BBD Editor: Dan Hope
Going undrafted out of Howard hasn’t shaken the confidence of Buffalo Bills rookie Keith Pough.
In an interview with Buffalo Bills Draft on Tuesday, Pough told me he has two goals for his rookie season: to earn a starting spot on the Bills’ defense and to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Both of these goals are certainly lofty for an undrafted rookie who will have to prove himself throughout training camp just to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Pough, however, said setting high goals have helped him make it as far as he has.
“Some might say they are lofty dreams, but I’ve always set lofty dreams for myself,” Pough said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t dream big. There’s a quote that says ‘if you’re dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.’ And dreams come true.”
Pough certainly had a lot of success chasing his dreams during his career at Howard. He was a four-year starter for the Bison, and set the all-time FCS record for career tackles for loss with 72.
Pough proved repeatedly that he has an ability to get into the backfield and make plays. He is a versatile playmaker who lined up everywhere from middle linebacker to defensive end at Howard. For a look at how Pough displayed that versatility and playmaking ability, check out the following video of Pough versus Rutgers from last season from Draft Breakdown‘s Jimmy O’Brien.
Pough’s collegiate success and versatility, however, were not enough for him to secure a draft selection. His collegiate success may not have held as much clout to NFL teams because it came at the FCS level.
Pough also noted that some critics have considered him to be undersized (consider me guilty as charged), but those doubts have not deterred his confidence.
“Everything that people look at as a negative, I see as a positive,” Pough said. “When I am one of the best defensive players in this league, it’s going to make my story that much greater because I didn’t go to a D-I powerhouse or I wasn’t drafted or I’m undersized, I’m too slow, I’m not big enough, I’m not tall enough.”
While Pough isn’t lacking confidence, he acknowledged that the transition to the NFL is challenging and a “humbling experience.” He said the most difficult part of the transition thus far has been adjusting to how quickly NFL players are expected to learn and process new information.