With an aging line backing corps and the best player headed toward free agency the Arizona Cardinals entered the draft with the idea of adding some new blood. By the time the dust settled the Cardinals had drafted two outside linebackers and signed two inside linebackers soon after the draft. One of those undrafted signees, Chase Bullock, was a former Maryland Terapin who we originally had a hard time researching. He was plagued by injuries in college and wasn't invited to the combine so the national coverage on him was fairly scant. With that in mind, instead of relying on second hand coverage ROTB decided to go directly to the source and Bullock though was kind enough to sit down with us today and talk about his past at Maryland, his future with the Cardinals and even his plans after football.
ROTB - After the draft we scoured the internet for news and scouting reports on yourself but couldn't find much outside of your bio at Maryland's website. Can you tell us a little about your history at Maryland, what kind of defense they played and what your role was with the Terps?
Chase Bullock - I grew up in Durham, North Carolina and went to Maryland where our defense was really similar to the Cardinals, in that we also ran a 3-4. In that defense I played the Mike and Will (both inside spots in a 3-4) but I also played both outside spots. I can play all four positions but most of my playing time came at the Will position. Whatever they needed me to play, whether it be to stand up or put my hand in the ground, I did.
ROTB - I noticed in your bio that you had some injury problems your junior year that really held you out of playing time. I was wondering how those injuries effected you that year and and how are you feeling now?
CB - My junior year was ready to be my breakout year and I had worked the hardest I'd ever worked in my life leading up to the season but during the first week I got a high ankle sprain (think Antrel Rolle from last year). That injury held me out for several games and then after playing a couple of game healthy, I got a high ankle sprain in the opposite ankle. The trainers at Maryland were telling me that they'd never seen a injury like this, but it was a tough experience. I went through a lot though, I learned from it and it made me a better person. I learned that you just have to try and do your best every time your on the field but that you don't have any guarantees out there.
ROTB - With most of your experience coming on the inside but the ability to play all four positions, where do the Cardinals have you playing right now?
CB - Right now I'm pretty much playing the Will, but I can play either the Mike or Will. When I talk to coach Raich (LB coach) though he just told me to make sure that I can play both.
ROTB -Playing with and behind accomplished veterans like Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes has to help the younger guys, what's it like practicing with those guys?
CB - Oh man, they teach you a lot. I try to watch everything that they do and ask them as many questions as possible. I just try and learn everything that I can from them so that I can get to their level. I think I might even get on their nerves sometimes because I just stay on their hip. I'm just trying to learn and understand as much as I can about the defense before we get to training camp, but they're great guys and they'll take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
ROTB - Heading into your professional career, what do you call your strengths and weaknesses and what is an area that your trying to improve upon?
CB - Right now I'd say that my strengths are my athleticism and that I've got a high motor. I also feel like I'm a run stuffer who does well in the 'box' and as far as weaknesses go, I'd say that I need to work on dropping into coverage. I'm also working on changing directions more quickly.
ROTB - As far as the draft process, what was it like as the draft wound to a close, where did you expect to go and who was calling you after it was over? Did you have any idea that the Cardinals were interested in you?
CB - Well I had a great agent who helped me out quite a bit during the process as far as getting my name out there and letting teams know that I had struggled with injuries but had plenty of talent. He built up a pretty good buzz and sent my tape out to all of the teams and then I had a really good pro day. If I'd have been invited to the combine I'd have ranked in all of the drills, including a low 4.5's forty time. After that teams started calling me saying that I could be a late round pick but when the draft came along I didn't turn it on until after the third round. Once the draft was over though I was kind of upset and it helped me put a chip on my shoulder. I know I've got a lot to prove but it was a great experience.
I had heard from one of the Cardinals scouts who said that they were looking at me and that they would stay in touch so I had an idea that they were interested. There were some other teams that I was talking to as well though like the Steelers so I reallly didn't have any idea where I would end up but I knew I'd get a chance somewhere.
ROTB - Moving away from your experience on the field, what team did you follow as a kid and who were your favorite players? Also who was your greatest influence growing up?
CB - Well growing up I'd always been a Cowboys' fan (as we both laugh) and I grew up watching guys like Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith but now I can say that my favorite team is the Cardinals (laughing again). My greatest influence would have to be my mom, she's pretty much my hero. She raised me in a single parent household, took care of me and kept me in sports to make sure that I stayed out of trouble. She always kept me doing things so that I wasn't getting in trouble or staying out late. She kept me working hard to try and do the best that I could do. She's definitely my hero, the strongest woman that I know.
ROTB - To finish up, I'm sure that this plan might be on the back burner right now but I read somewhere that you wanted to eventually get into the FBI and maybe even the Secret Service. What's the story with that?
CB - Ah yea, that's funny because growing up I'd always wanted to be a cop so when I went to school at Maryland, which is pretty close to the White House, and after visiting there a couple of times I decided that it was something that i wanted to do. So hopefully when I'm done playing football, looking forward to retirement at the age of 36 or 37, I can get into that.
Many, many thanks to Chase Bullock for taking the time. Undrafted free agents have a hard uphill climb to the NFL but hopefully he's around for quite some time. We'll certainly look forward to seeing him on the field in about two weeks. Thoughts?