NFL Draft Q&A: Stanford safety Dallas Lloyd
Our daily NFL Draft Q&A series continues with Stanford safety Dallas Lloyd, who took a two-year mission before college, shifted from quarterback to safety and got advice from other Cardinal position-changers like John Lynch and Richard Sherman. He has good size at 6-3, 209 pounds and had five interceptions as a senior, and he took a minute from classes at Stanford to talk about his path to the draft ...
Q: First of all, where are you training to get ready for your pro day?
A: "I'm staying here in the Bay area, with a guy named Kellen McCrary. He has a gym in Sacramento and I go up there once a week and he comes down here to train me the rest of the week. There's another teammate of mine training with us named Jordan Watkins. We're still in school, so that's one of the main reasons I stayed in the Bay area. I'm finishing up a Master's program. I'm finishing school and training at the same time."
Q: What's your degree going to be in?
A: "Communications and media studies. I spent a lot of time studying virtual reality and its effect on people and social media and the way media affects society. We all saw it with the election in November, the polarization of America is increasing more and more. I was able to get into the program as a one-year program. I have four or five teammates doing it with me, and as fifth-year players it's covered by scholarship, so it's a huge blessing. I'm in winter quarter now that ends the week of our pro day at the end of March, and I'll also be here in spring quarter, which ends in June."
Q: What was it like for you making the transition from quarterback to safety?
A: "I had spent a year and a half studying our offensive playbook. It's so incredibly complex, and that's what prepares our quarterbacks for the NFL. You're making two and three calls in the huddle, and you get to the line of scrimmage and have 15 seconds to evaluate the defense, see what you're in and decide which of the three plays we're going to do and make sure everybody is on the same page. I finally was mastering it and was comfortable with it and all the sudden it was time to move to defense and feel like a freshman all over again with a new playbook in front of me.
"At first, it was a little overwhelming for me. It was a blessing, in that I was at spring practice and (Seahawks CB) Richard Sherman came out and was saying 'Hi' to everybody. After a few reps, I came off to the sideline and saw Richard, and I started talking to him. I introduced myself and he said 'No, I know who you are.' That was really cool, and he was so down-to-Earth, such a great guy. I asked him what it was like, how was the transition (from receiver) and he said 'You can use everything you learned on offense. All that time you spent studying is not a waste. All that offensive knowledge, with splits and receivers, route concepts, down and distance, use that to your advantage on defense.
"I went to summer school and John Lynch showed up. He was in my class and in my group, and we did a bunch of projects with him. He had the same thing to say that Sherman did: Use all that knowledge to make you a better safety, and that really inspired me to look at the game of football from the other side of the field. That ended up being a strong suit, watching film of quarterbacks and their concepts. That helped me be in the right place at the right time. In our bowl game, I had two interceptions, one a pick-six, and I was really grateful for those two people."
Q: I'm always impressed to talk to Stanford students about the academic experience there. What has been the best part for you?
A: "My favorite part is the people you meet here, people from all over the world. They have different backgrounds, different ideas, different religions. It's a melting pot of the smartest people in the entire world. This kid in my freshman class, he was an Egyptian astronaut, had won a NASA contest with innovative research as a high school kid in Egypt. They randomly assign you a roommate freshman year, and my roommate was a brilliant kid from Los Angeles. A few years later, I find out his grandpa was the Prime Minister of South Korea. I had no idea the whole time. 'Why wouldn't you tell me that?' It can be humbling at first, because you feel out of place, but as soon as you shake that off and realize you have something to bring to the table as well, you're fine.
"Our football staff does a good job of making sure you're connected to people. One summer I said 'I'd really like to work for (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice.' I was one of her student assistants and got to sit down with her every day and get to know her. She's a remarkable, amazing person, so personable and so smart. I could listen to her talk all day, nonstop. She's so smart."
Q: One of the defensive tackles we talked to from USC also did an LDS mission before college football. How has that experience helped you?
A: "There's not a day goes by when I don't think about the mission I served. I was in Chile, so it was two years of Spanish. No English. It was a poor country, people I didn't have much in common with, but by the time I left, I cried to leave them. It was such a good experience. There's not a day goes by that I don't think about the people, the stories, the way God blessed me and all of us while I was on my mission. It sets the framework for the rest of your life. It teaches you how to prioritize your life, sets you up for success when you come home, knowing the most important things are your faith and your family. It helped me with my study habits, and to be selfless with your teammates and always look to lift them up."
Q: Who was the best player you went up against in college?
A: "One of the fun things about playing in the Pac-12, you face really good offenses. That's a good question. Off the top of my head, I'd say JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson, a couple of USC guys. The Washington receiver corps with John Ross, too."
Q: This is a tough one for you, but what about best teammate you've played with?
A: "My goodness, that's even harder. We were really blessed to have great leadership. I had the privilege to be a team captain with Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. Those two, hands down, were the best teammates I ever had, the most intense people that didn't care about themselves, cared about team success, put their own interests aside and helped the team win football games. That started in practice and the offseason when we worked side-by-side."
Q: One of the other questions we ask if for your local food recommendation. If I'm in Palo Alto, what's your favorite place to eat?
A: "There's a burger place here in Palo Alto called The Counter. It's my kind of food. They have a menu, but they also have a sheet of paper and you can build your own burger. All different kinds of meats, buns, over 50 toppings, sauces. I get the half-pound burger and my mom for some reason really likes goat cheese. I'd never had it but I tried it last time and it was delicious. So goat cheese and grilled pineapple. Right now, I'm on a really strict diet preparing for pro day, so I haven't been in a while. I'm salivating just talking about it now."
Check out our other NFL Draft Q&As: West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas, Florida tackle David Sharpe, Mississippi State WR/RB Brandon Holloway, Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick, Oklahoma State tackle Victor Salako, N.C. State center Joe Scelfo, Army linebacker Andrew King, Louisana Tech receiver Trent Taylor, Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu and Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome.