2011 NFL Draft day two media availability.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Can you talk about Johnny Patrick?
“He’s a guy that we feel has very good feet and athleticism. We feel like he’ll contribute in the kicking game. It’s kind of like that position like running back where you never feel like you can have enough at that position, so his grade for us at this selection was the highest. Again, after we selected Martez (Wilson), there was a clump of players and then you just kind of wait. We do think he has versatility. He’s someone that can certainly provide depth right away in the kicking game.”
Didn’t he have an off-the-field problem?
“Yes, we spent some time with it, researched it like we always do. You have to pay attention to your area scouts and the reports.”
Is this about where you thought he’d go in the draft?
“It’s a good question. A guy like this, you really don’t have a great grasp, because he didn’t have the playing time when you look at his history. You see the athleticism, size, stature and so there are a lot of traits we like. It’s hard to predict a player like that, especially a junior. He was more of a question in regards to when. I don’t know that we expected him to be there with the pick in the third round. His stack was higher when we got there. To answer your question, had he been taken earlier we wouldn’t have been surprised about this because of some of his limited playing time.”
Do you think injuries scared people away from Martez Wilson?
“He’s an outside backer, a Sam linebacker for us. That’s the vision for the player. He’s played inside a lot, but our vision for him is at the Sam linebacker position.”
He said he didn’t cover tight ends a lot. Is that something he’ll have to learn here?
“Yes, I think you develop them right away, that skill set and the things we’re going to ask from him at that position.”
Does his ranginess remind you of Scott Fujita?
“Yes. There are basically some similarities in the stature. I think that when we watched him on film, you saw someone who was long, who could run and so there’s a little bit of a projection because of the position he’s going to play, but there’s some traits and some size and measurable that put him at that position for us, but he is a guy that was productive this last year, disruptive and we’re excited to have him, especially in this round.”
Can he rush the passer?
“We’d like to think that he can. There are snaps where you see him do that. He has good edge speed as a Sam linebacker. There are going to be times we ask him to pressure. He is long and those are things that I think lead you to believe he’s going to do that.”
Did you think about moving in the draft today?
“No, I think for the most part we were prepared to sit and make the selections.”
Would you try to trade up tomorrow?
“We’ll see. Each day you go in, you get prepared. I think initially we’ll be patient. We know we have two seventh round selections. We have to go from there.”
You can only trade your non-compensatory pick?
“Yes. The other one is locked.”
Would you use a future pick as ammunition?
“We would see. You would only do that for a targeted player. It would be something that developed as the draft went on. It would be hard to say that after only the third round being finished.”
You had a window of opportunity today to get a playbook to Mark Ingram or Cameron Jordan?
“I’m not going to comment on what we’ve given any of these guys. Certainly there was a window. We’ll wait and proceed forward following the league rules.”
As far as you know are there no undrafted free agent acquisitions after the draft?
“Not that we’re aware of.”
Did Da’Quan Bowers get clearance from you guys?
“It was certainly a medical issue as you really grade the player. He was an exceptional, productive player. I think someone like that who has played as well as he has clearly for a number of teams it was a medical issue. He’s a fantastic player. It’s tough to see him in your own division.”
Earlier on ESPN you said you envisioned
“Yes, I was asked that same question. Absolutely.’”
Can you discuss the meeting?
“It was just reinforcing the vision I had. Just like I said, he’s someone that we definitely have a vision for as we go forward. He and I had a good visit this morning.”
You’ve made it clear how you feel about him. Did he express to you that he still wants to be a part of this team?
“We had a good visit this morning. We talked about a number of things. More than anything else, all of those players as competitive as they are want to see their role. The point I made with him this morning and I made earlier was certainly there was a vision we have and used for him. There are some different players and different styles.”
Did you talk to Ron Zook about Martez Wilson and do you know Zook well?
“No. I don’t. I’ve met Ron, but I would say more than anything else Greg McMahon has a background at Illinois. I think more than anything we spent a lot of time evaluating the player and bringing him in here on a visit and really trying to have a vision for the Sam linebacker and who are the candidates to play that position. There were a few that had graded. The UCLA linebacker has some of the characteristics when you look at his length. Martez was one of those players. It was really trying to pay attention to the skill set more than knowing coach Zook specifically. They spoke very highly of this player. We spoke to him on the phone and he was extremely excited and like all these guys today, relieved.”
How much did your decision to take Wilson base on
“Just overall at linebacker, it was a position that we felt if possible we could address in the draft. I think overall, more than anything, this is an area where we felt like the linebacker position was going to come off the board a little later in the draft.”
Do you see him being able to help you on special teams as well?
“You’d like to think so with your young linebackers. That will be important for him.”
Did you have Johnny Patrick visit here?
Is playing special team his specialty?
“He has real good short area quickness, change of direction. Those I think are some valuable assets in terms of being successful in special teams. He’s done some things at Louisville. A lot of times what happens is these players play themselves into a starting position when you see their special teams snaps diminish. When we’re talking about both Martez and Johnny Patrick, both young players, you’d like to think they’ll be able to contribute in the kicking game.”
Were you thinking about Kelvin Shepard?
Was cornerback a need you saw coming into this draft?
“Not necessarily, yet it was a position that we knew in the middle rounds here there were a few of those players after you got past those early three corners, there would be a gap and another group. We saw an offensive tackle go off the board at Central Florida. We saw a linebacker out of Washington. There were a handful of players that appeared on that line for us with Johnny Patrick. With Martez, his magnet was higher and it was just harder to predict where we felt he would go. Fortunately we were able to get him with the first pick in the third round.”
Is there anything to three of your first four picks being defenders?
“I think we went in wanting to help that side of the ball. I think it started with the first round. Fortunately for us today we were able to continue that.”