After the Arizona Cardinals used their first fourth round pick to select pass rusher Alex Okafor, the media had the opportunity to speak with him. He talked about the wait to be drafted and whether he can play linebacker in the Cardinals' 3-4 defensive scheme.
Listen to the Okafor interview using the embedded player or click here for the direct link
He knew going into the draft that the Cardinals were interested in him. They talked to him at the Combine. He said that the team called him on Day 2 and told him to hang on, and then the rest is recent history. He was drafted by the Cardinals with the 103rd overall pick.
The fun fact? He was drafted with the exact same pick as Arizona Cardinals starting outside linebacker Sam Acho, who was taken by the Cards with the 103rd pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Okafor was a teammate of Acho's at Texas for two years. Okafor called it "nuts" and "crazy" that they were drafted in the exactly same place and team.
As for coming to the Cardinals, he calls it "a perfect situation" for him. He cited how one of the most important things coming into the league is fitting in with the team. He is in a unique situation. "I get to come in with a guy that I already played two years with that was already a mentor of mine," he explained.
Who is the better player -- Okafor or Acho? The soon to be rookie was diplomatic. "We'll figure that out on the field," he answered.
Despite what was said by the draft broadcast on ESPN that the Cards would be looking at him on the defensive line, perhaps to replace Darnell Dockett, Okafor knows that he will be expected to play outside linebacker like Acho.
The team, when they spoke to him at the Combine, asked him about playing outside. "I looked at them dead on the eyes and told them I'm confident in my athletic ability," he described. "I know I can play that position for them. They trusted me and we'll see how that works out."
Now you know. The team wants him to be a pass rushing threat off the edge. He believes he will play well there. He has a friend and a mentor in Sam Acho. He will be changing positions, but this really is ideal a setting as you can come up with for that scenario.
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