at NC State and had 31 returns for 226 yards.
After catching just six passes for 60 yards during his rookie season with the Jets, Cotchery tripled that, catching 19 passes for 251 yards this past season. Cotchery was also big on special teams, returning three kickoffs for 76 yards and making 10 tackles.
Jets Insider.comís Justin Paley recently spoke with Cotchery.
JI: How would you assess your 2005 season and what role do you see yourself in next year?
COTCHERY: Itís been pretty good for me. I feel that I can still grow as a wide receiver. Iím still learning. The key is to have gotten better each week and wanting to get better each week. In terms of next year I was brought in to play the slot and thatís where my mindset is right now. If you are backing up, you have to prepare like those guys (the starters) and whenever youíre needed, you are ready to go. Iíve rotated a bit on the outside so itís been a pretty good year for me.
JI: What has it been like suffering a 4-12 season?
COTCHERY: Itís been tough. Itís been a long time since my last losing season. Itís probably like that for a lot of the guys on the team. Weíve stuck together which has brought us even closer. Weíre still giving the same effort like we were 10-3. Some teams would just tank if they were in a situation like we were. But as a credit to our team we stuck together the entire season.
JI: When exactly was your last losing season?
COTCHERY: As a sophomore in high school. We lost a lot but we beat our rivals so then we knew in my junior year we would be good.
JI: Is there anything that you feel you need to work on this off-season? Who has helped your development?
COTCHERY: Iíve developed a lot with Pep Hamilton (former Jets wide receivers coach). I see a lot of things differently and recognize coverageís now. I feel Iíve gotten better going against different defenses. Iím going to work on everything in the off-season.Ē
JI: Where have you improved most since coming into the NFL?
COTCHERY: I think at being more creative at the line of scrimmage and beating press coverage. Iíve worked on that and have gotten better. Iíll continue to work on those two things in the off-season and get better.Ē
**Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for Part II of this exclusive chat with Jerricho Cotchery.