Cornerback Jayron Hosley was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round this past April. Each week, the Virginia Tech alum and Florida native will provide an inside look at his journey of making it in the NFL. This week's post picks up with his interception late last week in practice, a weekend before the Giants' first preseason game (You can also follow Jayron on Twitter @hosley_jayron).
Being a rookie means you're in a lot of meetings with only one practice a day. So there is a lot of going over plays in the classroom, installing, and pretty much just the grind of trying to work my way up. It's all about picking up anything I can learn from this camp, to the start of preseason, and then to the official start of the season.
I got my hands on the ball for the first time last Thursday at practice. We were in man coverage. I was playing the nickel, playing the slip technique: show outside and slip back inside. They ran a "seven" which is like a deep corner, and I just slipped down while the quarterback threw it – right to me. Coaches said it was a good play. They see me improving and said they like that and that I have potential. They just want to see me keep working and just getting better and more consistent.
Like all rookies, I'm also getting a lot of work on special teams. Right now, I'm working with the second group on kickoff and yesterday I was with the first group on punt returns. It's definitely improving and I'm just trying to pick up the whole system of special teams, especially in the return game. I'm just learning what I can from the coaches in that aspect. I just need to catch, tuck the ball, make sure I look it in on punt returns and stay square – things like that. It's all about working on the small things at this level to better my game.
Looking at my life a year ago, I don't want to say it's less stressful now, but it feels like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I can focus more on my career, football, and let the outside things take care of itself. I have a good circle around me and a good team around me. That kind of helps me with the off-the-field things, which then helps on the field. It's been good so far. Right now, my focus is just getting better at this training camp and hopefully earn myself a spot. That's my focus right now.
Our first preseason game is in a few days, and the roommates – me, David Wilson and Rueben Randle -- were talking last night, like 'How do we feel about playing our first game?' Rube said it feels like college, but we really don't know what to expect. You're going into a game, it's the NFL, you have to be at your "A" game. I'm excited. I'm ready to go. I feel like as of right now, I'm comfortable enough in the system to go out there and do my job. I'm ready to play.
Virginia Tech was a big-time football school, but it's a different lifestyle now. No matter what college you went to, it's really not going to prepare you for the NFL. Once you're in the NFL, it' the NFL, nothing like it. In a sense, going to a football school did help with the coaching. I had great coaching there. They prepared me in the best way for me to succeed in the next level. But it's really just up to the person now. The first year they say is the hardest part with the adjustment to the NFL, but after that, it's all on you and what you make of it. So this is the start of my own blueprint. I'm just trying to make a name and catch some people's attention.