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What They Said: Bills' Day 3 draft picks introduce themselves to Buffalo

CB Taron Johnson
Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q: Hey, can we just get the pronunciation of your first name officially? Congratulations.
A: Thank you, I appreciate it. [It’s pronounced] TARE-un Johnson.

Q: How much time, Taron, did you spend inside as opposed to outside on the boundary at Weber State?
A: Most of the time, if I was following a receiver, that’s most of the time I would go on the outside. More at the Senior Bowl, I played a lot of nickel as well just to show that I can be pretty versatile. Whatever spot is open for the Bills, I’m excited to work hard and compete for.

Q: Has coach McDermott or coach Butler given you any idea on where they see you yet in just the brief phone conversation you had?
A: I mean, they more, I would say, a nickel spot, but it doesn’t really matter at this point; wherever they try to put me at, I feel like I’m going to try and compete for a position.

Q: It seems like you are a physical guy who really likes to tackle, that’s the book on you. It seems [that] that’s exactly what this team liked in you. Can you walk us through your game a little bit and if that’s one of the strong suits of it?
A: I feel like it’s definitely one of my strong suits; I try and play corner more like a safety, if you will. I try and be as aggressive as possible and that’s something that I’m looking forward to doing in the NFL. Yeah, that’s it.

Q: Taron, how much contact did you have with the Bills during the pre-draft process?
A: Actually, none until about 20 minutes ago. They just called me and told me. Yeah, it was out [of] the blue, so I was really excited when I got the call.

{Photo courtesy of Weber State Athletics)

Q: What do you know about Buffalo, New York?
A: Not too much, not too much. I’ve been to New York one time, but I’m about to learn a lot more about it before I get out there.

Q: And what do you know about the two players, or three actually, that were drafted before you by the Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds and Harrison Phillips? Are you familiar with any of these guys?
A: Yes, I am. I actually played in the Senior Bowl with Josh Allen and then Tremaine Edmunds worked out at the same facility as me. So, those are two great players. I don’t know too much about the third guy, but I’m sure he’s a great player as well.

Q: You and Tremaine worked out together in the pre-draft process?
A: At EXOS, yeah, at EXOS in Pensacola, Fla. We know each other.

Q: What should people know about Weber State, other than pronounce it ‘WEE-ber,’ not ‘Web-burr’?
A: Weber, I mean, I understand that we’re a small school and a lot of people might overlook us or stuff like that, or might over look me, but I’m just saying the talent level is not as different as people may actually think. It’s pretty close, so I’m telling you if you watch a lot of Weber State football, you’re going to see that there’s going to be more players coming out [to] the NFL [from] Weber State.

Q: Did you have an idea of where you might go in the Draft, maybe from your agent or anything like that? What were your expectations?
A: I kind of thought it’d be early on the [third] day, about where I am right now. I kind of figured it’d be right there.

Q: How were you spending Draft Weekend?
A: With my family and friends, just excited to have this opportunity and it’s kind of surreal at this point. It hasn’t really hit me yet. Just to celebrate it with them.

Q: Who’s going to come to Buffalo with you when you come here to check out the place in the next couple of days?
A: It’ll probably be my dad. It’ll probably be my dad.

Q: Tell us a little bit about him and your relationship and him through this draft process with you.
A: He has been there for me my whole entire life. My mom passed away when I was younger so he’s just been playing both roles and he’s just in there and been a great supporter and he’s definitely helped me get to where I am.

Q: I’m sure you’ve seen or heard just how bad the weather can be in Buffalo. Are you ready for a winter in Buffalo?
A: Oh, yeah. I mean, I stayed in Utah for four years and the weather was pretty bad out there in the winter so I feel like I can handle anything.

 

Guard Wyatt Teller
Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q: Hi Wyatt, congratulations.
A: Thank you. I’m excited to join the Bills Mafia.

Q: Wyatt, how much contact did you have with the Bills leading up to this weekend?

A: So, I talked to the coaches a little bit. Coach [Andrew] Dees, who is the assistant offensive line coach, came down and worked me out. It was a good time. We did a little field work and classroom work and it was great learning from a great man like Coach Dees.

Q: Wyatt, why do you choose to go by your middle name?

A: Um, I just, I don’t know. William is my grandfather’s name and it’s a very nice name. It’s a great name, but Billy, Bill [and] Will never really worked out for me so I always went with Wyatt.

Q: Wyatt, what’s it like knowing you’ve got another Hokie coming in to Buffalo with you in Tremaine Edmunds?

A: Tremaine! My man! He’s, you know, it’s going to be great. Iron sharpens iron. I’ve always said that about Tremaine, I’ve always said that about Tim and all these guys who are getting drafted. Iron truly sharpens iron and Tremaine is a great player. A great player and I’m excited to join him. It’s going to be nice to have someone going through the same things as me.

Q: You know that’s a saying of Sean McDermott, right? Iron sharpens iron. Did you guys talk about that and that’s why you’re here?

A: Yeah. You know, I feel like when I talked to Coach, he liked the mindset I had. There’s obviously a reason [why] I’m part of the Bills organization now and I’m going to go in there and compete. I feel like that’s the biggest thing. He liked the mentality I had.

Linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka (25) celebrates with teammates guard Wyatt Teller (57) and offensive lineman Kyle Chung (61 ) (Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Q: Wyatt, what was the transition like from the defensive side to the offensive side for you?

A: It was difficult at first. When you’re young, you think you’re going to get in there and start, but then you realize that everything comes down to competition. Everything comes down to working as hard as you can, coming out respecting the old guys and it’s the same thing here. If I want to do the same thing or make that transition from college to NFL, it’s basically like switching a position. It’s a lot different, but it’s going to be difficult and it’s all about competing.

Q: What spot on the offensive line are you most comfortable at?

A: The most experience I had in college was at left guard but in the offseason, I practiced snapping, I practiced right guard, I tried to practice a little bit on the edge but the biggest thing was finding my niche and pursuing it.

Q: Why should Bills fans be excited about you coming to Buffalo?

A: Because it’s all about competition. I know how Bills fans are. I know that they’re literally the greatest fans in the nation so I’m excited to see them screaming and yelling everyday or every Sunday and I’m ready to just get in there.

Q: Wyatt, your scouting report on NFL.com sort of questioned your performance as a senior. How do you respond to that criticism?

A: You know, you’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt. In 2016, I was told I was too penalized, I was too this, I was too that, and then everybody goes ‘oh no, we loved 2016.’ Everything changes in a pin drop. The biggest thing with me is in 2017, I wanted to cut down on penalties. I had talked to my coaches and I wanted to be the best team player I could be. That led to being a little bit less aggressive but keeping that mentality going. There were times where instead of getting the penalty where you’re trying to embarrass a kid, I would hold it back a little bit and hit technically and fundamentally, and sometimes people said we want to see that aggression [and] we want to see hitting with some bolts and stuff like that. It’s all a work in progress. You’ve got to work on one thing and get better at it and keep that aggression. In 2017, halfway through the season, my coach goes ‘let it loose, let it loose, do your thing.’ Once I did that, I had a better season. It looked real good and here I am.

Q: Wyatt, I’m not sure if you’re watching the Draft on the first day and if you took note of the moves, especially after Tremaine got selected, if you took any note of what the Bills were doing and the splash they made, and if you could reflect back to Thursday.

A: Yeah, so when I – Tremaine, the kid they’re getting is, well, the man they’re getting is an absolute stud. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever played against. I remember when I was a sophomore, or I might’ve been a junior, and he just got into college, usually you give the younger guys a ‘Welcome to Varsity’ moment and you go and hit him. He came out with his long arms and lanky body and smoked me, and I remember he put his head right in my chest and I was like, ‘what? Who is this kid?’ He deserves everything he’s getting. He’s a great man, a great player and I’m excited to see him out there.

Q: Take into account that, I mean, you won’t be playing against Tremaine. Maybe you’ll be practicing against him, but the fact that this team is moving ahead with Josh Allen and what you might know of him and putting a face on this offense for years to come, the Bills hope.

A: Yeah. Josh, I mean, I saw him at the Senior Bowl, saw him at the Combine, he’s a good player. His deep ball is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He can chuck a ball and he’s a smart kid. I see an identity coming [to the team]. You’re getting both sides of the ball and this is the place I wanted to go and I’m so blessed to be here. I get to protect a great guy, whoever gets the job, if it’s Josh or anybody. It’s all about the family you’re going to create there and I’m excited for it. I’m so excited for it.

Q: Wyatt, they seemed to be putting a real emphasis on versatility here the last couple of drafts, this one and the last one. You’re kind of a guy that’s played all over – defense, tackle, guard. Can you kind of speak to your own versatility and how that can help you at the next level?

A: Yeah, so the mindset that I bring is that competition everyday, that you don’t get anything without deserving it or earning it and working for it. I feel that mentality, like I said with Coach when he came down, he liked the mentality I had. He is the reason why I’m a part of the Bills Mafia. I’m excited to get in there and I really feel that we see eye-to-eye – well, obviously there’s a lot of learning but I really do feel like we see eye-to-eye in the way that we need to work and the way that we need to get after things to be successful.

Q: Are you making a trip to Taco Bell to celebrate?

A: Yeah, I’m going to get eight beefy Fritos burritos [laughs].

Q: How did you spend Draft Weekend?

A: So, my family, when I graduated high school, my mom retired from being a school teacher up in Fairfax and they live on the lake now. What’s really cool is whenever I come back from college, I would always go to the lake and be able to sunbathe and everything like that, swim a little bit. Luckily, I’m at the lake with my family and it’s great. As soon as I got the call from the coaches, my whole family grabs me and stuff and they’re making so much noise, and I’m just over here like ‘I gotta talk to Coach’ so I had to leave the room and everything. They’re a great support system.

 

S Siran Neal

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q: Congratulations, Siran. I hope I’m saying your name right.

A: [It’s] SIR-ann.

Q: You’ve played both corner and safety, even linebacker in college. Where do you think you fit at the next level and have you spoken with the Bills coaches about it?

A: I spoke to Coach [Bobby] Babich about it; he said he really likes how I fit inside the run game, attack he run and liked how I play in one on one’s as a big guy. I can’t say exactly where I’ll be fitting in, but wherever they need me to come in and compete and be part of their team, that’s what I’m looking for.

Q: The fact that you didn’t play a lot of zone in college, does that say something- I mean, it says something about your scheme there, but also you. [With] your coverage skills, you find yourself in a lot of one-on-one situations.

A: Yes, sir, I did. I didn’t put myself in that, I think my coach put me in that because I’m a pretty big guy in a one-on-one battle, so they trusted me in that position.

Q: As far as the physical part of the position, give us a sense of that. How do you see yourself fitting in in run support and so forth?

A: Fitting into the run support, I just came from fitting in the run support when I played nickel at Jacksonville State. I really came in the run through the backfield and through the offensive linemen and knowing what’s coming at me.

Colin Jeter #81 of the LSU Tigers is tackled by Siran Neal #5 of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Q: Do you have any idea who Keith McKeller is?

A: Keith McKeller, no I don’t.

Q: He’s the last Jacksonville State guy to play for the Bills and he was on those Super Bowls teams they had back in the 90’s.

A: Yeah, I remember now that you say it, I remember seeing him in a video in our lobby in Jacksonville and it caught my attention.

 

Q: You seem to be a pretty big hitter. Can you just walk us through your game and how much you enjoy the physical part of it?

A: Oh, I definitely love the physical part of it. I feel like anybody that gets the ball in their hands and runs towards my way, just with me right now it’s like ‘just get him on the ground.’ I just love the physical part of the game with attacking one side of the player and just bringing a hard thump to them.

Q: Did you have any sort of contact with the Bills during the pre-draft process?

A: I had contact with Coach [Bobby] Babich. Coach Babich came down here and worked me out and we went out and ate. He actually introduced me to this nice restaurant in Jacksonville. I never even thought it was a restaurant but he took me out to eat and we had a nice conversation. He called me and let me know how the guys up there knew of my prior workout tape and all that stuff and Coach Babich played pretty good too. He came from a small school as well. Definitely, I had contact with Coach Babich.

Q: Do you know anything about Buffalo, NY? Have you ever been up this way?

A: [laughs] I just know it’s cold, but I’ve never been up that way.

Q: Can you take us through what it was like when you got that phone call from the Bills?

A: Aw, man. I couldn’t even – I just stopped watching the TV for a while and I went outside. As soon as I went outside, I got the phone call and I can’t even explain the feeling, you know? I was also worried and all I could do was thank God. I really don’t know what to say, just thank the Man above.

 

WR Ray-Ray McCloud

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q: Well, there’s no team that needs more help at wide receiver. [Are] you pretty happy to be coming to the Bills?

A: It’s an honor to be chosen by the Buffalo Bills, drafted, and [I’m] just ready to work and very hungry.

Q: Do you see an opportunity given that this team maybe has more than one hole to fill here?

A: Being drafted by the Buffalo Bills is an opportunity itself and I’m just going in to work and do what I’m asked. When the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to take advantage of it.

Q: Ray-Ray, the knock and the criticism coming at this level is that you don’t have a true position, but you have played all over the field. Where do you think you fit in at the NFL level?

A: [At] wide receiver with the ball in my hands.

Q: Can you actually expand on that a little bit? I know you were an outstanding running back in high school with the ball in your hands.

A: I can play anywhere on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously I played defense in college. I’m dominant with the ball in my hands, and that’s where I see myself at.

Q: Do you prefer lining up in the slot, though? Do you want to be on the outside? Where do you feel most comfortable?

A: Wherever I’m asked to be put, I can play most positions on the offensive side of the ball.

Q: You’ve been pretty accomplished as a return man, Ray-Ray. As far as that goes, is that the running back background that has had a lot to do with your ability to succeed in open space?

A: I can say that, yes sir. Definitely. Running back game came naturally to me and just being able to read holes and be explosive. That carried over for me in college and I’ve been able to explode through little creases during punt return and being comfortable back there.

Q: Do you think that gives you, the return ability, gives you a decent path to make a decent impact as a rookie? To at least find a spot?

A: Yes, sir.

Ray-Ray McCloud #21 of the Clemson Tigers runs the ball against Zach McCloud #53 of the Miami Hurricanes in the second quarter during the ACC Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Q: What do you know about Buffalo? Anything?

A: I know that’s where Sammy Watkins went. It’s about to be my new home. Shaq Lawson actually just called me right before this call. I’m going to cherish every moment that I’m here and take advantage of the opportunity that Buffalo’s given me.

Q: What did Shaq tell you?

A: Just congratulations. We’re boys [so we’re going to] turn up, we’re about to have fun out here, about to go in and be ready to work.

Q: How did you get the nickname Ray-Ray?

A: That was my dad’s name and that was just something I was born into.

Q: Why should Bills fans be excited about you coming to Buffalo?

A: The energy that I bring and the hunger that I have under me right now, I just definitely feel [that I’m] going to bring a different me. I know, for me, I’m going to bring everything out of me and they’re going to get everything [I] got, that I’ve got in me. For me, it’s more just playing hard, bringing home wins, helping the team win, and helping Buffalo bring home a championship.

Q: What do you know about the quarterback the Bills drafted, Josh Allen?

A: I’ve actually watched him a few times, even before the draft; one of my good friends is at Wyoming, so that’s how I knew about him. He’s definitely a heck of a quarterback. He probably has the strongest arm in the draft. That was a great choice for the Buffalo Bills to take him first.

Q: Ray-Ray, we saw on Instagram that you were in a bad car accident one time. How did that change your outlook on life?

A: Don’t take nothing for granted [and] any minute of the day you can be gone. I actually had some of my best friends with me in the car. All of us walked out of there, it was a while ago, but it’s a miracle. All of [the] guys were walking and just got scratches on the guys. It just brought me closer to the Lord.

WR Austin Proehl

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Q: Congratulations, Austin. Just how do you feel about this and what was, did you have any inclination [that] the Bills might pick you?

A: Not to say I was expecting it, but I had worked out with the Bills, I talked to them a couple times, I knew they were looking for a slot guy possibly and I just kind of tried to stay level headed with it. I knew they had a pick near the end of the seventh. I’m just thankful God thanked me with this position and to be a Buffalo Bill. I’m so excited. I’m so excited for the opportunity.

Q: Obviously your dad coached on staff with Sean McDermott there and Brandon Beane. You obviously have to have a pre-existing relationship. Can you just kind of walk us through how well you know the GM and Coach here?

A: Yeah, I mean I’ve had a pre-existing relationship with them. They’re two- Coach McDermott’s a great coach first and foremost. [Brandon] Beane, obviously a great GM and they’re both guys I respect in the highest honor and I can’t wait to play for them. I can’t wait to uphold the Buffalo Bills standard that they play with and come off a great year that they’ve already had.

Q: You were hurt as a senior, I think it was a foot injury, right?

A: It was a broken collarbone. I broke my collarbone.

Q: Broken collarbone, I’m sorry. Just how difficult was that to deal with and are you 100 percent now?

A: It was definitely hard to deal with; football’s everything to me. It’s my life; I’ve been around it my whole life ever since I was born, but it’s something that God put me through and it made me realize how much I love this game. It took me away for five and a half weeks and I was blessed enough to come back with two weeks left in the season. I’m 100 percent healthy now. I’m ready to go to work, I’m ready to give Buffalo and all the fan-base everything I have each and every day.

Q: Did you run a 4.41 at the regional combine?

A: Yes, sir.

Bryon Fields #14 of the Duke Blue Devils breaks up a pass to Austin Proehl #7 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Q: How much of an influence has your dad been on your playing career?

A: [He was] a huge influence. [He] just continued to stay with me, stay hard on me, have that coach and dad relationship that we have. It’s huge, just being able to look to him in certain situations: look to him when I need it and look to him in ways that he pushes me. It’s just an unbelievable resource for me. Throughout this process, he’s been able to teach me things and give me advice that I could’ve never got from anyone else in this world. I’m so thankful for him. God blessed me with a great opportunity to have him as a dad and a coach. Having him was everything through this process.

Q: Austin, why should Bills fans be excited about you coming to Buffalo?

A: I think they should be excited about someone who loves the game. I know how passionate Buffalo is and their fan-base is about their Bills and that’s how I am about the game of football. Each and every day, I’m going to come in to work and I’m going to give it everything I got. I’m going to bust my ass to provide on the field and continue to prove myself each and every day because that’s how this business works.

Q: Austin, how much contact did you have with the Bills in the pre-draft process?

A: I met with them a couple times. I met with them at my PA game. I met with them in Tampa for my regional combine and then I also had a private workout with Coach Chad Hall, their assistant receiver coach; me and him really hit it off. It was cool to be able to get to know him a little bit. From there, we haven’t had much contact, but I had faith that we had a good workout and I had faith that they believed in me as a player. Being a player, that was something that really helped me and just the fact that I felt like they believed in me, I had that faith, so that was something that was big for me.

Q: Austin, is that your phone I hear blowing up in the background?

A: Yes, sir, I’m so sorry.

Q: [Laughs] It’s okay, [it’s the] best day of your life. Tell us about it. Tell us about when you got that call.

A: Man, I don’t even know how to put it into words; I’m speechless. It’s one of those things where my family and friends are here and it’s a lifelong dream. Ever since I was born, I’ve been going to football games, I’ve been watching my dad, I’ve been a ball boy, I’ve been around it. To be able to be in this position, god blessed me and I truly feel like the most blessed human being on Earth right now just because, with being hurt my senior year and to have these coaches believe in me, to have a new set of teammates, it’s unbelievable. It’s such a blessing and I can’t wait to get to work.

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