Johnathan Franklin joined defensive end Datone Jones in Green Bay as a fourth-round draft pick, and could end up being a better back than second-round Packers’ pick Eddie Lacy. Here’s a quick, post-draft Q&A with Franklin, one that caught him while his voice was still shaky with emotion.
Q: How does it feel to finally get drafted?
Words can’t describe how I feel right now. It’s a blessing. I’ve been in tears for the past 15, 20 minutes. It’s been my dream my whole life. My whole life. It’s what I’ve been waking up thinking about every day. Every day! I’m excited to play. I’m excited to go to the NFL. I love football. I didn’t just wanna get there, I wanna stay there. So I can’t wait to go up there and work and be used.
Q: Are you excited to be reunited with Datone Jones?
It’s a blessing. It really is a blessing to be around Datone. Let’s do it. There’s nothing else to say. It’s time to work. Let’s do it.
Q: How does it feel to be the first UCLA running back drafted since Maurice Jones-Drew?
That’s a blessing. God is good. God knew what he was doing. God had a plan. God set it all up. I’m excited.
Q: Were you surprised when you weren’t drafted on Friday?
It was humbling. It was very humbling. I had my family here, my teammates here, it was very humbling. [Brett Hundley, Justin Moreno, Melvin Emesibe and Librado Barocio were at his house on Friday, but Saturday was family-only.] God sometimes does that. It’s his presence in everything. It just pushed me and lit that fire a little more. Sometimes things in life are blessings in disguise, if you know what I mean. I’m not mad. I’m not angry, because I know who my God is. I know he got me. He showed up today and I’m thankful today. I didn’t doubt him.
Q: How does it feel looking back at how far you’ve come, originally being a three-star recruit?
I came in as a safety. I used to be in the defense with DeWayne Walker. To just be here right now, it’s been a journey. From being seventh on the depth chart, to starting, to having my job taken, from being criticized to — just going through so much. Being in this position is just a true testament to who God is. I’m just thankful to be a walking testimony. …
Even when I didn’t get drafted yesterday, I probably got over 100 texts of people just saying keep your head up, we’re praying for you. That’s a blessing. That don’t come often, so I’m just thankful for the support of Bruin Nation.
Q: How do you plan to celebrate tonight?
Man, I don’t even know right now. I’m at a loss for words. Really a loss for words. I’m trying to enjoy this time with my family.