The Buffalo Bills made a concerted effort to improve their defense in the 2016 NFL Draft, and at first glance it appears they’ve done just that with four of their seven picks — Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland, Adolphus Washington and Kevon Seymour — being defensive playmakers.
After bolstering the front seven in the first three rounds, the Bills finished the draft by adding to their defensive backfield with the selection of USC cornerback Kevon Seymour.
Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 188 pounds, the former Trojan tallied 126 total tackles (102 solo, 24 assists), 20 pass breakups, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and one fumble recovery in 46 career games.
The Pasadena, Calif., native posted back-to-back 40-plus tackle seasons in his sophomore and junior seasons and looked poised to breakout in 2015, but knee and ankle injuries hampered Seymour’s senior campaign.
Battling those injuries, the former high school All-American was only able to make four starts in 11 games, tallying 24 total tackles (18 solo, six assists), one tackle for loss and one interception along the way.
Although injuries hampered his final season at USC, there’s no denying Seymour’s talent.
With a terrific combination of size and speed, the Trojan defensive back excelled at the combine as he ran a blazing 4.39 time in the 40-yard dash on top of putting up 12 reps of 225-pounds, posting a 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot-4-inch broad jump.
As evidenced by those impressive measurables, Seymour has all the tools you look for in a cornerback from a physical standpoint.
If he can get back to the way he played in 2013 and 2014, the Bills may have gotten themselves a steal at pick No. 218 in the 2016 NFL Draft.
With that said, Building the Herd recently caught up with Seymour to find out a little more about Buffalo’s sixth-round pick on and off the field.
Getting to Know Kevon Seymour
How does it feel to be entering the NFL, and what was it like to get that call from the Bills on Saturday?
KS- It was definitely a dream come true. I remember growing up, and I used to tell myself that I’m going to be in the NFL one day. When I was really young I used to always tell myself, “Man, I can play in the NFL like right now.” Even though I couldn’t, you know what I mean? But, I actually believed that. So, I just kept that belief and the dream came true.
Who did you talk to when you received the call from the Bills, and what did they say?
KS- I talked to the general manager, Rex Ryan and everybody else. When I got the call they were like, “Hey, Kevon. How’s it going? We turned your name in on the card. Are you ready to be a Buffalo Bill?” From there on out I was just excited. I didn’t know how to react, and I was at a loss for words. But, it was just an amazing feeling.
You attended the same high school that Jackie Robinson did in Pasadena. What was that like?
KS- It was motivation. Going to the same high school as Jackie Robinson was definitely a blessing. Growing up, I lived right around the corner from Jackie Robinson Park. So, I played there my whole life and then went to John Muir High School. Then, coming out of high school I had a chance to go to the same college (as Robinson), but obviously I made a different decision.
You attended USC for 4 years. What was that experience like, and what made you decide to join that program?
KS- USC was great. It was a tough decision. At first, I wanted to go far away from home. But, then I started going through the recruiting process and started thinking about doing what was best for me and my family. I made the decision to stay close to home because my mom was a single parent, and financially we didn’t really have the funds to travel and do things like that. So, that’s why I narrowed my choices down to staying close to home and it was either USC or UCLA. I remember I was getting recruited by Coach (Kennedy) Polamalu, the running backs coach at the time, Coach O (Orgeron) and Kiffin was the head coach. They just blew me away. Coach Polamalu used to come sit in class and everything like that. It was just a great feeling, and the education is second to none, as well as the networking. So, that’s what it came down to.
Obviously you have a tremendous combination of size and speed, but how would you describe your style of play at the cornerback position?
KS- I have a high football IQ, and I would say I can definitely be a lockdown corner. I just have to clean up some of my technique, be more of a technician and I can be that corner that a team can count on every single down.
You’re joining former USC teammates Robert Woods and Nickell Robey in Buffalo, as well as fellow USC alumni in coaches Tim McDonald and Dennis Thurman. What’s your relationship like with those guys and how excited are you to be joining them on the Bills?
KS- I’m super excited, especially knowing there are Trojans on the staff. It’s a great feeling, and I don’t even know how to explain it. But, like you said, having Nickell and Robert Woods there (is good). Going up against them my freshman year, I learned a lot from Nickell and even Robert Woods. I remember in one-on-ones he used to coach me up like, “Next time you should do this and you have to do that.” He even came back to the school a couple of times to work out, and I got a chance to go up against him later on in my career. So, it’s going to be great.
Have you heard from either Robert or Nickell since being drafted by the Bills?
KS- Yeah, I talked to Robert Woods. I haven’t talked to Nickell, but I just haven’t reached out to him yet. I reached out to Robert Woods just about basic things and he got back to me.
How much contact did you have with the Bills through the pre-draft process? And, what are your thoughts on joining a Rex Ryan defense?
KS- It was very minimal. They came down to my pro day. Tim McDonald and I had a quick conversation, and then we ended up getting on the phone (later on) and we talked there. But, that was pretty much it. Just knowing I’m going to be a part of this defense, I’m excited to get up there and start working, learning from the older guys and compete. Growing up I used to always watch Rex Ryan and the Jets a lot. I kind of understand Rex Ryan’s style, so I’m just ready to jump right into it and compete.
You were a communication major in college. Did you graduate with that degree, and what are your plans for after football?
KS- I graduated with a communication degree and sociology minor. I graduated last spring. I love giving back and helping people, so I thought about being a sports counselor at the college level or the high school level. Or even being a firefighter. I’ve been looking at that lately. When my career is over, I kind of want to go toward that way because I love helping people and giving back. That’s what I’m all about.
What are your expectations/goals for your rookie season?
KS- Staying ready and being ready when my name and number is called to make a play or step up. I’m just going to take advantage of every opportunity. For example, special teams. Or if I get a shot at the corner or the nickel right away, I’m going to make sure I’m ready to take advantage of it. I just want to help the team win.
You’re from California, and attended college in California. Have you ever played in snow and are you prepared to play in cold weather?
KS- I’ve never played in snow, but I’ve seen snow. When we faced Colorado it snowed up there, but not while we were playing. I used to take trips out here in Southern California up to the mountains to play in the snow and things like that, but I’ve never played a game in the snow. I’m excited. It’s something new, and I’m ready for it.
In a race, who would win? You or fellow Bills sixth-round draft pick Kolby Listenbee?
KS- I would race him and see what the outcome would be because it’s been a while since I’ve ran track in high school in my senior year. But, that dude can move. As far as on the field, I can run. I can keep up with most guys, if not every guy. So, it’s going to be exciting to go against him and other guys like Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins in practice. I’m just looking forward to it. But, if it was a 100-meter race, he would win without a doubt. There aren’t too many guys in this game that can move the way Kolby moves with that type of speed.
Is there anything you’d like to say to Bills fans about what they can expect to see from you on and off the field?
KS- These past few days the fans have been great to me. It’s incredible. I just want to give a shout out to them, and let them know that I’m going to come in and give everything I’ve got. They can expect a great corner and a great player overall joining the Bills Mafia.
Bills fans, make sure to follow Kevon on Twitter: @KevonSeymour