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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Vili Paea, OLB, Texas A&M – Commerce

Vili Paea the high motor OLB from Texas A&M – Commerce recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.

• Name: Vili Paea
• Height: 6’4
• Weight: 250
• Position: OLB / DE
• College: Texas A&M University-Commerce
• Twitter: Iampaea 

Tell us about your hometown, and what you love most about it?

• Oakland has this atmosphere of strength, passion, and resiliency. What I love about my city is the people. From all places I’ve been to, it’s safe to say that the people of Oakland are unique. Oakland has its own bubble filled with different cultures. The language, the perspectives, and the people there, separates itself from the world. You have to be there to understand this. The experience is definitely special. 

List these three in order of importance and why: Film Study, Strength and Conditioning and Practice?

• Film study is essential for obtaining leverage against your opponent and using that leverage to exploit the competitor to your full advantage. Strength and conditioning is important because of building strength, power, and speed for your body while simultaneously strengthening your will. Practice is where you get to enhance your play skills and your technique.

What do you worry about, and why?

• I worry about giving my best self because that’s my responsibility. 

Give me an example of when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?

• Looking back to when I first started playing football, I would fail at being a disciplined player. I was a knucklehead and my coaches would run me to the dirt. I overcame this phase by adapting and actually listening to my coaches. By soaking up as much game as possible, after doing that, that’s when things started to click. I played great football and was captain of my team. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for my coaches back in high school. Thank you!

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

• My teammates a tell you that my best quality is my Work Ethic.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

• My boy Jadan Starks.

What would your career be if you couldn’t play football? 

• I would definitely put my focus into becoming a Boxer. 

Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?

• Cleaning my room is first.

If there was a disaster and you could either save three strangers or one family member, which would you choose and why?

• That one Family member because that is what is most important to me, family. If it’s a friend, a cousin, or sibling, if you’re Family, you come first.

If you could be any television or movie character, who would you be and why?

• Jason Mamoa from Aquaman because he was loyal and he had the will to persevere.

Tell me about your biggest adversity in life and how you’ve dealt with that or overcome it?

The biggest adversity I’ve faced was losing a close cousin of mine, due to a horrible accident. Dealing with my cousins passing was definitely painful, but through that experience I connected with a cousin who helped me direct that pain and turn to football. That’s when I started my journey at Laney College and that was definitely a life changing experience.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

• I’ll say that one of my most embarrassing moments was not being able to achieve my goals as a 2019 athlete. 

What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?

• We’re playing against A&M Kingsville and it’s 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Boom, it’s 3rd and long. I’ve been catching the rhythm of the snap count and I know when to jump the ball. I explode off the ball, push the tackle then I use my coaches favorite move, the club rip. Boom! I’m through the line and got a free sack. Big shout out and a thank you to my DL coach, Aka the “Freak Maker”. 

What song best describes your work ethic?

• Ambition Meek Mill

What is the most important trait you can have (Physical or Non-Physical) to help you succeed at the next level? 

• Really having that Love for the game, being consistent, and playing for your brothers. That’s what makes the game worth playing.

If you could bring one person back from the dead for one day, who would it be and why?

• I would bring back my cousin Ono to show him how far I’ve come. When my brother passed, it changed me. I’m grateful that I am blessed enough to still be here, but to have my brother back to see how far I’ve come? That would definitely be a blessing. 

If you were to open a dance club, what would you name it? 

• Get down w/ VP

Who is the most underrated player in the NFL? 

• Maxx Crosby 

Would you rather be liked or respected, and why?

• I would rather be respected because being liked has a time limit. While being respected lasts forever.

What player who had his career derailed by off-field issues do you feel for the most and why?

• Shawn Oakman because he was ranked 1st round out of Baylor. Due to some issues, his platform was taken from him. I give respect when it’s due and I am grateful for what the man has done for the game.

Do you love to win, or hate to lose?

• Both

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and explain why?

• My mother because she’s always been there for me, supporting me, and is apart of my strong foundation. My Coach/uncle Vince been there guiding through life and always supporting me since the get. Definitely grateful, honored, and blessed for these gems in my life. Without this support, my life definitely would’ve been different for what it is right now. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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