The Browns took Chadron St. offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey in the seventh round (227th overall). Here's a transcript of his teleconference with reporters on Saturday.
(On if he feels more comfortable at guard or tackle) - “I think something that allows me to be versatile is that I played tackle in college and then at the Senior Bowl I played guard. So really I have the mindset that I was going to play guard. I’m ready to play either or, or both. I’m ready to be versatile.”
(On what he expects in regards to the step up from Division II to the NFL) - “I’m very excited about it. It allows me to really reach the potential that I want to reach. Having the limitation of being in Division II, obviously, has its differences in competition, but I’m very excited about the step up. I think that there has been a knock on me for a long time because of my competition level. I have a chip on my shoulder and I’m as excited to be as successful as I can be and help get the Browns to a Super Bowl. It isn’t anything that I’m intimidated about. I’m very excited about it. There is a lot of great opportunity and I’m ready to walk into camp and compete for a job.”
(On having a heart operation and his appendix bursting while in high school) - “Going into my freshman year of high school I had a heart operation. I had a syndrome called WPW (Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome), which was easily fixed. I had a cardiac ablation that fixed my condition. It prevented me from participating in any athletic sports during my freshman year. It helped me excel academically. Actually, it was a rough year because I was bullied severely and I had a rough time. My parents decided to move me to Aurora Christian and that’s how I got there, which is how I got to Chadron. With the appendicitis, my junior year, three hours before our first game in North Dakota, I had that. That was a big upset, and I walked into my junior year knowing that I had to go lights out and play very well. It was hard to bounce back from that, especially because I was out the first two games. I bounced back well and it’s just very exciting because I had a good senior year.”
(On playing with Joe Thomas) - “I’m excited, I’m very excited to learn from him. He’s unanimously considered the best tackle in the league. I know he’s one of the highest paid, he’s one of the best tackles. I’ve actually looked up to him for a while. When he was drafted, he was drafted in the first round, but he was knocked down because of his arm length. That’s what a lot of people have knocked on me about, was my arm length as well. But I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys in the room. I know Coach (George) Warhop is great, I was able to spend some time with him. But I’m very excited to learn from the rest of the guys, to be a student of the game, to just grow in knowledge and wisdom of the game from the other guys in the room. Joe Thomas is a guy I’m especially looking forward to spending time with.”
(On if he expected to be drafted) - “I was very confident after this years’ performance. I wouldn’t say it with any arrogance, but after this year at Chadron and then my different opportunities, post-career, at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, I felt very confident with my performances. I had a level of confidence that kind of assured me that I was going to get drafted.”
(On if he knew the Browns were interested in him) - “Absolutely. I was very fortunate. I met with Coach (George) Warhop at the Combine, sat down with him. Then he also came to my high school and worked me out a few weeks ago. I had the opportunity to be a student of the game from him, to learn some of the schemes of the offense and just going over terminology and the run-pass style. Then we went out on the field at my high school and did some foot work and did some different agility drills. Just spending time with him, I knew there was a good chance for a late round pick with the Browns. I’m very excited.”
(On playing basketball for Chadron) - “In 2010, a few guys got kicked off of the team for drug related issues. They wanted to bring a big guy on that had character and someone who has a work ethic, someone who is going to work hard and contribute to the team, not be an individual and not be selfish. They decided to bring me on half way through the season to be the team player and to contribute to the team and work hard and practice hard and back up our starting center. I was very fortunate to play in the last nine games. I played in every game that I was on the team. I actually scored four points, which is really cool. My football bio says something about being an All-American, but most notably known for his 16 minutes of playing time with the CSU basketball team where he received eight fouls. So I definitely took the pride in the physicality of playing basketball. It’s quite the venue to bring fans though.”