INDIANAPOLIS — Former John Paul II star Golden Tate was asked Friday what teams he was to meet with for interviews here at the NFL Combine.
Tate pondered for a second, and said, “Well, let’s see.” He reached into his shirt pulled out a list and began to read off 16 teams, ranging from also-rans like the Rams and Lions to Super Bowl contenders like the Colts, Patriots and Steelers.
The wide receiver and punt returner, who hails from Hendersonville and went on to star at Notre Dame, is readying himself for NFL scouts in anticipation of potentially being a first-round pick. And while he is excited about entering the NFL, he insists he isn’t picky when it comes to where he lands.
“I just wanted to be drafted to whoever thinks I can play, to whoever thinks I can make an impact and help their team,” Tate said. “I don’t really have a favorite team per se at this point. I just want to get there and show what I have and impress some people.”
As for his strengths, Tate listed two, when asked.
“I’d say my biggest strength is being able to break tackles. If you go back and watch film, it’s kind of tough for guys to tackle me,” he said. “It’s always been one of my strengths. And also my hands. I think I have a decent grip on the ball, and once it touches my hands, it’s not going anywhere. I’d say those two things are probably my biggest strengths.”
In an interview with The City Paper last month, Tate had not yet decided how much he would do here at the Combine. But on Friday, the Fighting Irish wide receiver announced that he would be a full participant in all drills, including running the 40-yard dash, which he labeled his favorite.
“Running straight is my thing. I can do that. I’m excited to see how my time comes out. So the event I’m most looking forward to is the 40,” Tate said. “I think I’m going to run a sub-4.5. It’s a decent time. Obviously there’s a lot of work to do with that, but I think to be realistic, that’s probably what I’m going to run around.”
Tate has been getting plenty of advice from former NFL receivers such as Roy Green and Rob Moore and is taking their advice to heart, as he prepares for the draft.
“I’ve spoken with a bunch of guys who played in the league, and those guys told me it’s about the off-season, how you prepare yourself in the off-season and how fast and your endurance,” Tate said. “So if my work ethic goes as planned, I’m going to enter the season prepared, and I think that will limit my injuries. I think I can beat the average lifespan [of an NFL career] and do great things there. But it starts off with my off-season, and I’m going to hit that hard.”
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