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News

Nick Kasa Chats with the Media

Posted Apr 27, 2013

Raiders 6th round selection, TE Nick Kasa, spoke with the media via conference call.

On his switch from defensive end to tight end: “I just wasn’t producing a lot at defensive end. I guess I was kind of more of a second-string, third-string guy, so at the time I was just kind of disappointed with the production I was getting there. I went to our head coach at the time which was John Embree and just asked him. I thought I could be of more use to the team, whether that’s just getting on special teams, because I wasn’t really on any special teams at the time, so I just asked him if that was the case or if I should move positions. I told him he could move me wherever he wanted to move me and he kind of saw that we had some needs at tight end so he moved me over there. It turned out being a really good decision and worked out for me.”

On if he played tight end or any offensive positions in high school: “I played a little bit of tight end when I first got to high school, probably for about two weeks. Then I got moved over to defensive end and that was really the only other time I’ve ever played tight end; for like two weeks and then when I made the move in college.”

On whether it’s surprising that he has now been drafted to play tight end in the NFL: “It’s definitely something I was hoping for when I made the switch, but of course it’s really surreal right now. Just the strides that I’ve made in the past year and a half have been amazing and I hope to keep it going. I think, just for myself right now, I’m not where I want to be. I know that I can still make a ton more progress and I’m going to try to do that every day. That’s kind of my motto, I’ve got to get better at something every single day and I think I did that over the season. My progress just week-to-week and in games, I think you see it on game tape. That’s why I keep it going. I love the coaches out there in Oakland and I loved working with them at the Senior Bowl so I’m ready to get out there and work for them again.”

On if his dad played with Tony Sparano in college: “No.”

On if his dad went to New Haven College: “Yeah, he did.”

On his Senior Bowl experience: “It was pretty awesome just to see a little bit of how the NFL might work out, and just the schemes and planning that they can do there. It definitely helps out I think that I got the coaching there and now I get to go play for the same coaches, which is amazing to me. I love them all and can’t wait to put in a bunch of work with them and get better.”

On if he knew the Raiders didn’t have an established starter at tight end and if he thinks he can come in to camp and compete for substantial playing time: “I was, and yes, of course, I’m ready to go compete. I know that it’s open right now. I talked to coach (Mark) Hutson and I’m just ready to get in there and do what I can and try to earn my spot. We’ll see how it all works out when I get there, but I know I’m going to work my butt off and do what I can, so we’ll see who comes out with that spot in the fall.”

On if he was hoping the Raiders would select him and if he had a feeling that they would: “Yeah, I knew that they liked me a lot. I talked to a bunch of the coaches down there at the Senior Bowl and had a great time with them. I think that they saw my work ethic down there and that’s kind of what maybe turned them on to drafting me in this draft. I’m ready to get down there and start working again. I think definitely what I showed during the Senior Bowl is what they wanted to see and that’s why we’re at where we’re at right now. I’ve just got to keep it going.”

On if he has special teams experience: “I do. I played on, I think, every special teams this year at one point or another. I started on a good part of them for the entire year and I knew that I needed to do that, especially just playing one year at tight end. I’m ready to play any special teams that they want me to play. I’ll do anything I can to get on the field. I’m a football player; I’m not just a tight end. Coming from playing defensive line to tight end, I’ve got to be good at other things than just blocking people and trying to catch the ball. I’m ready to get on the field wherever they want me to get on.”

On what he thinks he showed the Raiders’ staff during Senior Bowl practices: “I think I showed them just the progress that I had made even from the season to the Senior Bowl. There have been kind of question marks about whether I was just strictly a blocker or that kind of thing, I think I showed them athleticism and that I do have some hands and I’m still making strides every single day to improve my hands and improve my route running and the passing game in general. I think that they can see that and I’m going to keep working my butt off to keep furthering that progress in the future. I hope to be one of the best tight ends in the league someday; that’s a goal of mine and I don’t take it lightly so I’m going to keep working and do whatever I can to accomplish that goal.”

On how hard it was to keep working on improving every week when his team was struggling: “It was pretty difficult; nobody likes to lose. I hope that they get that program turned around in the future. I loved Colorado, I loved CU, the university, and I just hope they can get it turned around. For me, really, working on tight end has been difficult, but it’s also been one of the funnest things that I’ve done. Practicing catching the ball and running routes and those kinds of things are a lot more fun that even doing defensive line practice where you’ve just got to butt heads for an hour, an hour and a half straight. Right now it’s exciting for me; I’ve loved every bit of it. I love playing tight end and I love playing football in general. I’m just ready to get out and finally start working on football again instead of just training for the combine and running a 40 and these kinds of things, and even after that just kind of training here in Boulder myself. I’m ready to get with the team and start grinding.”