Does Miami WR Phillip Dorsett have concerns about playing in cold? "Everybody has to play in it."
Leading into the 2015 NFL draft, Sports Illustrated will conduct a series of one-on-one interviews with the league's soon-to-be rookies. First up: Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.
SI: I guess we'll start with the most important topic, which is how often do people ask you if you're related to Tony Dorsett?
Dorsett: (Laughs) I think I get it probably every day. ... I'm not, but ...
SI: You were born and raised in Miami, obviously stayed there for school. So how did you feel about the weather in Indianapolis at the combine?
Dorsett: It was tough at first. When I first got there, I walked outside to get on the bus and it was like –4°. I've never felt that before.
SI: Do you have any concern about having to play in that type of weather if you're drafted by a team like Buffalo or New York?
Dorsett: Everybody has to play in it. Everybody has to deal with the cold. After awhile, you get used to it.
SI: Your bio says that you grew up a fan of the Miami Heat and the Dolphins. Are you still?
Dorsett: I'll probably always follow those teams. I've always been a fan of the [Miami] Hurricanes, the Dolphins. I'll still follow [them] no matter what.
SI: Do you get much of a chance to watch the Dolphins during the season or were you too busy?
Dorsett: I usually get a chance to catch the games. We're usually off on Sundays, so I do get a chance to watch the games.
SI: Jarvis Landry last year obviously stepped in for the Dolphins and had a big impact as a rookie. It was a great year overall for the rookie wide receivers. How impressed were you with what that class did last year?
Dorsett: Oh, really impressed. A bunch of rookies came in and contributed right away. I feel like this rookie class right here is going to be a big one, too. We have a lot of guys with a lot of talent who are going to come in and play right away.
Jarvis did a great job for the Dolphins. I knew what a great receiver he was in college, so I was happy when they drafted him.
SI: Since you've been in Miami your entire life, is the dream to play for the Dolphins or would you like to get out of town and try something new at this point?
Dorsett: Man, it would be a dream come true to play for the Dolphins. But other than that, it's not your choice when it comes to getting drafted. I'll play anywhere and be happy to play anywhere.
SI: Were you and your Miami teammates involved in any volunteer work or events out in the community?
Dorsett: We did the bone marrow drive, big into that at Miami, did that every year. Other thing is we like to do a charity bowling tournament, stuff like that. There's a lot of things we like to do outside football.
SI: Did you feel any added responsibility to participate, being from Miami and knowing people in the area?
Dorsett: Not added responsibility ... just giving back to the less fortunate. We're fortunate to be in a position that we are, so why not give back? A lot of us were in there at some point in our lives, where we looked up to the NFL players. Now that we're in that position, it's a great thing to do to give back.
SI: I know you were asked about this at the combine, but what went wrong for Miami last season? Looking at the number of players on that team expected to be drafted this year, it doesn't really add up to the 6-7 finish.
Dorsett: A lot of things went wrong when it came to the season. We'd come in and watch film and guys would be out of place. A lot of things didn't go our way when it came to a lot of games we lost this year. We lost a lot of close games, a lot of games broke our hearts. If some simple things went the right way, we would've had a way better season.
SI: You're known as a speed receiver and a lot of people were paying attention to your 40 time at the combine. Were you satisfied with what you ran (4.33)? Did you expect to be faster?
Dorsett: I was satisfied with my time. The 40 wasn't really too big of my worry at the combine. I just wanted to do well in the position drills. ... When it comes to my pro day (April 1), I'm just going to do position drills, not going to do anything else.
SI: Do you feel the need to prove that you're more than a speed guy? Have you received any feedback from the NFL teams you've spoken to that they want to see more from your game?
Dorsett: Not anymore. Obviously, what I've done at the Senior Bowl and the combine made it so a lot of coaches see me as a complete receiver now. It's just [my] smaller stature. I'm only 5'10", 185, but I can do a lot of things when it comes to my height and my route-running and being able to catch the ball, making tough catches and stuff like that.
SI: Were you more confident in your draft status coming out of the Senior Bowl?
Dorsett: I'm always confident when it comes to playing football, I'm confident in my ability. But just going out there and showing what you can do ... you always feel a lot more comfortable when you get positive feedback from the receivers coaches that are there.
SI: Is there anything specific that you can work out at this point to improve your route-running?
Dorsett: I've always been able to run routes, it's just that I didn't get a chance to run as many at Miami. Going into the Senior Bowl and combine, it was about just showing that I can do it.
SI: You produced a ton of big plays for Miami—a 24 yard-per-catch average last season. That's an astronomical number. How were you able to make that happen?
Dorsett: Basically, it was a combination of everything—play-calling and the other players that take the spotlight off you, [helped me] keep one-on-one coverage. Then, sometimes I was just able take the top off [of the defense]. Just a combination of all things. Great team, had a lot of talent, combination of all those things.
SI: Are you one of those players who gets upset when he doesn't score?
Dorsett: No, not at all.
SI: You played against high-level competition in college, but you're going to match up against physical cornerbacks on a more consistent basis in the NFL. How do you go about preparing physically or mentally for what you'll see as a pro?
Dorsett: Honestly, I feel pretty comfortable. We had a lot of guys with a lot of talent at Miami. Everything in the NFL will be at a high level. I want to go in and compete every day. Out there, it's just the competition—I'm a competitor, I want to compete.
SI: NFL coaches and general managers always talk about how the medical checks and interviews are the most important parts of the combine. How'd those go for you?
Dorsett: It went great. Knee checked out (Dorsett missed five games in 2013 with a knee injury), interview process was great. I've never had any trouble in school or at any time in my life, so that part checked out easy. And when we covered the game of football, I know the game of football, played in a pro-style offense, so it went well for me.
SI: You said your knee checked out?
SI: Did you have any concern about it going into the combine?
Dorsett: No concern, they just check all your past injuries, make you get an MRI if you've ever hurt anything. I didn't have any concern, I knew it was fine.
SI: Any additional visits set up with teams yet?
Dorsett: I have Carolina on April 13. They're coming out here [to Miami] to work me out. And a couple other teams, but they didn't schedule times yet.
SI: The combine was in early February, your pro day's coming up, the draft is in late April. Is it difficult to have the draft process be as long as it is?
Dorsett: It's difficult at first. ... You got to be thankful that teams actually want you. You can't really look at it as difficult, because this is the goal. You've just got to embrace it.
SI: Before I let you go, wanted to get your thoughts on another Miami draft hopeful that I'm sure you saw a lot of in practice. Can you give us a quick scouting report on cornerback Ladarius Gunter?
Dorsett: He's a big, physical man-press corner. He's a guy that's going to compete. He's going to get in your face and pressure you every time. He likes to play physical. And he's going to come up and tackle, too. He's a competitor. He's going to be a great one at the next level. He's not really a guy that's going to test off the charts but he's going to go out there and play football.