This is part two of our interview series with some of the Broncos’ 2009 draft picks. We had the chance to speak with several of them on the second day of the NFL draft, April 26, at Broncos’ headquarters.
With the 18th overall pick, the Broncos selected Robert Ayers a defensive lineman/linebacker from the University of Tennessee.
Mike Rice: Did you have any idea that you would be the Broncos’ pick?
Robert Ayers: During the process, I felt like this was a good fit for me. From talking with the coaches, I felt like I was a guy they were targeting and the pieces fell into place. I’m more than happy to be here. I think I’m going to fit well with the team and I’ll do all I can to help this organization. It’s all about winning. They were one or two games short last year. I’m not going to be that piece that gets us over the hump but hopefully I can be a small part of the building block. You got great guys like Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey here so I feel like we can get things turned around. I’m willing to do whatever I can do to get it turned around.
MR: You’ve played some linebacker; you’ve played some defensive end. Do you have a preference?
RA: No preference at all. I look at myself as a football player. Whatever you ask me to do, I’m going to figure out how to get it done and I’m going to attack it. I’m going to try to, to the best of my abilities, accomplish the goals and do what they ask me to do. The coaches that drafted me know what kind of player they’re getting. From talking to people that have been around, they know what kind of guy I am and how I work. All I’m here to do is to give it my all and do what I can do.
MR: Have the coaches told you how they might use you or what role you might have?
RA: It’s up in the air. They know that I’m going to be on this team. And they know that I’m a guy that can play multiple (positions). Where they put me at, I’m more than willing to do.
MR: Tell us about the emotions of a dream being realized in being drafted and now being a part of an NFL team.
RA: (Pauses to collect himself). I sat there and got quiet for about 15 minutes and I said, “Mom, Dad, I’m actually in the NFL.” And they said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ I don’t know if it’s actually sunk in (for) all my family. It sunk in for me real fast. It’s a great privilege and to have this opportunity makes me want to work that much harder, not to let this opportunity be something that goes to waste. I got this opportunity and now, it’s what I’m going to do with it from here. Am I going to let it slip out of my hands or am I going to take advantage of it? I definitely don’t plan on letting it slip out of my hands.
MR: Did you get a little emotional on draft day?
RA: Yeah I did. You see your family (and) they’re happy. Parents (are) crying, everybody’s crying. I’m the oldest child and I’ve been an influence on my younger siblings. It was an emotional day but it was a great day. My parents are great.
MR: I am imagine that you feel good about helping them out and feel good that they’re happy.
RA: That’s what it’s about. I don’t only do this for me. I don’t only do this for income or because I love to play the game. I do this for my family; I do this to make them proud. They see me on TV, they see me do things, they see me celebrate and winning and competing and they get a special feeling inside of them. Words, money, objects, whatever, can’t beat that.
MR: Give us a sense of your game. How would you describe your style?
RA: Very aggressive, versatile. I try to be the aggressor. I’m an attacking-style player. That’s what the coaches know they’re going to get. Talking to Coach McDaniels, that’s what he said. I’m basically reiterating what his thoughts of me were. Looking at the film, that’s how I play. I play physically; I try to play violent. And I’m also a student of the game. I try to learn and understand. That’s what allows me to play multiple positions, give it my all and not have to think. When you think, that’s when you make mistakes. I pride myself on being a versatile, violent, smart player.
MR: How much do you think you can help improve the Broncos’ pass rush?
RA: That’ll be left to be told. Next year at the draft, they’ll have the story of what Robert Ayers did and hopefully it will be good things. I’m just a small piece of it. I’m not the cure to any problems. I’m not the answer. I’m just Robert Ayers and I’m a Denver Bronco and I’m going to do whatever I can to help.
MR: Robert, we appreciate your time and all the best to you.
RA: Thank you.
Next time, we’ll feature one of the Broncos’ second round selections, cornerback Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest University.
Thanks for reading.