Excerpts from media appearances Thursday at the NFL combine.
Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook
Q: What do you hope to show here?
DC: I’m just a do-it-all back, and I just feel like I am the best back in this class.
Q: What are you telling teams who ask about the legal situations you’ve had in the past?
DC: I’m open and willing to answer every question. I ain’t hiding nothing. If they ask, I’m willing to answer. I’m willing to move forward to be a better person.
Q: Has everything asked questions like that?
DC: Not all of them. Certain teams really wanted to know if I really knew football. But it came up a pretty decent amount of times.
Q: What did Ezekiel Elliott’s success last year do for young running backs?
DC: Zeke did pave the way for us — Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, all those guys paved the way for us. Zeke did a great job catching the ball out of the backfield, protecting Dak at quarterback and running very well behind the offensive line.
Q: Do you think you can have a similar immediate impact?
DC: Yeah, it goes to show that if a running back gets put in the right system, put in the right place, he can do a great amount of things for a team. I feel like if I get put in the right system, I can do the same things that Zeke did.
Q: Are teams concerned about the shoulder problems you’ve had in the past?
DC: Nah, I checked out. Every team, I passed my medical exam. My shoulders — they stable, they solid and I’m ready to go.
Q: What have teams said you need to work on?
DC: Pass pro is not a weakness but it’s a thing that I can get better on. That’s just all about will and you want to do it so it’s a thing that I can get better on and that’ll just take a little bit of time and me wanting to do it. At the next level the quarterback gets paid top dollar on the team and you’re going to have to take care of the quarterback so that’s something that I’m going to have to get better at.
Q: What would it be like if you were able to reunite with Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay?
DC: A dream come true. The games and the experiences that we had it was something that I will always remember. He’s one of those quarterbacks he’s going to always make sure you’re doing the right thing, you’re on top of it, you’re being a player he knows you can be. He’s just one of those leaders that you just want to be around.
Stanford Running Back Christian McCaffrey
Q: What are you hoping to show teams while you’re here?
CM: Just as much I can do. I don’t think there’s anyone else that can do all the things I can as far as running between the tackles, outside pass protect, play X, Z, slot and do a lot of things in the return game as well. I think that’s what sets me apart. … something I really pride myself on is not just being a running back that can catch the ball but if I move out to the slot, I become a receiver. If I move out to X or Z, I become a receiver and not just a running back. I really try to pride myself on route running, catching and being able to be a mismatch anywhere on the field.
Q: Do you feel you’re disrespected in this running back class?
CM: Yeah, definitely.
CM: I play with a chip on my shoulder always. I feel like a lot of people don’t give me credit for my skills and talents. That’s just the way it is. But I also don’t really care too much. I don’t feel like I’m crazy disrespected. I have a chip on my shoulder at all times. That’s been my whole life.
Q: Will you run routes here?
CM: I won’t run routes here. I’ll do a lot of that stuff at my pro day. I’ll do all the running back stuff, everything single drill here.
Q: Why are you planning to run routes at your Pro Day?
CM: I think it’s important just to show everything I can do. It’s something I pride myself on, being extremely versatile and I feel like I can do that stuff. To show coaches I can play running back, I can play receiver. I can do all the return game stuff, that’s important to me.
Q: You’ve gotten to know Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell a bit. What has been his best advice?
CM: You watch him run and see how patient he is and that’s really where I pull a lot of that from. Watching him sit behind the line of scrimmage and kind of dissect the defense, and as soon as he sees the hole he’s exploding through it.
Q: What was it like going up against Solomon Thomas in practice?
CM: It was not fun. Not fun. Solomon is a heck of a player. That’s my best friend, one of my roommates. Just going up against him is such a blessing because you get to compete with one of the best players in the nation every single day and just see how he goes about his business. We would push each other all the time.
Q: Did you really teach yourself how to play the harmonica?
CM: Yeah, self-taught.
Q: What got you into that?
CM: It was sophomore year during camp at Stanford. Camp is, it’s not rough, but you get a little bit lonely. So I ordered a harmonica on Amazon for about $15 and just started messing around with it.