2016 NFL Draft Review Press Conference

Ozzie Newsome Opening Statement:"[It has been] a long three days. There still is another phase of adding players to our roster with the undrafted college free agency, and you all know the success we have had with that. It's been a really, really good three days. I don't know if I've ever felt as good about the collection of talent, but also about the collaboration that has gone about with the coaches, the scouts, Dick [Cass] and Steve [Biscotti] – just everybody working together to pull this off. I think everybody should be commended for what they did – a lot of the patience they have had to display. It's been an awesome three days for me. We started today with five picks in the fourth round. Eric [DeCosta] put together a very good plan based on the meetings last night. The board came off, basically, the way we thought it would. We were able to get some good young talent to come in here and compete to make this roster. Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are a much better football team. I'm not going to try to go through, name by name, with all of these players. I'm just going to allow you guys to ask us questions about them. We have Bronson [Kaufusi] in the back, and this is his first time [in Baltimore]. You have to be a little more attentive when coach [John] Harbaugh has his meeting here in a couple of days. But it's good to have you."

Eric DeCosta Opening Statement:"I'm just thankful that we got the guys we wanted. The coaches and scouts did a great job."

John Harbaugh Opening Statement:"I just want to mention the great job that our scouts do – Ozzie, Eric, Joe and the leadership that they display. It was flying in the room. The bullets were flying; it was moving fast, early. It was moving fast when we had those back-to-back picks, and we had trades going on. Pat [Moriarty, senior vice president of football administration] was hard at work with his calculator trying to pound away the numbers. Just watching these men, and the way they work in the heat of battle, under fire, was really something to behold. I wish everybody had a chance to see it. It was just phenomenal the job that our staff did – our scouting staff, led by Ozzie did – to operate the board the way they did."

Joe Hortiz Opening Statement:"[I am] just really excited. I think it was a great collection of players that we were able to acquire the past three days. It's a result of all of the hard work everyone has done – the coaches and the scouts and everybody, the training staff – everybody that puts the time in. It's great to see it come up with these results. I'm really, really fired up."

*A real buzzword that was going around this draft season was "playmakers." Of course we haven't seen them on the field yet, but are you confident you have a good group of playmakers on both sides of the ball *(Joe Platania)

(NEWSOME) "Yes we do. We added some speed. We added some toughness. We added some size, athleticism and guys that have made some game-changing plays on the collegiate level. We feel really good about the collection of talent that we have. I think we have addressed all of the particular needs that we wanted to in helping to build our football team in 2016 and beyond."

Ozzie, you have been doing the draft for a while now. Have you ever had a round like the Ravens' fourth round today? (Jamison Hensley)

(NEWSOME) "No. We were trying to figure out how we can have one next year like that, but we haven't been able to figure it out yet, but no. The way it played out, the credit goes to Eric and Steve [Bisciotti] and the scouts and John and the coaches and the work that they've put in. To be able to have the five picks, the phones ringing, and for us to just stay focused and come up with the players [was special]."

*Ozzie and Coach Harbaugh, do you view WR Keenan Reynolds as a wide receiver and returner? Coach, can you convince the Navy to let him out of his commitment or maybe shorten it and get him on the field quicker? *(Jerry Coleman)

(NEWSOME) "The first question: Yes, he will be a guy that will be a receiver for us, and a returner. What a great story. We were at the East-West game, and Eric and I were sitting there, and on day two he said, 'Are you really paying attention to Keenan Reynolds?' And I said, 'Yeah, he's doing some things that are catching our eye.' He's just something we kept in the back of our mind. He came here for our local pro day, and he did a good job there. You [John Harbaugh] can answer that other question." (laughter)

(HARBAUGH) "I'm sure they're really interested in what I think. (laughter) We've always been supporters of the military; I'd like to just point that out. (laughter) We can't predict what they'll do. It'll be whatever is in the best interest of the Naval Academy, the Navy and the Nation, and things like that. Obviously, there's precedent, so we're hopeful. Whatever they do, we'll abide by and respect. We understand how that works. He's just a fine young man. Seeing the clips with his family on TV … I want to know who the kid is in front. (laughter) Did you see the pictures? That kid that was getting all the camera time in front. That's a big boy. I think he has a future, potential. *(laughter) *It just seems like a great family, and talking to him on the phone was very exciting."

*Ozzie, would you categorize that as an emotional pick? I know you guys probably need a wide receiver, but here's a quarterback who played at Navy. I just wonder what the emotion may have been like in the room when you made that selection. *(David Ginsburg)

(NEWSOME) "I will say this, and I guess it's OK to say it: It was Eric that made the suggestion … Normally, when we make the call, I'm the person that talks to him, but this time we put him on speaker so everybody in the room could be a part of telling him that we picked him. It was a special moment, and it was a great suggestion by Eric."

*May I ask why you thought that would be special, Eric? *(Morgan Adsit)

(DECOSTA) "I just think we appreciate what he's done. He's just a special kid. I wanted to experience that."

*Eric, when you saw him on tape, he ran the ball a lot and he showed good maneuverability in tight spaces. Does that translate well to what a punt returner has to do? *(Don Markus)

(DECOSTA) "Yes, that's what we think. We saw him, as Ozzie said, at the East-West [game] and practices. [He has] his shifty ability, stop and start, his speed, acceleration and burst, and then when he came here we had him catch punts. We feel really, really good about that. He's been working with Brian Mitchell on catching punts. Fortunately, we have a great relationship with Brian Mitchell, and this morning I hunted coach [Harbaugh] down early, and we called Brian and got a report on that as well. We did our homework on him. He's a guy that was a player of interest to us throughout the process. We kept it very quiet, and it worked out the right way today."

(HARBAUGH) "One thing about these phone calls that we get a chance to make [is] it's an unbelievable experience. You get a chance on TV to experience it a little bit when they take you into a living room when one of the players gets taken, and you see a whole family there. When you get to make anywhere from five to six – in our case, 11 – of these calls, every single time it's an emotional experience. Every single time you get a lump in your throat and you get a little red-rimmed around the eyes. Because this is something guys have been working for, and families have been dreaming of and sacrificing for, for a very long time. They're on the edge of their seats, and they're waiting to get drafted. You can imagine what they're living through, and then the call gets made. Sometimes the place goes crazy right away. Other times you're talking to the player, and it's dead silence behind him, and it sounds like they're by themselves. Always, we'll say, 'Is anybody there with you?' 'Yeah, my whole family is here.' Ozzie told them: 'You can go ahead and tell them.' They'll go, 'It's the Ravens! I'm a Raven!' And the place goes nuts! It just goes crazy. The emotion! The outpouring! Then you can't get him back on the phone for about a minute. (laughter) You do, you get emotional about the whole thing. It's probably the best part of the whole job – that moment."

*(NEWSOME) *"I agree."

*Can you share with us what he said and what you remember about that moment? *(Ryan Mink)

(NEWSOME) "I made the call. I think I asked him, 'Do you recognize this number?' And he said 'Yes, it's a Maryland number.' I told him who I was, and after that, I can't put into words what happened after that."**

(HARBAUGH) "I remember it was quiet. He was one of those quiet places."

(NEWSOME) "It was really quiet."

(HARBAUGH) "He was talking about how honored he was. All of the guys say, 'Thank you. Thank you, thank you.'"

(NEWSOME)  "I think he did. I don't want to be quoted, but I think, 'It's a dream come true' was the statement that was made, but you have to ask him when you talk with him."

(HARBAUGH) "Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations] actually was there. He was probably taking notes."**

(KEVIN BYRNE) "If you guys will talk about it, [Ozzie Newsome] told him that he would be a wide receiver and a returner. He said, 'You won't regret this pick.'"**

(NEWSOME) "Yes, he did say that."

(BYRNE) "There were people there in the room, including some up there [on the media stage], with tears in their eyes. It was really a special moment."

(HARBAUGH) "Including one who owns the team." (laughter)

(BYRNE) "Then Ozzie said, 'You can tell your family.' Then it was bedlam."

(NEWSOME) "Then we had to wait a while until he came back to the phone." (laughter)

*How amazing is it to think that Keenan Reynolds broke Kenneth Dixon's touchdown record at the NCAA? How surprised and pleased are you that Dixon was available in the fourth round when some of the draft exerts thought he might have been the second-best running back in this class. *(Luke Jones)

(HARBAUGH) "Ryan [Mink, from baltimoreravens.com], what's our headline?"

(RYAN MINK) "'Ravens Value Touchdowns.'" (laughter)

(HARBAUGH] "Touchdowns are important." (laughter)

(DeCOSTA) "That wasn't necessarily by design. Obviously, both guys are playmakers, but it was a cool stat to see that; 175 touchdowns combined on the third day of the draft is pretty good. I think both guys are creative, excellent in space, versatile players. Both are smart, good, tough, competitive and durable guys – playmakers, guys who can do a lot of different things. We've been talking a lot about playmakers throughout the process, and just helping us move the ball and making important plays on offense and defense in critical situations, and those two guys can do that as good as anybody in the draft."

*Eric, Talk a little bit about Keenan Reynolds. I know he was thankful for it, but do you think he was shunned a lot throughout the process he's gone through, and that more military people should be able to play in the NFL? *(Bill West)

(DeCOSTA) "That's a hard question. Was he shunned? No, I don't think he was shunned. Underrated? Probably a little bit. He's a talented guy. It's surprising that he wasn't at the Combine, I'll say that. We saw him at the East-West [game] so, that's an indication that people like him. This is a highly-decorated player and a special kid. We knew about him, and I know other teams knew about him, too. He certainly was on the radar screen for a lot of other teams. We're just lucky that we got him and we got him in a good spot, and he's going to come in here and hopefully become a slot receiver and become one of the best punt returners in the NFL."

*Ozzie, you opened this up by saying you feel really, really good and it's been an awesome three days. What is it about this class that has you feeling so good? *(Garrett Downing)

(NEWSOME) "A lot of times when you're in the draft, you get disappointment because a guy that you think you're getting ready to get gets picked right before you. You get a little down, but you pick yourself back up, because you still have to pick and you just stay true to the board. I just think that the excitement that was rolling through the room as we were making those picks – guys were feeling good about each other and the players that we were getting – I won't say 'electric,' but it was a different atmosphere than I had been involved in."

*Eric, back to that fourth round. In terms of the way you prep for a normal draft day compared to a day when you have five picks in that short amount of time, how different is that in your perspective in terms of your adjusting your process? *(Don Markus)

(DeCOSTA) "I think, fortunately, we knew we were going to have four picks in the fourth round. We've known that since March. We have some really good guys that help us in analytics. They help me in looking at the big picture to get a sense of where those picks are going to come from in terms of our sequence. Then, I did a lot more research on that sequence on the board, as far as positions and different things and who may be there, who won't be there. Going into it, I had a lot of information. I would share with Joe [Hortiz] and share with Ozzie and listen to the coaches and scouts talk about the players and just formulate a game plan. I think we had a great game plan, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to nail those picks. We've said it lot: This was a critical part of our draft – the fourth round. It became a mission for all of us to do the best we could and get the best players we could. It fell that way today. We had a bunch of players and we had a sense of who might be there in different spots. The players that we targeted, they were there. We'd go back down and wait on a guy, and he'd be there. Then we'd go back down and wait on a guy, and he'd be there. It just came out the right way for us."

*John, you said on the NFL Network just how crazy it was in the draft room. Is it almost like a game, where you're calling out plays and you have to react to whoever got picked before – maybe that guy was on your list? Do you get a sense of the adrenaline being the same?  *(Don Markus)

(HARBAUGH) "I think you're right. It is very much the same. It is like being on the sideline in a game, and these guys were calling plays and making decisions. It was fun to be a part of. I said on the NFL Network [something] about Star Trek. To me, that's when it hit me. To me, we were in battle with the Klingons! It was hot and heavy. Ozzie was like Jean Luc Picard, just sitting there in the captain's chair, directing things very calmly and under control. He had to go to Spock over here [DeCosta], because he had all the analytics down. He told us two or three times exactly who was going to get picked by whatever team. He talked us into being patient; talked me into being patient a time or two, which is just great. We had over here [Hortiz], 'Scotty, I need more power!' 'I've got nothing for you, Captain!' Then he would find the power. And then we had Pat [Moriarty] on his calculator trying to figure out the trades and everything. I felt like he was the Doctor. 'Captain, I am a doctor, not a magician!' So, that's what I do during the draft. (laughter) I think about these kinds of things." (laughter) *(Reporter: Who are you? Which character are you?) *"Oh, I'm James Kirk, man! I'm in there battling it out, fighting and duking it out!"

*There was criticism yesterday that you had not picked a cornerback yet. How pleased are you today with the two corners that you got, and were those two guys you were eyeing throughout the process? (Jeff Zrebiec)*

(NEWSOME) "We had stacked the corner board pretty good. What we are starting to find out about the board is that the league is starting to value corners. So, they are starting to come off the board a lot quicker than you think. We went to sleep on Tavon [Young] last night, saying that was a guy that we feel like can come in and help our football team this year. Then, with the final pick, that was a guy [Maurice Canady] who really showed up at the Senior Bowl and we did some additional work on. Are there some other corners that we would have liked to have had? Yes, we tried to trade up for Jalen [Ramsey]; you know that. The corner board was stacked pretty good, and we feel really good about Tavon and Maurice."

*Ozzie, there is a report out saying that without that gas mask video, you were prepared to draft T Laremy Tunsil. Is that true? *(Jamison Hensley)

*(NEWSOME) *"No. There's a lot of speculation. We tried to move up to get Jalen [Ramsey], and we stacked the board."

*(HARBAUGH) *"The thing you've got to remember – if I could just jump in – there was a good chance that Ronnie Stanley was going to get taken at No. 2. So, there are always scenarios. You never know how the board is going to come off. But I can tell you this – and I know I'm jumping in here but probably shouldn't be – Ronnie Stanley was at the top. He was on the top row at 7, or maybe 6.9, whatever the grading scale is. But he was right at the top row, with the top row of players. You can't get any higher than that."

*Ozzie, you ended up making all five picks in the fourth round. Did it ever come close to doing any kind of deal in the fourth round, or was the board falling well? *(Clifton Brown)

*(NEWSOME) *"No, we had a lot of action early in the fourth round, but we had made a decision because we had so many picks that we would only make trades for picks for next year. So, we set a bar for ourselves on what we would do, and how far we would go back. That put us in a position to be able to pick, or know that we would be getting picks for next year."

*Eric, you talked yesterday about the "red star" guys. Did you happen to get any more today, and was that a point of emphasis, to find those types of players in this year's draft? *(Garrett Downing)

*(DeCOSTA) *"We did. We did get a couple. I'm not going to name them, but we did get a couple more. Again, it wasn't necessarily on purpose as much as, as I said, the board just kind of came to us this year, and the best player on the board was a 'red star.' And that's awesome, because you're getting the best player physically, athletically and all of that, but you're getting the best kid as well. That's an easy fit."

*Joe, T Alex Lewis, where do you see him fitting in, in terms of his position flexibility? And how much vetting did you have to do on him? He obviously had a high-profile incident when he was at Colorado. *(Jeff Zrebiec)

*(HORTIZ) *"First, I think we'll bring him in here, and he competes for tackle and guard spots. He's a versatile kid; he's played both sides of the line of scrimmage. He's a big, athletic, long, tough, physical guy. In terms of the incident, we vet all of these guys. It's out there, people know about it, and we've discussed it. Our scouts do a great job of not only talking to the coaches there, but following up with the staff at Colorado as well. And we felt very comfortable after discussing with the staffs at both schools and finding out information from different reports, and then as well as talking to the kid about the incident."

*(DeCOSTA) *"I'd also just say that we brought him here to Baltimore, and we spent the whole day with him. We were really able to spend a lot of time talking about who he is, who he wants to be, the player that he is, his maturity and all those types of things. Really, at that time, he passed all the tests."

*Can you guys talk about the call to Alex? *(Ravens Sr. Vice President of Public & Community Relations Kevin Byrne)

(NEWSOME) *"We've had a history of drafting a player that we hadn't talked to. We thought it might get to that today. You know, you call a guy on his cell phone, and sometimes they can be in an area – we've all been there – where you just can't get a signal. But he decided to go to the grocery store. I think it was the grocery store, right? So, we were finally able to get him, and then I told him, 'We'll just call your house.' So, John [Harbaugh] took over, because we were preparing for another pick. So, John spent some time talking to his mother or sister, right? That's how we found out he was at the grocery store. *(laughter)

(HARBAUGH) *"So, I get on the phone with his mom, and I'm going, 'Is Alex there?' And she goes, 'No, he's not. May I ask who is calling?' I'm like, 'It's John Harbaugh, with the Ravens.' *(laughter) *She goes, 'Oh, well how can I help you?' I said, 'Well, we were hoping that Alex would become a Baltimore Raven, and we're thinking about drafting him. Is he there right now?' [She said] 'No, he just stepped out and he went to the store, but he'll be back in a little while.' *(laughter) *I'm just going, 'He's at the store! What do we do now?' She goes, 'Now who is this team again?' I said it was the Ravens and then pandemonium broke loose. They were all excited and then he got back and we had a great conversation with him." *(laughter)

*What would have happened if you didn't get him? *(Jamison Hensley)

*(NEWSOME) *"No, I had spoken to him. I had spoken to him, but [the service] just kept breaking up. So, I knew he was still alive. *(laughter) *But the connection was so bad, that's why I deferred to call the house phone. I didn't realize he was at the store."

*So, he made it to the store and back during the whole time you were on the phone? *(Jerry Coleman)

*(NEWSOME) *"Yes."

*Eric, can you talk about OLB Matt Judon? He's obviously had some freakish numbers at the FCS level. How do you judge a player like that compared to a guy who's playing in a big conference? *(Don Markus)

*(DeCOSTA) *"That's a tough thing. We've, over the years, drafted a lot of small school players, and that's a challenge, the different levels of compete. But, I think in Matt's case, we've got some excellent area scouts who go in there and go to those schools, and they loved him as a player in the fall. We looked at the tape. He went to the Combine and had a great workout. In fact, I remember sitting up – Ozzie and I sit together way up high – and during Matt's workout, I remember texting coach [Harbaugh] and saying, 'This kid from Grand Valley State is having a great workout.' And John said, 'I know. We've got to spend more time looking at this guy.' That's the great thing about the Combine, is you get a chance to see guys from all different conferences and backgrounds and levels of football competing on the same stage. He had all the skills you look for – the athletic ability, the size, and he had the production on tape, the ability on tape. His numbers were good. Everything really looked good. So, again, like we did with Alex Lewis, we brought Matt to Baltimore a couple of weeks ago and spent time talking to him and getting a chance to spend some really good time with him, and that was really the last box to check. It made it an easy decision for us."

*His bio said he was an accounting and engineering major? *(Don Markus)

*(DeCOSTA) *"Off the top of my head, I'm not sure, but it's probably true."

*But when you see that from a college kid, do you think the kid can handle, obviously, a lot of other stuff aside from just football? *(Don Markus)

*(DeCOSTA) *"He's definitely a smart, interesting kid with a great background. His tape … You guys saw the clips; he's an explosive pass rusher, which is something that was obviously of interest to us. Big interest. And I should also say that Joe Cullen, who works with our defensive line and rush linebackers, was really, really excited. This was a guy that he thought was an outstanding prospect, and he spent a lot of time with him this spring, and we felt very, very good about his ability to come in and help us right away."

*John, Steve Bisciotti was pretty vocal this offseason about pass rushers and needing more than one. How pleased was he with how the draft went? *(Jeff Zrebiec)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Very pleased. It was something that we had targeted throughout the draft. I think a report came out that we were looking hard at pass rushers with that sixth pick, and we were. It was a big part of what we thought about doing. We also felt like we had picks throughout the draft that we had a chance to maybe capitalize on, and it ended up working out that way. So, it was just a big priority for us. Steve said it – I don't think it was a secret – and we were able to fill it. I'm really fired up about that. I'm really excited about these guys getting to the quarterback."

*John, the one question is middle/inside linebacker. Was there a reason you didn't get a guy like that, or is that more a show of faith for the guys you already have there – Arthur Brown, Zach Orr and Albert McClellan? *(Jeff Zrebiec)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Both. We do think those guys are very good players and they'll compete for the starting spots there. And we're talking to free agents right now; it's part of the process. But they may get drafted, so you just never know how it's going to fall. But you can't fill every need in the draft. So, we'll try to fill it other ways. We have had a good history of free agent linebackers here, obviously in the last 10 years, coming in and doing really well. So, that's a possibility. But Arthur Brown is a guy who is really working hard; he's doing a great job in the offseason program. He continues to improve, and he's a high pick guy who we like. And Zach Orr, what he's done as an undrafted free agent speaks for itself. Again, we'll just throw the guys in there and let them compete, and I'm very confident that a good player will emerge that is a very good starter."

*You're OK with, if you don't add anybody, one of those other three players you already have becoming the starter? *(Jamison Hensley)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Absolutely. Absolutely. Those guys can get the job done."

*John, what was it like to be able to take one of your brother's players and what did you like about DT Willie Henry? *(Luke Jones)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Willie Henry is interesting, because he wasn't expected to come out, and he kind of came out on a surprise, and we were in the process of looking at him. I think we had to go back and do a lot of work. But at the same time, it just happened to coincide with the time we were going to work the Michigan camp – the greatest camp in the history of football! *(laughter) *You're familiar with that camp, right? So, we went and did the camp, and it was during the workout time, so we had a chance to work out their players, and we worked out Willie Henry, and all of us who were there, he really opened our eyes. It opened my eyes. I was like, 'This guy is a talented, explosive player.' So, when you get an eye on a guy in person, then you go back and watch the tape and you can kind of put two and two together, I think it made us very interested. [I am] probably a little bit surprised he was there at the end of the fourth round still. And Jim [Harbaugh] knows him; Jim vouches for him, and really likes him as a person. So, that helped us."

*Were you able to get any inside information from Jim? *(Jamison Hensley)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Oh, absolutely. We knew it all. We had it all."

*John, you don't usually have this many draft picks coming in, and you don't usually have this many players coming off a serious injury coming back. Are you optimistic that this could maybe translate to being a team that is very deep and can maybe withstand some of the inevitable injuries? *(Clifton Brown)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Yes, I'm always optimistic. I was optimistic last year when nobody else was, and I guess I was wrong. But our guys kept fighting, and obviously I'm optimistic that we can be a championship football team this year with the guys we've got. You only get to keep 53 of them in the end, so it's not like you get to keep everybody. It's just going to be very competitive, and competition is good, and it makes everybody better. The 53 best guys will be on the team, and when Ozzie [Newsome] makes the final cuts, we'll know who those guys are and that will be our team and we'll go compete. But I'm excited about the group of 90 that we get to kind of pick the 53 from."

*Ozzie, you look at the depth you have. Is this as much depth as you think you've had around here in a long time? *(Jeff Zrebiec)

*(NEWSOME) *"On paper. Like I said, the process starts this week, I guess, because we go into Phase Two [of the offseason program]. And like John [Harbaugh] said, competition is good. But as we found out last year, you don't ever have too much depth, because injuries just start to occur. So, as many good players as you can have and you can keep, whether on the 53 or on the practice squad or PUP, whatever it is, [the more] good players you can have, it helps you to sustain yourself through a season."

When is the rookie camp? Is it next week? (Jerry Coleman)

*(HARBAUGH) *"Next weekend."

With QB Joe Flacco probably not participating in the offseason program, how many quarterbacks do you think you'd like to have? (Jamison Hensley)

*(HARBAUGH) *"We need at least two, and we could use three. So, we'll just see. We're working on that right now."

Joe, can you talk about what you like about RB Kenneth Dixon? Were you surprised where you were able to get him? (Jeff Zrebiec)

*(HORTIZ) *"First, what you like about the guy: One, he's very versatile, in the sense that he's an inside and outside runner. He's got very good instincts coming inside in between the tackles, vision, he picks up defenders well, he's got lateral elusiveness. He runs very hard, and he runs with burst downhill. You see him attack the line of scrimmage and get outside, bounces out. He's productive in the passing game [and has] good hands. Obviously, we mentioned the 87 touchdowns throughout his career. He has a way of finishing when he gets around the goal line – just a knack for getting in, finding the little creases. So, as a player, he's a lot of fun to watch. In terms of being there, that's just the way the draft happens. Sometimes good players fall, and they fall to you. You think he's a better player than where you pick him, but you're happy to pick him where you get him."

Eric, the undrafted free agent process, has that begun? Or will that continue tonight? (Jerry Coleman)

(DeCOSTA) "It hasn't really started yet; the draft is still going on. But, it's been actually going on for primarily most of the spring, because [Northeast Area Scout] Mark Azevedo and the scouts, [player personnel assistant] Andrew Raphael, those guys have been getting organized, working with our coaches, identifying the players that we really want to target. We've done some recruiting throughout the process, which has been excellent. And I think our coaches do a great job this time of year, really getting on guys, making phone calls, texting, just communicating and expressing our interest in these guys. We're limited a little bit as to what we can do during the draft, but I think we've really … The players know how they stand with us, and they know the opportunities that we have here, and they know what we're about. So, I think we're an attractive place to play, and I would expect that we'll do very well."

Eric, before we let you get out of the room, the post-draft baseball analogy. Some drafts you've seen triples, doubles and singles. What about this group? (Joe Platania)

(DeCOSTA) *"It's extra-innings, I can tell you that. *(laughter) *Because I'm very tired, and we got a lot of picks. We didn't play nine innings. We played 11 innings. So, in saying that, hopefully there are no rain delays." *(laughter)


On transitioning from playing for one Harbaugh (Jim) to another (John): "It's going to be great. [They are] two great coaches that know what they're talking about and have great schemes. I'm just excited right now. I can't wait to go play for another coach Harbaugh. So right now, I'm just ecstatic."

On how much contact he had with the Ravens before the draft: "I had a few conversations with them early, a little bit before pro day, and once or twice after pro day. After that it was kind of low and quiet. I talked to them a few times, and they showed interest in me. I'm just excited to get to Baltimore."

On if Jim Harbaugh had any influence on the Ravens' decision to draft him: "I appreciate everyone that helped me through this process, whether that was GAs or assistant coaches. Coach Harbaugh put in a great word with his brother and the Ravens organization. They took a chance on me, and I'm not going to prove them wrong."

On what he knows about the Ravens' defensive scheme: "They play aggressive, and I'm an aggressive player. I feel I'll fit in perfectly."

On how excited he is to play with other young defensive linemen like DT Timmy Jernigan and DT Brandon Williams: "It's exciting. You know they're going to bring a lot of energy to the room and go out there with guys that bring a lot of energy to the field. It's exciting to go out there and play with guys that get into the league and are still young and still have a lot of energy, but still have a lot of knowledge that can help me out coming in as a rookie. I'm going to be looking for their advice as a rookie and playing with hem and hopefully building a great defense – what Baltimore is known for. It starts up front."

On where he feels most comfortable on the defensive line: "To be 100 percent completely honest, I feel comfortable at all positions. That was from me playing here at the University of Michigan, playing so many positions. Coach [Greg] Mattison [Michigan defensive line coach] asking and bringing so much out of me as a football player that whenever he needed to play nose, three-technique or five- [technique], I was always ready to step up knowing what I had to do on my assignments so I could play the best football I can play."

On what it means to be the latest NFL Draft pick to come from Glenville High School: "Glenville is a great foundation coming from high school. Coach [Ted] Ginn Sr. and his staff do a great job coaching up young guys from the inner-city of Cleveland and sending these guys to college. It's something that changes people's lives. You can't do anything but thank the man."

On how the draft's third day has been for him: "I've been pretty calm. I'm an even-keel kind of guy. I wasn't too excited; I wasn't too worried about it when my name didn't get called in the first two days. I always knew God had a plan for me, so I wasn't going to sit here and stress anything out or worry anything about it. I know God had a plan, and this was the plan – for me to be in Baltimore. I'm just excited, and I can't wait to get there."

On playing for an organization that is known for its defense: "It's great, because I'm a defensive player. I wouldn't want anything else. It's the same thing at the University of Michigan, known for the defensive line and playing up front. It won't be anything new. Playing up to the high expectations is something that I played with at the University of Michigan. It's something that's probably going to be a little more comfortable for me than other players from playing here at Michigan. It's great playing on a defense that's known, so I'm just excited."


* *

On if he is surprised to be chosen by the Ravens:"I had a little bit of a good feeling about it. I know the style of offense and the quarterback that they have [and thought] that I would be a good fit for it. I met with the whole coaching staff at the Combine. They were always in the back of my mind, and I'm very excited to be a Raven."

On his game: "From my film, I'm a deep-threat receiver. I can take the top off of any defense and make those big plays, but personally, I feel like I can do it all. I practice running every rout, every single day. I run all the short routes, too, so I'm not just a deep threat. But if you need that guy who is going to go deep and make those big plays, I'm the guy."

On how he had so much success making big plays without having one of the fastest 40-yard dash times: "I think it's a couple of things: One is that the 40 doesn't really show how fast I am. I think my game speed is a lot faster than what I did in the 40.  I think when I'm on the field, I can run past almost anybody. I've shown it all year. Also, when that ball is in the air, I think it should be only mine. I have that feeling that when the ball is in the air, I'm coming down with it and that's it. That's how it has to go."

On how excited he is to work with QB Joe Flacco: "That's what really excites me. He's a veteran and he's won Super Bowl MVP. I'm just ecstatic. I can't wait to work with him."

On excited he is to work with WR Steve Smith Sr. and WR Mike Wallace: "That excited me, too. They are two of the greats in the game at receiver, and I'm just trying to take everything they tell me and just soak it in and learn from them as much as I can."

On if he was surprised he wasn't drafted in the second or third rounds: "I was always prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best. I could have gone later. I could have gone anywhere, but I'm excited [about] where I went, and I'm excited I got to go to the team I went to." 

On how his performance against Ohio State propelled his draft stock: "I feel like it helped a lot. It put that check by name showing that I can go up against a first-round draft pick. I can go against a National Champion, and I can go up against the top of the top and perform at a high level. I feel like it checked that mark off next to my name where a critic could say: 'He played in the American Conference; he may not have played against the best talent every week.' But when it came time to play against the best talent, I performed."

On which Ohio State defensive back he outperformed during that game: "I think three of them that game. (laughter) Three different corners got to see who Chris Moore was."

On if Ohio State CB Eli Apple was one of the receivers he faced during that game: "Yes, sir." (laughter)

On if he was in constant contact with the Ravens during the pre-draft season: "No. After the Combine, it got a little quiet with them calling me and stuff. I didn't know what was going to happen, but then today I got the phone call, I saw the area code, and I saw it said Maryland and knew who it was."



* *

On how it feels to be drafted by the Ravens:"Relief, excitement. I was sitting by my phone, and I was like, 'Why am I still around?' I was just upset. I'm like, 'I know I can play.' Another one goes off the board, and I'm like, 'I know I can play with these guys!' And to see my phone ring, and I see 'Maryland' and I'm watching it and I see Baltimore is about to be on the clock, I was like, 'This is it, right here.' I talked to Mr. [Ozzie] Newsome. I don't even know [what to say]. It's a dream come true. I've been playing football for 17 years now, and all I ever wanted to do is to be able to play on Sundays. And to be able to play on Sundays for one of the most storied organizations in the league, it's a blessing. I definitely have to give thanks to The Lord, because He had a perfect plan all along, and I doubted it. I had this and that, but I'm just happy to be a part of the Ravens organization, and I'm ready to get started."

On if he is prepared to play wide receiver: "That's what I've been working on. I've been running routes like crazy, trying to get quicker with my routes. I've been catching punts. Everything they want me to do, I've been working on. On top of that, I get to work with Steve Smith Sr. and learn from him and try to get better from him. It's going to be an awesome ride and an awesome time."

On how his game will translate to the NFL: "I just feel like my best area is in space with the football. Being able to move around and being in space with the football is where I thrive. I feel like that's where I'm going to find success at the next level."

On if punt returns will be a part of his role with the Ravens: "Certainty, I'm excited. I'm going to really up the reps. I've been repping it, but it's about to get really crazy with the reps. I'm just ready. I'm ready to work. I've been working, but I took the last couple of days [off] because I was kind of stressed; didn't want to pull anything. Now that I got the green light and got picked up, it's back to work on Monday – Sunday – and just have a great time and enjoy it."

On if he has been working with NFL veteran Brian Mitchell: "Yes, he's actually on his way right now to my draft party. He called me, and I had to tell him I'd call him back. I've been working with him, and I'm going to try to continue to work with him, with him being in the area and me playing in the area. I'm going to try to get out maybe once or twice a week here or there and get some work in and just get better."

On how much Brian Mitchell has helped his punt return game: "Tremendously. He gave me some extra drills. I got the basic technique down before. I had been taught how to catch, how to field, what the ball needs and this and that. At this point, it's just a matter of getting reps in, and he brings an innovative style and also perspective of somebody that has returned punts who can tell me what to look for, tell me what it's going to be like when I'm back there. I'm excited."

On how his Navy obligations may interfere with him playing in the NFL: "That's an excellent question, and I think, obviously, being in the DMV area still is going to help my cause. But again, that's a call that's up to the Navy. I always point to Joe Cardona and what he was able to do with the New England Patriots. I'm hoping and praying, and I'm confident that this potentially could be the same type of situation with myself. Again, it's up to Secretary [Ray] Mabus of the Navy. Right now, I'm just trying to bask in what the now is, and I'm just blessed to be picked up and ready to get started."

On when he will know the status of the Navy's decision: "It will be soon. It will probably happen in the next few days, but I am not sure."

On if he has had conversations with his superiors about the potential for him to play in the NFL: "I have, but I chose just to keep those conversations as those conversations with who I talked to. I don't give out that type of information, for my sake. It's a case-by-case deal, and the Navy is going to do what they feel is best and put me where they need to put me. I'm just looking forward to getting up to the facility and working with the squad."

On how he feels about those who didn't invite him to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony: "I've been proving people wrong my entire life. There are people who didn't think I needed to get drafted. There are people that obviously didn't think I deserved to go to New York, and I just continued to prove them wrong and prove myself right, and I'm going to continue to do that."

On how it feels to represent the military in the NFL: "It's a blessing. It's unique for us to have that back-to-back [draft pick out of Navy]. Before Joe [Cardona], it was a long, long time before somebody was picked up in the draft. It's a blessing that the Ravens felt that I was worthy to take a chance on with the military obligation and my service commitment. They felt I was good enough to take a chance on; that's just a blessing. I look forward to hopefully being able to go out on the field and do what I can, and then also serving my country in the highest respect."


On how it feels to be drafted by the Ravens:"It's exciting. It's a blessing, and I'm overwhelmed that they picked me. It's like a kid's dream to play for his hometown."

On if he grew up as a Ravens fan: "I was a fan of some of the players. I wasn't really a Ravens fan, but now I am."

On if his size holds him back from playing his position: "No. I'm just so lost for words."

On how he overcomes his size against bigger receivers:"I'm just a tough guy. I'm a tough player, and that's what a lot of coaches and people appreciate about me. They always talk about size, but no matter who it is or how big they are, I always come out on top. I think that's what makes me special."

On if he has a "never back down" mentality as a smaller cornerback: "Never back down and never fear no man. You have to attack every situation. People are always going to doubt you, but if you just have that confidence and that dog in you, then none of that matters."

On how he earned the No. 1 jersey number at Temple: "I earned it during football camp. Every summer they take everybody's numbers; they just throw numbers out there, and we just ball. Then we have a meeting to decide who gets to choose the numbers, and that's based on who are the toughest guys. No. 1 was the only number that was left. It was two weeks before we played Vanderbilt, and the coaches sat down, and the team sat down. We all voted, and everyone voted for me to wear the number. I was supposed to wear it for just one game, but the first game I had two interceptions, so they just let me keep it for the rest of the season."

On if he would like to have the same number with the Ravens: "Yeah, I would love to wear that number, but [a cornerback] can't wear it in the NFL."

On how his performance in the Senior Bowl helped him show his skills against the best college players in the country: "The Senior Bowl helped me a lot. There were a lot of guys from different conferences across the country, some of the great receivers that everybody talks about. Coming into the Senior Bowl, I really had no name, so I knew that I had to show off and do what I had to do. The first day of one-on-ones, I lined up against Braxton Miller, Aaron Burbridge. I lined up against the best receivers that were out there, and I locked them up, and that just put me on."

On how he feels about joining the Ravens organization: "I'm so excited. I can't wait to get started; I'm ready now. It's a great program and a winning program. It has great history, great players [and] a playoff team every year. It's just a great organization."

On if the Ravens showed any interest in him before the draft: "Yes, they did. I didn't really talk to them over the phone, but I talked to them at the Combine. I went to the local workout, and I had a good workout. I talked to the coach after for a little bit. I talked to coach [John] Harbaugh, and it felt like they liked me a lot. That's what my agent said, and it happened, and everyone predicted it."

On how important his local pro day performance was: "It was very important. You just always have to prove yourself, day-in and day-out, and that's what I did."

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