I had the opportunity to interview recently signed Ryan Becker, a recently signed undrafted free agent for the Arizona Cardinals. Standing at 6′ 6″, 248 lbs, Becker was primarily used as a blocking tight end at SMU, where he was declared the teams offensive MVP, after a great senior season.
Q: Can you describe your emotions leading up to, during, and after the draft?
A: “Me and my agent actually knew in the 5th round what our plan was. He had called and said “the Cardinals want you.” And we both agreed that was the best fit for me, so we waited to see if my name was called during the draft and when it wasn’t I signed with them.”
Q: What drew you to the Cardinals?
A: “I had talked to (Cardinals TE Coach Steve Heiden) a couple of times before the draft and he seemed like such a genuine guy. I know last year they gradually eased into the tight end road and started using them more, so that was where I felt I needed to be.”
Q: Obviously Kyler Murray is a legend in Texas, where you grew up, going undefeated in his time at Allen high school. What is it like having him as a teammate now?
A: “Man it’s awesome. Obviously living in Texas he was someone you knew about and to have him as a teammate now is just awesome.”
Q: What motivated you to become an NFL player?
A: “It was kind of just an innate drive that said, ‘I don’t like losing.’ And I really didn’t even think about playing in college or the NFL until my sophomore year of high school. I had a pretty good year and I had a coach told me ‘Hey if you really buy into this you got a chance.’ And that’s when it clicked with me that I needed my college paid for, so I thought if I worked really really hard maybe I could get a D3 scholarship, And then I started getting D1 offers and it clicked with me that I had a shot at this so I started focusing really hard on it.”
Q: How long have you been growing out your hair?
A: “I haven’t gotten a real haircut since my Sophomore year in college, just been keeping it trimmed and neat. But with all this Corona crap that’s not happening so it’s looking a little crazier than normal.”
Q: You were a 3.5-star recruit coming out of high school, and had a lot of success at SMU, obviously being the team’s offensive MVP as well as having high praise from coaches all around the conference. Unfortunately, you had an injury in 2018 that kept you sidelined and the unfortunate timing of Corona that kept you from having a real chance to show off your skills to NFL teams. Does all of this give you a chip on your shoulder heading into the next part of your career after being undrafted?
A: “I’ve told my family. friends, really anyone who asked before the draft that as long as I got my chance to come in and prove myself I’m good. There were a lot of people who went home without that chance and will never get that chance to prove themselves. So that’s what I’ve always told people is that I’m just grateful for the chance to prove myself.
Q: You were previously a left tackle before being switched to tight end, do you see yourself as more of a blocking tight end or do you see yourself being able to fill the role of a pass catcher?
A: “My deal is I’m gonna do whatever the team wants me to do. If they want me to block 100 snaps a game I’m gonna go out and do it and if they ask me to go out and catch I will do that too, so it’s really just whatever the team needs. I think I’m capable of both but like I said at the end of the day It’s all about making the team better.”
Q: What do you expect from the Cardinals this season in terms of wins?
A: “Dang that’s a tough question. Obviously I would love to go undefeated and go win a Super Bowl, but I don’t really know, I haven’t even been in the locker room yet, haven’t met most of the players and the coaches, so dude I don’t really know. All I know is that I’m gonna come in day one and try to make the team better.”
Q: Who was your favorite player growing up?
A: “Troy Polamalu. That dude was a freak and he played the game different than everyone else on the field. Watching him you can tell that he has a different mentality and plays the game differently than everybody else.
Q: Is your long hair inspired by him?
A: “No, but I’ve never really thought about it like that. Although I wouldn’t mind a Head and Shoulders contract, that definitely wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Q: How has your workout routine changed with the Covid-19 pandemic?
A: “It’s definitely affected everything. The gym I was working out at in Fort Worth got shut down so I had to come back home and try to find some places and pull some strings but I’ve figured it out and I’ve got a place that I can workout at and I’m just waiting for the call to go and report to the team and start my NFL journey.”
Q: Whose your favorite artist?
A: “Shoot that’s a hard one. I’m a country music guy, growing up in a small town in Texas, so I would have to say Tyler Childers. I really like him. But it’s funny because in a small town Texas locker room most people will be listening to rap music before a game but I’m just listening to country music.”
Thank you for your time, Ryan!
Photo: Matt Visinsky/247sports