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2019 NFL draft: Introducing J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford’s towering big-play machine

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Why does today’s NFL put a premium on corners with big frames and long arms?

Pass-catchers like Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, that’s why.

A massive playmaker with the size and athleticism to dominate any would-be cover man, Arcega-Whiteside has been a nonstop big-play machine for the Cardinals over the past two seasons. At 6-2, 225 pounds, he’s a tough assignment for any defender, regardless of their size or skill set.

Arcega-Whiteside recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his skill set as a receiver, his favorite route to run and which defensive backs presented the toughest match-up for him.

JM: I think you have one of the more intriguing skill sets of any receiver in this draft. How do you describe your skill set?

JJAW: It’s definitely intriguing. I know what I’m good at and I try to maximize that to my benefit. I definitely have a unique skill set. My coaches always told me that if you ever want to be good at something, be good at something that you can’t teach. Well, I’m really good at running past corners downfield. It’s not something that can be coached up. I’m very thankful to put that on tape and to go out there and do it on a regular basis. At the same time, I don’t wanna be known for just that. I wanna be known as an all-around complete receiver.

Arcega-Whiteside got behind corners on a regular basis in 2018.

JM: Did you have a lot of formal or informal interviews at the combine?

JJAW: Yeah, I had about 15 formal meetings. I pretty much had an informal meeting with every team that I didn’t have a formal with. I was pretty busy down there.

JM: Do you have a favorite route to run?

JJAW: Anything that’s gonna score a touchdown (laughs). I love running the fade in the end zone. That’s my favorite. In my opinion, it gives you the best chance to score a touchdown as a receiver. Anything that helps the team win games is what I wanna do.

Arcega-Whiteside is a cheat code in the red zone. He does a great job using his massive frame as a shield here and does well to keep his focus as he outleaps the defender.

JM: Playing at Stanford afforded you the opportunity to play against some of the best competition college football has to offer. Which defensive backs stood out to you as talented guys?

JJAW: We played against some fantastic defensive backs. Julian Love from Notre Dame was pretty good. Byron Murphy from Washington was a good one. We have a defensive back on our team who I think has a chance to be one of the top defensive backs next season, Obi Eboh. We pride ourselves off playing good defense and I got to see him perform every weekend.

JM: Coach Duane Akina would love to hear that.

JJAW: He would tell you the exact same thing. That’s a talented guy right there.

JM: You were born in Spain. I don’t know if you’re a soccer fan or not, but I’m gonna ask anyway: Barcelona or Real Madrid?

JJAW: Real Madrid 100%. I’m a huge soccer fan.

JM: I’m so happy you said that. I might have hung up if you said Barcelona.

JJAW: I would have done the same thing (laughs). They have some great players, but I can’t stand the team.

Arcega-Whiteside just makes it looks so easy.

JM: I’m a little biased. I’m Portuguese. I became a big fan as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo went there.

JJAW: Oh really? I’ve always been a Real Madrid fan. I was just two or three years old when I became a fan. My dad is a huge fan but everybody else in my family loves Barcelona. My dad bought me the entire uniform when I was a kid and I still remember wearing that. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’ll tell you something cool. I got a jersey from them after they won the Champions League last year and it was autographed by every player on the team. I have that hanging up in my room. I’m a hardcore fan. Is Real Madrid your favorite club team?

JM: No, but they’re the team I root for in Spain. My favorite team is actually FC Porto.

JJAW: Oh man, you guys are doing well this year! I saw that. You’re in the final 8 of Champions League. That’s crazy!

JM: I’m quite thrilled. I’ve really appreciated your time tonight. In closing, what kind of impact is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside gonna make at the next level?

JJAW: They’re gonna get somebody that puts team goals before individual goals. I just wanna do whatever I can to help the win football games. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I play this game.