The Pittsburgh Steelers signed a tall playmaking wide receiver in Canaan Severin as a UDFA in hopes of the team possibly finding a diamond in the proverbial rough of the NFL. A loyal BTSC reader, and now contributor, Kelly A (@kanozie80) got in touch with the big wideout to talk about his approach to the upcoming season.
Question: You had quite the career with Virginia. You proved that you had all the tools necessary to be drafted. Size, good hands, and a great work ethic from what I've been told. With all this said, why do you believe you were overlooked in the draft?
Severin: I feel as if I most definitely have the tools, and I feel I showed that my last two seasons at Virginia. But it was only those last two seasons, even though I increased every year. I think the people that place a significant importance on snap totals their first year in college most of the time its from there. I feel at this level teams want to see if you can get better each year.
Also, the fact that I am not a 4.4 (40-yard dash) guy is also against me. I am not a blazer! I am not a 40-inch vertical guy. The combine and draft is big for those guys, but that's why making that big catch showing my catch radius or catching over the middle is huge for me if I plan to be successful at this level.
Question: You can also make the argument that being a 4.4 guy, as noted not being, can be disadvantageous since the expectation to apply both speed and skills increases. With that noted, do you think going undrafted gives you an advantage in a way?
As a follow-up, what attributes do you have which distinguish you from the other WRs you are competing against?
Severin: I kind of feel drafted late or undrafted are similar situations. Just have to be a pro and execute at a high level. I think with attributes I have, I really have to make the contested catch a routine thing for me.
Question: There's no secret that you have sickle cell anemia; however, from viewing your film, there's no doubt that this didn't affect your ability to play at a high level. Despite having sickle cell, do you believe you can translate the same level of success you had with Virginia, to the NFL?
Severin: Yes, absolutely. My last two years playing at Virginia I really figured out how to handle it (sickle cell). That was by gradually getting in top physical condition and my nutrition. My nutrition is very important to me. What I eat, what I put into my body impacts me a lot. I followed a strict eating plan at Virginia and will continue to do the same at the NFL level. The last thing which makes my body feel ready is rest. Rest is crucial to the whole process. You grow the most physically when you are asleep. Your mind and body need to rest is something I learned my last two years. It is something that cannot be taken for granted. Your mind has to be sharp and ready to go day in, and day out.
Question: Final question, what makes Mike Tomlin someone you would like to play for?
Severin: He's a players coach! He's a leader and he shows who he is as a person and a coach everyday. And that's someone who I would love to play for.