2017 NFL Draft: Ray Buchanan Jr., Northern Iowa Wildcats
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Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Ray. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself for the fans who are not familiar with you?
Ray Buchanan Jr. : I was born in Louisville, KY and raised in Atlanta, GA. I grew up playing football since I was 6; watching and learning from my dad who played in the NFL for 12 years. I have a beautiful wife and son.
Justin David Kish: You played your college career at Arkansas but you transferred to University of Northern Iowa. Tell us about your college football career?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: Coming into the SEC under Bobby Petrino and his staff was a great experience. We ended up having a coaching change after my first season. When the scandal with Petrino went down, we had interim Coach John L. Smith, then head Coach Brett Bielema. After that, I decided I would have a better opportunity elsewhere. That’s when I decided to transfer to Northern Iowa after my second season. I learned and experienced great competition throughout my career in the SEC and MVFC.
Justin David Kish: Football has been in your blood since you were born. Your father is a former 3rd round NFL Draft pick by the Colts in 1993. How big of a role has your father been in your football career?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: Yes, football is in my DNA, and my dad plays a big role in my football career. He has helped me be technically sound since I was young. He also helps prepare me to be professional on the field, as well as teaching me to be a man and role model off the field.
Justin David Kish: At Northern Iowa you were coached by defensive coordinator Jeremiah Johnson and defensive backs coach Olaitan Oguntodu. How has the coaching staff at UNI improved you as a player over the years?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I was coached by Brandon Lynch, the Defensive Backs coach, while I was there. In addition to my previous knowledge, he has taught me different techniques. And Coach Bryce Paup (Defensive Line) helped mentor me as well. They both have been in the NFL, so they know what it takes to succeed.
Justin David Kish: During your college career you have played against tough competition. When you look back at your career what was one game that really took you to your limits and brought out the very best in you?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I would say when I played versus Western Illinois my senior year. I knew we were facing the best QB and WR in our league. I followed and matched up versus their best WR for the majority of the game. It brought out my savviness and energy to compete against some of the best competition.
Justin David Kish: As a defensive back you are tasked to covering some of the nations best receivers. What receiver was a ultimate challenge for you?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: Adding onto the last question, WR Lance Lenoir from Western Illinois was the toughest competition I faced. He was the leading receiver in the conference and was an all-around athlete with a lot of strength. I held him to 13 yards and 3 passes defended.
Justin David Kish: During your college career you created a number of memorable memories with your brothers. What is one memory that really sticks out from the rest?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I would say my sophomore year when we beat NDSU. We broke their 33 game win streak.
Justin David Kish: You are now focusing on the NFL Draft. How has preparation for the draft been and who are you currently training with?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: My dad has been prepping me for the NFL for some time now, and being able to make plays when I step on the field has helped a lot. I recently won Defensive MVP at the 2017 College Gridiron Showcase in front of multiple NFL scouts which should help as well. I’m currently training with my dad at Chip Smith performance at Hammersmith in Atlanta, GA. We do DB drills with my dad, speed and agility/combine prep with Chip, and then a group lift Monday through Friday. It’s definitely the grind.
Justin David Kish: What are some of your strength’s and weakness’s?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: My strengths are my play-making ability. My dad was a ball hawk, so I am always around the ball as well. I have great hips, because they allow me to have the quickness to run with receivers, go in and out of breaks, and make plays in space. My dad built me to be tough, so being physical is not a problem. I would like to improve on offensive alignments and route recognition.
Justin David Kish: You played both safety and cornerback at NIU, which position are you focusing and wanting to play at the next level?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I’m focusing on playing Cornerback and Nickel in the NFL, as well as making plays on Special Teams.
Justin David Kish: In the next couple of questions I am going to put you on the line. My first question. If you could compare yourself to any current professional football defensive back who would you compare yourself to and why?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I would say Chris Harris Jr. Because he is physical and makes plays in space. He’s a ball hawk and covers #1 WR in the slot and outside.
Justin David Kish: My next question. If I was an NFL General Manager, why should I draft Ray Buchanan Jr?
Ray Buchanan Jr.: I have play making ability, I am a team player, and I have good character on and off the field. I want show that my hard work ethic pays off. I feel that I don’t only belong in the NFL, but that I will succeed and have a long NFL career.