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Jesse Palmer is one quarterback that is on the rise, according to Mel Kiper Jr.
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Early NFL draft entries

Mel Kiper's archive: Q&As

Wednesday, February 21

Kiper: Q&A with Jesse Palmer

Following is a question-and-answer session between Mel Kiper Jr. and Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer.

Kiper: What can you bring to an NFL team?
Palmer: Leadership along with a winning attitude. I'm a student of the game.

Kiper: What is an area you need to improve on?
Palmer: I'm a perfectionist, so I'm always looking to upgrade all areas of my play.

 Jesse Palmer
Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer knew before he signed with the Gators that coach Steve Spurrier had a quick hook.
Kiper: Growing up in Canada, was there a particular player or team in the NFL that was a favorite of yours?
Palmer: My favorite team was always the Chicago Bears and my favorite NFL player was, without question, Walter Payton. His competitiveness and desire were unmatched.

Kiper: Tell us about your football background in Canada.
Palmer: I played club football with a traveling team since I was 8 years old. I also played basketball and baseball, so I was competing on the athletic fields the entire year.

Kiper:Being the competitor you are and paying such attention to detail, I would assume that you really enjoyed playing for Steve Spurrier.
Palmer: I really did. Coach Spurrier has basically the same approach to the game of football that I do. Knowing that you have to produce at a high level each game or possibly be watching from the sidelines is a rule that you learn early on. He doesn't treat quarterbacks any differently than a wide receiver, offensive lineman, linebacker or safety. That's the way it was with Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Doug Johnson and myself. Coach Spurrier is demanding, but he's fair and consistent. You understand the ground rules going in.

Kiper: As a quarterback, how tough was it for you to deal with the pressure of knowing that you could be pulled at any time?
Palmer: You have to prepare yourself for that. You can't play the game looking over your shoulder. When you come into the program here at Florida, you know that coach Spurrier will have the luxury of working with former All-American high school quarterbacks. There will always be quality depth at the QB position, just like it is at all the other positions. If you want to play at the highest level year in and year out, that's why you come to Florida in the first place.

Coach Spurrier has basically the same approach to the game of football that I do. Knowing that you have to produce at a high level each game or possibly be watching from the sidelines is a rule that you learn early on.
Jesse Palmer

Kiper: You mentioned earlier that you knew going in that quarterbacks would be treated no differently than the wide receivers, but was it difficult for you to gain the necessary continuity?
Palmer: I'm never looking for excuses. However, you need to get in a rhythm to be effective at QB on a consistent basis. So being pulled from a game and then inserted back in won't always be beneficial or enhance your performance level.

Kiper: At the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, it seemed like you were on top of your game, operating at peak efficiency every day. To what do you attribute your impressive performance?
Palmer: At Florida with coach Spurrier, our offense is predicated on timing. You throw to an area, without eyeballing the receiver. The key is looking the safety off. In Mobile, I felt mentally and physically prepared to operate at a high level. I really wanted to demonstrate what I can do throwing the football to any point on the field.

Kiper: Projecting ahead to the NFL, where do you hope to be in five years?
Palmer: I hope to be a championship-winning, starting quarterback.

Kiper: Will you be going through all the workouts at the combine meeting?
Palmer: Yes, definitely. I will be doing everything that is asked at the combine workout.

Football: "Winning."
Florida: "Tradition."
Family: "Love."
Winning: "The only thing."
Losing: "Unacceptable."
Jesse Palmer: "Leader."
Life: "A challenge."
Toughest player faced: Jamie Winborn, MLB, Vanderbilt -- "He's a great athlete with a ton of ability. He's the player you notice. Winborn is always around the ball, and that's been over a three-year period."

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