E.J. Gaines Interview
Sr. / Missouri / CB
Updated - 4-19-14
By: Lou Montagna
E.J. Gaines CB Missouri
5'10" 190 lbs.
15 reps (Combine), 4.48/40 (Pro-Day)
Lou Montagna: What will you take from your experience at Missouri?
E.J. Gaines: There is so much to take. The coaching staff is phenomenal. I learned a lot about football, but more so about life. Coach Pinkel instills core values. I showed up as a boy and will leave as a man. I will never lose those values. It's a family atmosphere. I consider the guys my brothers.
Lou Montagna: Coach Pinkel was quoted as saying, at the beginning of the season, that you were the best returning defensive player on the team. What do you think about that?
E.J. Gaines: We have great players at different positions (Kony Ealy and Michael Sam). They help me do my job, and I help them with theirs. So, I appreciate him saying that, but we all need each other to succeed.
Lou Montagna: Tell us about the injury and how you're doing now?
E.J. Gaines: I strained my groin in our bowl game (Cotton Bowl vs OK St.). I had to miss the East-West game, but I'm doing much better now. I am at 100%.
Lou Montagna: You were also hurt during the season, what happened then?
E.J. Gaines: That was a quad strain during the Georgia game. I had to miss games against Florida and South Carolina.
Lou Montagna: Where have you been rehabbing and working out, since the end of the season?
E.J. Gaines: In Arizona, at Fisher Sports. Brett Fisher and Will Sullivan have really helped me get over the strain and work through all the wear and tear of the season. Plus, they helped me have a really good Pro-Day. We did mocks of all the drills that I would see back on campus, so I was very prepared.
Lou Montagna: What was the Combine like for you?
E.J. Gaines: It was exciting, a once in a lifetime thing. I know there are players that would give an arm and a leg just to be there. It was definitely fun for me. I got to meet a lot of cool guys from all over the country, as well as different coaches. Being able to do something like that was surreal when I got there. You're young, you've watched it on TV, and now it's a reality. Since I was injured, I was only able to lift.
Lou Montagna: Did you meet with team reps in Indy?
E.J. Gaines: Yes, short meetings with all 32 teams. I did have some additional meetings with 4 or 5 teams (they asked me not to reveal them). I enjoyed talking football with these guys very much especially about different schemes and defenses.
Lou Montagna: Give us a question that stood out from the Combine.
E.J. Gaines: Most asked about football right from the beginning. One that surprised me a bit, as soon as I sat down, "What are the three most important things in your life?". (Faith, family, and football).
Lou Montagna: What's your schedule like now that the Combine and your Pro-Day have passed?
E.J. Gaines: I'm still working out and doing field drills four times a week, the way I did in Phoenix. I work out at a place (Boost) in Kansas City. Some Chiefs' players go there as well, so I talk to them about playing in the NFL. Otherwise, I'm hanging out with my family. I'm a real family man. I didn't get to spend much time with them during the season or while I was in Arizona.
Lou Montagna: What part of your game needs the most improvement?
E.J. Gaines: Press-man coverage. We didn't play much of it at Missouri. That's one thing I'm working on every day. In Arizona, Will Sullivan and I worked on press technique 2 hours a day. I've improved, but there's always room to get better.
Lou Montagna: The trend in the NFL is now big corners that "mug" WR's. What do you say to that?
E.J. Gaines: If you can play football, you can play football. If you're a great player, you're a great player, whether you're 6'5 or 5'6. I've seen some bigger corners that weren't nearly as talented as some smaller guys. You can look at tape of me covering taller receivers and dominating the games. If you're taller, you may be slower. Being smaller and quicker gives you the upperhand.
Lou Montagna: Which NFL corner's game most closely resembles yours?
E.J. Gaines: Brent Grimes and Brandon Flowers. They are both very versatile (can play inside or outside). I take a lot of pride in my versatility.
Lou Montagna: Who is the best CB in this draft?
E.J. Gaines: Me, I'm the best. A guy that I like watching on film is Justin Gilbert. He is very good. I played him twice in my career. He can play press, play off, physical, and can return kicks.
Lou Montagna: Who is the best WR you lined up against?
E.J. Gaines: Justin Blackmon, OK St. I played him my sophomore year.
Lou Montagna: You played in two conferences, what's the difference between the Big 12 and SEC?
E.J. Gaines: The SEC is more physical, more running the ball, QB under center, bigger receivers and it's more like the NFL. The Big 12 is more like backyard football. Throw it short most of the time and expect big plays to happen.
Lou Montagna: I'm a GM, why should we draft you, EJ?
E.J. Gaines: I'm a leader on and off the field, I'm very versatile. I'm physical. I led the conference in TFL. I can play any position in the secondary and I've played on all the special-teams.
Lou Montagna: I'll mention a teammate and you give the first word that comes to mind.
E.J. Gaines: Sheldon Richardson – confident, Kony Ealy – exciting, Michael Sam - crazy, Henry Josey – inspirational, L'Damian Washington – cocky, Justin Britt – family, Dorial Green-Beckham – wild, E.J. Gaines – gifted.
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