The Baltimore Ravens made an aggressive move in the 2015 NFL Draft when they traded up three spots during the second round to grab University of Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams with the 55th overall pick. Williams was graded as the best tight end in this year's draft, and the Ravens have high hopes for him this season. With Dennis Pitta's future unknown and Owen Daniels having signed with Denver as a free agent this offseason, Williams will have the opportunity to land the starting role by the start of training camp.
Morgan Adsit: Congratulations, welcome to the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens. How does it feel?
Maxx Williams: This is just something you strive your whole life for. This is all I've ever dreamed about -- just being like my dad, [former New York Giants center from 1989-1999]. Having the opportunity to go pro, and when finally that phone rang, it was, like, 'Wow,' it became a reality real quick. Now, it's, like, I'm here, looking around, and it's, like, I'm in Baltimore, and I was just in Minnesota, like, last night. It's just crazy.
Morgan Adsit: It is. .... What is the whirlwind like of being a draft-able talent and everything you go through -- from when your season ends to the combine, to meeting with teams, to not knowing on draft day?
MW: It's crazy to think about. All of a sudden, it was the combine. All of a sudden, it was pro-scout day, and all of a sudden, it was draft day. It was like everything you worked for your whole life was finally turning into a reality. And it was the whole waiting game, waiting for your phone to ring, and I was lucky enough to finally get my name called.
MA: How much of a reality did you think the Ravens would be? You met with them at the combine, but did you have any idea?
MW: My agent told me it was a good possibility, because they said they needed a tight end. And it was really kind of a matter of who wanted me the most and what team I would fit with. And I feel comfortable here, and, obviously, I feel like I can help them out, and I'm ready to go to work.
MA: They jumped up to get you, and the Steelers have been rumored to say that you were stolen from them. What is it like, though, to have a team really desire that position and your talent?
MW: It was awesome to see them trade up for me, because it shows they really wanted me. That's awesome to think about -- knowing that they wanted you that bad, and really it's kind of an honor to get out of there and show them what I can do.
MA: During the combine, obviously, and then meeting with teams, and when all the reviews come out about a player, did you pay attention to your strengths and agree to your strengths, and what makes you the player that you are?
MW: For me, when all that stuff came out, you read it, but I didn't really pay much attention to it, because, really, I know who I am as a person. And I know what my strengths are, and I know what I need to work on the most. For me, I just kind of kept to myself and my family and kind of stayed away from everything leading up, knowing I did everything I could. And at that point, it's all in everyone else's hands.
MA: Former Ravens tight end Owen Daniels is in Denver. Dennis Pitta is coming off his second hip injury. Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said you're going to have to earn it, but do you kind of see maybe a little open slate that you would like to grab?
MW: Definitely, I want to come in and start right away. That's what everyone strives for -- to be the best. But I know I have to come in here with respect and show them that I belong here, and I should have a spot. That's what you do. You come in right away, and you work hard and good things will happen.
MA: Being a vertical threat, no disrespect to your school and your quarterback that you had in college, but it's a different game. And now, you have Joe Flacco. Do your eyes light up when you see that?
MW: Definitely, Joe Flacco is one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now, and how can you not be excited for that opportunity? Yes, you say quarterback in college, but [Minnesota quarterback] Mitch [Leidner] is a great guy, and if I had to go to war, it would be with Mitch. He's the toughest kid I know. He works harder than anybody I know. Just really having that opportunity now to come into the league with a great quarterback and compete for a championship each year, it's an opportunity of a lifetime.
MA: We know you're a third generation of the NFL, but just the athletic background of your family -- has that prepared you for this moment?
MW: It definitely has, but, really, you can't be prepared as much as you can until you experience it yourself. So, really, it's nice to have my dad back there and my mom to kind of lean on, knowing my dad went through it. But, really, he told me, when you experience it, you're going to have bad days and good days, but always remember the next day is a new day, and you go to work then again.
MA: Maxx, two X's, explain that for me. I' m sure you've gotten it your whole life.
MW: I'm not a Maxwell or anything like that. I'm just Maxx, so my parents wanted the second "X," so people know it's kind of Maxx only, and they said it would be kind of unique throwing on the second "X."