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Draft Day 1 Transcripts: First-Round Review

Ozzie Newsome Opening Statement:
"As you just saw, we selected Marlon [Humphrey] with the 16th pick. It was a little hectic; the phone was ringing. Several people were calling to move up to our pick. We got to a certain point on the clock, and we had already determined that Marlon was the player we wanted to select, but if someone gave us an offer that we could not refuse, then we would have traded out of that pick and traded back to the latter part of the first round. But, it was an opportunity for us to continue to put some strength into our secondary – to get stronger. Now we feel like we have four really good corners with Brandon [Carr], Jimmy [Smith] and Tavon [Young], along with Marlon. I came into this league with a guy that was big on size and speed at most positions, and one of the positions that it was foremost was at the corner position. That is what Marlon brings. He has great size, he has really, really long arms, and he can run. I mean, he ran in the Junior Olympics and all of that. We just think … I feel like we got better in the secondary and then when you add that we have Tony [Jefferson] and 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] along with [Eric] Weddle, then we are really strong in the secondary right now. But we're glad to have Marlon."

Eric DeCosta Opening Statement:
"He is a Raven. He plays like the way we play football. He is a tough guy. We know a lot about him, we have been watching this guy for a long time. He is a guy that, universally, I think that our scouts and coaches … Everybody liked [him] a lot. He passed every test, and he is an Alabama guy, so he is a good fit."

John Harbaugh Opening Statement:
"I feel really excited about it. I know our coaches are fired up about it. I can't wait to get him here and start talking football, but he is a great fit for us. It is an opportunity to really strengthen our defense. We are trying to build a great defense here – that is one of our ambitions. He is a guy that helps us do that."

Joe Hortiz Opening Statement:
"I am just fired up to have a guy like him here. He has been high on the radar since the fall when our scouts were going in there, and he stayed up there throughout the whole process – the combine, the coaches taking a look at him, his workouts. I am just really fired up to get a guy like him here."

*Ozzie, were you surprised at the number of Alabama prospects that you were able to choose from at 16? *(Jamison Hensley)
"No. After going through the process, we felt like we would have some choices. Not necessarily from Alabama, but from some other schools, too. But, to have not one player go before then was a little surprising. But, I think based on the information that we had, we are not really overly surprised that it happened."

Ozzie, was it a close call at all when you got to this pick? Was this an obvious one or was it close between a couple other guys? (Stan White)
**"No, he was by far the best player that we were going to take. The only way we were not going to take him was someone was going to have to offer us something really good to trade back."

*Is he a Pro Bowl-caliber player in your opinion? Some people thought that OJ Howard was and you passed on him. *(Jamison Hensley)
"Marlon is a good football player. He is going to come in and compete with the other three guys."

*Were you all surprised at the way the first half of the draft went down? It was a lot of offensive players. *(Peter Schmuck)
"I think this was an unusual draft – probably one of the strangest drafts in terms of before the draft and kind of figuring out how this thing was going to happen. [There were] a lot of unanswered questions, and I think the run on receivers was early, very early. Those guys are really good players, but I do not think anyone predicted that – that those guys would get picked … That there would be three wideouts in the Top Ten. Obviously, the run on quarterbacks – those guys are great players as well. We just didn't know. I think it is just perceived going in that it was a very defensive draft, and to see all of those offensive players taken early was something a lot of people probably didn't expect."

*You talk about rebuilding a great defense. Why is it from the back end? Why did you feel that you needed a corner more than a pass-rusher? *(Aditi Kinkhabwala)
"Well, it was the way it played out – that Marlon was the highest-rated guy at a position … We feel like when you go through a season, you just can't have your starting 11 on offense or defense. You have to have good backups, because from week-to-week, guys may not be able to play, and if you have good depth, then you do not get concerned about it. Having depth at corner is huge."

**John, backing up what Ozzie just said, it seemed like last season you literally said, "We have to get depth at cornerback." Do you think all that has transpired this offseason has really granted your wish? *(David Ginsburg)
(HARBAUGH) *"I do. I think that we have done that. We have gone after a portion of our team, the back end, the secondary, with a vengeance. I think we have done a great job as an organization in terms of getting that done. We have some really good players back there, and there is going to be competition. We are going to be darn tough to throw the ball against. I think to Aditi's point – the draft is not over yet. You cannot take two players or three players – and there were other players that would have merited the pick – but Marlon was the highest-rated guy out of all those players also. It is kind of two-fold. It is definitely a need pick for us, but it is also a really good player that was ranked higher than maybe some of the pass rushers we had right there. Yes, there is nothing wrong … And Ozzie and I talk about this a lot – Eric and Joe, too – there is nothing wrong with making yourself really strong in one area of your football team. This is the strongest we have been in the secondary in a long time. I expect those guys to play great back there."

*Eric, when going through the process with Marlon, do you see any similarities with CB Jimmy Smith? When players start to get compared, those two names kind of lined up. Did you see that at all? (Morgan Adsit)
(DeCOSTA) *"Well, they both have really good size. Obviously, both guys for their size, they are very, very good athletes and have speed. I don't necessarily make a lot of comparisons between those two guys, but I think one thing about Marlon that really stands out for me is his physicality as a player, his ability to make really critical tackles, his ability to come up and want to be the first guy to make the tackle. He can blitz, he has really good size, he can play in multiple different types of alignments, coverages and he is competitive. The other thing is he has played in really big games, and I think that is important. He is a guy that has been in national championship games on the biggest stage. He has played in a program that has really produced great players over the years, and it is a program that really does things very similar to how NFL teams do things. So, I think from that standpoint, he is going to really be a good fit as well."

**Ozzie and John, how about his ability to handle the deep threat and in a way, is this sort of a counter move? You saw what Cincinnati did earlier and what Pittsburgh has. Is this a way also to address some of the strengths of your opponents within the division? *(Jerry Coleman)
(NEWSOME) *"Well, from my perspective, we just got stronger. To me, it is all about having quality, quality depth, especially in the secondary."

*(HARBAUGH) *"I think that is exactly right, and it does counter our division. We have two teams at least – Cincinnati and Pittsburgh – that put great receivers on the field against you and you have to match that talent, talent for talent. It is not just who we just picked either. It is not just Marlon; it's [Brandon] Carr, and it's Jimmy [Smith], and it's Tavon [Young]. Heck, maybe it's Maurice Canady, too. Whoever else shows up. But, you have to match strength for strength, and I think we have done that with this pick, and it gives us a chance to get out there in the fourth quarter, in two-minute, and do the things we need to do to finish games."

*How will he do handling the deep threat? *(Jerry Coleman)
"He is going to do a good job of that. Every player has plays on tape. You see those highlights, and other teams make plays. I think I saw a clip where they had a pretty good receiver from Clemson [Mike Williams] who made a play against Marlon late in the game. OK, well those guys will probably get a chance to … He [Marlon] will get his payback maybe, he will get his opportunity to get revenge on that play, too, later on, because they will be playing against each other. That's football. Marlon can handle the deep ball, he is really great, like Eric said, at the line of scrimmage. He jams people up, he plays press, he is physical [and] he does not let receivers get off the line of scrimmage too often. He is a great tackler. He is a good man-to-man player, he is a good zone player, he has really good hands. He has all the tools that you want in a top corner."

*John, you talk about getting stronger in one area and it is a good thing to do. By putting so many resources this offseason and then tonight at corner and safety, does that speak to the level of confidence in some of the young edge rushers and some of the young linebackers you have? *(Gerry Sandusky)
"It does, but it not an 'either, or.' We are not saying we do not need help in any other place – we have talked about the areas of need we have. You only get one pick, so you take the best player, too. If we had a pass rusher, an edge rusher sitting up there above Marlon on the board, we would have taken him. You take the best player, also. It is not strictly a need pick. It is a need [and] it's the best player on the board. I think that has always been the philosophy here, and Marlon was the highest-rated player on the board, too."

*Ozzie, do you have any familiarity with his father and does that also kind of play into why you guys like him because he has those bloodlines? *(Ryan Mink)
"Well, we have Breshad [Perriman] and we have Maxx [Williams], so I guess there is a theme there. Yes, I do know Bobby [Humphrey], and I think I had the opportunity that he came into the league just when I was getting ready to retire. But, I do know Bobby and his wife very well."

*Ozzie, is this a case where you liked Marlon so much that even what the chart told you, if you were going to get to move back, you were going to need more than that because you just valued taking him so much? *(Jeff Zrebiec)
"No, no, no. No one really gave us chart. But we also were looking for chart, plus. We value … Then, how far did we want to go back? We did not want to go back to where we get to a point that we didn't feel like we could get a player that we would be very comfortable with. We weighed all the options and at the end of the day when we were talking with the other teams and we told them what it would take to get the deal done, they decided that they said no."

*Joe, you have obviously spent a lot of time at SEC schools. When did Marlon kind of come on your radar? *(Jeff Zrebiec)
"You saw him the moment he started last year or two years ago as a good, young player. Even when he was a freshman, when you are out there on the field and Kirby Smart was the defensive coordinator at that time, and he was telling me about this good, young kid that we [Alabama] are holding for a year, but he is going to be special. So, every year you go the campus' over and over and you see these kids as freshman and you see them grow up. But, then I got a chance to see him this fall when I went in there to [see him] play live and he did a great job against Texas A&M that game. You see like everyone is mentioning the physicality, the quickness, the versatility to play on the line of scrimmage and then off coverage in zone. Our scouts were on him early this year and really aware of him last year. You follow these guys, especially at the SEC schools, you find the good ones early, and you stay with them."

*I know you talked about teams calling to trade back. Was there any talk about trading up? *(Jamison Hensley)
"Yes, we tried to trade up. We did, and it did not work out. But, we did try to trade up."

*Any ballpark on how high? *(Jamison Hensley)
"It was in the teens."

**Eric, looking forward to the next pick. Are there more people on your board than you would have expected right now going forward because of what happened the first 10 or 12 picks. *(Peter Schmuck)
(DeCOSTA) *"I think that just in looking at where our pick is – which is 47 I believe – we are able to kind of calculate based on the last 22 years where that range of players is going to come from. And we love those players. We think it is a really good area on our list. We think we will get a good player, very sure of that. The same holds true with 74 and 78 as well. I think tomorrow is a critical day for the Ravens and for our coaches and scouts. We are excited about it. I have been drawing comparisons in my own mind to the fourth round for us last year when we had the five picks. It is a big challenge for us, and we are excited about that. We embrace it, and hopefully we are a lot better tomorrow night."

*As far as Marlon's development goes, how big is it that he will be with Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and Eric Weddle? (Jordan Schatz)
(HARBAUGH)* "That is a great point. It is a big deal. He has some guys to learn from. He is also not going to be put in a situation where he has to be more than he needs to be, too early. I think he will be able to be exactly what he is. If he comes out there to whatever level he plays, that is going to be the contribution that we are going to expect from him. Plus, he is also a really good special teams player. He can play all of the special teams right out of the gate and develop as a corner. That is not to say I do not think he is going to get on the field right away, because I think he is, and we are going to be in a rotation with all those players. That is a good thing to have. We are going to have a lot of players on the field that can cover people, but to your point, it is a good point."

*Maybe not today because of how much you liked him, but do you ever react to what somebody in the division does before you? You mentioned having to match talent and match your strength with strength. As the Bengals go and get a really speedy wide receiver, does that ever factor into what you are doing? *(Aditi Kinkhabwala)
"I do not think so. I have never seen us have that conversation. It was not something we talked about. I have never heard us have that conversation, so the answer I would say is no."

(DeCOSTA) "I would not say immediate in terms of the draft. We look at our teams, and we look at who we play and what their strengths and weaknesses are and we want to build teams that can compete. But we are not going to just react to one move by making one move to counteract that one move."


CB Marlon Humphrey

On if he thought he had a chance of being selected by Baltimore with the 16th pick:"I did not think I had a chance of going to the Ravens at that point. To be honest, I wasn't even really paying attention to who was on the screen, really. That's just how surprised I was when my name got called."

On if that was because he didn't talk much with the Ravens during the process or he didn't think he'd get selected that early:"You're watching the draft and it gets pretty long, you get to talking with your family and the next thing you know you look down at your phone and you see a Maryland number calling. I just wasn't really paying much attention."

On if he went to Baltimore for a pre-draft visit:"I didn't come to Baltimore on a pre-draft visit. No, sir."

On if he felt that Baltimore had showed some interest in him during the process:"I had a meeting with them, but that's about it. I felt every team had some interest in me. When I was sitting in front of them, I felt like they had some interest in me."

On if any of him being surprised had to do with several of his college teammates – who were projected to be drafted high – were still available:"Maybe. After I saw Deshaun Watson [selected] as the third quarterback it really surprised me, so it kind of threw off the way I thought the draft would go. I didn't know where I would be picked, or if I would be picked. So, when Baltimore called me that's why I was so surprised also."

On the conversation he had after he answered the phone call:"I picked up the phone and it was [general manager] Ozzie Newsome. He just started talking – he didn't say who it was at first – and then he said, 'Do you know who you're talking to?' I said, 'No, sir.' And he told me who it was and that they were on the clock and they were thinking about picking me. He asked me [if] I was crying, and my voice was getting a little crackly. After that, I met coach Harbaugh and the rest of the coaches and it went well from there."

On if there were any tears:"No, there weren't any tears – my voice was getting pretty crackly though, I have to admit."

On the impact his father and former NFL player Bobby Humphrey has had on his career and sharing the moment of getting drafted with him:"I shared the moment with my whole family. I stayed at the house and I had my immediate family, my aunties, my uncles, my cousins, my grandmas … As far as my dad, it is weird, people kind of always ask me, 'Has your dad helped you with this process? Has he helped you throughout this process?' But, honestly he has kind of prepared me for this process my whole life. Whether it is telling stories about experiences he has had or things like that, it is just little things like that have kind of been drummed in me, so when this part came, it seemed like the things he was telling me, I already knew. I already kind of had my mind ready for this. He has been [there] lifelong, just drumming it in my head, what to do and the don'ts. How to be smart and how to be not smart. It has kind of already been instilled in me, so I guess to answer that question, yes and no at the same time."

On how playing in big games has prepared him for the next level:"I think it has prepared me a lot. The difference between college and the NFL is every game you are going against a Pro Bowl receiver, so in those big games you are always going against good receivers. So, I think the NFL will be no different, except it will be every single week. So, instead of just playing those big games four or five times a year, it will be every week against top receivers in the NFL."

On the emotions now that he knows he is playing for the Ravens:"Just excitement. I am ready to get to work. I am ready to learn more about Baltimore, the city and to learn more about the fans. I am especially ready to get some new coaching under some great coaches."

On if he has talked to Baltimore native and former Alabama teammate CB Cyrus Jones:"I have not really talked to many of the guys that got drafted last year that much. A little bit of Reggie [Ragland] and some of the guys that I saw at A-Day [the Alabama spring game], but as far as you know keeping up with him throughout the season, not that much."

On if he was surprised that he was selected before Alabama teammates O.J. Howard and Reuben Foster:"I will not say I was surprised, because to be honest, I really was not thinking about those guys. I was more thinking about me. I guess I was surprised that they had not been picked yet, but I was not necessarily surprised that I got picked before them."

On what part of his game he feels like he made the most strides at Alabama that have prepared him to be a first-round pick:"I think my confidence. My ability to forget the last play and move on to the next. I think that is one of the biggest qualities a DB has to have – he has to forget one play and move on to the next. I think my toughness, that coach [Nick] Saban kind of drills in you. I think forgetting that last play and going onto the next play, because every play has a life of its own."

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