(STATS) - The last few days of preseason camp have probably never been as excruciating for South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert as the final weeks before the 2018 NFL draft.
Goedert's primary focus for fourth months has been to prepare for an NFL career - a grind that includes being pulled in every direction by training, auditions, interviews and countless commitments.
A handful of teams picking late in the first round could use a tight end, so the top-rated FCS prospect might come off the board on the first day of the April 26-28 draft.
A two-time first-team STATS All-American, he will become South Dakota State's first draft selection since the Buffalo Bills took defensive end Dan Batten in the sixth round in 2010. Prior to that, no Jackrabbits player had been selected since 1999.
With the clock ticking toward the draft - slowly, no doubt - Goedert (pronounced GOD-ert) provided some final thoughts in a short Q&A:
STATS: There are probably a lot of emotional highs and lows in the buildup to the draft. Can you talk about them and the fact that the draft is nearing?
DG: With the draft nearing, when I think about it, I get kind of nervous, kind of excited, not having any idea where you're going to go or anything. It's a little nerve-racking, but at the same time exciting. So I'm just going to try not to think about it until it gets a little bit closer.
STATS: What have you enjoyed about the draft process?
DG: Just everything. Out training and meeting the people out there (at Rep 1 Sports Academy in Irvine, California). Given the opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl or participate the little bit that I got to was really cool. Dealing with this process through (a hamstring) injury was a little bit tougher, but I'm healthy now and that's all that matters. The combine was also a great experience as well.
STATS: What kind of impression do you believe you've made on NFL teams?
DG: I think they all enjoy me. Knowing that they're going to be getting that true three-down tight end really gets all the teams excited.
STATS: Your one-handed catches exemplify your terrific hands. What are some of the reasons you've developed such good receiving skills?
DG: Ever since I was a little kid, I always had a ball in my hands, whether it was a basketball, a baseball, a football, anything. I would always be playing catch, whether it was at night playing catch in bed with my stepdad or just playing sports growing up. I think always having a ball in my hands just kind of correlates to it.
STATS: Some projections have you going in the first round and basically no later than the second round. Can you talk about what it would mean to be selected in the first round?
DG: That would be a dream come true. It would be an incredible experience, a life-changing experience. Wherever I get drafted is going to be that, so going in the first round would be really cool.