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2019 NFL draft: Introducing Quart’e Sapp, Tennessee’s versatile linebacker prospect

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

If your favorite team is looking for a three-down linebacker in the 2019 NFL draft, Tennessee’s Quart’e Sapp might represent the best value in the class.

A versatile prospect with a well-rounded skill set, Sapp recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his decision to go pro, how his Pro Day went and why an NFL team should use one of their draft picks on him.

JM: Walk me through how you made the decision to go pro at this time.

QS: I grew up in a single parent home. My mom and I sat down and talked about it for a long time. I always promised her that I would be the first male in my family to graduate from college. I made that promise to her before I even stepped foot on campus at Tennessee. The majority of us collegiate athletes go to school year round and I had the opportunity to graduat early. I graduated back in December. We sat down and discussed my options. I kept my promise to her. I graduated. That was always my number one goal.

Now that I’ve achieved that, I get to focus on my next goal, which is playing football at the next level. I realized that staying for one more year would have given me an opportunity to showcase my reliability as a versatile, three-down linebacker. We recently went through a coaching change. I sat and thought about things for a long time. I decided to turn pro.

JM: Your Pro Day went down recently. How did it go?

QS: It went really well. I didn’t hit some of the numbers that I was hoping too. I did well overall. My numbers lined up nicely against the other players at my position in this draft. As an athlete and competitior, you always want to do better. Things went well overall. I spoke to like five scouts afterwards who told me they were impressed with my position work. They were excited to watch me in person and communicate with me afterwards. I’m excited to see how the rest of the process plays out.

JM: Which teams did you chat with afterwards?

QS: I spoke with the Eagles and 49ers immediately afterwards. The Falcons liked what they saw. They invited me to take part in their local day the following week. The Titans were in attendance. I spoke to them for a while. Some teams contacted me after my Pro Day as well.

JM: That’s awesome. The Falcons clearly liked what they saw. Any more visits or workouts coming up?

QS: I’ve been in touch with the Jaguars. They’re supposed to bring me in for a private workout. I’m just in the process of confirming that now.

JM: How would you describe your skillset?

QS: I describe myself as a three-down linebacker. I can play in space and I can play all three linebacker positions. We went through three different defensive coordinators in my time there, so I’m well versed in multiple schemes. We played as a 4-3 defense in my first two seasons and I spent the majority of my time at the WILL spot. Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt made the switch to a 3-4 defense last year and I played all three positions for him, the MIKE, WILL and something we call the money ‘backer which is the third down linebacker. I can rush the passer, play in space or cover tight ends. That’s where I excel at.

JM: You briefly touched on the coaching changes in Tennessee, are they in good hands with Jeremy Pruitt?

QS: Yeah, they definitely are. Having been around him for a couple of months, I learned a lot from him in a short amount of time. He taught me things both as a football player and as a man. He’s installing a culture that’s going to win. They’re gonna be a winning program in the next couple of years. This upcoming fall is obviously huge for them. They just picked up a new offensive coordinator as well. Good changes are happening there.

JM: In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on Quart’e Sapp?

QS: I can play all three downs at the next level. I’m what teams are looking for in today’s linebacker. I’m very versatile and physical. I’m mentally tough and smart as well. I’m excited for what’s ahead.