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NFL Draft

Demetric Felton: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • March 31, 2021
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Versatile offensive weapons that can make an impact on every down are all the rage in today’s NFL. No prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft class fits that description better than UCLA’s Demetric Felton.

A dynamic playmaker who lined up at running back and wide receiver for the Bruins, Felton recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his experience at the Senior Bowl, what his best position fit is at the next level, and what life was like growing up in a military family.

JM: You were born in Memphis but you moved around a lot. Your dad was in the military. What was life like growing up?

DF: I was born in Memphis, Tennessee as you said. I don’t remember much about Memphis, but I definitely want to go back and visit. I want to see where I was born. I only stayed there until I was five years old. We moved around a lot.

With my dad being in the military, it was tough at first. It felt like we had to pick up and move every time we got settled down somewhere. I would make friends and get used to a new school just before we had to move again. My siblings and I had to adapt to that lifestyle.

JM: It sounds like an interesting upbringing. Now that you’ve had some time to really think about it, how do you reflect on your time at UCLA?

DF: It was a great experience. I’m so glad that I went to UCLA. They gave me a chance to play close to home. It allowed my family to have a front-row seat to my college career. It meant a lot to me.

JM: You had terrific seasons in 2019 and 2020. What changed for you?

DF: I think what really changed was my opportunity. I moved to the backfield for the first time in 2019 and things skyrocketed for me. A running back touches the ball a lot more than a receiver does. I just tried to take advantage of those extra touches. In Chip Kelly’s offense specifically, the running back sees a ton of the ball. I had more opportunities at my new position. It was huge for me.

JM: I want to touch on all of these topics with you. When I turn the tape on, I see a player that is incredibly elusive and dangerous in space. How did you develop those aspects of your game?

DF: Repetition is everything. I’ve always had the ability to make somebody miss in space. I love watching film on other elusive players. I also watch my own film and study how I can get out of certain situations. I look for how I can create extra yards. I apply all of these things to my game.

JM: You’ve lined up everywhere. We’ve talked about it. Prior to moving to running back, you played a lot of wide receiver. You still catch a lot of passes coming out of the backfield. You’re so versatile.

DF: Versatility is everything in today’s game. It’s especially huge at the running back position. You have to be able to split out wide and run some good routes. It makes a running back even more dangerous. It just brings something different to the table. It’s a headache for the defense. Lining up somebody like me against a linebacker in coverage, they have a tough time covering me in space. It makes you a dangerous weapon.

JM: There’s no doubt about it. You talked about playing in Chip Kelly’s scheme. You really thrived in it. Tell me more about that.

DF: I was asked to do a little bit of everything in that scheme. Everybody knows about coach Kelly and his offense. He likes to try a little bit of everything. I had to run the ball both inside and outside. I had to split out wide and run good routes. A lot of times, I still played the receiver position even though I was a running back.

JM: We’ve touched on the versatility. Have you gained any sort of consensus on where you may play at the next level through your conversations with NFL teams? 

DF: I’m actually getting a good mixture of both. Some teams see me as a wide receiver, other teams see me as a great running back that can also run really good routes. At the end of the day, it’s up to the team that drafts me. It’ll ultimately depend on my landing spot. I’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.

JM: I love that. You were at the Senior Bowl back in January. When the dust settled, what do you think scouts said about Demetric Felton?

DF: I think every team left Mobile and said Demetric Felton is incredibly versatile. That’s been the theme of this conversation. I went down to the Senior Bowl and showed them that I’m equally as effective at both positions. That was big for me. I showcased my abilities as a running back in 2019 and 2020 at UCLA. At the Senior Bowl, I reminded everyone that I can play receiver too. I can’t thank Jim Nagy enough for the opportunity.

JM: You had a terrific week in Mobile. You make excellent, timely cuts as a runner. You also have great burst. How do you string all of that together?

DF: It goes back to how much film I study. Practice makes perfect. Opportunity is everything. I’m always working on my craft. Everything that you see on tape, I had to work really hard to become that player. My running backs coach DeShaun Foster always pushed me to improve. He wanted to see my game take a big step forward in 2020. Everything comes with time and hard work.

JM: We’ve been seeing a lot of numbers on social media as of late. Your Pro Day is coming up soon. Have you gone through a mock combine at all, and if so, what kind of numbers are you putting up?

DF: I’ve been focusing on the 40-yard dash. I’m running in the 4.4 range right now. I hope to hit that same time on my Pro Day.

JM: That’s a great time. We’ve reached a point in the process where you’re meeting with teams virtually. How is that going for you, and which teams have you met with so far?

DF: The process is going well. I’ve spoken to so many teams. I’ve met with teams multiple times as well. I’m just happy to have this opportunity. I’m trying to take things day by day and enjoy the process. Every step of the way has been fun. I’ve spoken with the 49ers, Patriots, Rams, Titans, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Bills, Falcons, and Packers to name a few. I’ve spoken with so many teams.

JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. You’re such a unique playmaker. Which players did you admire growing up? Do you model your game after anybody in particular?

DF: I grew up watching LaDanian Tomlinson. I’m such a huge fan of his. In college, I used to watch Tavon Austin before every game I played. I loved his versatility. Watching him play receiver and running back inspired me to do what I do. 

Now that I’m primarily in the running back room, I watch a lot of Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. I try my best to model my game after those guys. Both of them are so versatile. They run the ball at a high level, and they’re both excellent receivers in the passing game as well.

JM: Those are some great guys to study and model your game after. What do you think is the best game you ever played in a UCLA jersey?

DF: I would say the game I played against Washington State in 2019. That was a great team win. We all came together and showed out for what turned out to be an excellent comeback win. We were down big in that game. I had more than 300 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. That was definitely a great game for me, the best of my career. I really showed my versatility in that game.

JM: That was a big one for you. I’ve really appreciated your time. This has been terrific. In closing, what kind of impact is Demetric Felton gonna make at the next level?

DF: Whichever team drafts me is gonna get a playmaker. I’m able to make something special happen whenever the ball is in my hands. I’m gonna be the same versatile weapon you saw at UCLA. I can move all over the field and take advantage of mismatches. I can confuse and frustrate the defense. I’m a tough, fast player.

At the end of the day, you’re getting a football player who believes in the value of hard work. I want to get better every single day.

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