The 2017 NFL Draft concluded nearly two weeks ago, and the Chicago Bears came out with a surprising haul. They focused mainly on offense, only picking one defensive player with their five picks. Their undrafted free agent signings were predominantly offensive focused, as well. One of their best additions was offensive tackle Dieugot Joseph.
Joseph (first name pronounced jeh-GO) was a stud on the blind side for FIU. He started every game in 2016, and was named honorable mention on the All-Conference USA team. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had him projected as a Day 3 prospect, so to have him available as an undrafted free agent was a steal for the Bears.
cover32 had the chance to talk to Joseph about joining the Bears and his journey to the NFL.
What do you feel is your biggest strength on the football field?
Joseph: I feel like I have multiple strengths, but I think foot speed, quickness and my strength are some of my biggest strengths.
Being undrafted, do you feel that you enter the NFL with a chip on your shoulder?
Joseph: To be honest, I definitely feel that I enter the NFL with a chip on my shoulder. Everybody has to prove themselves, but going undrafted, it’s just another test.
You entered FIU as a defensive end, but you exited as an offensive tackle. How did you make that transition so easily?
Joseph: I don’t wanna say it was easy. There’s no transition that was easy, but I worked relentlessly and I never got comfortable. I feel like that helped, my work ethic helped me grow as a player so quickly.
I’d say that you made it look pretty easy, considering you’ve made it this far.
Joseph: I will say this: I wouldn’t say that. *laughs* I think it became a little easier than it does for a lot of people.
Who is the toughest player you’ve ever gone up against?
Joseph: Just from this past season, I think the two best defensive end I’ve played against were Larry Ogunjobi – I think he’s pretty good – also, there’s an up-and-coming defensive end from Louisiana Tech (Jaylon Ferguson). He’s a sophomore, I think. But I know he led the conference in sacks, and I know that he was surprisingly good. It was like, you had to get on the field, and it was like – oh!
Do you feel like playing against these guys made you step up your game a bit?
Joseph: I don’t feel like I had to step up my game, because I play hard every time. I put it on the line every play, no matter who’s in front of me. It wasn’t really a step up thing. I come with the same mentality every game: I come to beat you.
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When did you realize that you could play at an NFL level?
Joseph: I always thought I had potential, but I also knew that I had to work to get there. Especially switching positions, I had to gain weight, I had to learn different things. So really, I always thought I could play in the NFL. It was a matter of – like you said – playing with that chip on my shoulder. No matter where you come from, switching positions, it doesn’t better. Anybody can become a player if they have the drive, if they have the motivation.
What do you feel that you need to work on the most as you enter the NFL?
Joseph: As I enter the NFL, I think I probably need to continue to try to get a good understanding on offense about what we want to do and how we want to do it. At the end of the day, the mental game is what wins battles. So I think that’s something I need to really dig into and be consistent about.
Which player(s) do you model your game after?
Joseph: I’ve been asked this question before, and I don’t like to model my game after anybody. I’ve watched other players – I’ve watched some of the great players like Trent Williams and Tyron Smith – and I take from them what I can.
What do you like to do outside of football?
Joseph: Outside of football, I like to draw and I like to paint. I like to game – I play some 2K. I play Call of Duty.
Are you an Xbox or PlayStation guy?
Joseph: PlayStation, no question.
You said you like to paint. Is that something that surprises people, considering your football background?
Joseph: Yes it does. I’ve always liked to draw since I was a child. I took drawing and painting courses in high school. Really, I just like to create. That’s something I like to do in my free time when I’m bored and have nothing to do.
What made you decide to choose the Bears as your landing spot?
Joseph: I chose the Chicago Bears because I knew they drafted a quarterback in the first round – Mitch Trubisky. I also know that they didn’t very many offensive linemen. I know that they need somebody to protect their quarterback, and I thought that it would be a good fit for me and for the program in the long run, even though they might not know it yet. That was the real reason I came. I feel like it’ll be a good fit for me, and it’ll be a good fit for the program.
Have you ever been to Chicago? If so, what are some of your favorite things about it?
Joseph: I’ve never been to Chicago. I only know what I’ve heard, and I’ve heard that it’s a great city with a tremendous fanbase. I’m very excited to be there – you don’t know how excited I am. *laughs* I also heard about the food. I heard that the food’s very good, so I’m excited for all of that.
I definitely recommend getting some deep dish. Chicago-style hot dogs are pretty popular over here, too.
Joseph: I’m ready. I’m ready.
Do you have a message for all of the Bears fans out there?
Joseph: Yes I do. My message to the Bears fans would be: I hope they’re as excited as I am. I also want Bears fans to know that, with me, your quarterback is in good hands.
– Jacob Infante is a National Editor for cover32 and also covers the Chicago Bears. He can be followed on Twitter @jacobinfante24.
– You can also follow Dieugot on Twitter @DJoseph78.