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Player Profile: Jermelle Cudjo ..
Monday, July 12, 2010
By Nick Wagoner
Coming from Central Oklahoma, defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo knew when his college career ended, he had to do everything possible in order to get a shot in the NFL.
That meant every weightlifting session had to be more intense, every cardio session had to be longer and every film session more detailed.
And above all, every time Cudjo had a chance to put on the pads and play in front of scouts he had to find a way to stand out above the rest of the players on the field.
So when Cudjo arrived at the Cactus Bowl, the NCAA Division II All Star game in Kingsville, Texas, Cudjo knew he had to bring his best because it was one of the few events for a small school player to show his talents to a crowd that would be guaranteed to have NFL scouts in attendance.
“Coming from a D II school, I feel like I have got to work harder than other people from D I schools just to show that I can do the same things they can do,” Cudjo said.
At that aforementioned all star game, Cudjo was one of the standouts, making four tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. He was a penetrating force in helping his team win and more important, turned some heads among the NFL scouts at the game.
While Cudjo’s performance wasn’t enough to get him selected in April’s NFL Draft, it was enough to land him a number of offers right after the draft and a rookie free agent contract with the Rams on April 26.
“I had a few teams tell me I could be a late seventh or maybe be a free agent,” Cudjo said. “I was just praying I would get a chance to play in the NFL. I had a few teams calling but the No. 1 team was the Rams. I felt like this was the best place for me to play so my agent made a deal and now I’m here to prove it to them.”
Cudjo took that chance and ran with it soon after, making a solid first impression at the team’s rookie minicamp soon after signing and working hard through organized team activities soon after.
Cudjo has done his best to learn from the veterans around such as Fred Robbins and player programs director La’Roi Glover. He’s also stayed in his playbook and done as much as he can to make an impression on the coaching staff.
“I think things are going pretty well,” Cudjo said. “I am trying to do whatever I can to be a part of this team, give it all I got out here in practice and take my role as a rookie.”
While Cudjo has done his best to adjust, he’s also quick to admit that it hasn’t been easy for him.
“It’s been a step up from college,” Cudjo said. “It’s faster, stronger people from college so you have to play with good technique and finish.”
Cudjo did his best to refine those techniques in college, where he was a dominant force for Central Oklahoma. People first took notice of Cudjo during his junior year, when he broke through with 60 tackles, 15.5 for loss with 4.5 sacks.
As a senior, Cudjo posted 58 tackles with 12.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. In college, Cudjo worked mostly as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense and though he did that for the Rams in the offseason program, Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo values versatility so Cudjo has worked some at nose tackle as well.
Cudjo is working on all aspects of his game but knows to make an NFL roster, pass rushing ability is key.
“I’m a pretty good run stopper,” Cudjo said. “I have pretty good size, physical, strong. I am working on pass rushing a lot because I know they look for that more in the NFL. So that’s what I am really focusing on right now. I played more 3 in college. Now I am playing nose and 3 so I am just getting as versatile as I can be.”
Cudjo says he enjoys playing for a coach like Spagnuolo who is known for developing young defensive linemen and using them in a variety of ways.
“It’s a great honor actually to play for a coach like that. He’s a defensive coach. I play defense so I just try to show my skills and fit in out here.”
Upon his departure at the end of the offseason program, Cudjo says he planned to work as hard he could at becoming faster and stronger so that could compete for a job when training camp opens at the end of this month.
“The next month is going to be a grind just like it was before I got here,” Cudjo said. “I am just trying to get faster and stronger and be in shape for this training camp coming up. I feel like I am getting better than I was in college. I am just trying to work harder and do everything I can to be a part of the team.”
Re: Player Profile: Jermelle Cudjo ..
Cool read, thanks for sharing. He has to be making at least some sort of strong first impression, if we've already released Douzable.
Re: Player Profile: Jermelle Cudjo ..
Love it. Lets hope this guy can develop into a solid D Lineman.
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