Florida cornerback Joe Haden was one of the top performers at his position during his college career. Get to know more about him by reading his comments to the media at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.**
Q: Why did you decide to come out after your junior year?A: I spoke with my parents, that's basically what I do with any big decision, and we talked about what I felt like I needed to accomplish when I was at Florida and I felt like I accomplished everything I came to accomplish. We won the national championship, the SEC championship. Then I was a consensus All-American, that's what I wanted to do. My dad asked me if I thought I was ready for the next level and I told him I was.
Q: How did you end up playing cornerback at Florida?A: When I first got to Florida I had a little dream, I was going to play quarterback, but they had somebody named Tebow there, so that kind of went out the window. Then I changed to receiver and I was second-string behind Percy (Harvin), I just couldn't get right. After that Coach (Urban) Meyer asked me if I felt like going to the defensive side of the ball. At first I just wanted to play. I came in spring, so I had a lot of time to adjust. He moved me to corner, something I never did before. But I had (assistant defensive coordinator/safeties) coach (Chuck) Heater, he said, "As long as you go hard, as long as you run as fast as you can, just tackle, toughness, you'll be able to play." That's what I did and they let me start as a freshman.
Q: Could you have been a major college quarterback?Yeah, I definitely could have been a college quarterback. I wasn't too bad of a quarterback in high school. I set the Maryland passing record for yards and touchdowns, so I was pretty good.
Q: What was it like going against Tim Tebow in practice?A: It helped a whole lot. When I was a freshman my first day we had Bubba (Caldwell) and Percy. Those two dudes, just jumping over the corner, having to guard them every day, it was bad for us. We were getting beat down every practice. But it made me stronger; it made us a whole lot better.
Q: Where do you rank overall in the draft?A: If somebody needs a corner, I feel I could fill in that spot for them. Not just as being a cornerback, I can do a lot of other things. I can definitely do punts; I can do any kind of special teams. I was a gunner at Florida; I was a hold-up guy for Florida. Wherever they need someone, I can do it.
Q: Who are some of the guys you watch in the NFL? **A: Definitely this year, (Darrelle) Revis, Charles Woodson. Then on offense I just like Steve Smith.
Q: Did it take a while to adjust to the run support aspect of playing cornerback?A: That was the easiest part. I was always a hitter. When I played Little League I was a linebacker. When I got to high school I played safety. I was always a hitter; I liked to hit a lot.
Q: What is your relationship like with your dad?A: Real close. I talk to my dad before any decision, my mom and dad. He started training me for the shuttles, broad jump, verticals when I was in the seventh grade. He used to run track, then he was a professional body builder. He knows what he's doing. He had me lifting out of the eighth grade, so when I got to Florida I wasn't too weak at all.
Q: What do you think of Tim Tebow criticism?A: I think they're definitely sleeping on him. Some stuff you can't teach, like his will to win, his love for the game, his passion for the game, how much he studies the game and his leadership ability. The ball might come down a little bit or something like that, but it still gets there at the end of the day. If I had a team, I'd definitely want him to be my leader because you're not going to find anybody who works harder.
Q: In being new to the cornerback position, is there a high ceiling for you?A: Definitely. I feel like there's so much I haven't nearly reached my peak at all. I just feel like whatever team I go to, they're going to get a person they can mold into a way better corner than I was in college. I've been doing this for three years and I feel like I'm getting pretty good at it. But I want to learn more. You're getting someone who really wants to learn the game and really wants to be the best they can be at corner.