Frampton comes alive on NFL draft boards

ERIC FRAMPTON AT NFL COMBINE

KEN GREENE SAYS Eric Frampton is bigger, faster and stronger than one of the greatest defenders in modern WSU football history: New York Jets starter Erik Coleman. The way Frampton's stock keeps rising on NFL draft boards, Greene isn't alone in his assessment. With the Bears' Lovie Smith and other NFL coaches taking notice, Frampton no longer is "the best safety no one is talking about."

I caught up with the Frampton the other day. The first-team All-Pac-10 honoree talked about everyone from Coleman to C.S. Lewis, and everything from Assassin Awards to game film.

ET: Your coach said the following about you: "sweet kid, but he's a head-hunter, a tough kid and the pro scouts say that too" how do you reconcile that duality?

The File On
ERIC FRAMPTON
HOMETOWN:
San Jose, Calif.

POSITION:
Strong Safety

SIZE:
6-0, 206 pounds

CHOSE WSU:
Over San Jose State.

WSU CAREER:
Became a starter as a junior in 2005 season. Played in 23 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons on special teams and spot duty in the secondary.

STATS:
Finished Cougar career with 219 tackles, including a team-leading 100 in 2006. Named first-team All-Pac-10 following senior campaign.

PREP CAREER:
An all-league performer at Oak Grove High, where he scored 17 TDs as a junior. Missed much of his senior year with a broken collar bone, but still made an impact on defense with 30 tackles in six games. Named to the Western 100 by the Tacoma News Tribune.

PERSONAL:
His dad, Arnold, was a track athlete at Tuskegee University.

Frampton: To be honest I think my relationship with God. When I'm amongst people I want to treat them with respect and kindness and just love people. And when I'm on the football field, accordingly everything I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability. So when I'm out there on the football field competing, it's a whole different mentality and I kind of switch it on and then it becomes a game of me against you and I get competitive.

ET: In one other statement I saw about you, they used the term "uncoachable instincts" about you. Do you feel like you just have good instincts for what happens out there on the football field?

Frampton: I do. When I learn the playbook and know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, there's another side of me, there's something else inside of my head that switches on and I just take what I'm taught and make it my own. I mold it and sculpt it to how I feel as a player and what I bring to the table, so I would agree it's definitely there -- I've been blessed with a gift.

ET: Heading into the Combine, NFLDraftScout.com referred to you as "perhaps the best safety that no one is talking about." Is that how you felt at that time?

Frampton: Yeah, but I liked it. They type of player I am, I don't need that adulation to get me going. I don't work for other people to say "hey Eric, he's the man," but more to know that I'm the best. And I guess that would be the chip on my shoulder; I want to know that I'm the best out there. Even going to the Combine and having some interviews and whatnot, the main thing is to get on a roster and show people that I can compete with the best and that I am one of the best.

ET: You really turned things up a notch your senior year. How do you think that came about?

Frampton: I think just focus and preparation. Just for me it was getting comfortable with football, not with football necessarily, but just getting comfortable with who I was and what role I played on the team and excelling from there and making it my own.

ET: Your coach said the following about you: "sweet kid, but he's a head-hunter, a tough kid and the pro scouts say that too" how do you reconcile that duality?

Frampton: To be honest I think my relationship with God. When I'm amongst people I want to treat them with respect and kindness and just love people. And when I'm on the football field, accordingly everything I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability. So when I'm out there on the football field competing, it's a whole different mentality and I kind of switch it on and then it becomes a game of me against you and I get competitive.

ET: What do you love most about playing football?

Frampton: I love the competitive nature of the sport. I also enjoy the camaraderie, being with your teammates, being able to share with each other, encourage each other, pick each other up. The atmosphere from practice to gameday is beautiful.

ET: Your defensive backs coach, Ken Greene said "he's bigger, faster and stronger than (Erik) Coleman…he could be a dominant player in a few years." Do you find that humbling?

Frampton: I really do. I do because Erik Coleman is a player I looked up to and, to a certain extent, his work ethic is something I modeled. He was a guy I looked up to and when he was working hard, I took a lot from him as a player; so that's a heck of a compliment coming from coach Greene who is also a great guy and a great person.

ET: Do you think any specific defensive schemes play to your strengths?

Frampton: I can play them all. Once I learn, and I have learned quite a few up here at Washington State-- 3-4, 4-3 --to me it doesn't matter because regardless of if I'm in the box, outside the box, far away from the ball, out of position, I'm going to hustle to the other side of the field if I have to make the play.

ET: I was very impressed by your communication skills at the Combine, they had to play very favorably for you during the interview process…

Frampton: I guess they did, I just went in there and tried to be myself and relax and answer the questions they asked me as well as get a feel for who they were as an organization and as people. It was fun, a neat experience.

ET: Who were some of the coaches and GMs that you thought you really connected with?

Frampton: They were all great guys, every single interview I went into, they were great guys. Getting a chance to sit down with the Chicago Bears coaches I really got a chance to feel them out as people. We had some conversation and I think that would be the team that stood out in my mind. I felt relaxed, I felt real cool around them and I felt they were real cool around me and yeah that was the best.

ET: Was Lovie Smith in on the conversation?

Frampton: He wasn't too much in on the conversation. He sat up front of me and I guess was observing, but I went in there a little like, "man this is Lovie Smith," -- an intelligent African-American man that I would always look up to watching him coach.

ET: Who else did you meet face-to-face with at the Combine?

Frampton: The Oakland Raiders, the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos, as well as the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Seattle Seahawks.

ET: Those are some high-quality teams…

Frampton: Great teams, great organizations, I met a lot of great guys within the organizations.

ET: Are you a big game-film guy?

Frampton: Yeah, huge game-film guy. I know when I got here freshman year, not so much. But listening to the older guys and what they were telling me and coach Greene stressing the importance of the game film and what to pay attention for, I became a huge game film guy.

ET: Talk about your special teams work and how you think you can contribute to the pro level in that area?

Frampton: At Washington State, coach Greene always stressed if you're great playing special teams you'll be a great player in general. I think I really took that to heart. Every time I stepped on the special teams unit I wanted to be the one to make a play, I wanted to be the one on a punt or kickoff to get down there and make a tackle. Or I wanted to make the best block if I was on kickoff return or punt return.

ET: What did you get the "Iron Man" and "Assassin" awards for?

Frampton: The Iron Man Award is the highest percentage (grade out on special teams assignments) --and ... the most plays on special teams. The Assassin Award is an award for the most tackles on special teams.

ET: What did you do between the Combine and your Pro Day that helped you boost all of your numbers except your broad jump--which you matched?

Frampton: I took what I did at the Combine and went back to the facility where I was training with the coaches behind me all the way and told them I want to work on this, this, and this. It was tough after leaving the Combine because my body was tired and sore, but at the same time I just got in there and started working immediately to see what I could improve upon with the short period I was given.

ET: Were there any teams who put you through some extra drills or were asking you questions at your Pro Day?

Frampton: The Oakland Raiders wanted to work me out as far as seeing my footwork and seeing what I could do on the field; so in that respect, just the Oakland Raiders. I did get a chance to shake hands with the Seattle Seahawks scout at my Pro Day and I talked a little bit with the Bears.

ET: I saw you enjoy reading, what do you like to read?

Frampton: I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis, more of his theoretical works than his Chronicles of Narnia and stuff. I like to read Rob Dale, basically all of the books I like to read fall into the category of Religion/Inspirational.

ET: Is there anything I haven't asked you about that you'd like to make sure people know about you?

Frampton: A lot of people won't come out and say it because they feel like they're separate, but I think my relationship with God has played a huge part in who I am today, as well as how I perform in anything I do whether it's the football field, school, or overall development. I think that's something I want people to know about me because it's not talked about too much when you get to the pro level and even at the college level.

Ed Thompson is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. His NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.

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