Post-Draft Press Conference with New Orleans Media
Saturday, May 10, 2014
How do you weigh a previous injury with a player you are evaluating for the draft?
“We don’t have a set formula for that. Obviously we are well-informed about the injury status of these players. We have a great medical team and we ask a lot of questions. Sometimes we’re weighing the injury against where the player would be drafted if not for the injury, if we think there’s a great value there. Sometimes it’s an injury that we ask a lot of questions about if a surgery happens, the success rate for the surgery, (if it) is going to be an ongoing problem or is it something that is going to be corrected with the procedure. There’s just a lot of variables involved with that.”
You talked about your willingness to trade up if you had a conviction about a player. Obviously you had a conviction in
“Yes, there were a few players that, going into the evening, we said if the opportunity presents itself we would move up, depending on the cost, to get one of these few players. Brandin was one of them. We had the opportunity to do that, and we were able to move up and get him at the cost of a third round (pick). That’s not inexpensive; that’s an expensive cost, and yet we felt that was worth it for us and for that player.”
Can you talk about your relationship with Oregon State coach Mike Riley
“Mike was a high school player in Corvallis, when I was growing up in Eugene. He was a really good player and I wasn’t, in all sports. We have a common background and obviously I’ve known about Mike for a long, long time. He was here with us in the early 2000s. He’s a great coach, a great person, and somebody that I can rely on to discuss any player that he may have or know about. I know this: when it’s a player that he’s had his hands on, I know that they’re well-coached. I appreciate the relationship that he and I have, and I know he’s got a lot of good things to say about Brandin.”
He downplayed his role in it. He said Cooks did it all on his own, and your staff saw that.
“Yeah I think it’s pretty obvious, the quality of player Brandin is, on tape. Obviously when you start talking about the intangibles, the character, the leadership, all those things that come into play, we’re relying on the people closest to him at the school for that information. The New Orleans Saints as an organization, I think, have a close relationship with Mike. Anytime our scouts go in there, they’re receiving great information and an honest picture from their staff, so there wasn’t really a lot to investigate in terms of Brandin’s character and all the intangibles. They’re top notch.”
It seemed that Cooks didn’t make a lot of visits and there weren’t many questions about him from any teams. Is that why you felt the need to jump up and take him from other teams?
“I think that’s exactly right, is that we felt like he was going to go before we got to our pick at 27. If we were going to have a chance to get him, we have to move up. I really thought that he would go even before he did, so in that regard, we’re pretty fortunate that he got to a point where it’s within range for us to move up. In terms of the visits, it’s easy to see how good of a player he is. All you have to do is sit down with him in one interview and you get a lot of the questions answered in terms of character and intelligence and football IQ and all of those things. It doesn’t require a lot of extra time.”
Did Philadelphia scare you more than Kansas City?
“I don’t know that. I think there were a number of teams there. Look, it’s not always just the teams in the slot. It’s who might trade into that spot to take the player, so your competition is the field, not just the teams in the slots immediately in front of you.”
Does it get to a point where you’re rolling the dice and saying, ‘Well maybe we’ll wait and not spend that extra third.’? Has that burned you before?
“That’s always the question. Sometimes we’ve traded up and later found out that we didn’t need to. There’s been other times that we didn’t, and players got taken. It’s a poker game in that regard. I feel really good about that move to get this player. I felt like it was a fair cost, and we got a player that we targeted that we feel like can really help our team.”
Was the trigger to that deal the Jets passing on him (Bradin Cooks)? It sounded like the Jets were really interested in him and when the Jets didn't take him is that pretty much when you said “ok we need to move up and get this guy”?
“The Jets were at eighteen is that right? Yes. I think that it would have cost more then what we were willing to pay to get to eighteen or better. That’s what I felt like and if you look at the history of trades and these point charts and all the different things that go into that and into valuing that type of move, that would be borne out. In that sense it was a key, wither or not they were going to take him. Who knows, we didn't have any great information that they were or weren't. Obviously we’ve seen the speculation in some of these mock drafts and articles. So I would say it was key only in the sense that now we are into an area where we can afford to move up as opposed to the Jets not taking him.”
I don't even know if you rank your needs in order but were receiver and cornerback number one and two?
“No, not necessarily. We go into this thing with a group of positions that we would rather have in a perfect world is the way I would describe it. Then it’s a matter of who’s available at what grade in our view. So that’s the way it landed for us and we’re happy about that.”
Those were among the positions at the top though?
“Yes, they were definitely among the positions that we were going to take somebody at these positions.”
And then when you go into a day three, obviously you’re not thinking short term and immediate needs probably as much but were you thinking in general more athletic, defense, special teams?
“I still think there are positions in a perfect world that you would rather have, but what also comes into play is “hey do these guys have the traits that we’re looking for?” wither that be character traits, intelligence traits, or physical traits. So we’re looking for some combination of those things, a special skill of that we can take advantage of. So those are the kinds of things that you’re looking for as you get into the later rounds.”
Do you have any sort of inclination of when a grievance hearing is going to be held for Jimmy (Graham)?
“I have inclination yes. I have an indication.”
Do you know for sure when the date is?
“I don’t know for sure when the date is but I have a timeframe. It’s another month.”
How do you prepare for that? Something that’s unknown and something that you haven't dealt with?
“That’s handled by the Management Council in the league office, not by us.”
You’ve been asked this before but it’s been quoted that the draft in the future may go to four days and might even be later in May. Do you come to a point and say how much more do we need to know about these guys?
“That four days and later in May isn't driven by the football decisions, they are driven by other things and look that’s fine. I’ve said before that I’d probably prefer it to be a little earlier then this but I don't any real reason why it has to be earlier as opposed to later. Obviously, it got great ratings the other and look that’s important for our league, let’s face it.”
So on the grievance hearing, you don't present any argument and the NFL Management Council does or do you have some input?
“No, the Management Council provides that. Obviously, we get consulted and talked with and all those sorts of things but that’s Management Council duty.”
Is Brandin Cooks penciled in as a leading punt returner for this team?
“Yes, he has definitely done that so he’ll be in that competition.”
Is that part of what he was drafted to do or would he have been drafted regardless?
“Obviously, we’re aware of his skill. I mean, he had 120 some receptions so we’re pretty happy with him as a receiver.”
Did you feel the need to get, with Cooks, somebody who would open up the middle of the field a little bit?
“I would say it this way. One of the things we discussed pretty early on is getting an explosive player. He certainly fits that category. That’s the way I would describe it. That we were looking for someone who was explosive.”
Sean (Payton) mentioned that you guys look were looking at quarterbacks possibly. Did that become a bigger thought in your mind space as the board fell with all of these quarterbacks still hanging around when people thought that they were going to go earlier or was it just something that you guys had been thinking about entering the draft?
“I would say this. Going into the draft, as I said earlier, there were a group of positions that in a perfect world we would have A, B, C, D. I don’t know that quarterback was in that list and yet as you get into it and you see some talent at quarterbacks dropping down into a certain position. Look this is a really good value, these guys are good players and a good value so it gets you thinking about that. So I would say that that was more of the case.”
How much of this draft was based on need or going after the best athlete available?
“It’s, always a combination. We do our best to not deviate from not picking the best player and yet, I say often times, very seldom are you looking at one player. You've got a group of two, or three, or four players all graded roughly the same and then obviously we look to the position that we might need the most so it’s a combination of the two but we didn't take anybody that was drastically graded differently then another position that we didn't take.”