|Photo courtesy of the NFLPA via Kevin Koskie|
The 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl takes place today at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California and will air live on ESPN2. The MVP of last year’s game, Terrell Watson, came from Division II Azusa Pacific and found his way onto an NFL roster. Earlier this week after a National team practice, Pro Player Insiders caught up with offensive lineman, Paul Flores, from the same school to to gauge his chances on accomplishing the same feat.
What were some of your expectations coming into this week?
I think I was just really expecting to compete against a higher level of athletes that I have played against during my college career and being expected to compete and perform on that level now.
You blocked for the running back who won MVP of this game last year at Azusa. How do you feel about the level of competition after a few practices?
I think it’s a good opportunity for people to see me go up against that talent you expect to see at the next level and for me to go out there and battle and compete and see what I can do against guys like that.
Why did you decide to play in this game?
I think it’s a good opportunity for me to be seen, by scouts, playing against elite-level competition as opposed to D-II guys. I think that’s what scouts wanted to see from me.
How do you think you’ve done?
I think I’ve been battling. I’m trying to just get better, making some adjustments, whether it’s just positioning or speed. I feel like I’m getting used to it and improving everyday
What skills are you working on specifically to be better at the next level?
I think right now, playing guard, I’ve been more solid and more sure footed, being good with my hands and able to deal with power and being a power monger, myself. Getting used to playing heavy, being big and trying to maul people.
Jackie Slater is your position coach here, but he was also your coach for the past few seasons. What have you learned from him?
He’s written the text book on offensive linemen. It’s been a joy being coached under him for these past five years. Being on his team here is a blessing to me because I already know some of his techniques. His ideals are very simplistic. He has you pay attention to the details that will have you succeed. Just mastering the finer points of blocking.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your life?
I’d have to say Jackie Slater. He’s the one who inspired me to move to the offensive line (from tight end). He took me under his wing, mentored me into becoming the player I am.
Do you miss catching touchdowns?
(laughs) No, I caught my one and I’m good. Not touchdowns. I got one and that was it.
What are some of life’s lessons you have learned from college?
I think all of the position changes that I’ve gone through have taught me to be flexible and adaptable. Whatever position you’re put into, you should give it your full 100% and see what happens. That’s what I’ve done.
Outside of football.
Being consistent as a person. You’re going to go through ups and downs, whether as a football player or a regular person. Just try to consistently give that good effort to try to win each day and get better.
What has been your favorite part of college?
I think probably all of the friendships and relationships you make from being on a team. Especially playing offensive lineman, it’s such a close brotherhood. Those are guys I’m going to be friends with for the rest of my life.
Other than playing football, what are some of your goals?
I already have my Bachelor’s degree and I’m working on my Master’s right now. I think something I’d like to do is work in athletic administration at the collegiate level or work in a front office position for a professional team.
What do you dislike the most out of society?
I think people getting too caught up, whether in social media or just on their phones, getting caught up in being other places than being present where they are at right now. I think what people lose a lot is being in the present moment.
What’s one lasting impression you want to leave on this world?
The impression I want to leave throughout my life is displaying perseverance, flexibility, being able to work hard no matter what opposition you face, hurdles come into your life, being able to push through and just keep fighting.
If there was just one reason a team decides to draft you, just one, what would it be?
I’m going to work my butt off.