Behind the Scenes of the NFL with Al April 10 2018
We sat down with Al “Bubba” Baker, former defensive lineman in the NFL, to get more insight on the game from a player’s perspective. In this exclusive interview, Al gives us the inside scoop on all things football along with his personal experiences and predictions for the upcoming season!
1. What happens to the other teams that don’t make it to the big game?
The NFL is so competitive that the other 31 teams that DO NOT WIN the Big Game are considered failures. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!" -Vince Lombardi
2. What does it mean to be traded? Does the player have a choice in where he’s traded?
Being traded means one team sends a player to another team to play for that team.
In most cases, you don't have a choice. There are some exceptions to this rule with star players-- they get to approve where they are traded to, this is usually quarterbacks.
3. What is a Free Agent?
An unrestricted free agent is a player with an expired contract that has played four or more seasons in the NFL. Undrafted free agent means a player is eligible for the NFL Draft but did not get selected, so they are free to negotiate with any team of their choice. A restricted free agent (RFA) is a player with three accrued seasons (six or more regular season games with a team) of service, who has received a "qualifying" offer (a salary level predetermined by the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its’ players).
4. You were Rookie-of-the Year, what does that mean?
We first have to define the term: A rookie is a person in the first year of activity in a sport, or someone new to a profession, training, or activity such as a rookie police officer, rookie pilot, a recruit, or occasionally a freshman. In sports, it means you performed better than all the other rookies/first year players and thus you earn R.O.Y. Coincidentally I was the NFC Defensive Rookie-of-the-Year for the Detroit Lions 1978.
5. What is an OTA?
Organized Training Activities, it’s monitored by the player’s union so teams can’t make a player practice in the off season unless it’s considered Organized. Each team gets a certain amount.
6. What was the Draft like for you?
In 1978, we didn’t have a combine, ESPN, computers, cell phones or Draft experts to do mock drafts. We visited each team as they requested and took multiple physicals, ran countless 40 yard dashes and were tested in the weight room whenever a team requested you visit. Today, they bring all the players into one facility and test them, it is also televised to help players showcase their abilities. I missed my phone call and didn’t know the Detroit Lions was the team I was going start my NFL career with, they called my mom.
7. What are your predictions for your favorite team in the draft this year?
I have to root for the Cleveland Browns because they are 1-31 and arguably the worst team in the NFL. A great draft could help turn them back into the great organization it once was. They traded for Tyrod Taylor, an experienced QB, so they can trade down their first pick for more draft picks and still get Bradley Chubb DE, NC State, a difference maker opposite last year’s first pick Jason Garrett DE. They still get Baker Mayfield QB, Oklahoma and Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State.
8. Who are some new top players to keep an eye on next season?
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming, Saquon Barkley, RB, is a game changer, Bradley Chubb, DE, and Jason Garrett, DE will make life difficult on quarterbacks in the NFL.
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