Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Joe Don Duncan, TE, Dixie State
Joe Don Duncan might be one of the fastest growing small school prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. I don’t know why it took so many to understand who he was and give him a little credit. The guy is a very solid tight end who stood out in both his junior and senior year. Joe Don had an injury after his final game of the year which will not allow him to participate in the running drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he will be there to bench and interview. Expect teams to fall in love with the solid pass catching tight end.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
I really didn’t get recruited out of high school. I didn’t get a serious offer until spring of my senior year and that offer was to walk-on to Sacramento State to play d-line. So with that being my only option to play at the next level I ended up walking on that fall. After a semester at Sacramento State I decided to transfer to El Camino JC. I played 2 years at El Camino then transferred to Dixie State University to end my career.
What were your goals for your senior year?
I wanted to prove to myself that I could return from injury a better player than I was before and wanted to put as much work in as possible to help my team and university be successful.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I met with a lot of scouts throughout the season and after. All were very helpful in keeping me updated for what their team may be looking for, what my role on their team would be if I was on the roster, and ways I could improve my game overall.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I believe what separates me from the other players at my position is that I am versatile. I can play tight end, but I can also play h-back, fullback, long snapper, and any special teams position that the coach wants me at. With me having the ability to play all these spots it makes it easier for NFL teams to keep me on their roster and free up space for that extra piece they want to add to the team.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
When I break down film of other defenses or defenders I look for tendencies. For example if I were to focus on a free safety I’d go through all the film of this safety against players I think play similar to the way I play and see how his footwork is, hand –placement, is he more finesse or a physical player, is he better at man or zone, does he play conservative and keep the play in front or does he take risks and go for the big play. All these things will help me understand how to attack this players weaknesses and help me focus on my strengths against that player.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
The toughest player I ever faced is someone I have been competing with my whole life. My brother Jake played linebacker for us and we would go against each other everyday in one on ones. He knows my tendencies and I know his and with us competing with each other and having that knowledge it helped both of us expand our game so we didn’t stay one-dimensional throughout the season.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would compare myself to Jed Collins/Heath Miller. The reason I say Jed Collins is because he played tight end in college and was successful at the position, but once he came into the NFL he had to switch to fullback to stay in the league. I think I resemble him because we have similar backgrounds and are versatile enough to play whatever position a team needs me to play. The reason I say Heath Miller is because he’s more of your traditional tight end. By that I mean hand in the ground, hard nose football player that is a great in all aspects of the position with great size at that position.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle/most tragic thing that I’ve had to go through was my injury in 2012. I was looking forward to having a big senior year and to be told that you are going to be out for the entire season is tough. But looking back on it now I am grateful for the experiences the injury brought me. I got to see the game from a position I was not use to watching it from, the sideline. It helped me understand the X’s and O’s of the game much more than I would have learned from playing. Also the mental toughness you have to have to go through a major injury is something that you can fall back on when you’re going through tough times. So in the end something that was so devastating at the time has made me a better player and person in the long run.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I feel like I can fit in any system because of the reasons I said before. I’m versatile and will do anything that is asked of me to get on the field.
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength I think is my knowledge of the game; offensively and defensively. I understand offensive schemes easily and understand what defenses do to stop you from doing what you want as an offense.
What is your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness would be consistency in the run game. I have the capability to be a great run blocker but lack consistency in game film.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I would tell a GM that I am one of the hardest working men in this draft and if given the chance I could be one of the hardest working men in the NFL who would help his team win a Super Bowl.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team growing up was the Detroit Lions and my favorite player to watch was Calvin Johnson. Reason being is that he is the best at his position and some of the things he is capable of is so hard to comprehend that a human being can do.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
If I could have dinner with 3 people it would be The Rock, because he was one of my childhood idols, Bill Gates, because he is a billionaire and helps a ton of people with his money which I would love to do, and my Uncle Greg who passed away a couple years ago because I miss him and would like to see how he is doing and give him the update on everyone.
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
With my first paycheck I’m going to make sure that I take care of my parents because the amount of time and effort they have put into supporting me is priceless. So the least I could do is make sure they are taken care of.