Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Danny O’Brien, QB, Catawba
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Maryland, Duke, ECU, and Virginia
Where did you choose and why?
I chose Maryland based upon the opportunity to compete and play early in Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin’s west coast system. Also, during the recruiting process, Coach Franklin and I bonded very well. Another reason I chose Maryland was its business school—I ended up graduating from the Smith School of Business in 2012.
What were your goals for your senior year?
To continue learning and growing as a quarterback; to tie everything I had learned over the past four years together to become a more complete player; and to win every time our team stepped onto the field.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I have been in contact with about 20-25 teams. Everything has been extremely positive. Most scouts have commented on my athleticism, Football IQ and ability to make every throw on the football field.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
My Football IQ. I had the unbelievable opportunity to learn from some of the sharpest minds in the game, and I did not let that opportunity pass me by. Having played in five offensive systems, I have learned a lot of football vernacular and had to process new information quickly every single year. I see that as a positive heading into some team’s training camp this fall.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
First, I look for team tendencies in schemes as it relates to down and distance (normal D&D, 3rd and short, medium, and long), situations (high and low red zone, goal line, backed up, etc.), and top pressures. Next, I look at individual tendencies—anything I can get that will tip off a particular coverage or pressure that can help me on game day. Finally, I look at matchups and who to attack (and when) on game day.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
Tossup between DaQuan Bowers from Clemson or Luke Kuechly from BC.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would say Alex Smith. He has both a strong arm and deceptive athleticism both in and out of the pocket. He also plays in a system (in KC) that I am very familiar with, so it is awesome watching film from last year on him.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Right before heading to Maryland the summer of my freshman year, I was diagnosed with mono and widespread poison ivy. It took a lot of rest and mental focus to get through, and I ended up traveling that year as a true freshman QB.
What system fits your style of play the best?
Any pro style system where the QB is responsible, in the run and in the pass game, for creating the best play and getting the ball out fast to the playmakers around him.
What is your biggest strength?
Football IQ and the motivation to get better, whether it’s on the practice field, game field, watching film or training.
What is your biggest weakness?
Climbing vertically in the pocket better and more consistently.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
My path over the last five years is far from the norm, but my experiences have made me a better man and player, and I have always continued to put my best foot forward every single day. My determination and love for the game is genuine, and no amount of adversity will ever change that. I will work harder than anyone to be at my very best, and failure is not an option. Given my background, I have the ability to command numerous offensive systems, and learn systems extremely quick.
Growing up, who was your role model?
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
I never had a favorite team, but my favorite player was Brady because of the adversity he overcame to get to where he is today.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
My grandmother passing away recently–a lot of prayer and family.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Kevin O’Leary, Alexander the Great, and Jesus
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
I’m putting that thing in the bank!